Friday, October 22, 2010

Peanut Butter

So I was working on writing another blog post when I ran in to some technical difficulties getting some pictures I need to load on to my computer so instead I decided to tell you what I did tonight.

Nothing. But I made up a fun voice with which to say peanut butter over and over again.

Then I wrote a song about peanut butter to sing in the peanut butter voice.

This is how it goes:

Na-na-na-na Peanut butter, peanut butter
Na-na-na-na Peanut butter, peanut butter
Peanut butter peanut butter nom nom nomnom
I like to nom on Peanut butter peanut butter

You'd have to hear me singing it to get the full effect of its awesomeness.

Also, while eating my peanut butter and jelly sammich(but really just a ton of peanut butter with some jelly and bread) I came up with the brilliant idea to dip my PB(+maybe some j and bread) sammich in my cinnemon apple sauce. Why, you ask? Back off, don't ask stupid questions. BECAUSE I SAID SO, THAT'S WHY!

The first bite was INCREDIBLE. It was enough to make me decide to take a spoon full of peanut butter and a spoonful of apple sauce and eat them both at the exact same time. Bad idea. Texture differences abound, and it turns out the two don't taste as good together as I had previously thought. I went back to dipping my sammich in my apple sauce. It was too late. That was icky now too.

And that's how I made an incredible discovery and ruined it within 30 seconds.

Na-na-na-na Peanut Butter Peanut Butter.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To The Toilet I Used At the DECC

Toilet, I admire your willingness and eagerness to do your job fully and effectively, and I suppose I should have taken seriously your warning when I opened the stall door. You know, when you flushed as if to say, "watch out. I'm one of those automatic flushy toilets and I will do my job as I please, damn it."

I did not take this warning seriously. You see, I was playing in the pep band so I really had only a very small window of opportunity to pee and get back in time to play again. Also, I really REALLY had to go. So I went.

Lets start from the very beginning of our acquaintance, toilet. I open the stall door. You give me a warning flush. I close the stall door, you flush again incase I didn't notice the first flush. I sit down, you flush three times in my duration of peeing. I have a rather small bladder so it was pretty much constant flushing on your part. I finish doing my thing and stand up, ready for your valiant final flush. Nothing. WTH toilet? Way to talk yourself up and then do NOTHING. I dance around like a lunatic or perhaps in some sort of ceremonial-automatic-flushy-toilet-dance, this pleases you. You flush. Twice.

Way to go, sport. You're a real champ.

Sincerely, Emmi

Thursday, October 7, 2010

So Much Writing So Little Time.

I keep thinking of awesome crap to write about, but I never have time to write. Honestly, right now I should be doing my German homework because I pretty much have tons of writing to do for German. Seriously, I have to keeps a journal for German. That's probably where all of my blogging energy is going. Seriously, I have written 10 entries in the last 2 weeks and I have to write 2 more before tomorrow.

Why am I blogging?

So in the spirit of continuing to avoid all homework, guess what I've been getting way in to??? COOKING! I write about this in my German journal, and if you knew German I would just C&P it cause its pretty much insanely good germaning on my part.

But seriously, I cook a big meal of everyone at least once a week. The first time I made stouffer's lasagna, texas toast (the kind that comes frozen) and ceasar salad from a bag. Classy. But since I went home for my birthday I've been doing this UP.

My mom gave me a book of recipes from home and I've been working my way through that. Last week I made Italian Chicken. I know, I know, "but Emmi! You don't like chicken!" Back up off. You know what I do like? Rice and sauce and cheese and the burnt sauce around the edges because now I can eat that cause my mom isn't here to eat it all.

Also,.... I forgot what I was gonna say.

So I've finally reached the point where my brain is like "ohhhh... THIS is what we're supposed to do!!!" and I'm doing homework and stuff. Its cool, but I have so much homework and its really stressing me out. That paired with work is a crazy mix so I dropped one of my classes (which reminds me, I forgot to email the professor and tell her I dropped.) It helps, and I get to sleep in now on Wednesday. Yay!

I keep losing my train of thought. This is what happens when I talk to people these days. I always feel all lonely so when I DO talk to someone from my family I go on and on about nothing because I'm just SO happy to talk to someone other than anyone who lives in Duluth. No offense to my UMD people at all. I don't think any of them read this anyway.

I don't know if anyone reads this actually. Its kind of one of those "talking to hear my voice" things.

Oh so back to food, I realized that everything I love is like 102% carbs and I'm probably going to be a whale by this time next year so I was talking to my sister about food I love and she suggested ways to not get fat and to make veggies less icky. I doubt it, but I'll try.

I have like 898923987122456125 pages to write in German now, so while I have VOLUMES more to write, I'll have to save that for later. Much later, because I like to work and do school stuff till my eyeballs bleed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Not Too Distant Future.

As promised, here is my update of how life has been since I got back to UMD.

Busy. Busy busy busy busy. Seventeen credits, my first upper division class, work, busy. I'm loving my classes, though. I'm taking German, Research Methods and Analysis, Deviance, American Indian Studies, First Aide/CPR, and Pep Band.

I like my classes in general, but its tough to have Intermediate German at 8am 4 days a week. Tuesdays and Thursdays SUCK because I have intermediate German from 8-9, Research methods and analysis(holy shit boring) from 9-11, and Deviance from 1:30-12:45 and once I'm through with all of my training my evenings will probably be taken up by my work as a PCA.

Speaking of work, I'm beginning to see that this job (working as a personal care attendant) is pretty much the best job for me. The company through which I am working is really flexible with scheduling and I can make special requests as to my working requests such as, I would like to work with either a child or a small adult so I can more efficiently aide with personal care if necessary. Also, even if I work in a group home, there will be ONE client with whom I work. I won't have to be overwhelmed with a ton of people with a bunch of different needs, and I only have to read through one case file. Sadly, when I start working I don't think I'll write too much specific information or even fun stories about the client since I am only working with one person and its really easy for people to look at my blog and perhaps find out information they don't need to know. In other words, HIPAA as returned to my life. Yay personal assistant jobs. If you don't know what HIPAA is, look it up or get a job working with patients or people with disabilities.

Well I would write more, but I have to eat and go to MORE class. Bleh. But its pep band so that's fun. :D

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I know I haven't posted in quite a while, and I was going to post today about how everything is going since I got back to school, but I think that's best saved for another day in the not so distant future (I promise!).

Of course, today I am thinking about what everyone else over the age of 13 is thinking about. Well, mostly. It is also my roommate's birthday so I'm thinking about that too, but she's not here this weekend. So, I will use this post to talk about what every other blogger (again, over 13) is talking about. September 11, 2001.

Here's what I remember:

I was in 5th grade. It was Tuesday morning, I believe. That meant gym was my first class. I hated gym. We were in the girls' locker room getting dressed for gym when the gym teacher called in. She told us we had to put our school uniforms (Catholic school) back on and line up. We had to go to the church for some emergency assembly. Naturally, since I hated gym, I thought this was pretty sweet. Get out of gym free card!

Now this is the weird part. This is the part that I think makes this MY 9/11 story. Different from anyone elses:
Cut back to the previous day. I had always been quite the little dictionary, by that I mean I love complex words and I always have. That's why, on September 10, 2001, I explained to my best friend at the time what the work "hijack" means. Now, as we were lining up to leave gym (score) to go to the church that best friend of mine told me something that I will never forget. She said, "I kept having really weird dreams last night. I had this dream that people were hijacking planes and flying them in to buildings." Of course, at the moment is seemed rather inconsequential, but I still get chills when I think of that to this day.

We filed down to the gym, and this is where my memory gets fuzzy (I was only almost 11 years old.) I know they told us that there had been a tragedy and a lot of people had died, because what else would they say? We didn't watch footage in the church that day or in my class room because there were kids whose parents didn't want them to see it quite yet. I do remember when I saw it, it didn't seam real. I didn't see people in those images, just buildings. Tall buildings, some of the tallest in the world, flattening. Straight down in a poof of smoke. What did seem real to me, and what did really stir emotion in me was the footage of police officers and fire fighters helping injured people. Or the police officers who walked the streets around what was now ground zero yelling at civilians and telling them to leave the area.

The stories came flooding in of people who had died, of another plane that hit the pentagon on the same day, and of a third plane, headed for the white house, that was taken down by civilian heroes and crashed in a field. It was real, it was scary, it was something bigger than I had ever experienced and bigger than I have experienced to this day. We were at war. The first war the US had been fighting in my memory and knowing. The nation broke out in a fever of patriotism. You couldn't go anywhere without seeing an American flag or a "God Bless America" sticker. I remember thinking how beautiful that patriotism was and being sad that it would just be a phase.

Now its September 11, 2010. Most of the kids who I worked with in the daycares will never remember this , and I hope that they won't have another similar memory come in to their life anytime soon.

So there you have it. My 9/11 story. And I just want to let me readers (all 4 of you) know that for as long as I keep this blog, I will not be writing about 9/11 ever again. Not that I will forget the day, but going back and talking about it EVERY YEAR will get a little old. Besides, we should think about happy things on Mara's birthday! :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Starting A Business is HARD! *Pout*

So this summer I really MEANT to use my free time and money to get the ball rolling on my custom made beaded jewelery business and start an etsy shop. Both of the aforementioned have been squandered all through out the summer. I mean I'm not BROKE right now, but I'm in no position to be spending a ton of money, either.

So I'll still make custom jewelery for anyone who is looking to buy. I'd love to work with people putting together custom pieces. My sister just got a beautiful pendant that I'm going to make a necklace with for her eventually.

I guess what is really going on in my head is that I'm getting anxious. There are sooo many things I had planned to do this summer that i did not do because I was busy, obviously. I was ok with letting a lot of these things slide but now I'm feeling really desperate about it. I mean, they're not even really IMPORTANT things, other than getting a job (which I'm working on and starting to get nervous because I haven't gotten many interviews) but some things I really just would have enjoyed doing. Like FINALLY finishing Jane Eyre and starting Moby Dick and making some jewelery. I'm not good at doing things on a shorter time frame either, so a lot of these are as good as screwed.

My room is also REALLY messy which is stressing me out. Bleh.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Finishing What I Started

So yeah, I'm leaving tomorrow. When I look back it was overall a good experience working at camp courage. There were some shitty days, some REALLY shitty days, some good days, and some GREAT days. When I think back, though, I don't see days at all. I see moments. And I don't see the moments I wanted to throttle my coworkers (except the recent experiences today, but those will fade), I see happy moments. I see fun late night swims, spin the bottle truth or dare, the staff slip 'n' slide night, countless campers I fell in love with. I remember leading the MILK song at the top of my lungs, cabin staff who were SO helpful in my program area, conquering my fear of cares, and the awesome friends I made at Camp Courage.

I would say I don't want to leave, but you would all know that to be a lie. I do want to leave, but I don't want to leave the great memories. The fun things about memories is that you don't have to leave them! YAY!

Oh I also don't want to leave all the froggies. I love froggies.

Ok so I also wanted to tell you more specifically about this session! It was great that I didn't have several kids this session comment about my short stature (fun fact: even with communication disorders NO OTHER KIDS commented about my height that much! wth?!).

I worked and lived in the cabins, which was really fun! I actually had a girl tell me I was her favorite counselor! It was a lot of work this week, but it was a nice pace. I didn't get TOO stressed other than the stress of the end of the summer and wanting to go home. One girl, Emily, has been my buddy this session. Well, her and Rose who drew me an awesome picture of a purple cat. Emily said she wants to email and keep in touch after camp. I'm glad I made such an impact as a counselor! So it late and I REALLY need to shower the nasty sweat off of me from another intense game of "Zoo Break" so I'll try to write again within the next week!

Soooo Ready To Go Home!

So all day I have been gathering topics I want to write on right now and I hope I remember them all!

First of all, the title topic. I want to go home. This is a really fun session but some staff are really getting under my skin (which is expected at the end of the summer). So far today I had two fishing groups. One was decent, but the other? Holy crap. Thanks for NO help cabin staff. I was seriously so frustrated at the attitude and lack of help I got from the cabin staff. the kids were fine, it was the staff that was the problem. That should not be so. Also, right now I am remembering another reason I want to be done with this session. Our cabin is freaking FILLED with flies. They keep landing all over me and buzzing around my head as I try to write.

In good things, the other fishing groups have been great. For one group I pretty much didn't have to do anything. I mean I still did, but the kids were so on top of all of their stuff and the counselors were so in to helping with the hooks the kids couldn't get out that I could almost have put a line in, myself! Almost.

but yeah, there's a lot of stuff I'm getting sick of here. Working in the cabins is tough. I just want like 2 seconds of me time. Even now I am surrounded by screaming children.

Ok, so kids are freaking everywhere and I actually can't think enough right now to finish and post this. I'll add more later. Sorry for the lack of info!!

*Grumble grumble grumble* Effing flies. >:(

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Have Never Appreciated Rain So Much

So I've talked to a lot of people at home complaining about the heat. MY sister even posted how miserable it is on her blog and how she can't turn off her AC. Some other friends have had similar complaints and all I can say is this:


Yes, we in Maple Lake are too experiencing the heat and humidity, but in this heat and humidity AC is not an option! Nor is going inside for extended amounts of time (not that you would want to because inside is worse than outside lately.

We got a break today. It was hot humid and rainy in the morning, but then it cooled down. Tomorrow, it will be hot, even MORE humid, and I will punch a newborn puppy in the face. I looked at the forecast. This heat won't break until two days AFTER camp ends. In the meantime I'll be leading fishing programs and when I'm not doing that I'm a counselor this week so I'll be doing whatever (probably outdoor) activities my cabin is doing.

Yes, I WILL complain about this. I will complain about this A LOT! I want AC and a hug!!!

In other news, this session is the celiac camp! Thats a genetic condition where the kids can't eat any gluten at all or bad things happen. Gluten is in pretty much everything and the kids can't normally go to camps because of this intolerance. There's not a lot of gluten free food offered anywhere. Also, gluten free chocolate chip cookies are incredible. I wanted to eat them forever.

I'm liking working in the cabins. The girls in my cabin think I'm crazy, and that's cool cause I guess I am. Today at the opening campfire (which we DID have after the rain cleared up) I was in a really awesome skit. You know the thing where you put your arms behind your back and the person behind you is your arms? I was the person in the front. Needless to say I ended up literally COVERED in apple sauce, water, soap, and shampoo from head to toe. My clothes from today are in the wash now. I had a ton of fun acting that part though and yelling fun things like, "OH I'M SOOO HUNGRY! I LIKE MY APPLESAUCE ON MY FOREHEAD! ITS MORE DELICIOUS THAT WAY!" also, at what other job is it not only acceptable, but ENCOURAGED that you do that while getting applesauce smeared on your face by someone standing behind you? No where. So I enjoy the opportunity.

I've noticed this pattern with me when I'm at camp where I'm either really tired or bouncing off the walls hyper and silly. I do it for the kids, of course..... :)

I don't know what else to write about right now and I really need to switch loads like 30 minutes ago. Oops. I guess my clothes will sit in the dryer over night. I'll write more later, though!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Darn Good Night!

Last night was exactly what I needed. I've been stressed and upset all week and barely able to keep a happy face for the campers, much less my fellow staff (just ask them!). But last night was a huge opportunity to blow off steam.

It started off with my sitting outside of the dinning hall while all the kids were in their asthma education class. I was making a few calls under false pretence of verious reasons to NEED to talk to person X or person Y. In reality I was just lonely.

After I got off the phone on my last call my boss, Corey, approached me. Looking serious (and I assumed he was serious because he had been in a meeting through the whole evening program and had missed me dressed up like a beached whale so the meeting HAD TO be important) he told me that there would be a mandatory staff meeting at 9:30 and we all HAD TO be in the cabins so we could go to the meeting together. i tried to crack a job about how, "someone is in trouble!" and Corey didn't laugh. This scared me. Corey always laughs.

So 9:30 roled around and I was in the cabin and EVERYONE was flipping out thinking we were all gonna be fired. I was fine with it because I know they aren't about to fire all of us 5 days before the end of camp and I also knew I didn't do anything.

The evening watch people couldn't go the the meeting so in the girls cabin, we assigned people roles so we could reenact what happened at this meeting. I called playing Corey because I love pretending to be people who are much bigger than I.

So eventually one of my other bosses (I have a lot of them) Justin came to the cabin and told everyone who wasn't on evening watch to follow him. A little down the dirt road he stopped and turned to us and said, "I have seen staff areas left a mess before, but I have NEVER seen anything this bad." Now, I've seen the staff areas look awful and if this mess was even worse than that I KNEW we would be there allll night. Still, I felt like something was up. The staff areas were cleaned earlier that day.

What was even more strange was where he was bringing us. He brought us up to the door of the reception building which is where several people work and the only reason staff go there is to use the computers (as I am doing now). He stood at the door and waited for us all to get together. He opened the door and we cringed in fear but.... TA-DA!!! PARTY WITH ICE CREAM CAKE!!!

After the party with ice cream cake (we brought some cake back to the evening watchers) we did the thing that I now realize my childhood severely lacked. SLIP 'N' SLIIIIDE!!! A big one! Down a hill!!!

I seriously almost peed myself with excitement. I mean, SERIOUSLY. I went down once and then felt the urge come on STRONG! I ran to the nearest bathroom (all the way accross the feild) and I swear I almost pottied trying to get to the toilet. The one time I regret having a one piece swimmy suit. I went down several more times and then we tried to play in the mud but it literally smelled like poo. Then we went down to the lake and everyone jumped in and washed all the mud off! Then then THEN we played water ninja. Its like ninja BUT IN THE WATER!!! Holy crappenoli. Best night ever!

I went back to my living area and showered and my clothes were all stanky but now I'm washing them. I spent some time with Nikki too and we chatted. Such a fun night.

I'm still in a good mood from that and now the athsma kids are gone. Tomorrow the celiac camp gets here and four days later I'm done!!!

But seriously, why did I go so long in my life without slip 'n' sliding? WHY?!?!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


The lunch fairies have blessed me today.

We have only had grilled cheese ONCE this whole summer and when we had it it was with chicken noodle soup. Today before lunch I thought to myself, "I really hope we have grilled cheese and tomato soup..." and VOILA!!!!! GRILLED CHEESE AND FREAKIN TOMATO SOUP! Commence day being MADE!!!

Ok, so I realize the title of this post pretty much only pertains to that short blip, but get over it. I'm the queen of random.

It has been almost a FULL WEEK since I have last posted! GASP!!!! See, when I'm at home I never think anything is memorable enough to post. I spent some great times with some great friends and worked my butt off on tons of apps because I NEED A JOB WHEN I GO BACK TO SCHOOL!!!

... I was gonna write about something but then I forgot.... crappin cupcakes.

Yesterday I celebrated (well not really celebrated since I'm away at camp and he is not) the 1 year anniversary of when Elliott and I started dating! The second time!!! DAAAWWWWWW!!!!

Yesterday I also found a TOOOOONNNNN of froggies. Their names were, in order: Geronimo, Luigi, Reginald, and Captain Stickypants(he climbed up the wall). This was all within 5 minutes of each other when I was walking to my room from the reception building at night. during the day yesterday I found a frog and a toad named Cindy and Bertha respectively. They were so fun!!! I love them all.

This week is not going as quickly as I thought it would, but its quick enough. The first four days are the asthma camp and the next four days will be celiac camp (gluten free food). I was nervous for the celiac camp because my mom informed me that it would be the, "meat and potato" week. Now I'm not too wary because I have been informed that the camp is so short because courage Center can't afford to pay the SPECIAL CHEFS all week! Yeah, chefs that specialize in gluten free foods. It was explained to me like this: These kids don't get good food 361 days out of the year. They always have to be super cautious of what they eat and the quality of gluten free is not always the best. Not to mention they can't go out to dinner because very few restaurants are gluten free. So when they're here, Courage Center sees to it that they eat well. Very very well. This works out for the staff too. :P

In between the two sessions I have one night off so its not worth going home. Instead, my dad and step mom will be meeting me in Maple Grove for dinner at Granite City. Yussss.....

So if I stop now the first and last topics will be food, thus justifying the title I had selected before I even started writing. Cool. I love pudding. I hope we have it for dessert.....

Monday, August 2, 2010

All About a Lot of Stuff

So the youth and oncology sessions week is over! I didn't work with the oncology camp much, but the youth camp was by far my favorite camp yet. The kids were 7-12 years old and all with physical disabilities. I don't know much about the boys cabin but I spent a LOT of time with the girls' cabin in which I worked. I'd say most of the girls had some form of cerebral palsy in a few cases combined with soemthing else. There were also some kids with extreme skeletal disfigurement, spina bifida, or extreme scoliosis.

So how did this week inspire me? Well the camp out was a fun experience because it was the first time I actually heard the girls talking about what I have always believed is the most special thing about Camp Courage. After bed time the girls were in their tent (and its funny how young girls think you can't hear through tent walls) and the topic of discussion was their favorite thing about Camp Courage. The girls shared with eachother their experiences at school being made fun of and left out because of their disabilities. One girl who over the week I became particularly attached to over the session (the one with the encyclopedia) said, "when I'm at school people make fun of me. When I'm at camp everyone is just like me. I belong here."

I was also pretty proud of myself at bedtime one night. One little girl, Julia, apparently became very attached to me very quickly because on just the second night one of my coworkers in the cabin who was working in Julia's room came to me in the room in which I was working and said, "Julia won't get out from underneath her bed. She likes you, so you should go get her out." Whaaaattt?! Someone prefers me?! Sweet!! So I went to Julia's room. She sat laid under her bed where she had been stubbornly yelling at other staff, refusing to come out from beneath her bed. I came to her and laid down on the floor next to her bed. "What's going on, Julia?" I asked, "why don't you come out here and talk to me?" She started bawling and crawled out from under her bed saying that she missed her mom and she wanted to go home. I convinced her to lay down in bed and I sat with her and comforted her. It took about 10 minutes of talking to her and rubbing her back, but I finally convinced her to go to bed and maybe we could call Mom in the morning. It was great to feel important. :)

I feel like I'm finally getting really comfortable in my job and I'm finally starting to rock at it. Too bad I only have two short sessions before its all over. At the end of this last session I said goodbye to about half the staff who would not be there for the next two sessions which are shorter and with fewer campers. I feel like most of the people who I have become closest friends with are done now and that kind of sucks. For the first session next week I will be a cabin staff as well as program staff so that will be interesting!

I'm starting to wonder what I'm going to do with my blog after I'm done at camp. I mean, camp gives me plenty to write about because its an experience that few people get to have, but I feel like college is routine and boring and the only note worthy thing I might do is a particularly fun saturday night or something. Even so, we have two more sessions, so keep checking back until then. I'll try to keep writing after camp, but no promises until next summer when I am hoping to take a 3 week course in Germany. Who knows?!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kids say the darndest things...

So I don't have a ton of time to write this entry so it will be short. I'm going on the over night camp out tonight, and then I have to supervise the cabin during rest hour tomorrow, and tomorrow night is my night out so I won't have time to write in the next 2 days. I just wanted to share with you my two favorite camper stories of yesterday.

The first one involves me and a little girl, Emma. I was putting Emma to bed when she asked me, "Emmi, how old are you?" I told her I'm 19 to which she responded bewildered, "whoa! I mean, you're not like 90 or anything, but that's old." I told some other counselors about it and we joked about how I'm one of the younger people of us all so if I'm old, what does that make them?

Another story was one I was told about by one of my coworkers. She was talking to a different little girl who asked her, "Do you have a boyfriend?" she said no. Then the girl asked, "do you have a fiance?" again, the answer was no. "Do you have a husband?" no. The little girl thought for a second and then asked, "do you have cats??" My coworker is now terrified of being taken as a crazy cat lady, even though she doesn't even like cats.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Triumphant Return!!!

Sorry I haven't written in a while, and that I never finished talking about the last session. Its been a busy weekend! I'll explain later what all has been going on, but for now I am not at liberty to disclose that information.

I wish I could have wrote a novel about that last session as it was awesome, but now the new session has begun and I'm moving on. Oh, by the way, this time I pretty much fell in love with the campers IMMEDIATELY!!! I'm working in a cabin this week. I'll be doing cares for kids with physical disabilities. They are all so spunky! One little girl's case file said on a side note to beware, as she is "very sassy." No truer words have been said! Holy cow that girl has some attitude! There was supposed to be a little girl here with hydrocephalus (like me) who goes to the same surgeon as I do, but she got an infection of sorts and couldn't come to camp. I'm sooo sad about that!! I wanted to be Dr. Nagib buddies!!! *pout*

Anywho! The girls in the specific room I work in for cares are really fun. One of them has a Google encyclopedia which she's reading for pleasure. she's OBSESSED with chemistry and computer science. Last night she read her book by flashlight after lights out and when I came to the cabin the next morning she told me ALL about Max Planck's work. This is when I informed her that she should study hard, because I nearly failed college chem. She was mortified that I could be so irresponsible and unstudious (is that a word?).

Some of the girls warmed up to me really quickly this session. I'm already getting hugs left and right, and the kids know my name! This is awesome. Even with the two week program last session the kids never got this close with me. I like working in the cabins!

I'm hopefully going to be going on the overnight this session, that is if they go on one. I haven't gone on any camper over nights and I'm way excited! I suppose that's another big perk of A) working in the cabins and B) not having many programs this week. Speaking of which, I am going from having like 20 something programs last session to 6 this session. I don't know what to do with all of the time I don't have to spend planning! Oh right, yes I do. I can hang out with the cabin!

I also have a pretty hefty to do list with non camp related things. I REALLY have to start trying to find a school job (like, really really REALLY) and I have an application to fill out so that I may hopefully get a scholarship from Camp Courage! I would like that quite a lot! Once this session is done I have 6 days to do this stuff, but I'd rather get it done now. The job application business I would like to get done two weeks ago, but that train left the station two weeks ago!! So I'm chugging away at that lately. Its been complicated though because I can't print anything off in this computer lab because the printer only prints PDF format. So everything I want to print has to be sent to my mom to convert, because i don't know how to do it myself and I don't have time to learn, though I'm sure it would be easy. I'm lazy. And busy. Fatal combination.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wow... Soo... I Guess We're Done? (Part1)

That right, my two week session is over. I'm feeling relief and heartbreak at the same time. Not so much heartbreak as I felt last night at the closing ceremony when we were sharing memories and one of the adorable younger boys started bawling saying, "I don't want to go home!!!" I honestly almost started crying right there.

This session was so painful at times, but it was seriously my favorite session so far. I loved getting the time to get to know these kids so well and I'm going to miss every last one of them. They've got such wonderful personalities. Its been so fun! Oh, also, its gonna feel REALLY short having only a 6 day session this next week. That's only 4 days of programs. I have WAY more program ideas than that because I had to pull like 6 out of thin air in the last two weeks. I have like 12 lessons now. Its great.

I'm honestly still trying to sort out all of my thoughts in the past 2 weeks and I can't think of much to say because when I try its like brain vomit and I can't separate the emotions and the fun stories.

Ok I can't sort anything out right now and I really want my post about this week to be worth while, but I have to do other stuff now anyway so bleh! I'm going to post more about this week later during this break when I can figure out what to write. I'm so antsy to sit at the computer right now!!!! Sorry! :D

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Much Awaited Dance

Tonight was the night everyone, camper and staff, has been waiting for for two weeks. The dance. Tomorrow is the last day before out take so that is always the closing camp fire for the evening activity so tonight was the last evening program that is not predetermined. Again, all of the campers had their dates. Two of our campers had been "boyfriend and girlfriend" through most of camp and the girl broke up with the boy RIGHT before the dance. What a meanie, right? So he was all sad through a lot of it but one of the counselors cheered him up a bit. the sad thing is that he's a really nice kid, and she... well not as much. Oh well. It was a fun night of dancing and silliness.

The thing I love about the dance is that the kids and counselors all get in to it in a really awesome way. I mean everyone gets in to capture the flag, but that often ends up making the 2 sides mad at each other, and the counselors get WAY more competitive than the kids and it can just get bad. The other things either only appeal to certain people, only appeal to the kids, or just suck. The dance is fun for everyone. Even the kids who don't like to dance get something out of it because counselors come to sit with and hang out with them and usually dance like an idiot for them to encourage the kids to dance. One girl didn't want to dance and i made her the offer that anything stupid or embarrassing she did I would do something 3 times worse. It didn't work. I was sad.

So I'm very tired and I really want to go to bed. Sorry this is so short tonight!

Oh, also, I found a big toad today. He was about as big as the palm of my hand and he was a fatty. I named him Roland.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tired and ready to go home

This 2 week thing is really starting to get to me.

Don't get me wrong, I love these kids and its great to get to spend so much time with them but I am exhausted and in need of good food. I've started getting regular, and by that I mean pretty much constant, stomach aches because of the food here and I can't seem to get enough sleep no matter when I go to bed.

Now the kids are on a two night camp out, well, most of them are, and I'm looking forward to a nice chunk of down time for myself. I don't really want to take too much down time, though. There's still a lot going on here! Later today (actually pretty soon) we're setting up a giant slip 'n' slide for the remaining kids, and other staff are invited to come as well.

Thursday (the kids will be back by then but I still feel the need to brag about this) I will be getting a massage! YAAAYYYYY!!!!!! Best. Day. Ever. And it comes on a day where I have a ton of programs, so the relaxation will be much needed.

For now, despite the storms and tons of rain I am HOT! I don't know if its just this room but holy monkey, its hot.

Lets talk about something cool now. This morning I was walking around the reception building when I saw a coworker of mine, his hands held together in cups like he was protecting something. He approached me saying excitedly, "you're just the person I wanted to see!" Though this guy is one of the nicest people I know, I was filled with dread that the thing he held in his hand was a venomous spider or swarm of angry hornets that he was somehow immune to and about to throw at my face. It wasn't. It was a walking stick buggy thing!!! It was cool. I said to him, "you know, those things bite," but he assured me that it had not bit him. So I took it and held it for a little bit. I was holding a bunch of papers so the challenge of keeping the bug from crawling up my arm was, well, challenging, but we spent some quality time together before I released the bug on to a tree. It was lovely. Stick bugs look WAY cool when they walk, by the way.

Friday, July 16, 2010

If I Ever Have Kids...

Today I went fishing with the family camp. It was so amazing to see how openminded some of those kids were. Of course, it was most likely because they have a family member with a disability, but it really got me thinking about how I would want to raise my possible future offspring. Here are some of the things I thought of...

If I ever have kids I will teach them to be respectful. I don't mean being brown nosers to anyone in power, but I will teach them to treat every person with dignity and respect regaurdless of disability, appearance, social status, or age. I will teach them to respect the religion and beliefs of others. I will teach them never to tell anyone that their religious beliefs are wrong, but to stand by their own beliefs and defend what they believe is right in a respectful manner, even when under fire about their beliefs.

I will teach my kids to respect the earth above all objects. I will teach them to treat the earth with the same dignity as people might treat their holy book or as much dignity as americans are expected treat the flag with. I will show them that if everyone treated the earth with as much respect as they treat these symbols, we could be in a much better place.

I will teach my kids to ignore gender roles and to do what they want in their life. If my boys want to take art and music classes, they will take them. If my girls want to play sports and get all muddy, they will do that too. They will not, however, track that mud in the house. Regaurdless of gender.

If I ever have kids, I will teach them how to catch a frog. I will teach them how good bumblebees are for the ecosystem. I will teach them how to fish and I will teach them to take their fish off the hooks.

If I ever have kids I will teach them how to hold their own, and how to stick to their beliefs. I will teach them about peer pressure, and even if it falls on deaf teenage ears, I will teach them that they never need to do anything just because their friends are doing it.

I will teach my kids to embrace their inevitable nerdyness. I will teach them that their people are out there, and they are waiting for them. I will teach my kids that they are beautiful. I will teach them to be healthy and to have a healthy body image. I will teach my kids that a little bit of pudge never killed anyone, and what matters is that their healthy. I will assure them that the awkward phase where everything on them seems so disproportionate is just that, a phase. I will teach them not to fear cameras, but to strike a pose. I will teach them to never fear looking silly.

If I ever have kids I will teach them that in order to get the best for themselves they must first face some challenges. They must face disappointment, and they must shed tears. I will teach them that everything good in life comes at a price, and its almost always worth it. I will teach my kids that no matter how bad a day might be, it will soon be followed by a good day, and I will also teach them that no matter how bad they have it on any given day, there is someone else out there who has it just as bad, if not worse.

If I ever have kids I will teach them to love eachother even when they fight. I will teach them that friends come and go, but their siblings will be there for them for as long as they live.

I will teach my kids that no matter what, there is always someone in the world who loves them. There is always someone who needs them in their life, and there is always a reason to live if they think hard enough about it.

If I ever have kids I will teach them everything I know that they need to know to lead a happy, healthy life.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Think I Have Happiness Onset ADHD

I'm in SUCH a good mood today! Its 79 degrees and sunny, I have awesome programs schedules for the kids, everyone is happy, there was enough food for the staff to eat their fill!

This morning I only had one program, which was at 11. We went to the bird observation post and the kids LOVED it. We easily spent the whole 30 minutes watching the birds with the four binoculars that we shared. It was a bit of a rough day for my step dad's bird book as kids were fighting over it, but it managed to survive with only a few mildly wrinkled pages. I felt great knowing that the kids really enjoyed my program and that just made me SUPER psyched for this afternoon's two programs.

This afternoon my groups will be having a "nature field game" day. We will be playing several "predator-prey" games and other variations of tag, some hide and seek games to learn about camouflage, a tracking game, and a version of kick the can (or milk carton, as it will be). Well, both groups won't necessarily play all of these games, but those are the sort of options we have.

I'm also on the planning committee for tonight's evening activity. Since the boys will be out on their camp out, tonight will be a girls night sleepover style party. We'll be making ice cream sundaes, painting nails, doing hair and make up, doing facials, playing MASH, and playing board games. Its gonna be AWWWWWESOOOOOME!!!!!

Today is such a good day and I foresee it getting better. I hope my foresight is correct! :D

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A For Real Good Day!

Today was great. Its the day in the middle of our two week camp, so we're switching the theme. To switch the theme we had an in between day today. The theme of our transition day was "backwards day." We switched up the schedule, had a pool party, had a lake party, had a LIFE party. Today was just awesome.

I think my favorite part of today was the pool party. I had tons of fun playing with some of the kids in the pool. One girl was pretending to be a "snapping octo-turtle." She ate my arms and legs. Another kid kept running up to me all day and poking me and since it was such a good day, I wasn't even annoyed by it!

Another "best of" at the pool party was when one boy, the one who is severely autistic, walked up to his ankles in to the pool, dropped his drawers, and peed in to the pool. Win.

I was supposed to have a nature program today. I found out about it about an hour and a half before the program and had to throw it together which took that whole time, because due to weather it had to be an indoor program and not at the nature building because that's a long walk away. I finally put together a beautiful program and found a room to hold the class in and thennn..... The group didn't show up. They decided to go to another program instead and not tell me. *pout*

So yes. July 14 2010 shall go down in history as a good day for Emmi.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lets talk about my level of irritation at this moment...

That "California Girls" bullcrap is playing ON REPEAT in this computer lab right now. Its on the 4th round. At the same time that, "Nelly I Love You" song from sometime in the early 2000s is playing. So I'm in a GREAT mood at the moment, thanks for asking!

You know when I really WAS in a great mood? Last night. My sister Nicci came for a visit. It was great to see someone from home since this has been such a stressful time for me and I've been really home sick. We enjoyed some BW's, made a target run, and went to Dairy Queen. It was great, and a ton of fun!

Today I'm trying to finish planning tonight's evening activity, put together my lesson plans for this coming week, and trying to keep my lessons for today going. Its hard keeping my mind straight with all of this stuff to think about, its even harder with this music playing!!!

I feel bad for getting so stressed out. I really don't want it to affect the experience for the kids. I feel like, and really really hope, I have been successful in making this a reality and the kids aren't having their lives ruined by my stress. I don't know.

I have funny stuff to write today too! First of all, I finally started to read some of the booklets for "making a successful nature program" I found and then lost and then found again the other day. Let me tell you.... its awful. I actually got a pencil and started marking all of the spelling, grammar, and structure mistakes in this booklet, written by a past nature director here. Its absolutely horrendous the amount of stupid mistakes this guy made.

My personal favorite problem with this book was one of the activities. Not that the grammar and punctuation was bad in this activity, the activity itself was just.... HORRIBLE! Allow me to explain...

In this activity you ask the kids to draw a pretty picture of the natural landscape on which they would like their dream home to be. They should draw the animals in that area and the plants but no man made features. Then you ask them how they get to their house. Pretty much anything they say other than teleportation requires you to build something on that land, so you are to have them rip the paper with their pretty artwork in half. You keep asking questions and for everything they want to build or include, including sinks, toilets, rooms, furniture, ANYTHING they have to rip the paper again. They goes on until the kids' artwork is a bunch of confetti. You then tell them to put it back together because the government is giving them a crap ton of money to turn their land in to a nature reserve. Obviously, they can't. If they do manage to get it somewhat worked out, it will look crappy and rippy. This is when you tell them that no matter what you do to "restore" the land, it will still be messed up. It is here that the writer of this says that he has many kids, "break down crying during this activity," well DUH! You just told a little kid that they ruined bunnies' and foxes' and deers' lives FOREVER and they killed the earth. Horrible. this person clearly had no friends growing up.

Tonight I was in charge of the evening program. Long story short, it was a near disaster and I almost broke down crying because it got so messed up and a few of the boys (the ones known to have a bad attitude, mind you) were complaining a lot saying, "can we be done now?" and "this is boring."

The day was saved with a campfire and songs. It was really fun and I'm glad the kids enjoyed the campfire despite the lack of smores due to the fact they they're having smores tomorrow.

I over came a lot of challenges this last week and I feel like I'm proving to myself that I do belong here and I am a good worker. Not that anyone has told me otherwise, I'm just kind of hard on myself sometimes, but that's a post for another day. Goodnight.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I Must Be In the Right Major...

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. It seems that I'm always trying to find the social connection between demographics and the stereotypes and issues they face on a day to day basis. Since I'm a Sociology major, I figure this is a perfect mindset for me to be in. So what on earth does this have to do with what I've been doing at camp? Well, being the kind of person I am, the kind of person who enjoys just observing social groups and situations, I have been spending a lot of my time here trying to understand why these campers are in the situations they're in.

Ok, so last week's campers were mostly individuals with cerebral palsy. I hadn't started paying much attention to demographics then, so I'm not entirely sure what group I would be looking at. But this week I was able to pay more attention to the kids and the families as they dropped of their kids. I have noticed that these kids (this is the communication disorders camp) seem to come from more working class and poor families. There are a lot of autistic kids among them, and I don't know much about the autism statistics either.

A few of the kids are also illiterate which might have to do with their inability to communicate. Perhaps there's a piece of the learning process that's missing for them in tasks like these which those of us with language and reading abilities might call "routine."

I'm fascinated by observing these social connections, but I'm not quite sure what to make of them quite yet. Perhaps I can try to learn more about these connections as I continue my education.

Anywho, today has been a good day. Its about 80 degrees and partly cloudy (Sven would be proud of my weather vocab skills). It rained a little bit which ALMOST ruined my fishing time with the "Bring Your PCA To Camp" group, but it cleared up quickly, leaving us with a good 15 minutes to fish. The mosquitoes weren't bad on our hike(well in some parts they were, but in clear parts it was totally mosquito free!), two of my last minute programs were canceled, and there was apple snicker salad with lunch today. Score! I actually ate a full meal with some variety at lunch! Chips, a sandwich, apple snicker salad, milk, and a heaping bowl of the happies!!!

Now all I need to do is finish getting my program building ready for classes (I haven't had any programs there yet, but we're doing owl pellets and microscopes tomorrow. EXCITING!!!), this shouldn't take too long, but I think I'll need to wrangle me some more chairs so that everyone can have a seat and just clean the place up cause its a MESS!

Things are looking up. I'm looking forward to a visit from Nicci on Monday and dinner with her as well! It will be good. Life is good.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Epicly Awesome?? Yeah, that's me.

That's right! A camper told me today that I am "epicly awesome" Totally made my day. Other things that made my day include an awesome game of capture the flag (though I got KILLED by mosquitoes), and the hopeful possibility of being able to see SOMEONE (not sure who yet) from outside of camp on my night out.

So I'm very scatter-brained and I just realized that I never told you in what context the camper told me I am "epicly awesome" so here it goes...

I had some time to kill so I thought I would go help Randi out with her busy hour at the store. After working there for a little bit I began talking to some of the Lakeside campers (they're the adults). I don't remember exactly what was said, but I made a "The Shining" reference. One of the guys I was talking to started on a tangent about how he loves the audiobook version of The Shining narrated by so and so, and that the Series of Unfortunate Events narrated by such and such is also really creepy and well read etc. From this I told him that I use audiobooks too and it turns out that he uses a source that I used to use, and I use one that he used to use! Longer-than-necessary story shorter, I told him about how much better Reading For the Blind and Dyslexic is from when he used to use it and he said he wants to try switching back(you're welcome, RFBD). After this lengthy conversation the guy was about to leave, but before he headed out he turned and looked at me and said, "You know, you are epicly awesome!" I beamed with joy and pride. :D

I'm sorry for the lack of variety in this post, the scatter-brained-ness, and the poor punctuation and editing. I am very sleepy.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A New Week, New Challenges, New Frustrations, and... oh wait, did I say a week? I meant two weeks.

Yep. TWO weeks this time. And I'm feeling sick. Cool.

Today was a bad day. It started with me missing my exit to get to camp and arriving 10 minutes late (with a little bit of speeding, but never more than 10 miles over the limit on the highway and 5 off.) Then it got worse when someone took my bed from my room without asking me (and they moved all of my stuff off my bed). I mean I understand that you need an extra bed for the campers but A) my bed is not the only one of that kind on my floor, in fact there are several unoccupied beds of that variety. and B) DON'T EVER TOUCH MY STUFF, ESPECIALLY MY COMPUTER, WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE, EVER AGAIN!!!!!

Note: Firefox just crashed and had I lost all of this, today's blog entry would have been simply a string of profanities.

I'm also just plain irritable. I did have a fun time playing tag with the campers and other staff so that's cool.

But now I haz a grumpy. I wish I had wonderful happy things to write about today, but I am busy wallowing. I'm sorry this entry isn't more interesting. I feel sick and I want to go to bed.

Oh! I thought of something happy and humorous to share with you! This week's camp is a speech and language pathology camp. One of our kids is here to work on his conversation skills. You see, he always sticks to one topic and he needs to learn how to explore other topics he might not be as interested in. I do not think I should be the one to work with this boy as I would also get caught up in a conversation about this particular topic for AGES. The topic we must avoid with him is.... dogs. Yes, its not the best idea for me to work with him. :D

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mom was right again!

I wrote this yesterday on MS Word when I didn't have interwebz connection and only now had time to post it. Enjoi!

When I was going through the hellish week known as training week around here I had a pretty tough time and called my mom in tears almost everyday wondering if I could do this job all summer being I was so homesick and overwhelmed already and the campers hadn’t even arrived yet. In one conversation my mom told me that the when the campers came things would get so much better and I would fall in love with every last one of them. This was kind of true last week, but now that I’m working with the campers so closely no truer words have been said. Ever. At least in the cabin I’m working in, I adore those campers. We had a talent show last night and it was SO great to see the awesome skills these guys have. One kid used his computer that he uses to talk to ask all of the “ladies” to come forward. We did so, and he proceeded to press various buttons on which he had programmed pick-up lines. AWESOME!

I’ve learned a lot about people who are nonverbal in general, like the fact that they are wonderful intelligent people. So many people will meet someone who is nonverbal and just assume that they are stupid or don’t understand you. Please, if you are or have been one of these people, don’t be ashamed or upset about it just don’t do that anymore. Don’t baby talk to a person just because they have problems verbally expressing themselves. I met someone once who did exactly that to a woman with a brain tumor and I was PISSED. I didn’t say anything at the time though, but after this week I think I would given the same situation arose.

I can’t tell you how many times one of our campers has saved either my ass or another worker by telling them that we messed something up or we’re doing something wrong. One girl laughs at us whenever we do something wrong. I think if I was in her position I would do the same. I mean, what else can you do sometimes?

So that was then! I'm having a roller coaster of a week though. Honestly one second its great, the next I'm moments away from throwing myself on the ground kicking and screaming. I'm at the latter point lately (though now that I'm on break I'm doing fine). Everyone is getting frustrated with each other and I'm stressed and therefore not thinking clearly. I'm also over tired and sensitive so that doesn't help. I keep feeling like some people are snapping at me or getting overly impatient. I got scoffed at today because I asked for help transferring an 18-year-old girl who was supposed to be a "one person transfer." Well hello genius. She may be a one person transfer, but that doesn't work so well when that "one person" meant to do the transfer is SMALLER THAN HER!!!! I also get snapped at whenever I ask where something is kept, when ever I ask any question about anything, and when I say that I need to do my other duties other than working in the cabin which is not my main job.

Ok. Venting over. Sorry about that, but I do feel better now :)... a little.

Part of this also comes from guilt. I feel like because everyone is getting so impatient, that means I'm not good at what I do. I'm also feeling really torn between my what my jobs are and how I can prioritize them (I know, surprise, right??)

I love these campers and I'm forming really awesome bonds with all of them, but if this week wasn't coming to an end tomorrow I might drown myself in the lake.

Oh, that was supposed to be the end, but here's a little post script for you all. Happy stuff!

Last night I was hanging out on the dock with some people and there were four fireworks displays going on around the lake! It was awesome! Then someone walked off the dock on accident (don't text and walk on a dock in the dark, kids) which was HILARIOUS! Until I saw that she was holding her computer. I think its fine though, so it goes back to be hilarious. She also dropped her phone in and in the frenzy to get over there one of my friend's flip flops was kicked in to the lake and taken away by the waves.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Great Fishing Day At Camp!

So yesterday was crappy. Really really really crappy. To make myself feel better I tried to write a list of 100 things that make me happy. I got to 16 and gave up. I don't feel like going in to details of EVERYTHING that went wrong, but there was a lot. Bad day. Near the end it got a little better cause I was hanging out with some cool people.

I also experienced among the greatest guilt I have ever felt. I wanted to cry. I was walking a camper back to the cabin from the archery range and the mosquitoes were BAD. We were almost out of the woods (literally AND figuratively) when she let out a pittiful cry of "Ooowwww..." She doesn't have the best control of her arms so she can't swat away mosquitoes and her chair is about as tall as me so I couldn't see her. So I stopped and walked around to the front of the chair and to my complete and utter HORROR she was COVERED in mosquitoes and crying. I swatted the mosquitoes away saying to her, "oh my god I'm so sorry I'm so sorry! I'll get you out of here!" I went as fast as I could go pushing a heavy chair out of those woods. I still feel awful when I think about it.

So that was yesterday, but today is going quite well. I had my first actual program in a while today. We went fishing and everyone caught at least one little fish. It was great! I've also officially fallen in love with all of the campers in my cabin. Anywho. I WOULD write more, but I'm going to keep it shortish for today. I want to go be free for the rest of my rest hour!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ok, So I Guess Breaks Are NOT the Best Time to Write...

I meant to write at some point in this last break but that didn't really work out. I have noticed that when I'm home the LAST thing I want to do is sit at my computer all day or even for 15 minutes. Especially this last weekend because it was my last weekend to be with my best friend Sam before he goes back to Chicago. Oh well!! It was a fun weekend and now I'm back to work, and I mean WORK.

This week is really intense. Its my first experience doing cares and I've been really nervous about it. Its really frustrating not being able to communicate with a lot of these campers, but I keep reminding myself that if its too frustrating for ME I should imagine what its like to live like these campers. Always being asked the same questions over and over without anyone understanding your answer. I feel guilty about my difficulties understanding the campers, but they don't seem to hold it against me.

So this is when I see that working at camp isn't all sunshine and puppies. Not all of the campers are kids necessarily and it still makes me somewhat uncomfortable to dress someone my age. I feel really crappy that I'm so uncomfortable and I know that the campers can see my poorly concealed horror. I feel awful about all of it. I really hope I can get used to this ASAP because I feel so guilty.

It seemed as though I had such an open week this week because I only have 3 nature sessions and before this week I wasn't much involved with helping in the cabins because the kids were able bodied, but I am working so much harder than I have any day before. At least I'm sure I'm earning my meager pay now. :)

I'm excited for my nature sessions that I do have, though, one fishing session (which hopefully will go better than last time) and one session in which we will be looking at owl pellets or microscopes, depending on which group I'm working with. My two other programs were canceled :(

So now I'm off to finish my work day (which hopefully won't end at 1130 pm like last night) toodles, guys!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Last Full day With the Campers...

I'm excited to go home. I need to get away from here for a few days. I am a little sad though because these campers are cool and I'll miss them (though I'm sure a lot of other campers will be this cool) but mostly because I'll miss literacy hour. Since this is a literacy camp, there are two hours in the day dedicated to literacy skill building. Its nice as a program staff because that's the time I get to get my programs together for the rest of the day and to blog. I don't know how often or not I'll be able to blog without literacy hour but I guess we can all just wait and see.

Like I said yesterday, I'm bringing the boys fishing today during their program time. I am so excited! I really really hope this goes well. I want them to have pleasant memories of the nature program.

We put together a dance for the kids last night. It was really fun, though getting all the decorations put up and together was HELL (lets not talk about that). The kids loved the dance. the boys put on nice clothes (CLEAN clothes!) and cologne, and the girls put on dresses and did their hair and some even put on lipstick!

The boys got to the dance before the girls (obviously. primping takes time) and oh my goodness there were some NERVOUS boys there before the girls arrived. One kept pacing back and forth from the gym to the rec hall door saying, "where IS she?!" Awesome.

Eventually the girls got there and the party began. There was no shortage of junior high style boy-girl dancing. It was wonderful. The staff got really in to it too. We walked around and danced with kids or tried to convince kids to dance and in some cases we just sat and talked to the kids who didn't want to dance. It was a fun night.

Soon the dance ended and the "clean up staff," which I was part of, did their thing. The clean up was relatively quick and we went back to our quarters and showered and went to bed. Going to bed was my favorite part.

So now I just work through today and tomorrow and then I'm going HOME! I swear if there are tornadoes again as I'm trying to leave tomorrow, I'll drive through them. I don't care. I want to go home.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Such a Gloomy Day! Its a Little Nice...

There is no sun and its been raining off and on all day... Its WONDERFUL. Apparently the girls, my one and only program group today, are VERY tired because they had a bad camp out last night due to the rain and thunder. Their counselors asked me to do a low key program for them today and maybe just read them a book. Deal. I want to sleep too.

I found some more cool stuff in my nature area today, too!! I found owl pellets, sterile and ready to be dissected by the teen group next Friday!! Then, the next group that day will look at the findings under a microscope! I'm really excited about that stuff. Next week is gonna be awesome.

I have one more group of boys tomorrow and I'm a little nervous. I'm taking them fishing and I hope they enjoy it this time seeing as how the last program with them was an epic fail. I'm still working on getting good programs together. I mean I've only had 4 classes so far and these things aren't immediate. Hopefully fishing will go well. I don't actually plan to fish personally, however. I'll be baiting hooks and taking off fish the whole hour. I guess this is what they call Karma.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Holy Crap It Is HOT AND HUMID!!!

I am trying to move as little as possible so to remain cool, buts its not working. I am in no way cool (ohh... :( ). My programs today went really well though. I brought the first group of kids (girls this time) on a nature hike through the woods where there are little reading posts where you can learn about the trees in the area etc. There was some complaining, but the percentage of girls complaining today was equal to the percentage of boys NOT complaining yesterday, so it was pretty decent. :)

With the second group of girls (a younger group) I brought them on a shorter hike with the objective of gathering fallen leaves. When we reached our destination, where crayons and paper were waiting, we made leaf stencils! The girls were really in to it and the pictures turned out great. One of the counselors from the girls' cabin asked if I wanted to go with them on their camping overnight tonight and I SO did, but tonight was my only night off and I wanted to get away from camp. I told her to tell me in advance when next week's camp out is, so I hope the girls next week are just as fun and friendly!

I'm starting to get antsy from being around the same people all the time which is pretty normal for me, but its extra hard when you're with people who don't know you very well yet and don't know what ticks you off so, of course, they don't know to avoid doing these things. I'm trying to shrug it off, but there's an added challenge when its hot and humid all the time and you don't get much sleep. I guess that's just life though. I really really wanted this job and I'm lucky to have gotten it and I'm not going to let the stupid little things I feel keep me from enjoying it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 2 of Campers, Day 1 of Classes.

So after my classes today I decided that I need to never make pinecone bird feeders ever again. It was a sticky nightmare. Since we couldn't use peanut butter (due to allergies) we used corn syrup and grain based bird feeder. Corn syrup is really sticky and it gets everywhere and I think one kid ate some of his. Whats more is that the kids didn't really seem o enjoy the program much at all, so tomorrow I'm starting over with new program ideas involving coloring. Kids love coloring, right?

I'm starting to feel like I'm not doing enough around here. Its hard being a program staff because there's a lot of free time and not always a lot that needs to be done in the cabins. This week the cares are minimal, so program staff has a lot of free time which I have been using to sort through things in my new room, but I'm affraid that since people don't SEE me working they'll think I'm not doing my part. I'm sure its a silly unfounded fear though because I don't exactly go around looking for people who I don't think are doing enough work.

Oh, so on the wildlife front, I saw a fox today. It walked right by the window of my program area and stopped to look at me as though saying, "What? I'm a fox. What of it?" I liked the fox. I also caught a toad like 20 minutes ago and Randi wouldn't let me play with it because we had to come to the computer room where I am now. Lame. I miss my toad. His name was Arnold.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day One of Campers!!!

The campers are here, and holy crap I still don't feel ready! There's so much to do still and I want to tell them to go home for like 2 more days!!!

I feel bad because I don't balance multiple tasks well, so the tasks I'm supposed to work with people on have been forgotten because the things I have to do on my own are so much more important that I get done (and they are still not complete). To make matters worse, today my program area was moved AGAIN so I had to take alllll of the stuff I had moved in to my "classroom" and move it to another class room way far away. I was pretty pissed. Then, I entered my new classroom/headquarters. Its beautiful. There's a huge picture window overlooking a green marsh filled with cranes (the bird) and a little porch that overlooks that same marsh. There are little glass display cases holding models of habitats including a fox taxidermy, a carved wooden loon model, and a forest display. There is also a computer with a digital microscope which I thought was really cool but the computer was ANCIENT and I didn't know if the microscope thing would work. This is when Anna opened a small closet revealing a WALL of telescopes! Nice ones too! I'm way excited to look at lake and marsh water under these microscopes with the kids! COOL!!!!

So now I'm about to go shower and hit the sack because this is going to be a BUSY week! Wish me luck! I'll try to write sometime before I go home, but no promises!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Time to Start the REAL Work!!

Training week is over (thank God) and I had NO time to write over my break, so here I am after my first day back to camp. No campers for Woodland yet, but Lakeside(the side of camp I don't work on) got their campers today! YAY! Today was just an in-service day for program specialists (that which I am).

It was nice to have that time to get the rest of the stuff together that I need to get organized for my classes this week. However, I have had NO time to help with the planning for the night activity assigned to me. A lot of other people have taken charge of that and I feel really bad about it. We're doing a Harry Potter theme this week and I'm in charge of organizing our "Yule Ball" dance! I'm really excited but, again, really busy and having a hard time balancing everything I need to do.

Oh, btw, the fates did NOT want me to get to camp today!!! My GPS decided to give me really stupid directions, but thankfully I looked through the directions before going too far and turned completely around and made the 10 minute drive BACK home to get directions off google. That paired with slow downs at Walgreens and driving slow downs, I was a half hour late to my first activity. Thank goodness this was just an in-service day!

So now I'm in a new room (YAAAYYY!!! No more squeaky bed in Rotary!) so that's good, but its a blackhole of death for cellphones because its in the lower level of a building so the basement. The good thing about this is that its nice and cool. The bad thing is that its stanky. Speaking of stanky the showers and toilets in my new building are DISGUSTING. That is all.

Ok so I didn't want to be up too late and I didn't want to walk back to my room alone in the dark and I wanted to have time to shower and it seems that ALL trains have left the station, so I should go before the raccoons and that evil cat start roaming (rumor has it, I missed that goal too).

I'll talk to you all soon about my first campers!!! I can't wait! :D

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Haz A Sleepy

I'm tired. Really, really, REALLY tired. I haven't been getting much sleep between working and trying to make friends but last night I had the added challenge of all of a sudden being a super light sleeper.

Well I shouldn't say SUPER light, because I'm pretty sure the loud squeaks my bed makes when I so much as wiggle a toe could wake everyone in my building. It took me a while to fall asleep and when I finally did so I kept waking up due to this squeaking. I just hope this light sleeping ceases and only returns when I'm doing night watches when the campers get here.

Though I was EXTREMELY irritable all day (which was expressed in me just being quiet because I don't want to snap at people who I just met and I have to spend the rest of my summer with) some good things did happen. When I was leaving my building to go to breakfast this morning I found a frog!!! He was super cute and little and green and he was just sitting at the door on the inside like he was waiting to be let out. I picked him up and held him for a few seconds and then let him go in the ferns beside the footpath to the dining hall.

Then something good happened that actually turned out bad and I got upset (but this might have happened yesterday. I don't know, the days are mooshing together). We did some little group thingy where we grouped up (as you usually would for a group activity) and everyone was given three pipe cleaners. We were told to make something that represented us using only these pipe cleaners and share it with the group.

Some people made some really cool and meaningful designs accompanied with beautiful explanations and stories. I of course made a monkey, my explanation being "cause I really like monkeys." I thought it was pretty legit and it was a REALLY good monkey! The leader of the activity then explained to everyone that we were gonna be all "symboly" and crap and take apart our designs to make one big design with our pipe cleaners that represented the group. Enter heartbreak. I took apart my beautiful purple, blue, and green pipecleaner monkey (but not without MUCH whining) and contributed to the "group effort." Whatever.

Oh, bonus short story: We had swedish meatballs for dinner and everyone judged me because I didn't have potatos with my meatballs. Well SOOOOORRY I didn't want to ruin my delicious meatballs with icky potatos! People....

Ok I want to go to bed early so that's all I'll write for now. I think I'll go swimming for a little bit and then shower and go to bed. Good night! :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"We Have a New Record For Longest Camp Tour!" Yeah... that was my guide who broke that record.

So today the counsilors from this camp AND from the North camp got here (the one from North are only here for two days). There was much merriment and tours. Though we had already done tours, I still didn't know my way around camp very well, which is why I wasn't too upset that the program leaders had to go on these tours too.

I still don't know how to get around here too easily, but holy crap I know about some pretty obscure locations. This tour went for almost 2 hours. I knew of most of the locations but it was nice to see where the fishing dock USED TO be and where you ARE NOT allowed to bring campers. Really, my life was so enriched by that.

Now this could have just bothered me because I'm cranky because I've been working and on my feel constantly for the past two days without much sleep... Well, it was probably because I'm cranky because I've been working and on my feet constantly for the past two days without much sleep... Ok, its definitely because I'm cranky because I've been working and on my feet constantly for the past two days without much sleep. What of it, punk???

So now THAT'S over. I left early so I could go meet the nurses and tell them about my "condition" (the one where I turn in to a werewolf at the full moon, as well as my hydrocephalus). I have never been happier to have a health condition in my life. There was talk of that tour group going down to the farm which is quite a hike away and all of the other groups had been done for a half hour. Bleh.

Yesterday after my post I had a few emotional moments. First was my realization that this job is going to easily be as stressful as and sometimes more stressful than any job I have ever had. That didn't bother me because i knew it would also be the most rewarding job I've ever had. What got me was looking toward those days where i wouldn't even have time to brush my teeth because I'll be running constantly and everything that can go wrong will go wrong etc. You know, those days that we all have sometimes. I thought about having a day like that and not being able to go home and hug my mom or pet my dog or hang out with either of my sisters or my nephew. Just thinking about it upset me and I got a little teary, but I won't let that ruin my experience here.

Later last night I had another emotional moment when I realized that I have never been to a place where I feel like I fit in so well. I mean I haven't made best friends for life relationships or anything, but I don't feel like an outsider here. These people actually have a lot in common with me and that's awesome!!

Well I'll leave you on that happy note. Its almost dinner and I'm HUUUUNGRAY!!!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Holy Mosquitos, I'm Here!

Ok so I realized I said I would write everyday but that's not gonna happen here. I'll be lucky to have time every other day I think. Also, this kayboard is stupid so sorry for typos.

So let me tell you about yesterday!!!

I started my drive to camp by saving a baby ducky's life on my way to the gas station. I was driving the the station and I saw a buncha duckies with their mommy and about a half block or so away was another lonely little ducky who didn't know where his mama was. I assumed the duckies up ahead were his family so I pulled over and scooped up the baby ducky (which was easy since the little guy just flipped out and threw himself on his back where he then got stuck. How are ducks not extinct? Hilarious.) So I brought him off of the street and over to the mama and they waddled off and lived happily ever after (awwww).

After that I got my gas and drove to the highway where I sat in non moving traffic for a good half hour. I think the traffic on the way to camp added about an hour to my commute and I made up some really awesome songs on the way about drivers I didn't like. Fun!

So I eventually got to camp and settled in with my new roommate (atleast for the next week) Jasmine! She's super duper neat. Actually, all of the people here are pretty awesome and I've made some pretty solid connections.

While walking around camp I saw MORE baby things! BABY SKUNKS!!!! So friggin cute, I wanted to hug them but they were stinky and angry. One of them was barking at someone. Yes, I'm sure these were skunks.

So the mosquito's are pretty awful here. Especially when you're walking through the woods and they attack you. Ick ick ick ick ick!!! I'm covered in bites despite deepwoods off. Nasty.

So I really like the work I'm doing and I'm super excited to actually get started! I'm going to be teaching nature classes to younger kids. The side of camp I'm working on is more focused on communication disorders so I have planned some really fun activities that stimulate communication skills. I was also really excited to learn that I will be teaching fishing skills to these kids on nice days. YAY! Seriously, I'm excited. I'm putting to gether a lot of other lesson plans too, so if anyone has any ideas of fun nature related activities let me know!

We've decided we're doing themed weeks and our first week of campers is going to be Harry Potter week. So cool.

Well I want to get back to socializing with the other program specialists, so I'll write again later! Toooodles!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Who am I? Who are you?

Hi! I'm Emmi. I'm the queen of random, and I should be going to bed because my first day of work is tomorrow, but I really want to tell my readers (likely just my mom, my sisters, some close friends and a cousin or two) about myself, even if they already know all there is to know!

So, here it goes!!

I'm Emmi. I said that already, but it seemed like a good place to start. I have a dog. Her name is Pepper Anne or just Pepper and I love her THIIIIIIIIISSSSSS much! I like being silly and making people laugh, I made a little life for myself in that during my high school years when I was in improv. It was fun.

I'm really scatter-brained and you will likely notice that in my longer posts such as this one.

Oh, also, I'm the real deal Auntie Em. I would link to my sister's blog and prove it, but I don't know how.

This summer... whoa I totally forgot what I was typing for like a minute there. This summer I'll be working at Camp Courage, a camp run by Courage Center. I'll be a "Nature Specialist" as they call it, so I'll be teaching nature classes to kids and adults at the camp. I'm not 100% sure what to expect, but I am told that Camp Courage caters to a wide variety of people. Throughout the summer Camp Courage hosts kids and adults with physical and mental disabilities, families and kids who have been affected by cancer, and a huge variety of similar clients.

These plans for the summer are largely why I'm starting this blog, so that people back home can know what I'm up to if and when I get a chance to write. If I don't have time during the sessions I'll for sure write after every session (so like once a week). If I like this whole blogging business, I might keep it up through the school year and next summer and FOREVER!!!!!!

There's just so much about me I don't even know if I'll have time to cram it all in one post. I'm pretty good with creativity, but I have no idea how on earth to change the settings to make my blog look cool. When I figure that out, this blog will be sparkly and awesome. And it will breathe fire. Out of your computer and all over your face. Face fire.

Where was I???

Right! So who want to know more about me?! I like beading. Well actually I love beading, but beading has commitment issues and is not ok with us "labeling our relationship in such a serious manner." Whatever, beading. You know I love you and you love me.

Anywho, I'd like to start to sell my beading jewelery, but I don't have time to make all of the pieces and take pictures of them and stuff. Most of what I make I give away as gifts, so there ya go. If I ever get this business going, YOU, dear readers, will be the first to know.

I am in college, studying sociology with a minor in German. Ich liebe deutsch sprechen! Manchmal, wenn ich bin betrunken, ich spreche nur Deutsch. Ich schreie dann, "KEIN ENGLISCH! ICH SPRECH NUR DEUTSCH!" Dann ich weine. Es macht spass. :) I don't know if I did any of that right, I'm only in Intermediate German 1 this coming semester. Use google translate for a rough translation, though!

Anywhozles, I clearly enjoy speaking German and NEXT summer, if I don't still have this blog going, I will hopefully get it up and running again when I *crossing my fingers* go to Germany! Again, this is only if stuff works out financially.

I like dogs.

Ok so its not LAAATE but its 11 and I have to get up early tomorrow to finish packing for my first week (a training week) at Camp Courage! Wish me luck and I hope I have time to get back to you before a week from now!!!

Much love!