Friday, April 23, 2010

The Ups and Downs of Camping

There are so many nice things about camping.  My favorite, by far?  The campfires.  The warmth, the crackles and pops... mmm.  I even took video so I could come back and watch and enjoy whenever I wanted...

But there are also some downsides.  My mom would be the first to tell you this.  Besides the fact that there is no A/C so why would you purposely stay out there, she'd tell you that the biggest downside is that even when you stay somewhere with a bathroom that has electricity for your hairdryer, it's not worth it because the hairdryer will inadvertently whoosh the air up to the ceiling and knock off the years of dust and dead bug carcasses resting on top of the lights and alcoves above, bringing it all fluttering down into your freshly washed hair, causing you to have to shower all over again in the public shower, which you were already grossed out at to begin with.  Haha.

Another downside?  Ticks.  On our first night out, I didn't think about shaking and brushing off every now and then.  So, on the day at home inbetween our two camping locations, I made a discovery and won the award for first tick of the season in the Lee household.  Yay.  Even got the head stuck and had to do some splinter-removal-type maneuvers.  Ick.  I cleaned it up really well, but the area is still slightly irritated.  If I was skin and I got picked and prodded at after having a nasty bug latch onto me for who knows how many hours, I'd be irritated for a while too.  Blegh - makes me shudder just thinking about it.  I definitely did a lot of picking up of my pant legs and brushing off the second time out.  I know, I know, I could walk around with my pants tucked into my socks and my shirt tucked into my pants and long sleeves... but I'm a little more cool than that.  Heh.  Plus it still leaves my shirt neck, which to me is just asking for a drop-in visitior anyway.  Oooh ok I'm shuddering again... moving on.

The last downside?  Injuries.  Jason is Mr. Boy Scout, therefore Mr. Be Prepared.  If I ever ask his opinion on if something should be taken somewhere with us, I usually already know his response (unless it's something trivial) - "I always say, be prepared!"  So, you'd think of all the things we took with us camping, he'd have brought his first aid kit that he's had for years and years, right?  Sure.  So, in the short time we'd actually been at the campsite the first day, all it takes is me getting the area on the picnic table prepared for me to make supper and moving some things around to pick up his lovely little axe and slice my little pinky finger.  So, you might ask - "Why wasn't the cover on?"  It was.  "Why were you picking it up by the blade?"  I wasn't.  "So what happened?"  Well I'm glad you asked.  It's a new one he got recently to replace his old, old, old one.  He'd just finished using this new one to split some wood and had put it back on the table, in its case.  All I saw was a case, so I glanced and grabbed for the main handle.  My pinky grazed the bottom of the head, where the very tip just happened to be sticking out.  After J exclaiming and wondering how in the world I cut myself on it and me having to adamantly show him the tip sticking out of the case, he finally realized... the case was on upside down.  Once turning it into its proper position... well, that looks a little better!  Now I just need to get a bandaid... Aaaaaand of all times for J to ignore his "Be prepared" motto, this turned out to be the one - yes, ONE - time I've ever known that to happen.  Greeeeat.  He figured all we were doing is camping, and what in the world would we be doing that we'd need a first aid kit for?  Well, just maybe in case I decide to go moving an axe not very carefully that happens to not have the case put on correctly!  Hmph.  At least this was why we did the first night camping near home - to learn the things we wanted to have with us, and the things to leave at home.  First aid kits?  Definitely needs to stay on the list.  But I made it through the night with napkin wrapped around my pinky finger, held on by a hair rubber band.  Now who's prepared for anything that comes? :-)

The day after - looks like my napkin/hairband combo let my platelets do their job!

I also managed to somehow smack the heck out of my forearm on the back of the Jeep.  You know Jeeps, with their random hard points sticking out every which-way... yeah.  No great photos of that, but man did it add insult to injury after my little pinky incident, plus added a whole lot of bruising and pain for the next 3-4 days.  It also earned me a nice comment from J on how clumsy I am and how I just can't escape injury.  Gee, thanks - tell me something I didn't already know.

Regardless of the downsides, I still can't wait to go back.  Campfires await me. :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The School Lunch Debate

I'm starting to see more and more about this being publicized, which is such a great thing.  I try my best to eat good, healthy foods that benefit my body, and I can't imagine wanting any different for my family, or for anyone else's kids for that matter.  I can remember sitting in school every day, and how hard it was most days to get through the afternoon classes without falling out.  And my school even had fairly wholesome meals, compared to what public schools seem to be offering these days.

If you haven't seen the blog I'm about to mention before, read up when you get a minute.  It's a school teacher that is eating the same lunch as the kids offered by the school cafeteria every day in 2010, to demonstrate the lack of nutrition and bad quality of food that the kids are having to digest and get through their day on.  And I was appalled when I first read that they only get 20 minutes - 20 - to get through the line, find a seat, eat, and clean up.  Twenty minutes.  Talk about indigestion.  Here is her blog:

I also saw an article talking about military recruits and how many kids today don't even meet the physical requirements because they are too overweight to even join.  They are targeting the school lunches as one of the primary reasons.  Now, we all know there are 2 other meals in the day plus physical activity levels that will lead to overweight issues, but the things they talk about in this article certainly are eye-opening.  It is ironic how they mention that years ago during the war, the issue was not obesity, but inadequate nutrition and stunted growth.  Now the issue is not the lack of quantity of food, but rather the lack of nutritional value and its affect on kids' health - physically and mentally.  Here is the article:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Lees go camping

After finally uploading the photos, I can document the trip.  We've been meaning to get out and camp for a long time and never were able to make it work.  We had all the gear and were itching to get outside and enjoy the nice weather.  So except for the not-so-great timing with the huge pollen explosion of the season that coincided with Easter weekend and our camping trip, we had a nice time.  Very relaxing, and so nice to get away from everything.

Day 1...

Love the tent - it can be completely sealed or can open all the way up to have a huge view of the entire sky.

Backpacking stove.

Trying out one of our MREs - actually was pretty good.  Reminded me of spaghetti-Os.

I love a fire.  So entrancing, peaceful, enticing, warm.

YUMMY breakfast.

Day 2, second location...

Beautiful lake view.

Afternoon visit to the lake.

Rainfly to keep all the condensation and crazy ants off the tent.

Gorgeous sunrise on the lake.

Morning light.

YUMMY breakfast, day #2.

Can't wait to get back out there.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Interesting read

You know, I would usually say that I whole-heartedly support this.  Because there are just some times that words mean absolutely nothing to a student (or just a person) and they'll continue to act up, bully, disrespect, and disrupt.  I noticed it very early on when just teaching preschoolers, so just imagine trying to discipline an older "child" when he or she may very well be bigger than some of teachers themselves are.

But in my mind, that's in a semi-perfect world, with good people.  When I think about children I may have one day, and when I think about the many, many ugly and bad-intented people in this world, I begin to second-guess my above opinion.  Because really, I doubt I'd be comfortable with someone else paddling my kid.  I know I'm not perfect, but I also don't trust others to practice restraint or to know when is enough.  Honestly, how do you decide who is worthy of deciding that kind of punishment, besides the parents?  (And honestly, many parents aren't even worth of that, in my opinion... but different subject for a different day.)

So I don't really know what to think now.  I do know that in today's world, only using "encouraging words" and thinking that will make the ones needing discipline "want" to just act better, in my experience, usually doesn't work.

It is interesting that since the reinstatement of the discipline, behavior has significantly improved, even though only one kid has actually received it.  It's also interesting that it was reinstated due to parental request.

Which kind of brings me to what I'd say is my final opinion on this idea.  In today's world, I wouldn't be comfortable with someone else paddling my kid.  But I'd rather them leave that option to me.  Which really drives home the thought that good parenting makes all the difference in the world.  If a child is raised right and the time is invested in their life to help make them a good person, their discipline shouldn't have to extend to paddling anyway.  But if it was necessary, my thought is that the schools need to inform the parents of the problems, and even send the kids home if they continue to disrupt.  But leave the actual discipline to the parents.  If this was years and years ago, my opinion might be different.  But in this world we now live in, that would be my choice. 

...What's yours?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The week we all turned yellow

So things have been pretty crazy and busy around here, including the pollen.  Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is yellow right now.  I have never seen such thick pollen before.

And this is probably why...
In early April.  At 6:00pm.  No wonder the blooms are taking this chance to go crazy.

This is what sticks out to me the most - the fact that there are tracks in the pollen...

Tire tracks and footprints at the parking garage entrance.

People's footprints walking towards the door at work.

Sick, sick, sick. Gross. Ick. Shudder. Achoo.  Any other words I'm forgetting?