Spirit Sticks and Sunburns

Today was just awesome!  Today my campers went to the Annual Association Field Day at one of our branches.

This was our second field trip, and overall things turned out pretty great.  The Association Field Day is where all of the Camps that are apart of our association gather together in one location to be together, be loud and proud and to play games together.  Today there were five of our branches in attendance.  We had a total of about 40 kids today.  We were small, but we were mighty.

I was kind of concerned about the weather, and another canceled trip, but they decided to go ahead.  When we got to our destination, we were a little lost, none of us had been to one of these before.  They started this several years, after I stopped working as a counselor at my other YMCA.  I met up with another camp director, and she was trying to get some answers as to where we should go.  After getting some answers, I took my kids to the port a potties for a bathroom break and to the gym to await the other camps to show up to start.  The weather wasn’t very cooperative at first, it wasn’t raining, it was misting, but it was enough to drive us inside.

We finally got things started and completed our opening ceremony and were off for lunch before games.  We were asked to plan a water game and a dry game to teach to the other camps as they rotated between stations, but that didn’t work out.  They decided that we weren’t going to do the water games, and that we would just fall in line with another camp and follow them.  There didn’t end up being a rotation, but we made do.

We played many a game with our campers and some of the other camps decided to join in our fun.  We played Bob the Weasel and it was so catchy that as I was doing my rounds between my groups I saw that other groups were playing as well.  We sang several camp songs and yelled numerous chants.  By 1:00 the sun was starting to peak through and the humidity began to rise and my campers got really tired and restless so I decided that we were going to play the games that I had planned to teach, which were some of our favorite games.  We started out with the leaky cup challenge.

You split your group up into two teams.  You need two cups with holes in them and four buckets, two filled with water. Your teams use the cups and fill them with water race to the other end of the boundary and put the remainder of the water in the empty bucket.  The team that fills the bucket up first wins, or in our case gets to dump the bucket of water on a counselor.  Our kids had so much fun that other camps wanted to join in.

We finished up around 2 and started heading to the bathrooms for our final bathroom break before hitting the bus and to hydrate after running around like crazy.  We took a giant all association picture.  And then we were told that we had to stay for closing ceremony.  So we gathered our campers up in the field behind the YMCA that we were at and waited.  They were getting restless again so we sang some more songs and yelled some more chants until the event coordinator came out to close out the day.  He took his spirit stick and played a chanting game with each branch, the higher the stick was in the air the louder we were to get, the lower to the ground the quieter we needed to be.  He thanked everyone for their participation and tallied up all of the points.  Then he said that there was one branch that showed great sportsmanship, were really excited and pumped up, good listeners, well-behaved and embodied the Four Core Values of the YMCA.  Can you guess who?  Before I tell you who, I want to explain what this all means.

Each year the Spirit Stick is awarded to Y Camp that meets the criteria listed above.  Since starting this, one branch almost always wins.  When you are awarded the Spirit Stick, you get to take it with you for the rest of summer, and bring it back next season for the next Association Field Day.  You also get to make your mark on it, and receive bragging rights among the association.

So if you guess my camp, your right!  Not only was it our first time attending the Field Day but it is also our first outing after becoming apart of the association!  I am so proud of my campers.  They were so excited.  None of them thought that they would get it.  So this weekend, I will be purchasing a Kelly green spoon of ribbon and a white or silver paint marker and making our mark on the Spirit Stick.  By the end of the day myself and some of the other counselors had a little bit of a sunburn on our faces, but when most of the day if over cast you don’t really think about using sun screen….o well…

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I am so proud of my campers.  They behaved very well today, the listened every time.  They were amazing.  Today was an amazing day!

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Coming out

This isn’t what I had planned to share with you but after watching this I fell the need to share this with you.

Ingrid Nilsen is one of the most inspiring people to me.  We all know that I am a youtube junkie.  I look forward to each and everyone of her videos.  She is the most beautiful, inspiring and most well put together person I know.  She has been in inspiration for many of the things that I have accomplished in my life this far.

Yesterday she posted this video.

I had no idea what it was about.  I saw that she had posted a video and I clicked on it to watch.  Before I get into this, I must tell you that most of my friends are gay, in one way or another.  No gay happy, but Gay LGBT.  Being around people that are gay does not bother me on bit.

I had no idea, until her video.  I am so happy for her that she is finally out.  I could see the stress she has been under build up over the past several years and when she finally just said it yesterday, I could see the stress falling off.  It is never easy to tell people something that intimate about you.  I went through something similar.  We all go through phases.  I dated a girl in high school and we kept it from just about everyone, parents included, except for our closest friends.  We did that because we weren’t sure if it was a phase or if we really were gay.  It turned out to be a phase for me, her, not so much.  And she is now happily married to her partner.  But when my mother found out and questioned me about it, I was terrified.  My parents are a bit on the older side, so I was harder for them to except my experimentation.

I completely understand why she battled with it.  People are mean, its just their nature.  If something is out of the norm, its hard for people to accept.

Ingrid, if you are reading this, which if you are, please leave me a comment, I would love to get in touch with you.  I am so happy for you, and I don’t want to you to get discouraged.  People are in shock and are in a society where homosexuality is new and a growing trend.  Just remember that there are people out there that truly support you.  I am one of them.  Your journey is just beginning, and it will not be an easy one, but just remember that you did not choose this path, it chose you.  You are such a positive person and a role model.  We are the same age, in two different parts of the country, but I will always be there for you supporting you.  Stay positive.  You go Girl!

Long Time….No Words

I am sorry that I have not been able to write in two weeks.  I have been extremely busy here in the last few weeks.  An explanation is in order.

As some of you may know I work for a YMCA and I was chosen to be the Camp Director.  The last few weeks have been filled with planning, hiring and training.  Monday was our first day on camp.

Things are hit and miss.  We got rain and cold weather on day one, which in my book, doesn’t really count.  Last year their camp consisted of swimming, free time and more swimming and free time.  This year we are changing this up.  Most parents have accepted out new way of thinking.  The kids weren’t too happy with it at first, but now that they have been exposed to new ideas and games, they are all gung-ho. Most Parents weren’t thrilled about he new paper work, but with merging companies comes new policies and procedures.  After we explained the new papers they were a little more understanding about the change.

Friday was great.  Parents were calling and telling us just how happy and impressed they were with the first week of camp.  Their kids would come home and talk about their days and the things they did and then pass out at bed time.  When I heard about that I was elated.  My work has paid off.  Parent’s are finally happy with the camp program.

My goal this year was to have 50 children signed up.  My boss didn’t expect more than 20.  After collecting all of the new paperwork from campers that didn’t register in advance, we have 70 campers registered, and no less than 50 each week.  I am flabbergasted.  Seriously stunned.  Its pretty much split down the middle, 50% returning campers and 50% new campers.  I couldn’t be happier.

Thursday night I ended up with whatever is going around.  Everyone I am surrounded with has it.  So, yes I am sick once again.

My goal is to keep up with my uploading schedule as it stands now, but I cannot guarantee content everyday, as I am a very busy woman this summer.  I have so much that I want to share with you and I apologize for not getting anything posted for the last two weeks.

Happy _____________________

Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Feel free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

When I think about today’s prompt, there is one really vivid memory that pops up.

When I was a little girl, we would have my family homemade nights.  Not for any particular reason, just because.  Sometimes it would be because it was a Friday night, or because someone did something note worthy, other times it was just because.  We would always make homemade pizza.  The whole family would get involved.

My mother would make and bake the crust just enough so it wasn’t soggy on the bottom before we put on the ingredients.  My mom would lay down the sauce and dad would lay down the hamburger and cheese.  My brother being the olive lover that he is would always demand to be the only one to put them on…mainly so he could eat some in the process.  We would all work together on putting on the pepperoni and I would get to put on the mushrooms.  We would finish it off with a dash of pepper and more cheese.  And my brother and I would place it in the oven together.  I remember once that I sat on the floor in front of the oven because I was so hungry.

The smell of homemade pizza still resonates in my nose today.  We would take it out and it would be golden brown, and mom would slice it up as the rest of us worked on putting salads in bowls and setting the rest of the table.  We would let it cool down a bit while we all wolfed down our salads.  After we ate the first we would do it all over again with the second, usually in the same order followed with arguing about who would get to put on the olives the second time around.

The only difference is that this time we would take it downstairs and have family game/movie night.  If it was game night, we had a blast.  Mom always got that devilish grin on her face when things were going her way.  My brother always trying to figure out a way to cheat without getting caught, but that never really worked.  My father with his look of total concentration on his face every time.  And since it was usually Fridays that we did this on (no homework!) we would stay up later than usual.  My father and I would always end up having a word war with scrabble©.

We always had a blast on these nights.  As we got older and busier they were fewer and far between.  But I will always remember and cherish these memories.

Happy Friday Everyone!  What is your fondest memory?

School Sends Girl Home

I was on my facebook this morning perusing for a photo of my dog ( see previous post) When I came across this article.

School Sends Girl Home

The article states that this girl was sent home for inappropriate dress.  Look at the photos and tell me how she is dressed inappropriately?  Do you feel like women are being picked on?  I mean if we wear something too provocative we are labeled something that we are not, but if we cover everything up and dress conservatively then we are dressed inappropriate?  Please tell me how that works?  Ladies, any thoughts on this?

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TWD Season Five Finale

Okay, So I don’t have a book review for you today because I am not quite finished with the book that I am currently reading.  I am about half way through, so hopefully I will have it done  by next Monday.  But I am going to share with you my thoughts on the season finale of The Walking Dead from last night.  And I thought that since it is based on a comic, it was appropriate for today’s topic.

STOP: if you have not seen the season finale and want to watch it please be aware that there are spoilers ahead.

So If you didn’t know, I am a huge walking dead fan.  Like huge.  The world and time stop when it is on.  My father and I watch it together with our dog, yes she is a fan too.  (we catch her watching it with it)  And last night’s episode was intense.  Really intense.  Everything came to a head.  I was quite concerned for our little family and at one point I thought we were going to lose all of them.  I thought Daryl was going to die to save Aaron, I thought Glenn was going to get eaten, I thought Sasha was going to murder Father Gabriel (still not a fan of this character), and of course I thought that Rick was going to be kicked out of Alexandria.  I mean it all really came to a head.  Father Gabriel, even though I don’t like him I think that he saved Rick’s life by leaving the gate open.  Without that he would probably not have met Morgan again.  The Wolves terrify me and can I just say that the guy that held Morgan at gun point in the beginning was an amazing actor!  I mean seriously, the intensity and emotion was just amazing!  The trap that the Wolves set up…ingenious.  I mean who would have thought that a rave party would reset the trap.  There is beauty in madness.  I wonder what conflicts will be like with them?

So as I said my father and I watch this together.  We get lost in each episode so much that we forget time all together.  That was what happened last night.  We were watching, literally on the edge of our seats and then it just ended with Morgan watching Rick kill Pete….OMG!  My father and I both said “sonofabitch that was intense” as we hit the closest object.  Excuse the language.  I mean seriously.  My best friend also watches it and her reaction was…mind blown. Which is a good description.  It was an amazing ending to the season.  I think it was seriously the best season thus far with all of the conflicts not just with the people of Alexandria but also themselves.  The writers and producers have really stepped it up a notch.

I am looking forward to next season, I am not sure if it will be the last or not, I am hoping for the latter.  But at least this time they are giving us a spinoff to watch!  So that is a plus.  It of course won’t be anything like the original, but I’m sure that it will be good all the same.  The spinoff is called Fear The Walking Dead.

Super excited about the upcoming season 6.  I can’t wait to see what they throw at up next!  What were your thoughts on last night’s finale?  Did you like it or not?

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The New Translation

Okay so remember when I was out that entire week from being sick?  Remember I said that I went through my music library in search of better things for my iPod? Well I came across this little gem of a CD and immediately knew I needed to listen to it.  You can find them on iTunes, just search the band’s name.

This is a group of boys that I grew up with.  I don’t think the band is together anymore because we all grew up and had to get adult jobs, but nonetheless they were huge where I am from. Kind of like Story of the Year which I am sure most of you have heard of, they are also from the stl area.  any way I digress.  They were an amazing band and they really had a great thing going!  I can remember going to many of their concerts.  They are just great.  So when I came across my copy of their album shift, I immediately put it on my iPod and put the CD in my car.  I have not stopped listening to it since.  Seriously.  Not that I didn’t already know their songs by heart, but I love it.  With the weather being as nice as it has been, it’s been a roll down the windows and crank up the volume mode with this one.  So below is two of their songs and a little meet the band video I found while searching for their songs.  Please enjoy!  Let me know what you thing about them!

Fall From Grace

Blank Stares

Meet The New Translation

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Alice in Deadland

Alice in Deadland written by Mainak Dhar took me by total surprise.  Yes this is another Alice in wonderland style of book.  But they are so good! As you can tell this year has been all about going down the rabbit hole, in many different ways and styles.  So without further ado, here is my review.

Alice is a 15-year-old girl that grows up in the Zombie Apocalypse in India near Delhi.  She sees a biter and follows him down a hole in the ground, only to discover a who new world, oh and the zombie is wearing bunny ears.  After being captured by the biter, she is taken to the Queen of the Biters, Dr. Protima who after being bitten herself takes one of the only vaccines and becomes a half-breed.  Alice doesn’t believe what she is seeing or hearing, as the Queen tells her that she will be the one to bring peace to both sides.  We find out that the biters can actually co-exist with humans.  that they are more like animals than mindless cannibals.

“Civilization as we know it ended more than fifteen years ago, leaving as its legacy barren wastelands called the Deadland and a new terror for the humans who survived hordes of undead Biters.

Fifteen year-old Alice has spent her entire life in the Deadland, her education consisting of how best to use guns and knives in the ongoing war for survival against the Biters. One day, Alice spots a Biter disappearing into a hole in the ground and follows it, in search of fabled underground Biter bases.

What Alice discovers there propels her into an action-packed adventure that changes her life and that of all humans in the Deadland forever. An adventure where she learns the terrible conspiracy behind the ruin of humanity, the truth behind the origin of the Biters, and the prophecy the mysterious Biter Queen believes Alice is destined to fulfill.

A prophecy based on the charred remains of the last book in the Deadland- a book called Alice in Wonderland.” (Good Reads)

This one was a little hard for me to get into in the beginning, but once I got into it, it was hard to put down.  This is the first book in the trilogy, although Mainak Dhar’s website shows many many more than just three.  Any who.  I really like this.  It was similar to the others that I had read, but different in so many ways.  The other books are all about destruction of the zombies and this is about co-existing with them.  There are a lot of political ties to the issues we are currently having (China wanting to take over the world, terrorist groups, cults, etc.), which I think for a book that is geared towards young adults and teens is a good thing because I think everyone needs to be aware of what is happening around the world.

Some of my favorite quotes from this novel include:

“She looked back at the child again, and this time his eyes met hers.  There was no innocence, no love, just the blank, hate-filled expression that was characteristic of biters….”

“When people are scared enough, they begin to accept any form on tyranny because unquestioning obedience to unknown masters is better than facing known dangers.”

I really liked this book, not just because it was Alice in Wonderland styled, but because it was different, way different from all of the other books that I have read.  I would like to give this book four stars of five.  And I starting the next one as soon as this goes live.


four stars

Be sure to check out Mainak Dhar’s website here, for other titles and updates!  If you have read this book, let me know what your thoughts were on it.  Did you like it or not?  Why, and what were your favorite parts.  I think after I finish this trilogy I am reading The Cubicle Manifesto….It just sounds so good!

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Ensnared

The final installment of the Splintered series by A. G. Howard was beautifully morbid and ensnaring.  From page one to the last page, it was a painting, pun intended.

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world–a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?

Wow.  It’s all I have to say.  That and can I please take back my review of the first book?  Oh good lord.  This is a phenomenal series to dive into.  at previously stated in my other reviews it the perfect balance of Burton and Carroll.  I devoured this book like there was no tomorrow.  It is so well done, and totally unpredictable.  The more I read it the more I loved it.

Some of my favorite quotes from this novel:

“Jeb is an anchor; he holds me grounded to my humanity and compassion.  By Morpheus is the wind; he drags me kicking and screaming to the highest precipice, shoves me off, then watched my fly with netherling wings. When Jeb’s at my side, the world is my canvas unblemished and welcoming; when I’m with Morpheus, it’s a wanton playground- wicked and addictive.  Each guy occupies a different side of my duel heart.  Together, they bridge my netherling and human worlds.”

“Jebediah has given up on you, but I never will.  I can offer you the security you desire.  If you’ll be mine, your heart will forever be sheltered in my care.  Yes, we will quarrel incessantly, and fight for dominance.  And yes, there will be ravishes of passion, but there will also be gentle lulls.  That is who we are together.  You’ll never need fear that your love is not reciprocated.  For although you’ve made me feel things I am not equipped for…i cannot stop feeling them.”

“May the fairy goddess light your footsteps with stars, and may your travels be fair, however far you roam.”

“That’s because believing you’re alone in the universe is less terrifying than admitting you might have an otherworldly audience.”

I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars, as all of the books in this trilogy deserve 5 stars.

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I recommend this book to anyone that is an Alice in Wonderland fan.  If you have read this book, please let me know your thoughts on it in the comments!  I would love to hear what you think about it!

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Through the Zombie Glass

Through-the-Zombie-GlassThe second book in the White Rabbit Chronicles is just as amazing as the first.  A truly well written book, that sucks you in, in the first sentence.  Here is an overview of the book:

Several weeks after battling her Zombie Father and Anima Industries Ali or Alice Bell is in recovery from a serious near death injury.  Two new slayers come to town to help Cole and his team of slayers in the war against Zombies.  Ali’s first day back in training she meets Gavin, the New Hot Guy and shares a vision with him.  Something up until this moment, Ali and Cole only shared.  The vision is hot and steamy and sets into motion a series of event for Ali.

Ali attends the football game with Kat and Reeve her two best friends, when Gavin shows up with his latest girl toy, when they are attacked by Zombies.  Justin comes to the rescue and helps out the two of them.  Justin ends up getting bitten from a zombie and Ali goes to help him, and he bites her, jump starting another heart beat that only Ali can apparently hear.  Another mystery to be solved.   Ali is given the antidote and Cole is at her side while she recovers.  When she is well enough, the unthinkable happens.  Cole ends things with Ali.

Ali as we find out, is allergic to her self, because she has an evil twin living inside her, dubbed Zombie Ali, or Z.A.  Ali does her best to fight off Z.A., and her Zombie tendencies, but as each day passes she grows stronger.  Ali has to deal with the effects Z.A. has on her like wanting to eat people’s spirits and Cole.  Her visions with Gavin come true, and Cole realizes what is going on with Ali and decides that he can’t stay away, a little too late.

Reeve’s new boyfriend, Ethan, is the son of an Anima Industries Leader and is hell-bent on saving his sister.  Ali, Reeve and Kat are kidnapped.  We learn just how strong of a Hero Ali really is when Anima tortures her for the answers that they need to save Ethan’s sister.

In the end Ali and Cole are back together, Jaclyn is found, the girls are rescued and Ali, Cole and the rest of the Slayers once again have to battle Anima for Survival.  They win, but at what cost?  The book doesn’t end there, as Ali is still fighting Z.A.  The journal says that Light is the key to saving her from the darkness, but will Cole allow such a risk when it comes to the love of his life?

Now, I didn’t give you all of the book, as promised, but good glory is it cake!  I love this trilogy.  It is so well written.  Gen Showalter has hit this one on the nose, the books read like you are Alice, and I love that quality in a book.  Some of my favorite quotes from the book are as follows:

“The battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.” -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“Those we love, we can grow  to hate.  And life…life can be perfect one minute and in shambles the next.”

“Why don’t you escort me to the pond?  I want to see the ducks, but I’ll need someone to throw in their path if they turn violent.”

“Don’t give up on me the way I gave up on you.  Please.  Somehow I’ll find a way to make it up to you.  X Cole”

“Kat who sat beside us, shouted, ‘Rewind that!’ and threw popcorn at the screen.  ‘Mr. Holland’s expression wall all, like, oh, no, I’m going to need my balls reattached, and Cole’s was all, you’re about to lose something more sucka.'”

Some more from a specific scene in the book:

“‘Ali Bell doesn’t play hide-and-seek,’ Lucas said.  ‘She plays hide-and-pray-I-don’t-find-you.'”

“There used to be a street named after Ali Bell, but it was changed because nobody crosses Ali Bell and lives.  True Story.”

I give this book, without any surprise, a 5 out of 5 stars!

I highly recommend that you read this series!  It is breath-taking, I am sad that it is over, I can tell you that I have finished the series and cried that it was over!  Seriously!  I cried.  I haven’t done that for a book series since I first read the Devouring Series.