Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Being the night supervisor at camp is starting to become routine. I don't see Jen very much during the week, and I miss her. I'm also kind of like a stay-at-home dad now, picking the kids up from school every day and hanging out with them in the afternoon. I don't really have time to hang out though, because I'm usually either doing dishes or homework. My class is going pretty well - I'm managing to keep up with the assignments, at least. I have my first teaching observation tomorrow morning while all of our kids are in school - I teach and get observed by my professor. Hopefully she'll have some helpful comments. This weekend I have to go down to CSU Monterey Bay for an all-day Saturday seminar. Busy busy busy.

Willow is currently asleep on the bed. This would be an excellent time for me to take a nap too, but I have to go get the other kids from school right now. That means I have to wake Willow up.

More later, if there's time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The character of each week of camp is different. So far this week, the kids have been models of good behavior, but when the sun sets, they want their mommies. The hub (camp office) was busy with a steady stream of visitors, some sniffling with eyes downcast, and some talking about all of the reasons they couldn't sleep.

At sunrise, I watched a clumsy bat try multiple times to enter the safety of its home underneath the shingles lining the side of the covered walkway in front of the hub. During this time, sleepy kids walked to and from the bathrooms, not realizing that the shapes darting around their heads were bats.

Later, driving home, I noticed that my car was running rough and threatening to stall while I was waiting for lights to turn green. It's a good thing we have three vehicles now. I'll miss the cd player though.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm about to start up my second week as night host at science camp. The first week flew by pretty quickly, and reminded me how much I love being up at night. It's nice watching the stars, which are more visible up in the hills than they are down in the light-polluted city. I find it aesthetically pleasing when the mist rolls in, and when the coyotes yelp out their songs. The raccoons are a bit troublesome though. On Thursday night, while I was in the new lodge facilitating the cabin leader break, the raccoons got into the camp office and dumped over the compost bucket that some unknown individual had left there. When I got back, it was all over the mat in front of the door. Even so, when I'm not cleaning up after them, I enjoy watching their antics. I also like watching the bats as they come home right around sunrise.
During the week, I've been getting around 4 hours of sleep a night, which so far has been enough to function on. I'll crawl into the office bunk bed for a few hours between 1:30 and 5:30 AM, and on days the Willow has school, get another hour or two at home. I'm also hard at work studying for the CSET test and doing coursework towards getting my teaching credentials (which I probably should be doing right now instead of blogging). Add to that watching the kids during the day while Jen is at work, and I'm pretty busy.

With that said, it's time to go do some dishes and laundry before I have to pick up Willow from preschool.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Two in a Tree

Two in a Tree, originally uploaded by Corbie.

The Resumption of Nocturnal Activity

There are going to be a lot more photos like this one popping up in my photostream over the coming months. Last night marked the beginning of my time as night host at science camp. My job begins right before the majority of the kids go to sleep, and ends soon after they wake up in the morning. Anybody who can't sleep (due to homesickness, real sickness, or other issues) or gets in trouble for preventing others from going to sleep comes to me. At that point I will put down whatever book I'm reading and help them with encouraging words, thermometer, stern advice, or whatever else seems right at the time. Sometimes I might get an hour or two of sleep myself, depending on the night. Oh, and sometimes, armed only with my camera flash, I scare raccoons away from the garbage.

I think I'll go lay down for a minute, or at least until the pokemon video that Willow is watching reaches its conclusion.

Team Leader

Team Leader, originally uploaded by Corbie.

Recycling 101

Our inservice week ended on Friday with a trip to the local recycling plant. Since Willow wasn't in school that afternoon, she came along for the ride. The tour of the plant started in a small "education" room featuring walls adorned by helpful paintings of the recycling process. Also on hand were plastic containers filled with the end result of the recycling process - plastic pellets and cotton candy-like fluff that used to be plastic bottles, crushed glass, etc. Our gum-chewing guide talked a bit about the process (we're single stream in our area now, which simplifies things on the input end, but makes for more sorting work at the plant), only to be interrupted about halfway through his talk by Willow.


I love the honesty of the very young. They're never afraid to tell you how they feel. The "boring" part was soon replaced by an actual walk through the actual plant, where we were treated to scenic views of mountains of old paper, plastic, and metal. Willow thought this was much more interesting. She was especially intrigued by a forlorn teddy bear resting on a heap of old plastic and paper on the plant floor. We watched as the teddy bear got bulldozed onto a conveyer belt, and waved to it as it disappeared from sight. There was also a sad little stuffed monkey attached to one of the chutes on the second floor, and a dinged up animal mobile hanging at eye level in the work area. In a way, it's sad to see those cast-off bits of childhood in amongst all of the detritus of our throw-away society. Sure, all of the stuff at the plant is destined to be recycled, but it all started its journey there when somebody threw it in a bin somewhere.

Willow's final verdict was that the whole thing was a worthwhile excursion. She spent the rest of the day regaling anybody who would listen with tales of the "becycling place.".

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

As I was dropping Willow off at preschool (which shares a campus with a local high school), I spotted a car with the words, "SENOIRS RULE!", written on the back window.

You too, with a little bit of window paint, can turn your poor spelling into instant public embarrassment. Too bad that kind of window doesn't come with spell check.

This made me think that some seniors don't rule... or maybe their teachers don't. Hmmm.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Mountain Home, with Marissa Nadler, originally uploaded by Corbie.

Marissa Nadler, Mariee Sioux, and Mountain Home at the Hemlock, plus transitions into new routines.

Since I had the week off, I spent the week shuttling the kids to and from school while Jen worked. Leaves have already begun to fall, and it would seem like autumn if not for the unseasonable heat we're experiencing at the moment. Willow has already made a new friend - another little blonde girl. They like pretending to be rabbits together. The girl's dad seems nice too. It turns out he knows one of my coworkers. Small world. The bigger kids have all settled in to their school routine, and Jen even had a chance to do some belated back-to-school shopping for everybody today.

Did I mention that we have a new van? Our schedules are now such (or will be in a couple of weeks) that two vans are needed in order to drop off and pick up the volume of kids (sometimes 5) that need to be transported. Life sure is expensive sometimes. It's a nice van though.

Midweek, I managed to slip away and see a show at the Hemlock Tavern up in San Francisco. I went up alone, but after I'd been there a bit, Greg turned up too, as he often does when good music is to be heard. Mountain Home opened, and turned out to be one guy on acoustic guitar playing folk/country-tinged instrumentals. Nice, but a lot different than what I was expecting based on the songs on their myspace page. Mariee Sioux played next, playing Native American flavored acoustic folk, and managing to be haunting and catchy all at the same time. I'd only just heard her a day or two before while researching the openers for Marissa Nadler, who was the main draw for me. Marissa Nadler plays haunting, reverb drenched folk music, and wouldn't sound out of place alongside 70's bands like Pentangle or Trees. During her set, she even included a Townes Van Zandt cover, Tecumseh Valley. Towards the end, she was joined on stage by two members of Mountain Home for a stunning Mountain Home song (see photo - she hadn't quite memorized the lyrics and was holding them in her hand). Can't wait to hear their cd when it comes out.
On the way to drop off Greg in Berkeley, we got caught in a detour that added a half hour to our trip. At least it wasn't this weekend, because at the moment the Bay Bridge is completely closed down.

Other than this, I've been studying for the CSET (California Subject Examination for Teachers) and doing related assignments. I'm still awaiting to get my box of course materials in the mail, but I definitely have enough work to keep me busy in the meantime.

Oh, and check out this. It's from the readings we did at the Berkeley City Club some time back. More to come, possibly.

R.I.P. Alfred Peet.