August 30, 2010

Sunshine Song

A guy I work with at camp showed me this song and I'm in love with it. Sunshine by Matt Costa. It's one of those light songs that you just need to sing along to. I also couldn't just listen to it once. Instead I listened to it ten times in a row, checked that I had the lyrics write, and downloaded it to my itunes so I could listen to it some more. This is when I know it's a song worth sharing.

I'd really like to tell you
Oh my sunshine
Even though your skies are blue
You're drying up my bed
How can I get any rest now?
Sha la la la la la la la

You will get the best of me
Oh someday
Probably when I'm old and grey
I'm lying in my bed
And I will soon be put to rest now
Sha la la la la la la la

I want more Matt Costa in my music library, as I can't figure out how I got on for so long without knowing any of his stuff.

August 29, 2010

The Art of Self-Love

A big part of my summer has been about falling in love with myself again. I feel like I always have so much love to give to everyone around me, yet somehow I forget to love myself. I get so caught up in loving others that I don't set aside the time to focus on myself. I don't take time to treasure all the things my body can do. This past year of school really wore my confidence down and proved to be quite emotionally draining, so I made a personal mission at the beginning of the summer to practice self-love.

I've been trying to remind myself of all the fabulous things my body can do by being active and adventurous. I try to hike, run, swim, jump, canoe, walk, and dance as much as I can. I've even been practicing my solo-portaging skills, playing Capture the Flag, and breaking into a sprint just because I feel like it.

I've focused on the things I love about my body instead of things I wish would just go away.

I've reminded myself of my gifts and talents. It's a good feeling when I can do the mental math to add up someone's hours from the week faster than they can do it on a calculator. It's a nice reminder that my mind is agile, even if Waterloo seems to disagree. I've also focused on the silly things I can do, like singing the alphabet backwards.

I've started doing things I love again. I sing at the top of my lungs. I make sandals out of newspaper and bracelets out of hemp. I read books that aren't textbooks.

I've given myself days off from socializing. I enjoy being around people, but it's been nice to take a Saturday or Sunday for myself. I read, craft, relax, blog, take a walk, listen to music, sing in the shower, and work on the Saturday puzzles.

I've spent time learning about things that I find interesting. I've been looking through books on edible plants, native trees, and cool insects. I've fiddled with my dad's fancy D-SLR, attempting to improve my photography skills. I looked into how to make the fancy friendship bracelet a coworker made me.

I've stopped caring if people don't want me in their life, because I really only need to be around people that want to be around me. I have plenty of people who love me just as I am, so I certainly don't need to hold on to fake friendships. I used to feel pressured to maintain friendships with everyone I was every sort of friendly with, but I've come to realize that this is ridiculous. I'd much rather stay in touch with those who make me happy then waste my energy writing to someone who couldn't care less. After all, a handful of great friends is definitely better than tons and tons of half-hearted friendships.

All in all, I've fallen in love with myself again.

August 28, 2010

Camp Recap: Week Eight

This past week was absolutely phenomenal. I've definitely entered that end of camp panic where I want to embrace, experience, and remember as much of this as I can. Thus, prepare for a photo-heavy post.

+ This is the last cycle of the three camps, so I ran Eco-Warriors for the final time of the summer. We only had eleven campers, which made for a very different experience than usual.

+ Tuesday we made newspaper flip-flops. I had been working on mine the past two times, but usually got very little done since there were so many kids who needed help. This time I actually made some definite progress, because our group of eleven were quite crafty and self-sufficient. Hopefully I'll get them done in the next week so I can wear them around residence this year.

+ Wednesday was Western Day! I dressed up as a cowgirl and Rachel dressed up as my horse. This horse costume was definitely the best costume creation I've ever seen at camp. We took some awesome (and funny) photos during stream exploring that morning.

This is the closest I've gotten to riding a horse in years.

+ Before lunch on Wednesday my group joined with the 8-9 year olds for a game of Capture the Flag. At first I wasn't going to play, as I was already roasting in my western denim. However, two boys in the 8-9 camp convinced me to play, and I'm so glad I joined in on the fun. Running around in the sun and scheming with 9 year olds are the memories of the summer that I'll cherish once I'm back in intense math mode in a few weeks.

+ Wednesday evening was our Juniour Staff Appreciation Night. This is an event where we get a bit dressed up (at least compared to our usual camp shorts and t-shirt combos), thank all the juniour staff for their hard work, recognize the great ones, give awards to the best, and have a fun time. The staff also chose to take some sweet group photos once the event was over, which was a tad hilarious. I also got a reminder that jumping photos in a skirt is a bad idea when I ended up flashing my undies to everyone. Good thing I wear modest undies and don't embarrass easily! A few of us also headed out for a late bite and drinks afterwards. Good food, great company, and fabulous conversation was had by all!

+ Thursday I spent a good portion of the day with the 8-9 camp, as one of their counselors was sick that day. It was certainly a welcome change to be around a different age group, especially since there were some hilarious boys in the 8-9s. (I've noticed that it's definitely the boys of the group that make or break the week for me, and this week in the 10-12s there were only three boys who were all pretty low-energy!) There were two 8-9s in particular that I found totally brightened my week -- the same boys I had played CTF with the day before! They're actually twin brothers, though they're definitely fraternal twins since they barely look related. The two of them were chatty, ridiculous, enthusiastic about camp, major hams in front of the camera, and simply made me smile.

+ The overnight was amazing. The games went off without a hitch and I kept my streak of not being found during Fox and Hound. We also decided to go canoeing during the sleepover, since we had few enough kids to be able to, and I'm so grateful to have this end of summer memory. The water was calm, the wildlife was plentiful, and the sunset was gorgeous.

+ After canoeing I piggybacked one of my campers up the hill, and in return she made me the most delicious s'more I've ever eaten. Yummy!

+ Friday I was exhausted from my severe lack of sleep, but I still managed to have a great day. I also decided to take some more canoeing snapshots. The ones below are a few of my favourites, though many other photos couldn't be posted online since there's campers visible in them.

Only one week left to go, and what a crazy week it's bound to be. I still need to pack and do some back-to-school shopping, I have an eye doctor appointment on Tuesday, I'm hosting a staff social on Wednesday, I'm working the overnight on Thursday, and I move back to Waterloo Saturday morning. Yikes!

Camp Recap: Week Seven

Week seven began the last run of each of the camps, so Adventure Quest happened for the third time of the summer. It was a fabulous week, though more of the happenings occurred later on in the week.

Wednesday was blue day, so I started my day in metallic blue leggings. However, I did change into navy blue shorts for the long canoe trip to avoid melting in the sun.
The canoe trip was a definite success. The weather was beautiful and the water was calm, making for perfect conditions for our last three hour canoe trip of the summer.

Thursday was our all-day hike, which Rachel and I were determined to take lots of photos on since it was the last one of the summer. This was also the night of the sleepover, which was fantastic. There was no call for rain, so I decided to spend the night under the stars. It was a bit chilly, but it reminded me of my times at sleepover camp when we'd sleep under the stars once a week. I'm glad I did it, as it was one more thing I got to check off my summer to-do list.

Cootes Paradise looks gorgeous from the marsh lookout.
Apparently I work with a camp counselor/supermodel.
We took a photo like this last summer, but it didn't turn out quite the same this time around. I still love being on the marsh boardwalk though.
Jackson agreed to snap some shots of Rachel and I, and personally I think they turned out great.
After doing the all-day hike three times we finally figured out how to get to the third marsh look-out point. Success!
A snapshot while sitting outside during tent time. Despite the reminder that "tents are like t-shirts" we still heard some hilarious conversations between our campers.

Friday was a relaxed day, as per usual. However, there was a summer first that occurred. One of the counselors got pied in the face! The Leaders in Training organized a fundraiser that raised a fair bit of money with very little investment.
Here's how it worked, in case you're looking for fundraising ideas. Each counselor has a jar with their face on it. People donate money into the jar of their choosing, and at the end of the week the counselor that has the most money in their jar gets pied in the face. The best part is that it could certainly be done a few times during the summer, if not every week, as there would be different campers to get enthused about it.

Keep checking back for a post about week eight!

August 27, 2010

Camp Recap: Week Six

So once again I've managed to get way behind on my camp posting. Hopefully I'll catch up over the weekend, because there's certainly been lots happening these past three weeks.

Here's a few highlights of what happened the week of August 9-13, as I'm sure you were wondering what I got up to at camp during those five days.

+ A few bugs attached themselves to the group during this week, including this caterpillar that crawled up Jackson's leg Monday morning.

+ Tuesday's survival activity was shelter building. I actually wish I could sleep in this fabulous structural creation. The girls who built it named it "Camp Unicorn". Love it!

+ Wednesday was "Whatever You Want" Day, so I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood. Unfortunately I didn't snap any photos of my sweet costume, but it was perfect. I'll probably be rocking it for Halloween, so you'll likely see it then. A few other costumes included Jackson's "undercover cop"/excuse to have a handlebar moustache for a day and a Jr. Staff dressed as Justin Bieber. Both were amazing!

+ The overnight went fairly well, as there were no major issues. However, we did have to deal with the unfortunate homesickness of two campers come bedtime.

+ I relearned how to solo portage a canoe! By Wednesday I was able to do it well enough to actually put a canoe away myself. (Although Kristen did spot me. I was wobbly and I'm still not the most confident in my portaging abilities. Hopefully that will come with practice!)

Stay tuned for recaps of week seven and week eight!

August 21, 2010

Casey Haughland Photography

One of my best girlfriends, Casey Haughland, has a passion for photography and design. She'll be starting school for graphic design in September, but she's also been pursuing photography more and more over the past year. I've had the honour of modeling for a few of her shoots. It's been quite interesting to see her photography skills develop with every class she's taken and photo shoot she's done.

I have featured a few of her photos on my blog in the past, but I'd really like to highlight some of my favourites.

Check out more of her work on her blog or Facebook page!

August 18, 2010

Overwhelmed by September

Lately I've been overwhelmed when thinking about going back to school and back to Waterloo in only a few weeks.

I haven't even started with my packing or back-to-school shopping, despite the fact that I know there's so much to organize. I need to go through clothes, food, cleaning supplies, decorations, bedding, school supplies, organization, toiletries, and so much more. I should probably at least start making a list of everything to combat last minute forgetfulness.

And on top of packing I'm already realizing how insanely busy I'm going to be starting the very moment I move in. I'm an orientation leader for the math faculty, which already means I'm in for a week of little sleep and lots of nerdy cheering. I also have a meeting with my fellow Student Catholic Community executive to look forward to during Orientation Week, as well as Residence Council business that will need tending. Mix all these things together and you'll get a girl who isn't quite ready to dive into the chaos. In fact, I'm trying to keep this coming off my mind as much as possible.

Unfortunately, this year still seems to be constantly on my mind. I need to look into research opportunities for next summer right away in the fall if I want to be a serious contender. I also know that I need to pull my grades up if I want to ever be awarded a summer research opportunity at any university, which will be a major challenge and time commitment. I've decided I'm going to do my best to think about this difficult task only enough to motivate me to do some review these next few weeks, because I still want to make sure I'm enjoying my summer days while I have them. I need to get some sleep and enjoy camp life while it lasts!

August 8, 2010

Camp Recap: Week Five

Monday was a civic holiday, so I had the day to relax. I actually ended up spending most of the day working on my costume for week six and hanging out with my family.

Wednesday was Space Day! I dressed up as a space robot, which involved painting my whole body grey, wearing a foil-covered box, and donning a pie plate with antennae. I actually spent Monday and Tuesday night making the box part of this costume. It was definitely worth it, because the costume was a true gem!
Even more entertaining was that there was a company BBQ for lunch that day. I ended up going in my costume, which was hilarious. I got quite a few stares from the gardeners, interpreters, HR people, and other non-camp folk. It seems that camp people are the only ones who ever understand my antics. Also, hilarity continued to ensue when I attempted to eat a hot dog. I couldn't reach to put ketchup on it myself and I could barely reach my mouth. According to my camp director it was the funniest thing he's seen all summer.

Thursday I slept over, as per usual. Thankfully this week was less chaotic than the past weeks. There were still some hectic happenings, but there fortunately weren't any thunderstorms or late-night homesick campers. However, overnights always mean staying up late since the staff need to stay awake a few hours past lights out. Luckily it's down time for us though, so I played Monopoly Deal with some other staff.

Friday was exhausting, as it's always challenging to run a day of camp when you're tired from lack of sleep. Luckily we always plan for this when scheduling for Friday, so we never have anything too intense. There was also post-camp prep, as per usual.

August 7, 2010

Letters in my Head

I sometimes do this weird thing where I think in letters. It always amuses me once I realize I'm doing it, because I think about letters to places and things instead of people. Plus my "letters" are usually just a single thought or two.

Here's a few from a month ago that I had written down and recently rediscovered...

Dear Canada,
You are beautiful and I love you.

Dear lobsters,
You aren't that delicious, yet you are expensive and hard to eat. I think I'll just keep you in the ocean.

Dear canoe muscles,
I am so glad to be using again. I can't wait to fully have you back. You make me feel wonderful!

August 4, 2010

Sermons We See

This poem by Edgar Guest is one that's always touched me dearly. It talks about the power of leading by example instead of by word. If you want to make a difference in the world then show the world how it's done! It's easy to come up with plans and ideals, but it's much harder to put them in action.

Hopefully I'll have an opportunity to share things like this in my role as a Student Catholic Community Executive starting in September! Lately I've been trying to re-collect all the poems and stories I love in preperation for the coming school year.

Sermons We See

I'd rather see a sermon
than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example's always clear;
And the best of all preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it
if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons
by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you
and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.

August 2, 2010


Part of my required wear for camp is a fanny-pack which holds a basic first aid kit, as well as anything else I choose to throw into it. I usually keep my camera and a Sharpie on hand.

Anyways, I've always loved the convenience of a fanny-pack. I can carry everything I need for the day while keeping my hands free for activity. However, I definitely understand that there's a bit of a social stigma to wearing a fanny-pack in the real world. This would be a major fashion faux pas, so I kept the practicality of my fanny-pack as a camp only thing.

But then this summer I changed my mind about the fanny-pack thing. I decided that I didn't care how unfashionable I was. The convenience of my fanny-pack was too hard to resist. It's so nice to not carry a purse that I finally caved. A fanny-pack can hold all my necessities without keeping my hands full or causing me to worry about where I put things down. I know having it clipped around my waist is certainly not at all fashionable, but I've actually managed to convince myself that it's not that bad. In fact, if I wear it backwards (with the pouch over my bum) it basically just looks like a belt from the front. Plus I haven't gone so far as to rock it with a dress yet. So it's not that bad, is it?

August 1, 2010

Camp Recap: Week Four

This week was the begin of the second cycle of camp programs, so I ran Adventure-Quest for the second time. The program ran smoothly, but there were certainly spurts of chaos and awesomeness.

1. The staff situation was definitely in disarray this week. As I mentioned in my last post, Jackson has a foot injury. For this reason, Brittany replaced him for the week (except for Friday, which she had taken off). However, Rachel also had Thursday and Friday off this week. We found a fill-in for Thursday, but ended up short-staffed on Friday. By the time I got home I was exhausted.

2. One of the boys caught a crayfish when we went stream exploring, so they fed it two minnows they managed to catch. This probably sounds gross, but it was actually super cool to watch.

3. Wednesday was Hero Day. Instead of going for a specific superhero I decided to fashion a costume similar to what I would have worn as a kid. I cut some fabric into a cape, wore undies over spandex shorts, and sported a strainer as a hat.

4. The three hour canoe trip was windy and wavy, but overall it went fairly smoothly. We even managed to beat the storm that hit soon after we got off the water.

5. Wednesday evening was mid-summer training. Basically, we ate dinner and then did team-building activities. This included a sweaty time huddled together on a tarp, which was a tad uncomfortable. My only real complaint is that working so many extra hours this week was exhausting.

6. The all day hike was even more of a success this time around, as it wasn't nearly as hot. We also made more stops to play games, since I didn't have to worry about any of the kids getting heat stroke. Plus we found a large millipede with pink legs, which was amazingly cool.

7. We finally had an overnight that allowed us to sleep outside for the whole night! It was also a nice sleeping temperature, because it was cool enough to bundle up in warm clothes and huddle in your sleeping bag.

This week's lesson:
cool nature + adventure + staff bonding = awesome memories

Camp Recap: Week Three

Again, this is incredibly overdue. I keep hoping to have the energy to blog, but camp is so draining that I usually fall asleep before I even have a chance to begin blogging when I get home from work.

1. Wednesday was Retro Day! This is possibly my favourite costume day, though it might be tied with pirate day. I rocked a fabulous eighties look--bright red, textured leggings with a big, sequined and embroidered sweater. The hair and lipstick were definitely perfect finishing touches. I think this is my favourite outfit I've ever had for Retro Day in all my years of camp. As an added bonus, the outfit was super comfy. I'll definitely be the leggings, and maybe even the sweater, to my regular wardrobe.

2. The overnight was indoors again, due to thunderstorms that were to occur early Friday morning. Fortunately we still got to do all our evening games and activities outdoors.

3. During a game of Capture the Flag Jackson, one of my co-counselors, tripped on a pothole and suffered an ankle injury of some sort. We later discovered he had torn a bunch of tendons, so he's been immobile for a while now.

Basically, the week was both amazing and chaotic.