Archive for the ‘Camping Stories 2010’ Category

Dead Tired But Still Rambling

September 7, 2010

Back from one of the greatest camping weekends ever. You would think that it was because it didn’t rain, but that’s not the case. It did rain, a drizzle between Saturday and Sunday but it was enough to have puddles of water under the tent which is now drying in the garage. Plus, you know by now that we simply discount the rain because just like there’s a bonfire on Friday and Saturday nights, there’s rain at least one day during any given weekend. But, ooof, it got so cold and we didn’t expect that. It was cold enough for our Uni-Lazies, which, naturally, are sitting on a table in the basement, where they’ve been, sadly awaiting their use. All season long it’s been uncharacteristically warm and we haven’t needed them. This time, assuming the same would hold true…. yup, you guessed it. We had a great rapport with the guys that run that business and we wanted to get them some “action” shots of us actually wearing them to put on their website and not just modeling them. Our pictures we sent them way back are on their Facebook Fan Page, though.  But we made the most of it all the while cursing ourselves out for not having something warmer with us.

It was party after party and meeting up with friends old and new all weekend long and there wasn’t time for much else other than getting from one event to the other although we were either too early or too late for one of them because it was a ghost town when we got there, but everywhere you looked there was something going on.

Among the great memories of the last party weekend at camp is that I fell in love yet again with my Droid! Over breakfast down at the café (because we didn’t really plan for a second breakfast either, somehow putting out of our minds we were there for 3 days this weekend) I saw I had another system upgrade on my phone. The last time was for a whole new version and now I’m at 2.2. This upgrade was for Flashplayer 10.1that I’ve been trying to download for a few months. And now that it’s there, I can now get the Radio Chick on Shovio either live or any of her archived shows. And you wanna laugh? We had one playing on the drive home and the picture quality was much clearer than on the computer. Are you laughing?

When we got home, the first thing I did was take the requisite pics of the work the Lou-Natics did on Friday while we were gone, but I’m not posting them today because well, I’m writing this last night and I was fairly comatose since we unloaded the truck and put stuff away and it took me quite a while to get going on this blog. But don’t you worry, tomorrow (really today) is another day and there’ll be another phase on the house completed and I’ll put them all up then. Plus, I think I have some from Thursday evening after they left that I have to put up as well. I just confused myself.

I think it was the large chocolate milkshake I had to wash down the double quarter pounder we got at the McDonald’s/Exxon complex we traditionally stop at for a fill up and “gas” that had me in the stupor that I was for most of the day. It was there, waiting at the window to pay, were we had a spider incident. I don’t know if I should damn or praise my peripheral vision, but suddenly while I was completely distracted, bringing up The Chick on my phone, I sensed movement on the windshield. Sure enough it was a spider, one of tiny ones that look  like a caraway seed with legs that jump the length of a room in a single bound. Those ones really creep me out (like there’s a difference between any of them). Here’s an aside, people often ask how I can enjoy camping in the woods when spiders (among other things) are plentiful and prone to show up at any given moment. I can handle most bugs, but I just can’t….. So, anyway, I knew if I took my eyes off the windshield, that little bugger would move but I needed to find something to smash it with. Fortunately for all involved the hammers were in the back of truck so I had to use a napkin. Quick as a flash, I slammed my hand up to the glass but the spider fell. And where? On my LEG! So, there were are, with Ariel transacting with “Clark Kent” at the cashier window and me dealing with a jumping spider on my knee. I nearly ended up through the cashier window before the money for our order. I hit the thing so hard, I had a red spot and then later it looked like I had actually might have gotten bit and I thought maybe I actually pushed his fangs through my skin.

One fascinating factoid I came away with from this camping trip is that Canadian Twizzlers are made with real sugar as opposed to the ones made in The States which are made with corn syrup and things like that.

Oh my gosh, it’s today now and I just read through this. Man, can I ramble, or what?  It happens when I’m dead tired. That, and I wake up super late. Now I gotta get to work. Bye!

Go Ahead And Rain. That’s Right!

August 16, 2010

Perhaps it’s a prerequisite along the same lines as what food servers learn in waiter/waitress school that they don’t come to your table to ask how everything is until you have a mouthful of food, that chefs, at least those who enjoy the celebrity of patting themselves on the back, convincingly mmm-mmm’ing everything  they make until your mouth waters, wishing you could combine onions and turnips like they do, that every step of every recipe they make on television must lead with “you go ahead and…” You start out with a bowl and you can go ahead and place your flour in there, then go ahead and add your salt and your water then go ahead and use your whisk to mix it. If you have a food processor, then go ahead and use that.

The reason it came to mind is because I was looking at a certain chef’s article on cooking perfect rice and even in the text, “you go ahead and…” showed up several times, twice of which were in one sentence. I went ahead and though, gads, that’s just not right, until I went ahead and realized it was the transcript from the featured video clip.

I must be the culinary version of “amazing”. I also remember saying at the end of this year’s official TV season I was going to stop watching any show that used my favorite “A” word any more than twice in a single episode. But I’m hooked on the shows I watch in the summer season and everything is amazing and I can’t stop watching. But I bristle every time I hear it and think back to my vow.

Another sort of catchphrase that amuses me is one I hear on the news, pretty much daily. When a story is being turned over to a remote reporter covering a story, say, an amazing cook-off where the reporter will join in and go ahead and try to cook something, she (or he should the circumstance warrant) begins the report with “That’s right!”

You also know that it is requisite for rain when we go camping. We had our fourth camping trip of the season, (man it’s going by fast) and all was well. The weather was cool and comfortable, the food and drink plenty, the company around the bonfire colorful and enjoyable as ever. When we turned in for the night on Saturday, after crunching on some post fire cheeseburger flavored Doritios (holy moly!) and realizing a good night’s sleep was the only cure for our throbbing feet, we left the stars twinkling brightly in the sky above. I awoke to a gentle patter above me on the rainfly, but in a 4am stupor I could only imagine to be tree droppings from the breeze I could hear rustling through the leaves. Long fancy story short and drearily to the point, it was indeed raining and now the tent is in the garage and tarps are hanging all over the basement.

I haven’t uploaded any news pictures of the house construction yet and I’m not exactly sure whether any of the Lou-natics (my new fun nickname for them) will be here on their own this week while the master is not. And the only current picture I have is the visible side of the roof they finished shingling. A lot of the other work they’ve been doing is boring wiring on the inside and not much fun to photograph so I’ll probably have time to post the roof pic.

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the Elvis Presley’s death and it’s also Madonna’s 52nd birthday.

It Was The Best Of Weekends…

August 2, 2010

It was the worst of weekends. Just a symbolic title, folks, really. Somewhat traumatic is really the best way to describe it. I learned that sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and things usually turn out okay.

It was our third camping weekend of the season and we, Ariel, Ingrid and I left the Lou Crew here working. I’d done that once before when I was meeting Ariel in New York when we saw the symphony at Carnegie Hall during the time the bathroom was being done. I had to make myself believe the house would be left locked up the way it should be with the alarm turned on…and it was. And it was this weekend as well. But being quite a distance further from home than New York kind of plays games with one’s mind, especially when that mind belongs to someone whose house has been vandalized. I’ve gotten better over the years but then again I’ve assembled an entire team of “babysitters” for my house when I’ll be away for an extended period. Long and short of it, we returned home early yesterday afternoon and to my relief, and then to my sense of foolishness, I found everything in order, just as I had asked it to be. Baby steps!

Believe it or not, it was a dry weekend. There was rain predicted for yesterday and with the use of The Weather Channel app on my Droid, saw there was to be rain beginning as a drizzle around 4 am and working its way up to frenzied thunderstorm status later in the afternoon, long after we planned to at least be on our way home. But the sun was peeking out from an otherwise dismal sky (we even detected a faint ticking of what could have been raindrops first thing around 7 am but wasn’t) and we packed up our stuff all dry as a bone.

It was a bit on the chilly side this weekend and we thought it would be the perfect time to put our Uni-Lazies to good use, but honestly, it wasn’t a painful chill, but one that was taken care of with a light long sleeve shirt or a windbreaker. Besides, I didn’t pack them. I hope we get to so I can send our promised ‘action shots’ of us wearing them by our fire pit to they people we bought them from. I better write to them and tell them we haven’t forgotten them, just haven’t needed to use them.

Pictures. I got pictures. There was a classic car show at camp this weekend and there were a few I really liked, even one newer car with every bell and whistle known to man, but the one I liked the most was this 1944 Pontiac.  I voted for it for first place but it came in second. In fact, we both voted for the top 2 cars, but my votes won in reverse. My third place pick, the souped up Saturn, came in third place, while Ariel’s third place was altogether different. 

         

We got home half dazed, sort of like in a trance-like state, somewhere between wanting to stay away and taking a nap, but knowing if we did that, that would be the end of it for the day. And then the final blow was that Fiddler, my 8 year old hermit crab was laying dead in his crabarium. He’d recently moved into a larger shell and seemed happy as a lark. And for some odd reason, he moved back into his old original shell and remained fairly motionless for several days. After I spritzed him with some water, he began to move around again and a day later had removed himself from his shell. And that’s how I found him, out of his shell.

And I have pictures 7 and 8 from the work on the house.

          

Campfire Tales

June 30, 2010

I just came in from doing a little weeding in the stone patio in lieu of doing a regular workout downstairs, even though we remembered to fold up the tent’s rainfly this morning to open up my gym. It was a little later than I like to get started down there (I’m so regimented) and maybe it’s the mountain air but since we got back from camping, I’ve been kind of dragged out. Well, working in the fresh cool air did me some good this morning, I’ll tell you that and I feel like I can take on the world. Or at least this little helping of beef stroganoff leftovers from dinner last night I heated up for breakfast. So, either I’ll go move some stone this afternoon or go down to the dungeon and throw some weighs around.

I went to see my doctor yesterday for a follow-up from when I saw him a few weeks ago, the time when my cholesterol numbers and such all came in kind of high from the blood work and I have until November to get them down to where he wants them, through diet and lifestyle change, which I did once and I can do again. It’s just so hard now that the summer is here, the temptation for all sorts of no-no foods is so much greater; hamburgers and hot dogs, ice cream, deep fried oreos. Hmm, hold on, I’ll be right back. I just don’t want to go on any more daily medications that I have to. The blood pressure pill I take is quite sufficient.

 While the rainfly is down, I took this picture of my tent, which, as of this writing, is still parked in the garage and dry. I just though you might like to get a perspective of how big the new condo is. It reminded me of a few other things I never got to tell you yesterday about our weekend. You already know about the rain. It looks like the Rain Man of the Midwest didn’t get to his incantation or maybe his frequency got jammed. Either way, I’ll have to have a talk with him and see what’s up with that.

Rain aside, all wasn’t so rosy there at camp. There was a moment when it looked like the powers that be went overboard this time with upholding certain camp rules, one of which is ‘no unnecessary driving’. If you’re going to leave camp, say to go into town or any reason or to go down by the office to buy some firewood, that’s one thing, but they really frown upon simply driving around camp. After a camp party earlier Saturday afternoon, we ran into a guy we know who was obviously upset about something. ‘Dave, what’s the deal?’ we asked. We know a lot of Dave’s, it seems. One of them is turning 50 in October and we ran into another one in New Hope a few weekends ago, and one tells us how we’ll be missed in Provincetown this year, but I’m getting off the track. Oh, and the voice on the GPS on the cell phone is named David.

‘They got me,” camper Dave said, “the booted my car. You know how they don’t want you driving around. Well, sometimes I do it just to piss them off and when I got back from that party before, they put a boot on my car!” We prefer to not get caught up in camp politics, to not make waves, to just go, have a good time and come back home again, but this news really caught us to the quick. It was just so extreme a reaction from the management. We stood there talking for a while, listening to his story, thinking to ourselves that if this is the way things are going, well, we didn’t know what. When it seemed like we had him calmed down, we said our ‘see ya’s’ and continued on to our own site for some food.

Oh, we had a good laugh, that’s for sure. But we weren’t laughing as hard as when another friend, from Canada, this one oddly not named Dave, told us of the devastation another friend of his, also from Canada, endured from that recent earthquake there. Though Tim didn’t feel it himself, which was curious, because there were places in North Jersey that did; an office building was evacuated from it. This is the picture of the friend’s backyard. I’m making it small so it doesn’t hit you all at once, but if you click on it, it will open to full size.

Okay, one last picture for today. Can you tell who belongs to this iconic swimsuit from 1965? Answer tomorrow!

What Am I Doing Awake?

June 29, 2010

Back today. I’m feeling beat up today. I feel all twisted like a very sore and arthritic pretzel (lightly salted) and my upper lip feels swollen like someone punched me in the face. As long as my teeth are still intact, I can deal with the swollen lip. Oh, man, I’m so sleepy!

Yesterday was a somewhat unexpected yet enjoyable partial day off from work; a sort of preview to my non-Provincetown vacation coming up beginning on Friday. It was a whirlwind weekend capped off with a visit from a long-time friend from visiting from California who was in the area and stopped by for an overnight visit Sunday night before he set off back for home yesterday afternoon.

It was our second camping weekend and we had invited another friend of ours to join us and shortly after we set up the site and were just having lunch he arrived, so we heated up another can of SpaghettiO’s (I know… but it’s tradition) and cracked open another beer after he got his tent set up. Then it was time for some R&R and let the cares of the past week, including that morning which got started late (and then we somehow missed our exit) just fade into oblivion by the pool. I say by the pool but I mean huddled in the smallest spot of shade we could find. I really need some color. I’m whiter  than a fish’s belly.

We needed to be back in New Jersey for a 12 o’clock noon lunch for Ariel’s nephew’s birthday so we hemmed and hawed about what time Sunday morning we should leave Pennsylvania to allow us ample time to unpack the truck, get cleaned up and get to lunch. We agreed, grimacing all the way about it, on 8 AM and to hasten our getaway we figured it would be a good idea to pack up most of our gear, which after supper would be rendered unessential and we’d pack up the tent and scoot and get started on our 2 ½ hour drive back. No sooner had the last of the kitchen gear get packed away when it started to rain. Heavily. So the three of us huddled into the “patio” side of our tent for a spirted few hands of Rummy until it was time for the bonfire to start. Of course the rain had ceased by then, but the damage was done. Our behemoth was soaked and I could swear I was getting dripped on.

The bonfire went on and it usually does, beers were downed, some Jell-o shots were ingested and someone was passing around brownies and just like that it was 2am and time for night night. I set the alarm on my phone for 7:15. At 6 I woke up, panicked the alarm hadn’t gone off and remained awake until it did and yet, somehow, we didn’t make it out of there until nearly 9:30–an hour and a half later than we planned.

Got home, threw all the camping junk into the garage, showered, dressed and headed to the lunch and arrived twenty minutes late. Not bad, really. Enjoyed the food, enjoyed the company and went back to the house for cake until it was time to get back home and open up the wet tent and tarps and wait for Dave.

It was a leisurely evening that lasted into the wee hours and when my iPod refused to turn on so I could play a particular song I’d been talking up all evening, we decided it was a sign that it was time to retire. Ariel took a few hours in the morning to spend a little more time with our company before he went into work and my day began after Dave left, around 3:30 in the afternoon and didn’t end until 10:30 last night, with a break just long enough to have dinner. It’s the end of the month and I’ve got quite a bit to accomplish before end of Thursday before my vacation kicks in.

The Complete Picture

June 2, 2010

I was playing around with my Droid the other day, during a break in the frenetic pace of this past weekend and thought I’d do some housecleaning and take off some apps that seem to be just taking up space on my phone. I got to the WordPress app (WordPress is the host of this blog) which I found a few weeks ago and installed thinking it might come in handy. But the only use I could see for it was to read the blog (which I can do from the saved link in my favorite internet settings) and read the comments. Well, quite under the wire of deleting the app, I discovered I can actually write my blog using that app, and I think I can also add pictures. I”m gonna give it a shot one of these days and see how it turns out.

I went to the dentist yesterday for a cleaning and my yearly round of X-rays. When we got home from the weekend, I had a message on my phone reminding me. I was surprised because I thought the appointment was for next week. All’s good and he wants to bond two back teeth. While I was there, I had forgotten the subliminal suggestion I’d heard on the radio on the way that on the way back I’d stop at Dunkin Donuts. That is, until we started talking about health and dieting and arthritis (him, not me) and overall lethargy and he had to go an mention donuts, so guess where I ended up afterwards? I was stunned. Stunned to see the price of a single donut costs more than the lowest amount per dozen I can remember from many years ago. 99 cents each. I remember when a dozen was 89 cents! But, did I let that stop me from buying anything? No, it didn’t. In fact, it didn’t stop me so much that I bought 2. I also realize I haven’t updated on the weight-loss log for the last two weeks. Maybe that’s a good thing.

I forgot to mention that over weekend I got points for Gary Coleman, but I lost out on Dennis Hopper. The only thing, though, was that my points for Gary Coleman were cut in half…

Okay, well, here is the rest of that picture I showed you yesterday. I have to say the tornado made quite a hit at the party, everyone was impressed and some even took pictures. The Wicked Witch of the East did the censoring in this picture before I was allowed to show it. I think it might have something to do with a particular previously mentioned “log” . Dorothy didn’t mind. Dorothy was on the way to being half lit and too concerned with not breaking an ankle, or anything else.

Happy Campers

June 1, 2010

Tuesday, June 1 and we’re back from our camping trip and as I sit here writing this, the “phantom lean” is hitting me. That’s when, after being on the side of a mountain for an entire weekend and you unconsciously continue to balance yourself, comes back to haunt you. It was a great weekend and not totally without rain, but not while we were away and not so that we had to deal with packing and reopening wet gear. And that was a good thing because this was our first trip with the new monster tent, the portable condo, as someone referred to it.

This was the weekend of the caterpillar. They were everywhere. They even outnumbered the mosquitoes. Caterpillars and flying things that sounded like they were the size of birds so intent on getting to the light inside the tent. I was certain I’d see the sides torn to shreds by morning but after while, after lights out, they moved on, defeated.

So, about the rain… I packed up the truck on Thursday night and within minutes of putting in the last of the stuff, it began to rain. It didn’t last long, but yet it was Mother Nature’s way of letting me know she still has the upper hand. And then yesterday once we were home and nestled comfortably in our red recliners it rained a little. The weekend, all in all, was glorious with the exception of a threatening while on Saturday afternoon when the sky turned viciously dark. We were at a camp-wide beer blast and soon all eyes were skyward, fixed on this:

It passed without incident and we had otherwise warm sunny days and rather comfortable temperatures for sleeping. We didn’t even have to use our UniLazies on this trip.

Also on Saturday night there was another camp-wide party and the theme was “The Wizard Of Oz”. If you recall from a while back I had eluded to something there’d be pictures of, this was it. And here’s a teaser picture. Any idea who is who? 

Our title was “The Ruby Slippers, Before and After”.  Those rays you see coming off those ruby slippers is not magical power. It’s PAIN!I’ll post the full picture tomorrow. Some of you reading might already know because I posted the pictures on Facebook over the weekend. 

There is a new logo and quote for June on the homepage of my website if you’d care to take a quick peek.