Sitting on Babies

I’ve never been much of a babysitter. I would get sporadic jobs, sure, but I was always too busy with this club or that activity to bother having a steady one. Plus, I never considered myself good at babysitting. Creativity always escaped me when I tried to play with kids.

I stepped in for a vacationing friend today, for two grade school aged girls. We did everything from explore the park I grew up playing in (but they’d never been to), to making an impromptu “water party” since we didn’t have a pool at our disposal, to showing them how to play Every Word on my Kindle, to them attempting to teach me how to actually play Mario Kart (no success). It was so wonderful to be with such innocent, honest, affectionate people. And to have people watch you while you read aloud with as much emotion as you can muster about a class of mythical creatures called Animal Fairies, and to give piggy back rides all the way back from the park (with all the drivers’ looks to boot)…I hope my children are lightweight, like to laugh at my dumb jokes, and stay young. And I hope I can stay home with them at least sometimes.

What Flying Feels Like

Live music is just the best. Being surrounded by music, bobbing your body in whatever way you please, singing along, being surrounded by other listeners…it’s just a great feeling. Anything, from my little sister’s piano playing, to a huge outdoor concert, to singing by yourself, to a choir during a religious service. Wow.

Ingrid Michaelson was playing at the Pageant, a smallish venue in St. Louis, tonight, and since no one else seems to be visiting this fine city on tour this summer, I found myself there. I say I found myself because sure, I’ve heard of Ingrid Michaelson, but I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan or anything. But, wow, I actually had goosebumps for a song, and at one point I was thinking to myself, “This must be what flying feels like…”

Ingrid’s style of songwriting is really neat top. Give “You and I” a listen…it just sounds like, “Ah, I have this thing in my head that I just have to get down on paper because I don’t want to forget how this moment feels because wow it’s just PERFECT and holy cow it actually translates to words, I had no idea, dang, this is actually good YESSSS.” At least, this is what songwriting would be like for me if I had that talent. It’s just so full of life and feeling.

The Birds

It’s Friday the 13th. And I just watched The Birds. Outside. It was kinda freaky, actually, because real-life birds would swoop across every once and a while. Then again, it’s very easy to feel invincible on Art Hill, with the statue of Saint Louis at your back, so it was mostly laughter throughout the crowd, not screams.

I don’t get that movie though. What was Hitchcock thinking? Did he want to show the futile-ness of fighting nature? Just because? He wanted it to have no plot? To horrify ornithophobics? Just to sit back and laugh while everyone boggles over it? Wikipedia says it’s about female sexuality. Whatever. Must everything be about sex?

It is so very difficult to psycho-analyze birds. The entire movie feels like being in an animal. First this, then that, then that…constant distractions. Maybe that’s the point. We’re rather more similar to animals than we think? But if he wanted to make that point, he wouldn’t have been so subtle. No. There’s something else there, but I haven’t the time or the energy to grapple with it. Especially if it turns out Hitchcock was pulling my leg.

 

Great Moments

  • It had been my dream, ever since my first year as a camper 7 years ago, to be the announcer of the Dutch Auction (an activity where campers attach as many items as possible to their person and get a point for their cabin for each item the announcer calls off). At last, this announcer dream came true, and it was so cool to see the girls’ faces light up when they realized they had the tie-dyed shirt or the 1998 penny.
  • I am a wall-sitting champion, at least amongst the camp counselors. I believe the final time was 6 minutes & 20 seconds. I could barely walk the next day, and the sides of my thighs are rock hard.
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  •  I get goosebumps a lot more these days: maybe it’s a side-effect of medication or getting older, but I had full body goosebumps for a majority of Brave. I also got pretty major goosebumps while watching the cabin’s performances of their rewrites of popular songs.
  • A fire ban was issued for all of camp, so we created a campfire out of cardboard, Cheez-it boxes, streamers, and flashlights.
  • It’s traditional for the counselors to party and stay up most of the last night of camp. This year’s adventures involved stuffing most of the counselors in the back of a van and taking them on a joyride.
  • Watching the sun rise over the Missouri wilderness.
  • The counselors produce a musical every year, which involves parodies of show tunes about camp. My favorite is the “Circle of Life” rewrite, mostly because I got to act the part of Rafiki. When I became too old to be a counselor, my younger sister took over, and it was so cool to get to come back and watch her take on my role.
  • For counselor dress-up, I was a “French painter” (whatever that means) and a little 6th grader painted the most marvelous mustache on me. However, my French accent left a lot to be desired, however.
  • I met my pen pal, Maria, at camp in 2007, and we’ve been writing ever since. She’s from Tennessee and goes to college in Virginia, so I hadn’t seen her in 2 years until a few days ago. We caught up over lunch, and it was just so fantastic to see how writing has kept us connected.
  • I had a very small role at camp this year: I helped out in the evenings only, and it was humbling to be in that position. I didn’t receive a counselor award, or get any notes from campers, or a staff t-shirt. It was humbling to help and not be overly noticed, to say thank you for not being recognized or thanked.
  • One of the counselors plays guitar and has begun to write some of her own songs. She trusted us enough to sing them, and that was equally as humbling.
  • It’s not what you’re doing, it’s who you’re with.
  • Your heart just keeps growing bigger and bigger if you allow it.

Goodreads & the Olympics

All I did today was sign up on Goodreads and add any book I could possibly think of that I’d ever read. Now I want to re-read all my old favorites, like the Little House on the Prairie books, and I found myself wishing that some of my favorite authors were still alive so I could write them letters, like John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Some of the books brought back memories, like how I cried so hard when I read Stargirl for the first time in the 4th grade, or how Out of the Dust touched me so much, or how much Endgame scared me. How my 4th grade teacher read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban aloud, or how I discovered Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Mustache Mary in the bookmobile one day and fell in love with the series. How I couldn’t sleep after reading about aliens in one of those Dorling Kindersley books. How I read every Boxcar Children book I could get my hands on. Loving the original Nancy Drew mysteries. My American Lit teacher reading aloud “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” sophomore year and the entire class laughing uproariously.

Books hold so much. They’re heavy with how we connect ourselves with them. I love how there are so many, and how rewarding they are. My Goodreads account has quite a long “to-read” list associated with it now, as well!

Happy Fourth! It was too hot here for fireworks, but I went to camp tonight to help out and was fed barbecue. I also had an egg broken on my head as a part of the camp Olympics. The entire camp split in two: half had an egg Saran-wrapped to her head, and the other half jumped on an egg person’s back with a flip-flop in hand. While egg person runs around, flip-flip person tries to break other people’s eggs. I was an egg person, and it was like being in the Hunger Games.

The best Olympic game, though, was each cabin chose one camper to have shaving cream put in her hair. Then the rest of the cabin stood in a circle and threw cheese puffs at her head, which, if thrown with enough force, stuck to the shaving cream. The best cabin molded the girl’s hair into a bowl, and they got 201 cheese puffs in the bowl.

Oh camp, how I love thee. Also, this is the best collection of tags I’ve ever had on a post.

Advice

Some of my most emotional moments have taken place while I’m driving. As a person can only cry so much, I needed a distraction from whatever’s weighing on my mind, and as a typical, average person, I turn to the radio.

So, if you need a good laugh, imagine the song is about a sandwich. Seriously: whether it’s to a sandwich or describing a sandwich. It’s one of my favorite mind games. You haven’t lived until you’ve crooned a Beatles song to a sandwich you have pictured in your head.

If you don’t need a good laugh, then imagine the song relating to God, if possible. It’d be pretty difficult to get “Sexy and I Know It” to be a song from God or to God, but “What Makes You Beautiful” could certainly be from God to you, and “Your Song” could be from you. This is also great if you have a song stuck in your head if you’re at Mass or whatever religious service you might find yourself at.

And then there’s Don’t Stop Believing, which, if it comes on the radio while you’re crying on your way home from a bad day of work or something, is a sign that the universe is working in your favor.

Also, have I mentioned that my favorite food is a sandwich?

EDIT: Michael Rossmann, SJ, over at The Jesuit Post agrees with me!

On the Sidelines

All I did was watch stuff today, from Avatar to a TED talk about life in the outer solar system. When’s it going to be my turn to create something? And what the heck am I going to create?

I guess this is creating. This isn’t very original. Blogging. Writing. Journalling. I have to start somewhere, though, as my mother would probably say.

Also, I cleaned up my Listography a bit, and I am almost done creating my New Year’s Resolutions. Now, my New Year’s Resolutions aren’t your typical, run-of-the-mill New Year’s Resolutions. For one thing, I call them “missions”, probably because I was too obsessed with espionage when I was younger. Second, I don’t make them on New Year’s. I set up a list on my birthday, which is in late January, and the number of items on the list corresponds to the age I’m turning. So, I have 19 missions this year. I only need to think of 2 more mission ideas and I’ll finally have the 19 list set in stone; right now I have everything from (13) Try a peanut butter cheeseburger to (3) Run in a half-marathon to (15) Organize an epic party. I have 7 checks on the list already.

This list, along with my other missions list (Current Projects, Bucket List, Summer Bucket List) will most likely become a page in the near future. That way I will look at them more and maybe things will happen. Like creating something!

I just got back from camp preparation and I did a lunge workout today. Good night!
EDIT: My New Year’s Resolutions are now listed under “Mountains”.