Camp

06/27/2011

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If you know me IRL and even in my social media self (@ColleenCentral) you know that I have a bit of an obsession with my former summer workplace: Trail's End Camp.

I worked at camp for four years. Four years of roller coaster emotions, hard work, friendship that will last a life time and fun. I started out as Marc's secretary/Upper Collegiates(now Trinities) camp counselor/Varsity Canteen worker/Costume creator. It was insane....but I loved it. I loved my girls, I loved my co-counselors, I loved the Honigfelds/Goldbergs, I loved being outside and wearing shorts and sneakers every day, I loved showing off my hometown to people from different countries. I was just completely in love. But I pushed myself so hard that I had a stress attack in the last week of camp and ended up in the infirmary overnight. I left camp the day it ended to head back to Dickinson for RA Training. I think my time at camp made me a better RA that year.

And when I went back the next year, I felt so good coming into it knowing that whatever leadership skills I gained from camp, I would be able to take into my career. I worked as the Boy's Head Counselor secretary/Varsity Canteen Worker/Jack of all Trades. I lived off campus that year with my parents, but not being in bunk gave me the opportunity to really bond with Tim and Chantelle and other Non Bunk Staff.

The year after I became the Bookkeeper. I was incredible confident in my place in camp and really did feel like a leader. I hated the micromanaging money aspect I was dealing with and hated the stupid safe, but I liked being there, I liked being surrounded by the fun going on and the people around me. It was Nic's first year and she and I connected right away and soon Tim, Nic and I became inseparable.

My last year was bittersweet. I lived in camp with Nic and we had a blast. I was bookkeeping and was the Special Friend to the Middies so I was helping with bunk duty on Staff meeting nights. And I was going to my internship in Scranton, then driving to class, then getting up and driving back to Scranton, then heading back to camp. My days off were few and far between that summer. But I met Jeremy and had a great time with him. The last day of camp, I was a mess. Watching Nic get on the bus started my tears and they didn't stop until after the last bus left. Tim literally had to pull my arms off of him because I did not want to let go. And I still had 2 weeks left to wrap things up! It was also the year my sister worked in camp, along with 3 of her best friends. That was drama filled, but worth it. I remember leaving camp on my last day and barely being able to see because of the tears.

I know for some people, my obsession with a summer workplace seems silly. But I love what I became while I was there. I love the people who helped to mold me, I love the traditions that still happen year after year. I love that I can stop by at any point during the summer and there will always been someone that I know. TEC really amped up their Facebook page this year, so it has been awesome to see the updates as the summer starts, but I still get teary thinking that I am not there!

I hope that everyone, at least once in their life, finds a place that they can call their other home. Whether that is a workplace, a city, an experience or something else, that kind of connection can't be bought.
 
 
So instead of reading twitter and lurking on TheBump and following my newsfeed on Facebook all night, I figured I should write a blog post. Rather than try and give a rundown of everything that has happened over the past few months, here are some random thoughts and updates!

-I ran for the first time in 6 months at the NEACUHO Fun Run. 2 miles in 26 minutes....sad, sad timing and again, was the last one to come in, but do you know how awesome it is to have 40+ some colleagues in your field cheering and screaming for you as you attempt to sprint in your last 1/4 mile? AWESOME. Now I know the only thing holding me back was caution. My SI joints, while sore, are nowhere near as bad as they were. Slow and steady, my friends, slow and steady.

-So I've been throwing resumes out to positions that look good for the past few months. One of those resulted in an interview in April, which was great, and then last week had 2 in a row and another one coming up in mid-July. So stay tuned, we might be starting a new chapter of our life soon!

-I did my first professional conference presentation at NEACUHO 2011 in Rochester, NY this year. I presented about Spring Give 'n Go at ConnColl and got lots of good feedback! It was also great to connect with colleagues and exchange ideas about how they do similar programs at their campuses. And I felt pretty good about presenting...so much so that I'm thinking about what program proposal I can present at ACPA this year.

-I started reading Game of Thrones after watching the first few episodes of the HBO series. I'm in love with it and having been recommending it to everyone. Of course, I've only gotten through the first book and about 10% of the second one, but they're interesting so I have to force myself to stop reading them at night. Man, it makes me miss those summer days when I could stay up the entire night to finish a book.

-We got our beautiful wedding album back from Lauren. Matt has to keep reminding me to not carry it around everywhere to show people. But with pictures so gorgeous, how can you not look at them all the time!?

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-Diet has been pretty off for me lately and working out hasn't been so hot either, but I'm working on it. I've been obsessively drinking my water, so that's at least one good habit I'm keeping. The stress of waiting for phone calls is getting to me, so I need to focus on funneling energy into working out instead of eating!
 
 
I miss running. I miss my feet pounding the pavement. I miss coming back from a lunch run soaked in sweat. I miss pushing myself to the end of my run, imagining my sister on the finish line cheering me on, dreaming what it will be like to wear a half-marathon medal around my neck. I miss the strength in my legs and my well-defined ankles. I miss exploring different paths around campus, seeing the side of the road from a different point of view, having an excuse to carbo load. I miss running with my brother in the early morning, even if he breezes past me, because I know he'll always run that last 1/4 mile with me. I miss running sprints.
I'm jealous of the people I see running on the side of the road and on the paths. I'm jealous of my friends running races, buying new shoes because they've hit their mileage, hitting new mileage goals. I'm jealous at the ease people can step out onto the road and go.
I hate my flat feet and my damaged SI joints and my floppy ankles and turned-in knees. I hate that it will take months to correct 28 years of walking incorrectly. I hate that it will require braces and orthotics and stretching exercises.
I just want to be normal. I just want to RUN.
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Two of the most fulfilling parts of my life.

First, some food stuff. Matt and I have this binder...it's filled with recipes that we've ripped out of magazines and printed off the internet or that people have given to us...and we've probably used 10% of them. There's a bunch that we use all the time, like the No-Knead bread recipe and the veggie dumpling recipe and the carrot cake recipe...but for the most part, they languish in this binder. I decided, since I was off this week, to make some of these recipes. Last night, I made Spicy Shrimp and Corn Chowder, No-Knead Bread and Coconut Chocolate Chip cookies.
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The soup was pretty delicious, but too spicy for me. It called for a poblano pepper, which I had none of, but I did have chipolte peppers in adobo, so that is what I subbed in. I should have rinsed the adobo sauce off the peppers, because I couldn't finish my bowl of soup! The cookies on the other hand? Freakin' fabulous! There were a Cooking Light recipe (as was the chowder) so it was a small portion, but I think I might double the recipe and bring more with us to Altoona!

Yesterday we also did pancakes in our electric skillet:

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Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes to be exact. They were super runny, so we had to add more flour. Probably not a recipe I would use again, but worth it for a Sunday morning.

Today's dinner was a combination of convenience, a recipe I've made before, and something new. Mini Cheesy Meatloafs, Zucchini Pancakes and Instant Mashed Potatoes.
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I've made zucchini pancakes many times before, but I have a tendency to forget the baking powder, so they were usually pretty flat...but I remembered it this time, so we had fluffy pancakes. I didn't finish my mashed potatoes, because I don't like instant and the meatloaves were pretty yummy.

It looks like my computer battery is running out and I'm ready for bed, so I will finish up telling you about my reading adventures tomorrow!

 
 
So like I said in my previous post about February: It's freakin' crazy!

Here's the rundown:

1. I run the staff selection process for our office. This means advertising, scheduling, and selecting the Housefellow and Floor Governor staff for the next year. Last year we had just enough candidates to fill our vacancies and this year I wanted to make sure that wasn't a problem. I did gorgeous 11x17 posters, did four info sessions and handed postcards out to our current staff to hand to people that said "I think you'd make a great HF/FG!" This resulted in over 100 candidates for 62 positions. I was amazed and excited and panicked. We hadn't expected this many candidates and didn't have enough interview slots scheduled! It was a mad house, but everyone got an interview and we ended up doing two FG group process sessions and one HF session. We know have a kick ass staff for next year and a sizable waitlist as well. Needless, one of the best problems to ever have with selection, but it was crazy. I ate at my desk during lunch more times than I can count.

2. Unfortunately, staff selection was not the only stressor during February. In March 2010, my Uncle Gerry was diagnosed with cancer. He was a fighter and had been fighting for a very long time. We had really started to reconnect again and we were talking pretty frequently. A few days after my last post, he called me to let me know that he was going home and they were starting hospice. It was devastating, because we knew the end was coming, we just didn't know when. Matt and I made arrangements to drive down to Lebanon that weekend and I will be forever grateful that we made that trip. As hard as it was to say goodbye, I would have regretted it forever if I hadn't had that opportunity. He died the next Saturday with his family around him. The funeral was the next week and it felt like I was just fighting to keep my head above the water. I know that he is in a better place and no longer in pain, but that doesn't it make it any easier that he is gone.
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3. The one thing that did distract and bolster me through that week was V-Week and the Vagina Monologues. We had an awesome week of events: teach-ins, panels, speakers, roundtable discussions, open mics and culminating in two glorious shows. We raised over $7000 for the Women's Center of Southeastern CT and made a difference in so many lives. There were over 80 women in the cast and it was so inspiring to see them all together for one cause. It is weeks like that I am so grateful for my job...it makes the small annoyances petty and easy to forget.

We are finally back to normal. We'll be dealing with lottery and working with our new system, but I'll be in much more of a supportive role then a lead role. I do need to get started on Spring Give 'n Go, but I have great students to work with this year to make it much easier!

Matt and I are headed to Altoona on Wednesday to see his parents and then heading to Pittsburgh on Friday to see Mike, Katie and the kids and spend time with our friends and other family members in that area. I'M SO EXCITED! We haven't seen the kids since the wedding and I miss them terribly. AND I get to see awesome W&J folk that I have also missed terribly! I told Marci the other night that I'm going to be the nerd who cries when I see those yellow bridges come into view....what can I say? I'm a Pittsburgh Girl through and through! One of my student's families just moved there and I was telling her about all the stuff to do in the city....she called me a human guide book :)

Tomorrow, I'm going to work on this little blog o' mine and update you on the fun things I've been cooking and the great things I've been reading. Yay for vacation!
 
 
February has always been a busy month for me. I don't think I remember it being so intense in high school, but in college, February was always an intense month. I was usually in or teching a show, working on selection and settling into new classes. I don't think anything will be as intense as my senior year of college, where I was in my senior show, writing a thesis, taking 5 classes and participating in RA selection. Even in grad school I was busy....but this particular February seems to be taking the cake.

The amount of meetings that I have had has been intense, plus I'm trying to run Selection and support V-Day simultaneously. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely  love what I'm doing and wouldn't trade it for the world, but I'm really looking forward to March!
We're planning to head out to Altoona/Pittsburgh to see family and friends during the first week of Spring break when I'm off. It'll be so good to see Matt's family since we haven't seen anyone other than Matt's parents since the wedding.

The other difficult part of my busy February is trying to find time to go to the gym. I do try to schedule meetings so they start at 1:30, but I feel so guilty if I don't have something finished before I leave for the gym, that I then work through lunch and don't get my work out in. And my house just sucks me in so that once I get home, I don't want to leave again. I know that exercise works for me and now that Spin is starting again, I need to re-dedicate myself.

Matt and I did not do well with food today. We were both in the mood to order pizza and went all out and ordered Pizza Hut. So needless to say, there will be healthy food during the Super Bowl for us tomorrow night. Baked chicken, oven fries and some sort of vegetable. Time to head to bed....must be rested up to cheer on the Steelers tomorrow!
 
 
Tonight, I had a pound of bay scallops in my refrigerator. We bought them after Matt went on a tirade about local grocery stores not having local seafood and made him buy them anyway. I went looking for food apps on the iPhone and found a recipe for Lemon Butter Bay Scallops. It was a fairly simple recipe, saute the scallops, keep warm on a plate, then brown the butter, add lemon juice and parsley and serve. Of course, we can't just do things simply in the Bunn household, so we made pasta and Matt toasted breadcrumbs and added some chopped caramelized onions to the breadcrumbs, then we mixed it all together. It was delicious!
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And a Magner's for good measure. It was really delicious. I had every intention of measuring out my 2 ounces of pasta, but Matt ended up serving me and he has a much heavier hand. This is about half of what he originally handed me. I'm estimating at 3-4 ounces here. This is the StopnShop whole grain pasta which is actually pretty good and doesn't feel like crunchy like a lot of whole grain/whole wheat pastas do. I'll definitely buy it again!

We watched Bizarre Foods tonight and he was in NEPA for two segments. In the first segment, he was with the guys from Pennsylvania Outdoor Life from WNEP! Matt did not quite understand my excitement. It's nice to see people you recognize when you're far from home! Then we turned on Biggest Loser because he was grossing me out. I'm still not a fan of this session of Biggest Loser and I'm not sure why.

I've been reading about people doing banana softserve for awhile, so we decided to try it tonight. Matt likes to use the blender for things like this, but I was pretty sure he was going to go looking for the food processor, which he ended up doing. It was pretty simple. Two bananas, a tablespoon of Nutella, process. It really does look and taste like soft serve ice cream!
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We're in for an icy mix tomorrow, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a snow day, but hopefully with power! I'm going to keep the lantern by our bed tonight just in case we need it. Time to head to bed, just in case I do need to head to work tomorrow!
 
 
I am feeling reeeealllly good right now. This weekend was relaxing...we didn't have to travel, I only had to go to campus for V-Day stuff...it was good.

On Sunday, Matt and I had plans to make sausage and ravioli. You know, put all of our KitchenAid accessories to good use! So we went over to breakfast at Harris before we headed to the AT&T store to clear some things up with our bill and change my name on the account. After getting into an argument so that Matt wouldn't argue with the customer service rep, we got called up to be taken care of. They were able to change my name quickly and fix Matt's number so that he no longer shows up as me on people's Caller ID. Then I asked him if he wanted to look at a new phone since his was up for renewal. He has a Nokia bar phone that he calls the "hockey puck" that is an updated version of the phone he had when we met. My phone was up for renewal in May, and I had planned to throw money aside each month to buy and iPhone then. Then the rep told us that I could use his upgrade if I wanted to. So I asked Matt what he thought about getting a 3G since it was on sale for 49.00. To which he replied "If we're going to get an iPhone, we might as well get the most up to date one." So I am now the proud owner of a iPhone 4! So yeah, it's been a bit of an obsession for the past two days. Needless to say, after grocery shopping, we never made it to sausage and ravioli because Matt needed to sleep.

I didn't sleep well again last night so I was afraid today was going to drag. In fact, it was busy and exhilarating. Meetings this morning and then an awesome 40 minute bike ride while reading with the Kindle app on my phone during lunch and a productive afternoon for meetings, selection AND for V-Week. I went to the chiropractor tonight and lost another pound and got new exercises to do. With the amount of exercises I have to do, I barely have to think about working out in addition! But I will anyway, since I have a tendency to forget half of them. Then I had our most successful info session yet! I didn't have enough applications with me for all the people who attended, which was awesome! Now, the goal is to have all those people to actually apply!

I've been following the posts on Feministing and Feministe about the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. If you knew me in high school, you know I was a big supporter of the pro-life movement. I even won a local pro-life speech contest and converted this speech into a speech I used in college speech and debate competition. At Mad Hatter my freshmen year, I was competing with this speech when I had a judge who literally pulled a Roe v. Wade pin out of her bag and put it on her jacket while I was speaking. I was horrified and embarrassed and didn't understand why my ardent little Catholic speech provoked such fervor. I was clueless....and then I did research...and talked to people.....and became informed. I am still firmly pro-life. I truly believe that if there is any way a pregnancy could proceed, it should. I'm also a firm believer in adoption and would prefer that most couples looking to adopt, adopt domestically. But I also understand that sometimes that is not an option. And I am a firm believer that a woman should have a choice about whether or not this pregnancy is for her. When Roe v. Wade was passed, it was passed with the intention of making abortion safe and rare. And this could be the case, if Americans were more open about healthy and safe sexuality and abstinence only education no longer existed.

What the Republicans are proposing with this bill is akin to torture for rape and incest victims. To redefine rape in the way they are doing is going to redefine rape across the boards. So rapists who get their victims so drunk that they can't feel their body, rape and impregnate them, could then say that it wasn't rape because it wasn't "forcible." To take away this option from women is an abomination. If you feel as strongly about this as I do, I encourage you to contact your congressperson and ask that they deny this craziness and protect the rights of women in our country.

And now it's time for bed. I'm glad I wrote this post tonight. I'm still feeling good, although I'm nervous about the reactions to this post!
 
 
It's been a busy week here at Conn!

On Wednesday, the snow fell pretty rapidly in the afternoon, so we got a visit from Owen, my co-worker's baby because their daycare closed. He's gotten so much bigger than the last time I saw him! He's super cute....sigh....I love babies. Anyway, because there was going to be icy ridiculousness later, I canceled my chiro appointment and fretted about whether or not I was going to go home between the end of work and my 3 meetings that night. I ended up going and driving back over before my info session. The info session went well...it seems like there's a lot of interest in the HF/FG/ILC positions this year, which is super exciting! I'm really looking forward to having a big candidate pool this year. Next week I'll be doing more online advertising to pick up those people who couldn't come to info sessions. I'm going to ask Amy to do an all-campus email on Monday for the last info session. Anyway, after the info session, I headed over to Cro to wait for the V-Day meetings to start.

V-Day....not Valentine's Day....V-Day: The Vagina Monologues. We have two amazing producers this year and students who are so thrilled to be a part of the group and doing this work. There were over 50 people at the info session! Shani and I have some incredible ideas for V-Week and so do my WC coordinators. I love that I have the opportunity to do this work in addition to the work I do in Res Life.

I ended up staying up ridiculously late in hopes that there would be a snow day on Thursday, which there was, so I slept in on Thursday and finished up some stuff around the house before heading over to campus for the Centennial Tea. It was really successful and there were lots of students there. I then headed back to the office to drop off my computer, then went to dinner with my WC Coordinators. They're so excited for this semester and I am, of course, excited to work with them. We have V-Week coming up, and National Feminist Coming-Out Day in conjunction with International Women's Day and Take Back the Night and all the other little programs they want to do. We had our staff meeting at 8 and then I finally got to go home to my hubby.

Friday was busy, but very accomplished. I got a lot done in the morning (except for the stupid evals) and met with Shani about V-Week and ran to Target over lunch to pick up snacks for the retreat. I was dying for Pizza Hut, but knew I needed to make better choices, so I grabbed a pre-made salad, carrots and pita chips and hummus at the snack bar instead. The retreat was good and productive. Productive conversation and productive planning. I'm enjoying making connections with professors as well. Mab is really passionate about seeing the center succeed and I'm so grateful for that. I went back to the office and cleared out my email before heading to the chiropractor.

I've been in a lot of pain the past few days, which is annoying, but not something we could easily figure out yesterday. She gave me some new core exercises to do  and when I weighed in, was down 3.5 pounds from my weigh-in on Monday! I was so excited and now I really feel like I'm on the right track. I'm thinking about going to the pool tomorrow and swimming some laps. I haven't swam laps in forever, but it's supposed to be less stress on my hips, so I'm going to try it. I'm also doing a food journal for this weekend and I realized I ate A LOT last night....Matt got ambitious and made me a 3 course meal. I also ate a cup and a half of spaghetti squash. Who saw that coming, right?

Ok, I'm going to read for awhile and wait for Jeanette to pick up the on-call phone on her way back. And not watch Knocked Up for the 30th time.
 
 
Finally back on the blog train! Here are some recaps:

Thursday: Newbie training. We had a great group of new staff members who asked great questions and really enjoyed being there. It was so great to see my staff members and welcome the new ones in during our staff meeting that night. We did pizza for dinner and I made sure I limited myself to two pieces. I'm sure I could have eaten more, but I knew 1. I needed to save pizza for my staff and 2. I didn't need them. I wasn't hungry when I got home although I was stressed. I was exhausted and Matt was exhausted and I didn't get anywhere near fully packed before collapsing into bed.

Friday: Woke up to snow in the morning. We knew we weren't going to get out of here until they sanded the hill, so I was able to pack a little bit more leisurely before we hit the road around 10am. The drive wasn't that bad. We stopped at a cute little restaurant called Ciao in NJ and had amazing bread and pasta. Not whole wheat unfortunately, but very obviously made fresh. We finally made it to Meg and Adrian's around 5pm or so and chatted with Meg for awhile. We finally got dressed to head to the rehearsal dinner. In the course of the 15 minute drive there, every single one of my siblings and my parents, called my phone to find out where we were because we were 10 minutes late. Needless to say, they were happy we arrived. The dinner was at the White Rose in York. We had a set meal so I didn't get to try out a hot stone meal, but my chicken was really good. Of course, my brother's groomsman made it their intention to get him thoroughly hammered. Between shots, fraternity brother songs and icing, he was guaranteed to be sick. We convinced Lauren to do a shot too, but she was good and only had one. I had been in contact with Carly all night about meeting her out and we stuck around after everyone left to wait for her. It was soooooo good to see her...it's been well over a year! We hung out until almost midnight, then Matt took me to Sheetz so I could get a snack. Sadly, he knew exactly what I wanted before I even asked. I guess my Sheetz orders are predictable. It doesn't get any better than Sheetz though. :)

Saturday: Despite the copious amounts of Woodchuck I had the night before, I woke up feeling pretty good. We went to a diner for breakfast with Meg and Adrian, then went to the beer distributor so Matt could buy cases of "good" beer. We walked out with cases of Magner's, LBC Variety Pack, ABC Variety Pack and Yuengling Bock. Needless to say, we're thinking about doing a beer tasting. We loaded everything into the car, then headed to the hotel to get ready for the wedding. The room was great and we were fairly close to family. Megan did my hair quickly and then Matt and I headed to the venue to check in with Sean and situate seating. The ceremony started at 4pm and was short, sweet and to the point. Lauren and her bridesmaids looked beautiful. The lighting was great for using my parents' camera and I got some beautiful shots of her. Unfortunately, they're all on my parents' computer and not mine, so I don't get to show them off. We went up to the house at the site to take family pictures, then went back down to go to the cocktail hour before they announced the bridal party and dinner started. The DJ was good and had people dancing all night. I toasted my brother like he toasted me at my wedding...although there were a lot less tears! After returning to the hotel, then rest of the night was not as fun for Matt, but I won't embarrass him here. I wandered between my parents' room and down to mine until about midnight, when I finally fell asleep.

Sunday: We got up around 9:30 and I sent Matt back to the venue with my Dad to pick up our cars. I finished packing and we loaded our car, said goodbye to people and headed to Carlisle to meet Matt's parents. I had invited Kate, but forgot to tell her what time, so we ended up just being the four of us. We had a leisurely lunch with Rick and Diane, then headed to Sheetz to get gas before getting on the road to Easton to visit Sean and Laura. It was so great to see them! The hard part about living in Connecticut is not being as near to our friends. Their condo is cute and very them. They're getting married at the end of August so we talked wedding plans and we had roasted chicken and vegetables for dinner. I tried parsnips! They were actually pretty yummy. I'll have to try out some new recipes for them. We got home around 10pm and our house was a disaster and we were too exhausted to deal with it, so we just went to bed.

Monday: Back to the grind. But it started with a pleasant surprise! Lauren sent us the link to our wedding photos! They are gorgeous and I'm so happy with them. I can't wait to begin planning the album and thinking about prints. I had lots of meetings all day then headed to the chiropractor that night. Some new exercises (wall sits and bridges) and I mentioned that I was sad I wasn't going to get to run in Fairfield at the end of June and she thinks it's something I might actually be able to do! Fairfield is pretty far away and requires a hotel stay, so I think I may find a race closer to New Lo. Matt was awesome and did a bunch of laundry, but I'm looking forward to having time this weekend to really clean.

Today was another busy day, but accomplished. I'm working on the Women's Center Retreat tomorrow and I have another Info Session for Selection and then V-Day