Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Tweet" Summertime

I've had quite a bit of time on my hands in these two weeks that I've been at home in Louisiana. Don't worry, though, I've stayed occupied...with a book, Season 3 of LOST, playing nurse/housewife, and a wholeee lot of relaxing. It's been incredible, haha. In this time, I have also spent a decent amount of time reflecting over the summer, and thinking forward to the upcoming school year.

Throughout my reflection, I've come to believe that the few posts I made this summer, though thorough, don't do it justice. Instead, I feel like my tweets ( do a much better job of illustrating the events of my summer. My tweets were snapshots of what I was doing or feeling at any given point. Not only did I tweet frequently, but the statements were a whole lot more "raw" than most of what I wrote in a blogs, mostly because they were published in the heat of the moment, not weeks later when I had time to "clean it up" or even forget the small details as time lapsed.

For this reason, I decided to do a blog "in tweets." What does that mean? Well, it's my creative way of giving you, the reader, an opportunity to have a more intimate glimpse into my world. Here, you will find tweets submitted from the time I left for camp on June 5th, through the day I returned home to Louisiana, on August 2nd. They're organized by month, and also by week or event, as appropriate. Oh, I should note that some of the tweets have dates/timestamps included; those without such information weren't indicated--use your imagination.

Here ya go!

June 2010
-packed for 2 weddings, bachelorette, & conference all at once! North bound today!
8:27 AM Jun 5th via mobile web
-lunch in shreveport. Back on the road now. ps: 41 mpg. Booya!
12:46 PM Jun 5th via mobile web
-made it to my favorite neighborhood in arkansas! Leingeree shopping for ash's party next fri then off to the counselor reunion at boys' apt!
5:51 PM Jun 5th via mobile web

Staff Training Week: June 6-11, 2010
-staff training starts today!
9:46 AM Jun 6th via mobile web
-miserably hot already! 95* heat index 98*
4:03 PM Jun 6th via mobile web
-1st go at being tribe chief and we rock the chant competition!! Go quapaw! 3 year streak to protect!
-highlight of my day: ability awareness training from a guy at the ntl inclusion project, which happens to be based in raleigh. Small world
11:36 PM Jun 7th via mobile web
-stoked about the lime cabin's skit at flag this morning! Trust fall!
7:56 AM Jun 9th via mobile web
-I am FOX-WORTHY. Totally pumped about all the awesomeness at archery this summer!
11:56 PM Jun 9th via mobile web
-40 hours off!!! Woot. Ashley's bachelorette shindig tonight!
-they're building a five guy's in little rock!? I hope its done before I leave in august!

Muscular Dystrophy Week: June 13-18, 2010
-camp! Camp! Camp! Kiddos arrive today!
-all here and accounted for: 6 counselors, 5 volunteers, & 7 campers in my cabin. I'm Quapaw chief again. Sounds like a good week ahead!
-one camper down... Only this place would have a 2 to 1 ratio with counselors in the majority. Lol
-archery was rocking today!
-wishing safe travels to @nahun and the idahoans! Be prepared, the LA humidity is ready and waiting with open arms.
-I heart archery!
-I'm up wayyyy to early, but hey--i'm going to louisiana today (after a morning of teaching archery, that is)!

Medine-Peters Wedding Weekend in Louisiana: June 17-19, 2010
-at LIT. First plane delayed already. Hope I don't have the stomach virus that has struck lime cabin...
-delayed again. Why?
-boarded for LIT - DFW.
-landed at DFW! I feel like such a traitor--flying American and sitting next to an Apple employee. Eek.
-boarded for DFW - BTR! Louisiana, I'm coming home (briefly)!
-twittering fail = friend fail: happy 20th birthday, @Mainer8! You're not a teenager anymore!
-baton rouge today! Going to joy's swim meet this morning! Swim fast!
-I found my wedding dress--now where's the lucky guy? ;-)
-on our way to @josiahpeters wedding with @sunriseiscool! Can't wait to see @Nahun, @jasondurand & everyone else!
-party!!! Why'd u have to end??? Boo!
-a going away and birthday party today! Louisiana is the place for celebrations!
-bummed I'm not getting to hang with the idahoans tonight, but feeling blessed to spend some time with dawn and annie. Its been too long.

Milwaukee Trip (for ALE Conference): June 20-24, 2010
-safe and early arrival in chicago. Heard my professor and fellow grad student are stuck between rdu and det. j, s, & I will make it...
-ord - mke!
-exactly 17 minutes later, we're in milwaukee!!
-67 degrees out this morning--welcome to milwaukee!
-touring the miller brewery--be jealous!
-I'm convinced that people in this state don't sweat. Ever.
-progressive dinner with milwaukee food tour. ... I'll always have a special place in my heart for tour guides!
-I see lake michigan!!
-no power at the hotel today, how interesting. But hey--i had perkins for breakfast!
-i dont wanna go to bed but i'm getting up for a flight in 5 hours. bah. it's so weird to be alone for the first time in weeks.
-boarded for MKE to ATL. Delta is great!
-ATL to LIT! headed back to my home away from home!

Return Weekend in Little Rock: June 25-26, 2010
-what a day: closing ceremonies for spina bifida week at camp, some relaxation, and toy story 3 in Imax 3D!
-@sunriseiscool it was so good! (coming from the girl who hates animated films)
-@mainer8 @Christyclary the five guys here in little rock opened sometime while I was gone last week! Can't wait to hit it up!
-headed out to Morrilton, ar for Ashley's wedding! Yay for another party!
-I've decided weddings are beautiful and fun, especially those for friends. Camp par-tay!
-@sunriseiscool @josiahpeters @nahun ''my wish'' by rascal flatts is the mother/son dance at this wedding!

Kota I Week: June 27-July 2, 2010
-kota 1 starts today! Will I be working with boys or girls??? still a mystery.
-they say ''kota'' translates to ''friends;'' I'm convinced it really means ''crazy''
-boys yesterday.. Girls today?
-um so the boy cabin I was in just lost a camper.....
-cajun spaghetti night at the apartment for 5-hour was a great success!
-making a list of counselor must-haves. So far: head lamp, memory foam mattress, mp3 w/ nature sounds...the list will go on.
-aaaand the rainy days at aldersgate begin... On the day my co-archer is sick. Staff dropping like flies.
-took two girls to five guys little rock tonight! yumm! @christyclary @mainer8
-today I learned: ''x.y.z.'' eXamine. Your. Zipper. Thank you, camp.
-july already?
-when I am here, I am the best me that I can be.
-got asked to work a daycamp for kids who are ventilator dependent! It shortens my week off but should be tons o fun! Yay.
-heading up an all-counselor lunch at 5 guys!! Its most of their first times!

July 2010

Break Week: July 3-9, 2010

-just a small town girl...
-girls' night with amber in Morrilton and first night in weeks I don't have to set an alarm, ftw.
-I do NOT want to get out of this bed. How strange it feels to be in a normal house, bedroom, and comfy bed...
-i saw Eclipse today!
-@mainer8 j'ai donne les bissous de quel'qun ce soir. C'etait pas une bonnet idee.
-I started watching LOST today...
-slept in, watched My Girl & 6 hrs of LOST, fireworks in LR, donuts, jason's deli. Lazy independence day = smiles for me!
-@mainer8 porquoi est-ce que je fais ca?
-@mainer8 C'etait un ami avec des... beinfaits?
-what are the consequences of refusing to write more of the thesis until august? i'm serious here, can i go be on strike?
-5 hours and 9 shopping stops later, we're all set with items for this 3-day, 15 ppl camp trip 2 MO. Now to cook dinner & prep 4 2morrow!
-8 visitors to the apartment tonight and another LOST disc down! Now time to rest for our big adventure!
-15 camp counselors all packed in 5 cars and on the road. Missouri or bust! (and meeting up to 5 more ppl there!)
-3 hours and several games/ conversations later...we're in misery! Missouri state line!
-heading out on the current river today! Leaving the phone at the campsite so don't freak out people
-safe return to the campsite. It was a glorious day for rafting!
-out for pizza tonight. Real food, air conditioning, and toilets! We're in heaven!
-on the road again! heading south toward little rock!
-@sunriseiscool I'm wearing the child life shirt today!
-finally, I showered for the first time since monday. YuM.
-I just did something u shouldn't have
-its 3 in the morning and we're STARTING a LOST episode. Now that takes some dedication.
-''kicked out'' of the apartment. Watching LOST at camp, 3 hours before I have to report for work.
-staff dinner and meeting lasted a whole hour, now off to play ladder golf at a park before tonights slumber party and fort building! :)
-had to pause the Lost season 1 finale in place of bedtime. That show is crack.

Vent Camp/Diabetes Week: July 10-16, 2010
-vent camp today!
-sushi belly.
-my blood glucose level: 100. hope you're looking forward to regular updates--its diabetes week!
-just tp'd the cabin for a camper's birthday surprise. About to do a midnight blood sugar check then up for more at 2 am.
-doing 2 am checks again tonight. This time I'm gonna watch LOST while waiting for the clock to chime. Party at the lime cabin!
-almost and hour after starting, checks are done. 2 alerts: one camper at 59 (low) and another at 360 (high). Docs came; all is good. Bedtime
-it's tie dye tuesday!
-just another whacky hair wednesday... With a little dash of iron chef america!
-tonight's blood sugar rate: 105. guess my pancreas is on top of things!
-oh hey! I used my child life skills during site changes (for insulin pumps) today!
-just did 2 am checks alone. Bad idea. The nurses had to come back 3 times. fail.
-I'm wearing a pump today! Carb counting, here we go!
-hit triple digit temps today. with you know something is wrong when it ''feels like'' 92 at midnight.
-stayed behind to clean and pack the cabin this morning... My pump told me that I missed breakfast. Good job, Candy!
-I got pickles today! Yay, @lendylou
-anyone felt the dc earthquake? How about u, @sunriseiscool?

CAK (Cardiac, Arthritis, Kidney) Week: July 18-23, 2010
-it's CAK (Cardiac, arthritis, kidney) week! we've got the youngest girls & probably the most medically fragile, Woot.
-oh, 2 am's once again. Night encore.
-I got my first silly band! It's a unicorn that glows in the dark! Plus, two mermaids. Baller.
-officially done with season 2, disc 2 of LOST! Only 4 more to go of this season.
-so instead of 2 am's tonight, we're gonna try a 1 am and 4 am ostomy bag emptying. Yay camp.
-it's a coffee kind of morning (this is a big deal). If we don't get some real sleep soon, I might just have to shoot someone. not pretty.
-my most medically fragile camper MIGHT receive a kidney transplant tonight--please pray that it's a match!! I'll let you know what happens!
-kidney was a No-go. I just took a sleeping pill (aka drowsy allergy) but I Gotta get up for the 4 am shift. Should be interesting.
-guH. Want sleep.
-word to the wise: don't take 2 tylenol and a benadryl 2 hours before u get off of work. functioning levels drop fast.
-yay, it's thursday!
-I sure am going to miss being ''in the club''...These kids touch your heart like none other.
-rubber ducky regatta at wild river country to benefit camp aldersgate!
-had a great time at the regatta. saw lots of camp family members--kids, parents, staff, etc! "we are family!"

Kota II Week: July 25-30, 2010
-doing Kota II for the first time; it's gonna be a wild ride
-it's my final week at
-fun story of the day: camper peed outside in front of everyone at archery...and that's just scratching the surface of kota crazy.
-camper quote from yesterday: ''what the barbie shit?!''
-a night filled with LOST, a clean shower, yummy dessert and minus crazy children? Yes please.
-just heard a camper ate sunscreen tonight, requiring an incident report. Oh kota.
-archery quote: kid, ''u better shoot or I'm gonna roll over u ;'' me, ''hey that's not nice;'' k, ''relax it's all psychological!''
-tonight, for the first time since I can remember, I had a conversation with fellow counselors that was unrelated to camp.
-goodbye bullseyes. :(
-emotional last night At camp; solved by 2 hours of good convo while laying in a hammock under the cabin. Heart happiness.
-closing complete. Chi released. Less than 48 hours left at this home...
-@justinecamille1 oh but i am so happy here. i hope you enjoy home.

Final Weekend: July 30-August 2, 2010
-last big shindig in the rock--going out to my first gay bar!?
-purple cow for the morning after! :)
-cooking at the apartment, apples to apples and a movie. Last night with the camp family. :(
-I'm convinced I've gained 5 pounds since yesterday. Gluttony. and we're under a
-was ''on a roll here in Little Rock'' but now I must go. Goodbye camp family, I will miss you...
-lovely louisiana!
-6.5 hours later (yes, my father is a speed demon), I'm home in cajun country!

I'd really like your feedback about the structure of this entry. Please comment with your thoughts about the idea to do a blog in tweets, as well as the structure or any other feedback you have for me about it. Also, I'd love to know of your favorite tweet or quote from the summer. (In fact, I'll promise to share my favorite one in my next entry, if you pick to share your favorite one with me!) So leave me some messages; I'd love to hear what you think!

Leave me something,

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kota Krazy, Round II

As promised, I'm writing again...this time about my final week in Little Rock. But before I begin, I want to apologize for the numerous spelling and grammatical mistakes in my last entry. I composed much of that entry in the hustle and bustle of hanging out with camp friends on my last night in Arkansas. I also want to apologize to Miss Lendy Grayce Yeaman Johnson; the reason you've waited so long for the letter I started writing weeks ago, is because I'm using an excerpt of your letter to describe part of my last week. Please forgive me? With that being said, sit back and enjoy one of the last entries in your summer reading program. (Ha.)

As written on July 25th:
Today we began Kota II, the second session for kids of all abilities and diagnoses. Everyone is short-staffed because some counselors have quit and for varying reasons, not enough replacements were found. In any case, I have 8 campers: 4 typical kids, 2 with some kind of Autism, 1 with Cerebral Palsy (CP), and 1 with some degree of Mental Retardation (MR). One of the girls with Autism has had some major suicidal/mental health issues for the last year, and two other campers feed off of each other's negative behaviors, so this will make for some interesting cabin dynamics. Other cabins are just as crazy with the mix of typical kids and those with CP or Down Syndrome. "Kota crazy," as they say.

It's actually pretty funny to observe activities because none of the counselors ever get to sit (kids run--fast!) and if they do, feet are strategically placed behind chair legs to prevent quick get-aways. Plus, there is an average of 1-2 kids running from an activity at any given time, so it's just really hilarious to watch it all play out. In fact, one fellow counselor made a comment about how interesting it would be to sit as a "fly on the wall" during Kota weeks, because everyone's physically there together, but no one's actually doing the same thing at once. I guess it's just one of those unique things about camp that one can only understand through experience.

Flashing forward, I'm going to continue describing Kota II by listing a few comical camper stories from the week. Since I spent most of my time at archery, two of my stories come from there. The first story took place Monday morning with one of our first groups out at archery for the week. An 8-year-old little boy who has a cochlear implant (not sure of his full diagnosis) and has been coming to camp for three years, decided to pee outside. Now, when I say he peed outside, I don't mean that he hid behind the archery pavillion or in a bush, and did his business. No, when I say he peed at archery, I mean, he peed at archery. This kid walked over to the edge of the cement, right next to the bow stations, pulled down his pants, and know the rest. Everyone was right in the middle of "going get arrows," so Melissa and I were supervising this process, whenever I noticed one of the campers making a surprised face as he looked toward the seating area. I thought he was surprised at something else, but a few seconds later, I turned around and made the connection between the campers' surprise and my own sudden surprised as I noticed what was happening. By that point, there wasn't much we could do besides let the camper finish what he'd started and provide some distraction for the rest of the group--quickly redirecting from the behavior back to the appropriate tasks at hand.

Some of these kids are so intelligent; often times I wish "typical" people (including myself) gave them the credit they deserve. A day or two after our first "situation" at archery, one of the older campers made a really funny comment that I will never forget. This particular camper is one of those "old pros" we tend to get every now and again. He's super passionate about camp, and Aldersgate means the world to him. In fact, this camper was voted by the counselors to receive our camper of the week award this year. The best thing about this camper is his wise-cracking, though smart-aleck, hilarious remarks. A proud Quapaw, the camper cheered on his cabinmates as they shot for tribe points. In the spirit of friendly competition, the camper (who is uses an electric wheelchair because his CP makes muscle control difficult) yelled out, "You better hit the target, or I'm gonna roll over you!" Surprised by the threat, I turned around and gave some "Did you really just say that?" eyes, to which he responded, "Relax--it's all psychological!" After he said that, I had to turn away so he wouldn't see me laughing my guts off. These kids are great!! I can't say that enough, lol.

And the final story I'll share took place on Tuesday night during my 5-hour break. Myself, Kyle, Blain, and a few other people were all on the same break that week. Per usual, Blain and I spent most of the night watching LOST. (Hey, we were trying to make it through the end of Season 2 before I left!) During our last episode of the night, Kyle came in and interrupted us to read aloud a text that he'd received from a counselor in his cabin. It said: "Shower party, lost a tooth, swallowed toothpaste, tooth connected to braces, call dad in morning, ran around naked, mopped floor, was uncomfortable with, showering campers, peed while dressing him...all things from the past hour you missed." I'm not sure there's much I can say about this one. I will say that a set of boy counselors in another cabin had to fill out an incident report regarding the consumption of sunscreen the day before. Use your imagination to fill in the rest.

I could sit here all day and try to describe Kota Camp, but there really is no way to do it justice...

A little about my final 48 hours in Arkansas... Between Friday and Saturday afternoon, Blain and I finished the last 5 hours worth of LOST, Season 2! I felt so accomplished, haha. On Friday night, a bunch of us (probably close to 20) celebrated Kelsey's, a new counselor's, birthday. It was a late night, but some good times with the gang. Per my request, we had a late lunch at the Purple Cow, one of my most favorite restaurants in Little Rock (clearly, for the atmosphere) on Saturday. Following a lazy Saturday, seven of us (Kyle, Blain, Me, Sydney, Morgan, Ashleigh, and Kevin) cooked a tastyyy meal of Cajun stuffed chicken, baked maccaroni, Caesar salad, and garlic bread. As usual, it was a lovely group/family effort. We ended the night with a viewing of Shutter Island. The next morning, I left just as everyone began showering, packing, and getting ready for their second to last week of camp (Oncology, then Asthma).

Goodbyes were easier than I expected this year, especially since I would be driving southbound alone for the first time since starting at Aldersgate in 2008. Without Allie, my Summer Sister, I was sure the drive would be even more lonely, sad, and depressing. However, I kept myself occupied by rotating through several cds, and my daddy met me in Alexandria, about 5 hours into the trip for the remaining drive home, so it wasn't too bad.

I've been home for 8 days now. My major professor at NC State said for me to go ahead and enjoy my final days of summer, so I've been doing just that. At some point, I'll write about my August in Louisiana, but for now I'm going to wait on that. First, I want to take some time to do a little more reflecting over the summer and my time at camp. Until then, though, I have a bit of a flash back for you. I want to encourage you to visit this link to an entry describing my first arrival at Aldersgate, two summers ago, in 2008. I thought some of you new readers might find it interesting to see pictures of the camp facilities--maybe matching a setting to all of these stories you've been reading over the last few months. If you're really bored, you may find subsequent camp entries from that summer to be of interest, as well.

And with that, I'm done.