Thursday, July 31, 2008

Family Night Canceled AGAIN

Our horrible weather here in New England this summer continues on and on. Just when we thought we were finally out of the "thunder/lightening/torrential downpour" weather pattern, it comes back. The beginning of the week was gorgeous. It was even a pretty nice day today. But the weather reports were calling for some bad storms tonight. The administrative staff at the camp spent most of the day checking the computer to see what they were saying about impending storms. They were reporting the usual thunderstorms with high winds and hail. However, it was hot and sunny out - I guess we found it hard to believe bad weather could be coming. Finally, around 2:30 pm, the decision was made to cancel. There's nothing like the thought of 75 wet, cold and frightened children to make you think twice about having a campout in bad weather. The decision to cancel was not made lightly. It entailed a lot of work in calling parents to let them know it was canceled so they could A) not show up at the camp at 5pm, and B) get to the bus stop and meet their kids who would now be taking the bus. It also entails freezing all the hamburgers, hotdogs and rolls that were bought for the BBQ. Of course, things never go the way you think they will. So far tonight we've had two 2-minute rain showers. That's it. No thunder. No lightening. Nothing. Figures. But I'm not blaming the camp for making the decision they did. Better to be safe than sorry. I'm glad I wasn't the one making the decision though. The one time I did - I did NOT err on the side of caution and I paid for it...literally. The kids' elementary school was having a "Santa Breakfast" on a Saturday morning. Since I was the PTA president, I was running it. I ordered AND pre-paid 12 dozen donuts and 12 dozen muffins from DD. Even though weather reports were calling for a snowstorm, I made the decision to go ahead with the breakfast. We woke up to about a foot of snow on Saturday morning. The breakfast had to be canceled. But the donuts and muffins were already bought. So we went and picked them up and put them all in ziplock baggies and froze them to be used the following Saturday at the make-up Santa Breakfast. We found out - way too late - that frozen and thawed donuts and muffins are pretty disgusting. We won't be making up the Family Night. We have a parent/camper lunch next Friday and we usually order pizza, but we'll have hamburgers and hotdogs and rolls from the freezer instead. I hope they taste better than frozen donuts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Odds and Ends

Just a bunch of little stuff to chat about......
My old Aunt Izy moved from the town next door into Salem in May. She called about two weeks ago and invited Hubby and I to see her new place. We've literally been so busy we haven't been able to go see her. I hope she doesn't think we're avoiding her.

Hubby and I got to babysit Emily this afternoon. I had called to see if I could go visit her before they leave on vacation, and DIL said she had a dentist appt. and asked if I was coming to visit anyway, could I babysit? Of course!! Hubby came home from work and joined me. She's as cute as ever. Hubby was counting to five with her and she actually said the word, "Five!" wow! She enjoyed playing the ukulele with Pepere:

The weather the past couple of days has been gorgeous. These are the days its a pleasure to work at a summer camp. Unfortunately, it's supposed to turn rainy with thunderstorms tonight. Tomorrow night is the make-up Family Night we had to cancel from last Thursday when we were having monsoons. I'm not sure if they'd postpone it again or just cancel it.

Hubby's car wouldn't start coming out of work on Monday. He had it towed to a garage and I went down to get him. The garage didn't even look at it yesterday, and today they called and said it was the starter. Hubby has put in TWO used starters since he got the car two years ago. Each time cost about $50 for the used starter and Hubby did the work. This time the garage put in a brand new starter and, with labor, it was $269!!!!! It damn well better not EVER give us a problem again!

Besides family night on Thursday, we have Hubby's work cookout on Friday afternoon and then we're going to see friends sing at a coffeeshop on Friday night. Saturday we have Hubby's family reunion, and Sunday (weather permitting) we'll be going to visit my parents at their campground. Once again, I will have to go back to work on Monday to rest!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wendy's Baby Shower

We had Wendy's baby shower yesterday. For those who don't know, Wendy is Hubby's daughter. Our second grandchild is due September 15. They already know it's a boy and are naming him Noah Frank. (Frank is Tag's real name).

Hubby's sister Peggy and I collaborated for the shower. It was at Hubby's mother's house, where Peggy also lives. She set it all up on the patio in the yard. We were extremely lucky, because we got the shower in and everything cleaned up literally minutes before it downpoured and began thundering and lightening.

It was a "modern" shower in that all the male members of the family stayed. Hubby wanted to be there, as did Wendy's brother Kenny. Her uncles stayed and so did her cousin, Ryan. It was more of a family party than a shower. Wendy did get dozens of beautiful gifts. She seems to be all set with the big stuff.....carriage, car seat, swing, etc. Hubby and I are getting her a crib, which I just ordered last night. I did notice that she didn't get any bedding for the crib.... hmmm.... Memere needs to do a bit more shopping!

Sitting next to Wendy is her boyfriend, Allan. On the other side is her half-sister Tracy.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Emily's First Birthday

It's so hard to believe my sweet grand-baby is already a year old! Her Mom and Dad gave her a big birthday party today. Here's the story in pictures:

Emily wore the dress I made her for Christmas.

She checked out all her gifts before the party started. She especially liked the tissue paper.

Emily and her cousin Lillian enjoyed playing in the pool.

Emily thought it was fun to dip her hands in the water, then clap them hard enough so she could drink the splashes.

Her Mommy made her get out because it was time for cake!

Her Nana (aka Kara's mom) made her a Duckie Cake.

After much discussion, it was decided that Emily should have the Duckie's head!

She didn't hesitate to see what the frosting felt like.

Emily thorougly enjoyed her cake!

She even licked the plate!

At the end of the day, when Emily was exhausted, she was happy to snuggle with Great-Grandma.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

No Family Night!!

Hurray! Family night was postponed, thank God! My first reaction was, "Yea! That gives me another week to learn how to fold the $@# Origami Cranes!! Seriously, the camp day itself should have been cancelled. A summer snow day. On the way into work the downpour was so heavy I should have pulled over to the side of the road. The day varied between incredible downpours and thunder and lightening that seemed to be happening directly over our head....or.....sunshine. There was about 1% sunshine and 99% rain, but it was still a weird day. Needless to say, it was a very difficult day. We only have so many indoor places for kids to go on a day that's as bad as today. It was a long day and very tiring. Thankfully, one of our staff suggested an "adult staff meeting for staff over the age of 21" after camp ended at the Chili's down the street. A couple of margerita's and some cheese fries later....I was feeling just fine! Our Color War break was also postponed. Color War is when they take the entire camp and divide it into two teams. For the next three or four days the two teams particpate in competitions that range from field games to water races to spelling bees, etc. It's a lot of fun but very hectic. The "break" is the exciting moment when the kids find out Color War is starting and find out who the "Generals" are as well as what team they're on. I thought the break was Wednesday afternoon, only to find out it was planned for Thursday afternoon. Since I usually don't do any art classes during Color War, I had no plans made for today. Big Time Scramble!! But I pulled it off. Then we didnt' have the break this afternoon either. Thankfully, it will be first thing tomorrow morning. Good thing since by this time in the summer I am running out of crafty ideas. The big thing at camp this summer for some reason is Beadie Animals. I have run out of pony beads and I'll need to get some more this weekend. On the other hand I have lots of gimp, which is usually the huge fan favorite at camp. Go figure.

Family night #2

Tonight is our second family night of the camp season. It will again involve the Camp Hadar BBQ pit. This time Hubby is not coming to the family night. I don't blame him after the last time he came and spent the whole night selling raffle tickets and giving out prizes. This time he'll stay home and have a nice supper ready for me. Last time I was offered inedible, black, hockey puck hamburgers and couldn't eat them so he had to take me to the 99 for supper that night. Not a bad deal, actually! I really thought Family Night would be cancelled. The weather this week in New England has been horrendous. We've had rain and some very severe thunder showers. They even had a tornado siting last night! I watched out the window last night as there was just continuous lightening for a half hour or so. The weather today is supposed to be bad. Even though about ten minutes ago the sun was shining, right now it's raining. And we're supposed to have some pretty severe downpours and thunder and lightening all day. I'm glad I'm not the one who decided whether or not to have the Family Night. Our theme for tonight is "Scavenger Hunt". Each Specialist (Arts and Crafts, Athletics, Music, Judaic Culture, Waterfront and Boating) has to have some kind of small activity for the families to do. Each family has to visit each Specialist and complete the activity, which will count toward their team for Color War. (Color War will be the topic for another blog!) It's a bit difficult, as the activity for Arts and Crafts has to be a "make-it, take-it". Last year I made the mistake of offering fuse beads, which the kids love. I didn't take into consideration that I'd be ironing fuse beads for two and a half hours in the 90 degree heat! This year I've decided to teach them how to make an Origami Crane. First I have to figure out how to do it myself and practice it enough so it looks like I know what I'm doing! All it's absolutely pouring out! It's going to be a great day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

King Cutlet

There are several places around town that are institutions. King Cutlet is one of them. They used to be right in the middle of town, in an area we call "The Depot". They moved out of there a couple years ago and the little string of shops where they were located was torn down. They put up some huge monstrosity - an uppity-yuppity restaurant/club that we can't afford to go to. Luckily, King Cutlet moved to another location in town. For whatever reason, I haven't been there since they moved. Hubby has been bugging me to go, egged on by my father who keeps telling him what a delicious place it is - my dad becoming feral when Hubby indicated he might take my dad's King Cutlet coupon. Last night we were at loose ends for dinner, and Hubby suggested King Cutlet. We didn't have a coupon (thanks Dad) but we went anyway. We got it can eat-in at the little tables but it's not if we take it home we don't have to pay for drinks or a tip. I got my usual chicken cutlet with cheese, sause and mushrooms. I got the "regular" size. Hubby got the same, minus the mushrooms, but he got the x-large. We also got a side of fries. Hubby's sandwich was a monstrosity, much to his delight. He ate the whole thing. I did what I usually did....took the cutlet off the bun and ate it on a plate without eating the bread. I don't like soggy bread, and the cutlet itself plus the fries is more than enough for me for a meal. Now that we've conquered King Cutlet, it's one less place I haven't taken Hubby. We still need to get to Thwaite's Market in Methuen for their homemade tomato sausage and meat pies, and also get to Harrison's in North Andover for their unbelievable roast beef sandwiches. The life of food connoisseurs never ends.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Saturday was a long day, chock full of fun things to do. My parents like to go on bus trips. They have a couple of companies they go with. One of them planned a trip into Boston. It included a trolley tour, lunch in the North End and a tour of Fenway Park. It sounded like a fun trip so I asked my parents if we could join them. We left our house at 6:15 am to get to my parents so we could drive together. Unfortunately, this bus trip leaves out of Portsmouth, NH, so we drove north to get on the bus to drive south again into Boston. We got there about 9:30, just in time to get on our chartered trolley. The trolley driver, Russ, was a native Bostonian and a history teacher. He was informative as well as very funny. You could tell he enjoyed his job and was anxious to make sure we all had a good time. He drove us all over the city and pointed out areas of interest along the way. Being a history teacher, he had tons of information about many historical landmarks in Boston. We saw everything from MIT, to Harvard, the Back Bay, the Aquarium, the Statehouse, Fanuiel Hall, Haymarket, the USS Constitution, and much, much more. The trolley ride was approximately an hour and a half long. Russ dropped us off right in front of the restaurant where we were having lunch. It was called Maggiano's. They sat us all at a long table and served everything family style. We had our choice of garden or Caesar salad. The main course was both Lasagna and ziti with chicken and mushrooms. We got nice hot bread with oil to dip it in. And dessert was Tiramasu and cheesecake. It was very good and we all came away stuffed! Our last stop was Fenway Park. Our tour guide took us around the park and stopped to have us sit in the seats while she gave us the history of the Red Sox and the park. She was very informative. Even though I'd been there before, I learned new things about the Red Sox. We went inside the press box, and also got to sit up on the new seats above the Green Monster. This was the only disappointing part of the day. I was hoping we'd get to do down on the field and actually stand where the players stand, but there was a wedding about to begin and I think they rushed us a little to get out of there before the wedding started. Hubby was disappointed he didn't get to go into the media booth where the famous "Rem-dog" announces the game. It was about 7pm before we got back. A long day but a lot of fun. We saw new things in Boston we'd never seen before, such as Rose Kennedy's garden and also the Victory Gardens that are still being used. Enjoy the slide show to the right of the blog. We took 135 pictures! But I sorted them so you wouldn't have to look at 45 pictures of the Green Monster!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Holy Mackerel....what a day at camp! There had been rumors going around for a week that we would be having a practice drill. There are several different Codes at camp.....Code Red for fire, Code White for medical emergency and Code A for a missing camper. Sure enough, halfway through the morning we hear "Code White". All campers need to be escorted to the Moadon (hebrew for recreation hall) and all certified life guards go directly to the spot of the emergency to help. Things were going well ..... I was sure it was a practice drill. However, when I heard over the walkie talkie that 911 should be called, my blood ran cold. Perhaps it WAS a real emergency! I then heard that the backboard was needed and then that someone should go to the end of the road to wave the ambulance in. I was in the Moadon supervising our counselors-in-training as they sang songs to keep the campers amused, and wasn't able to know what was actually going on. Finally, I stole a look out the window and saw the "victim" sitting up casually on the backboard chatting to the administrative staff. It WAS a drill! Part of me was so thankful, and part of me was so angry that I'd gotten duped into believing it was real. The radio talk was done on purpose to make everyone believe it was a real emergency. They certainly fooled me! Unbelievably, in the afternoon.......over the walkie talkie came another Code A!! This time I was certain it was real and it was. There's never been a real Code A in the four years I've been at the camp, so again my heart ramped up into overtime as I searched the cabins behind my art room for the missing camper. It turns out it was a miscommunication....the camper had decided to join the group who went boating without telling anyone. It was assumed he was lost.....and he was just out in the lake having a great time. Again, I was glad he was okay.....but I sincerely hope this is the last time we go through this for the rest of the summer!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Post Office

I feel like I might have finally struck a blow for the eradication of junk mail! Lately we've been getting so much junk. Not just for us, but for daughter Jamie, son Nick and stepson Kenny, all of whom have lived here for periods of time in the six years I've been here. If it were decent mail I'd send it on to them, but it's all junk. Mostly credit card offers ....and mostly from Chase. I swear I get two or three PER DAY! between all of us. So I began writing in black marker "Return to Sender - This person no longer lives here!" and throwing it in the corner mailbox. I wasn't sure what would happen....I was hoping it would really go back to the sender and they'd get the hint. Today I got a very nice note in my mailbox from our mail lady, saying to please let her know whose mail she could leave in our box and whose I didn't want. Hurray! The Salem Post Office must have been getting my return letters and realized I was sick of getting all that junk mail. So I wrote a very nice note back saying Thank you, and please only deliver mail to Karen or Frank (Tag) Vennard and NOT to anyone else .....including Karen Naylor! (Since I haven't been Karen Naylor for over two years!!) I hope it helps. I don't know what will happen to that mail now...whether the Post Office will just trash it or if they will really send it back. Either way, I don't have to look at it, or dispose of it. The only problem is the junk mail I'll still get in our own names.....but I might try the same thing I've been doing for catalogs. I get so many catalogs. I do order things online a lot, and it seems that if I do, they start sending me paper catalogs. I dont' want their catalogs. I order online so I don't have to look at catalogs. So I began sending emails to the companies who send me catalogs asking them to stop. So far I've gotten emails back from each of them saying that yes, they will might take a month or two because they send out mailing lists early. So I haven't had the chance to see if it's working yet. But I'm going to try the same things with the junk mail (especially Chase) and see if it helps.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Last Pottery Class

Tonight was the last of the 6 week pottery class my Hubby gave me for my birthday. I've really enjoyed it. I always wanted to try it and now I'm glad I did. I'd definitely go back for more lessons....although it's kind of expensive. I came away with three coffee mugs, four bowls, a plant pot and a candle holder. Tonight we glazed everything. I was surprised when she told us we would spend one whole night glazing, but it turned out it really did take that long to glaze everything. First we had to "wax" the bottoms....the glaze cannot touch the shelves in the kiln or the pieces will stick to it. A good way to tell if a piece is really hand-made and fired in a kiln is to look on the bottom and see if there's any glaze there. Then we had to decide what glaze we wanted to use. You could pick one for the whole pot, have a different glaze on the inside, double-glaze for a layered effect, or just add a second color onto the rim. I did a little bit of everything just for fun. I'll throw some pictures up after I pick up the pottery in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Camp Hadar-opoly

One of the workshops at my summer camp is "Board Games". Hubby and I were discussing it one day a few weeks ago and came up with the idea to make a new board game - "Camp Hadar-opoly". I have a fabulous graphics program and was able to come up with graphics for every space on the board.
It's designed, of course, around the regular Monopoly game. Each set of "properties" is an area of camp: Arts and Crafts, Athletics, Music, Judaic Culture, Swimming and Boating.In between there are spaces for Transportation - instead of the Railroads we have the Blue Bus, the Red Bus, the Car Riders and the Bike Riders. In lieu of Community Chest and Chance cards I made spaces to either lose a turn or take another turn: Caught Being Responsible and Drinking Lots of Water - take another turn. Forgot Sunscreen and Late to Swim Lessons - Lose a Turn.

The "GO" space that you start on is Flagpole, and the GO TO JAIL space is "GO TO THE OFFICE". Jail is the director's office!

It was a lot of fun to do. Of course it took more time than I thought it would and by the time I was finishing it I was sick of the whole thing, but I will enjoy giving it to the "Mitzvah" for the year.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Love the Weekend!

Working at camp is so exhausting. It's go, go, go ....constantly. Thursday night was Family Night, so we had to stay until 8pm. Everyone was extra-busy all day long getting everything ready while still doing our regular thing with the kids. The activity for the night was a Carnival. The counselors and kids made up the carnival games. We had a big raffle table and a prize table for the kids to redeem their tickets that they won at the games. I was assigned to sell raffle tickets for half the night and then take care of the prize table the other half. I certainly feel bad for those poor people who work at Chuck E. Cheese giving out the prizes. It's kind of a zoo! At one point there were so many kids surrounding us I felt like I was being attacked! Hubby came and helped me out for the evening....God bless his soul! Today was a beautiful day so we decided to go to a State Park. We try to find a different one every time. We went to Silver Lake State Park in Hollis, NH. It was pretty big, with a long beachfront and tons of picnic tables. There were tons of people there, but still plenty of room for us. We swam, ate ice-cream from the little store, and read on the beach. A nice comfy day. Since we were so close, we called daughter. Jamie and asked her to come with us. She was busy but called back and suggested that instead of us bringing our BBQ to the beach, we could bring it to her house have a BBQ with her. We sat out on her tiny back porch and grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, drank some raspberry wine and talked. We left when it got dark. Tomorrow we plan to stay home and putter. Actually we have bunches of errands to do, but they're all local, right in town so hopefully we can get them done quickly and be home.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Hazy, Hot and Humid. That's how it's been the past three days. Strange weather we're having this summer. This is our third week of camp. The first two weeks were rainy with lots of thunderstorms. Now we have the heat. I guess I shouldn't complain since we're better off than other parts of the country. It was nice to come home today and turn on the air conditioner and take a cold shower. Summer camp is flying by as usual. We're halfway through the third week already! And there are only eight! Yikes! I'm totally immersed in it. It's hard fitting in everyday things like grocery shopping, laundry and cleaning. Especially when I come home so wiped out. This will be tie-dye week at camp. It's one of the most fun things we do. Every group participates - although I learned the hard way not to do every group on the same day. It's so hard to find enough clothesline and hangars for 110 kids! This year I spaced it out so I'm doing the five groups in a two-week period. I'm going out with my girlfriends tonight....a great chance to catch up and hear about the two weddings that happened since the last time we met.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mom's 70th Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated my Mom's 70th Birthday. My parents were camping with my sister so we all went up to the campground for a surprise party. Neither of my parents knew we were coming. We kind of just showed up one by one until it became obvious that something was going on, then my sister and I brought out the Happy Birthday banner.

It turned out to be a beautiful day, despite the weatherman's predictions of rain. We spent most of the day like this:

The "kids" (AKA the grandkids who are now ages 17-28) went off to the lake and did some swimming, played some new game that involved throwing balls at a target and went to the field to play frisbee and football. The "old fogies" sat around and talked. It was a nice relaxing day for everyone.
We had brought a cake and all sang Happy Birthday and Mom blew out the candles.

I hope she enjoyed the day she had with her children and grandchildren. It looks like maybe she did.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fourth of July

Fourth of July this year was pretty odd. Not like any other Fourth of July I've had. We were supposed to go to a concert/fireworks on Wednesday night. It's in the neighboring town where my brother John lives and we've gone there for several years now. The concert was to begin at 7:30. About 6:30, the skies opened up with another downpour and the thunder and lightening were right above our heads. Needless to say, we did not go.

On Friday- the fourth - we had made plans to go to John's house for a cookout. It ended out being a cook out/eat in because the weather was overcast and chilly. Instead of sitting outside in the sun, going in the pool and enjoying summer weather, we stayed inside and chatted and played MarioCart on my brother's Wii. Very un-Fourth-of-July-ish.

We left my brother's around 7 and thought about going to the fireworks in our own town. But the car is acting up - we're trying new spark plugs today -and it was getting late and we didn't want to fight we stayed home and watched Boston's concert and fireworks on TV. Ugh.

I did hear the booms of the town's fireworks outside about 9:30 and went out to the back of our condo building and could see the fireworks being set off about a mile away. Hubby came out with me and we stood in our PJ's in the backyard and watched what we could see of the fireworks.

Not the most wonderful Fourth of July - but at least I got to visit with family and I did see a little bit of fireworks. sigh.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Am I Living in America?

Tomorrow is "Red, White and Blue Day" at summer camp. The staff likes to get all dressed up for our Special Days. I was woefully inadequate on "Pirate Day" this past Tuesday, but I always make sure I dress appropriately for Red, White and Blue Day because I love to honor our country. Last year I found a red T-shirt with a flag on the front, but I wanted a new shirt this year. I like to wear tank tops to camp because T-shirts are just too hot.

So after work I went to Wally World (aka Walmart) to get a Patriotic tank top. Unbelievably there was absolutely nothing....NOTHING....patriotic in the store! I expected to see a display at the front door with Stars and Stripes paper products and clothing, maybe some small flags for kids to wave. There was NOTHING. I checked every department including the men's department for anything patriotic. NOTHING! You would never even have believed we have a major holiday coming up in just a couple of days.

After Wally World I went to KMart....again....NOTHING! I can't believe these major chain stores aren't taking advantage of a holiday to strip consumers of some of their hard-earned cash. Sadly, I didn't get a tank top. I'll wear last year's T-shirt. I'm disappointed that two of the major national retail chains don't have enough love of America - the land that made them great- to offer Patriotic wares so people can celebrate the love of their country.

Catching Up

It's been a busy few days. Once camp starts I get so immersed I forget about everything else. I haven't touched my cross-stitch in two weeks, and I'm reading about 15 minutes of my book every night before I fall asleep. Just keeping up with housework is a challenge. It's not just the hours I put in at the camp, it's the extra hours I spend prepping, looking stuff up online and shopping for supplies. It's only the second week in and I'm exhausted. Last night was the second-to-last night of pottery. We skip a week for the instructor to go on vacation, then it's back for one more week to glaze all our pieces. I didn't throw any new pottery last night. That really is the technical term for making pottery on a wheel - throwing. Although, as you can well imagine, we dont' really throw it. As a matter of fact, the goal is to NOT have clay flying all over the room! We did learn how to "hand-build" and we trimmed and decorated the pieces we had and learned how to make handles for our mugs. I ended out with three mugs, a flower pot, two or three bowls and a votive candle-holder. I'm satisfied. Step-daughter and I went to Target on Sunday to register her for her baby shower. As it turns out, Hubby and Step-daughter's boyfriend ended out coming too. They abandoned us when we went down the aisle with the bottles and started discussing the merits of various breast-pumps. We found out later they went to the video game section of the store. It was fun to walk around the baby aisles and just zap items with the scanner. Kind of a "dream" shopping trip. We didn't hesitate to zap anything we thought she'd need....and a few things she just wanted. The shower is the end of July. Gotta get cracking on the invites. Short week at camp because of the holiday on Friday. Thank Goodness. But we have so much planned for the weekend it'll go by in a flash and be Monday again!