29 July 2008

Goats and Butts and Old Friends

A day off in pictures. I spent the afternoon with my GLittle, Sheri, my old friend Ilene, and Ilene's boyfriend, who passed muster. Here's what we did in Buford and Tiger, GA, and points in between.

Just after my landmark discovery of a cement plaque stating the 10 commandments at the entrance to the farmer's market ("I FOUND it! So THAT'S where the 2 tablets went!"), we take a We Are Cute picture inside on some normal-sized, and kid-sized, rocking chairs.
Stretch golf carts are necessary for riding out to conquer the peach fields.
We really love the peaches.
Our li'l basket. Only $10.30 for about 30 ripe, furry peaches.

Sheri caresses the "butt."
"Hi. I'm Ilene. I have no respect for the beauty of my adopted state's fruit. I will bite it."
Seeing the forest for the trees, as it were.
"If you build it, he will come."
Of COURSE you have an outhouse for storage and picture-taking purposes.
Of COURSE you do!

Finally, we stopped at Goats on the Roof, which is not to be confused with "Oats on the Roof," due to my poor camera aim. I just wanted to catch the goat. On the roof. Notice how the roof has sod on it. That's right. Sod.

I cannot explain Goats on the Roof. You'll just have to drive to nowheresville, GA to check it out. The t-shirts and fudge are worth it. Also, the goats are worth it.

27 July 2008

The Chickens Are Restless

Weeks ago, my counselors, like so many Far Side chickens, started getting restless. I will spare you (for mainly legal reasons) the stuff they pulled. Regardless, you are required (where you = Rosh Eidah), to plan fun activities for your counselors. Even if some of them are so poorly behaved and generally unstellar*, you = Rosh Eidah, must be FUN! HAPPY! and UNFLAGGINGLY POSITIVE!

So, I booked a group climb on the Odyssey, this big wood-and-ropes-and-cables thing that is, as you will see, a recipe for disaster. After I booked the Odyssey, however, there was a change in camp plans. "Early to Bed!" we shouted from the rooftops. "Get to sleep when your kids do," we proclaimed. "Cancel your staff bonding," I was told. Sadly, I called off the fun. "No fun for you," I said. And like the Soup Nazi's methodology predicted, fun was most definitely not had.

Hello. I am the Odyssey.
I may look like fun, but I am, in reality, a recipe for disaster.

I rescheduled the staff Odyssey for 2nd session, which was sad because my first-session-only staff member missed her chance, but happy because another, less delightful counselor, had left the day before. It was Monday night. Most people hate Mondays. I cheer from the rooftops, as the counselors that are not off on Mondays are the hardest-working, least-negative, and generally most awesome people on this lovely green earth (see asterisk).

Monday afternoon comes, and the camp's 5K gets canceled due to a very large and unsightly thunderstorm. I was up and down, left and right, in and out, trying to get kids out of the way of some really mean lightening. Then, I had to deal with a big camper issue. Issue in order, I proceeded to all-camp shira / songfest, and afterwards to the babysitting center at camp, where we were hosting the peulat erev / evening program. Cutting it close, as we often do, we managed to parse the program time down so that the kids were in their bunks, getting ready for a few scanty minutes before the staff was supposed to be off to the Odyssey. The entire camp was dripping with moisture.

Caution! Slippery when wet!

I made my way down to the dark Odyssey pit, chattering with the tower staff. We had Daniel, Rosh Daniels (a group of useful non-bunk staff at camp, meaning they live in hotels and pitch in a lot), and two of my own staff members to run us through the course. As I put on my harness, I was reminded of my days as an occasional rappelling counselor at CBR, Your Mountain Of Fun! (Fun Not Included For Staff Members). When Daniel tightened my harness, however, I was left with a terrible sensation. My one butt had been separated into four distinct sections. Harnesses are not flattering!

My staff trickled in, and we gathered a group of 7 of us, plus my male tower counselor, to go on the top of the Odyssey. The rest of the program was a blur of slipping, sliding, grabbing, squealing, huffing, puffing, smiling (that was my most smiley counselor). All I know is this: the tower was wet, at least one of my staff eschews deodorant, I have fairly good balance, and getting across a wire maze up at like 30 feet is a special task.

The offending wires, and the wooden bars that made half of my trip possible.

After getting across the first section, tied tightly (and sort of unwillingly) to my employees, we started on the next one. We were doing well, until we reached the wire incline. One of my staff members, a truly terrific incoming college freshman, lost his footing. Like so many bowling pins, we all fell backward toward the deep, dark night, thrown back by the first person to fall. Don't get me wrong. We were hooked up, each individually, to about 1,000 lbs of weight-bearing aircraft aluminum, ropes, and wires. So, while we didn't go far, all 6 of my non-climbing staff members in my group ended up on top of me, their weight on top of a wire, and my shin and knee just below the wire. The impact of 6 adults' weight on that cable was heavy, and I ended the evening unable to move my right leg.

After a quick evaluation ("I can't move it, but I can move my toes. Leg's not broken. Good. Good...OUCH! I can't bear weight!") We decided to make a quick retreat. So, using 2 arms, 1 leg, and a whole lot of swinging my (four) butt(s) for leverage, my counselors pulled me back to the rope climb. I couldn't believe how it had turned out for me. At the bottom, I radioed to get picked up in a golf cart. A friend picked me up (and two of my other counselors) and drove me to raid the kitchen for ice. I iced my leg, and then recognized the signs of a bone bruise.

Last week, you could see me limping around camp. Walking has gotten easier...But my leg, well, my leg will be painful for 5 months, whenever I bang it. Yay for bone bruises!

My leg was feeling better, but I was still ready to take my reaction picture in broad daylight.

A staff meeting with the asterisk counselors became a planning session for a protest to reclaim canteen, as one bunk had lost the privilege when they didn't pick up their lost and found. The planning came complete with football-play diagrams on the conference room markerboard.
What do we want?
When do we want it?
What do we want?
When do we want it?

*FYI, the vast majority of my staff is excellent.

14 July 2008


Want to know what I've been up to?

In my ample free time (hahahahaha ample) I get to chat online with my baby brother, as we're planning a trip to good old Florida to see the family. He sent me an article from a wonderful newspaper about how there is a phenomenon in Japan of dying from overworking. This happens so frequently that it has its own word. Before you read on, keep in mind my love of hyperbole. I tend to sleep at least 6 hours a night. And, contrary to my complaint-filled existence, I really, truly, love my job.

Anyway, read on:

Mark: hahaha well more that i just never CAN take off
i just read this story about how in japan ppl are dying from working overtime
to the point where they ahve a word for it
1:19 PM me: wow
is it called -- being japanese is like being a camp counselor?
1:22 PM Mark:
1:23 PM "karoshi" is the japanese word for working oneself to death
apparently working overtime to the point of heart failure isnt that uncommon there
i read that and i thought " hot damn am i glad i was born in such a lazy country!!"
1:24 PM me: hahaha
1:25 PM there's "rosh" in the middle of that word
Mark: hahahahaha
me: YES
Mark: that's terrible, but a valid point

09 July 2008

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Time keeps marching on, as I go to sleep knowing my new campers start arriving in the morning...Here's what's been ticking as the clock has been tocking:

I could write about all of my great experiences at camp thus far. I could write about my joking requests to return to my 2004 Rosh Ski Mayim (waterskiing) position. I could tell you about my Snickers-a-day habit that is kept in check because I live at the top of a mountain. I could tell you about my affinity for lounge pants at camp, and how my campers asked me if I owned anything other than sweatpants.

Instead, I will leave you with snapshots of my life, with detailed captions. What's making me tick this summer? What was the best present I've received this summer? What's "the new black," as I like say? Say tuned!

The best part of my eidah's visit to the zoo was taking pictures of the flamingos. I liked these two guys, because they were sleeping while the whole crowd in the back was playing loudly. They live their life in a way that I cannot while at camp.

Day off in Asheville. First stop? Coffeeshop housed in an old London double-decker school bus!

The Asheville Flatiron and Flatiron building. No, I am not making this up.

Pig and Sigg.
Pig from Meredith. Sigg for myself. I got the Sigg because it's the most annoying colored water bottle I could find. As for the pig, to quote Meredith: "A little treif for the hadar ochel." The pig makes squeaking noises. Delightful!

After complaining that I kept my underwear in a plastic bag on some shelves, they went out and got me drawers for my room. I also use them for sunblock storage...

Happy happy joy joy I got a dehumidifier! It was on the same request list as the drawers.
Things to consider about this: it only took 5 weeks, it's small and mighty, it makes me happy, and I'm a little concerned that it filled the dehumidifying bucket with like a gallon and a half of water in less than 2 days. I suppose my room just WAS that humid, and that I wasn't complaining unnecessarily.

There she is, folks, just out of the box! She's a fresh one, ain't she?

That's on my dehumidifier's directions. Yes. Correct. Do not use in "damp environment".
Also, do not wear your sunblock in the sun, or your seatbelt in the car, or your helmet when riding a bike...

First week Shabbat-a-grams. Note that I wrote the one on top 100% in Hebrew!
This past week, my Shabbat-a-grams involved rubber, latex and a lot of hot air -- that's right! Punch balls for my tzevet! Whee!

01 July 2008

Pants and Toes...

I barely, if ever, get time off. Not because my boss won't give it to me (he's amazing), but because it's just not practical to leave camp when you're running an eidah.

One of my campers asked me last week why I only wear sweatpants. She wasn't even at camp when I ran out of pants because I'd only packed a very specific amount to bring from Israel...So imagine her surprise when I showed up one night, wearing denim. Below is the one picture I took all day. I shall call it "Day Off" because I (a) got a pedicure and (b) was wearing jeans!
Sometimes, all you need is to get your toenails painted.
Thanks to Rafi for entertaining himself for a good 40 minutes...

Below is a picture of Rafi and me messing around for a few seconds in the staff programming office. My shirt says "This is what a Jerusalem feminist looks like." About 120391 Israeli men told me that they hate my shirt. It precipitated such intense and positive conversation, that I was sorry I'd worn it on a Friday and had to change into my Shabbat clothes at lunch. Usually, I'm wearing an outfit from 7AM until 1AM, every day...

This shirt is from the Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center. They do GREAT work!