Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'm at work right now. The rest of the family is over the hill, towards the sea, at a birthday party, near a burned patch eaten by one of the recent fires.

There's a fire here too, and music, and dancing. The Tian Hua I-Kuan Tao Foundation is having their annual summer camp at our site. Unlike our summer camps, this one lasts a mere three days. I got here right before they lit their campfire. The way they decided who was to light it fell somewhere between ceremony and game. Although, who's to say that a ceremony can't also be a game? Not me. The campers formed conga lines and danced to some chanting and music. When two conga lines met, a ro-sham-bo contest took place, with the loser adding his or her line on to the back of the winner's line. Eventually, there was only one big line, and the boy at the front received a crown and cape, and then a blazing torch which he used to ignite the waiting logs.

While watching, I had a moment of deja-vu. I think I dreamed something like this, where a fire was being lit and I couldn't figure out whether I was watching a ceremony or a game. It's interesting when lines get blurred like that.

Sometimes it doesn't make a difference. Sometimes it makes all the difference in the world.

(wait a second while I try to tack some meaning on to that last thought... I have a bad habit of typing things without thinking them through first, and I'm left with empty profundities)

Maybe it means that we have to choose what is important, and that different things are important to different people... that different ways of approaching life sometimes come into conflict.

I think I too often approach life like it's a game, without planning for how the game is going to play out.

(meanwhile, happy music plays in the background, accompanied by the sounds of people clapping and dancing)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Willow and I went and got a couple of new sleeping bags today. The kids' sizes were pretty damn cheap too. Now Nate won't freeze. The other one is for Willow - her sleeping bag is cloth, and prone to dew-induced dampness in the mornings. We also got a couple of princess-themed water/snack bottles for the girls (there's a compartment at the bottom for snacks), a new shirt for me, and um... a zombie movie. That's right, nothing but the necessities.

Friday, July 18, 2008

We're halfway through the summer camp season now. Every Friday, the kids come home worn out, filthy, bruised, and fulfilled. Today, Sophie had a big bruise on her hip from excessive hula-hooping. After I pulled into our driveway, Nate complained of feeling carsick, so he sat down in the shade on the front lawn to drink some water and wait for the queasiness to pass. I herded the other kids indoors so I could bathe the girls, but figured I'd better check on Nate before I got too wrapped up in the additional herding project required to actually get the girls into the bath. Sure enough, he was asleep out on the front lawn, his head resting against his backpack.

Part of the problem is his inadequate sleeping bag. Last night's sleepover proved to be much colder than last week's. It's off to the store I go to fetch him a better one.

Oh, and today the local paper reported that there's a measure on San Francisco's November ballot to name a building after George Bush. Normally, I wouldn't support such foolishness, but upon closer inspection I noticed that the building in question is a sewage plant.

Why stop there though? Picture this: The Dick Cheney tannery. It would definitely get my vote.

Currently listening to: Breathe Stone "Angels of the Four Winds" 3" cd

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jen's up in S.F. at the Blogher conference, being busy and productive, and hopefully having some fun too. The rest of us will be sleeping at camp tomorrow night, and then the three older kids go off to their dad's for the weekend. Jen gets back Sunday night, and the kids get back Monday morning, just in time to go to camp again. Somewhere in there I've got to finish some homework assignments (I still find it weird that I'm in school during the summer) and do some cleaning around here. Right now, I'm enjoying that wind-down time that falls between the kids going to sleep (not sure the boys are asleep yet...) and me going to sleep. I'm pretty tired too, so I'd better wind down fast. Not sure what happens if one goes to sleep partially wound.

Maybe springs snap.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm just starting my third week of summer camp. After having a big group of small kids, it's refreshing to have a smaller group of big kids this week - they're a bit more focused and don't need as much reigning in. It's cooler too, which counts for a lot. Of course, all of our kids are up at camp again. It's great that I'm allowed to bring them for free. It would literally cost thousands of dollars if I was paying for all of these weeks of camp.

Over the school year, I got so used to having my days free that it's almost a shock to not always have time to get to a lot of the basic things like cleaning dishes and clothes. In a way though, it's easier - I never have to stop and wonder what I'm going to do next. There's always a million things that need attention. I'm somehow managing to find time to do school work too. I've got a few more weeks of my 2nd term, and then a few weeks off (both from work and school), which I'm sure will be filled up with other things. For the present though, I'm definitely not bored.

Also, I've relented a bit in my previously uncompromising attitude about the uselessness of video games - Wii Fit is actually quite useful. I've been using it to work out for about a month now, and I'm actually seeing positive results. I guess it was only a matter of time before somebody invented something like this. Between all of the hiking and the video game assisted workouts, I should be in great shape by the end of the summer, as long as I can resist the call of free ice cream at camp. So far, so good.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Willow's First Camp-out

Willow's First Camp-out, originally uploaded by Corbie.

We're already at the end of the second week of the six weeks I'm working at summer camp this year. The kids have been going just about every day, with the exception of the very first day when the boys elected to spend the night at a friends house so they wouldn't have to get up at sunrise to get to camp on time.

Camp leaves them filthy, sunburned (despite constant re-application of sunblock), and tired, but everybody is having a good time. Nate is exercising his leadership skills to good effect, Alex is thriving, Sophie spends most of her time in the pool, and Willow is existing in a state of perpetual excitement, going on night hikes with me and hugging and high-fiving random people right and left. In the picture here, Willow is waking up after spending a night sleeping on the field with all of the other kids. Two weeks in, and I'm still honing my skills at simultaneously being and employee and a parent.

As part of my teaching credential program requirements, I got observed teaching a lesson (on the pollution tolerance index) down at the pond. Due to the 100 degree weather, my faculty adviser only stayed about fifteen minutes, but I guess she saw enough to evaluate me. I wonder what the other teaching credential students do when they need to be observed during the summer months. They probably don't jump into ponds with kids following behind like obedient little ducklings.

The temperature has been high over the last few days, but today it's cooler and breezy. Lots of fires continue to burn in California, and I hope the breeze doesn't cause them to jump containment lines. Things could get even messier than they already are.

Lately, I've been spending less time writing here, and more time writing entries over at my music blog. I've even written a few entries the old fashioned way - on paper. I feel that I'm at a crossroads of sorts. Many paths can be seen from there. They say the Devil hangs out at such intersections though.

Currently listening to: Diamanda Galas "Guilty Guilty Guilty"