10 Things I Learned at Camp (pt 2)

For the next two weeks, Mom and my sister were off at camp… which meant that we had only three people in the house. I was cook part-time, and housekeeper, and student.

  1. Reading a biology book cover to cover is fun. In an effort to implement what I was reading in How to Read a Book, I read my biology textbook cover to cover. I can’t really remember much… but I know that there’s a lot of carbohydrates and fats, and of course Mendelian genetics I’ve known since I was twelve. I’ll be going through it again, this time with a fine tooth comb, but I found out that getting the high-level stuff is quite enjoyable.
  2. Blisters are not that bad. I was walking on the treadmill barefoot, because I don’t like my shoes most of the time, and if I have to get shoes on, I’m never going to walk. Hence, a couple of blisters, because I was walking faster than I probably should have. 
  3. Your father and brother will not remember where the bread knife goes. It has a little spot to the right of the bread’s cutting board. It’s made specifically for the bread knife. But aforementioned father and brother believe the counter is the best spot for it.
  4. Movies are awesome. I’d forgotten how awesome. On the 2nd and 3rd I watched about 6 movies off of Netflix.
  5. Days pass really really quickly. Two weeks disappeared in the blink of an eye. I’m not sure what I got done and what I didn’t. (But then again, I can’t really remember what I did today, let alone  a week ago).
  6. I am a minimalist. I may have stated this before, this minimalism thing. It really came home while I was dusting and I realized that the one reason I wanted Mom back was so we could go through everything in the house and throw out what we no longer needed or used.
  7. Reading was easier when I was little. I drew this conclusion because I think I was slightly more disciplined when I was younger. Back then I didn’t know what romance novels were, and thus couldn’t get sidetracked. Also, back then, online lending libraries didn’t really exist.
  8. No one really knows how to boil pasta in this house. I made my brother boil pasta. About two minutes into the process, I realized the water was supposed to be boiling BEFORE the pasta was put in. We had slightly brown smoky spaghetti for lunch.
  9. Cleaning a big house sucks. I’m not sure which part I disliked most… probably the fact that I kept taking breaks every hour or so… and moving really slowly. It turns out if you don’t have much to look forward to that day, everything takes ten times longer than it would if you were anticipating, say… someone coming over at 4pm. Everything moves faster the hour before the guests come.
  10. I’m probably a good candidate for hermitude. The house suddenly seemed very small with two more people in it.

On Friday I’ll put up a great deal of updates. I’m not sure what they’re about yet.

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10 Things I Learned at Camp (pt 1)

I was a counselor at the Romanian Archdiocese’s summer camp this year (7-13 year olds). I had 4-8 girls in my cabin. This is a post of all the things I learned during the two weeks of being a counselor.

  1. “I Can’t Fall Asleep” only happens the first night at camp. I’m not sure what the purpose behind this statement is, but I’m guessing it’s testing out the limits. I simply told them that it takes 15 minutes to fall asleep, and that I’d tell them when the 15 minutes were up. (I, of course, fell asleep in about 5 seconds). After the first night, we only had moans and groans about nap time, which persisted the whole two weeks.
  2. The inventor of “three more bites,” “you can’t have any more spaghetti if you don’t finish your broccoli,” and other such statements was a genius. I don’t know where I absorbed these things from (I certainly never did it consciously), but they burst out of me on the second or third day of camp, after one girl after another had ignored the ‘icky’ part of her meal in order to grab a second helping of the ‘yummy’ part. Having  stated that everything on the plate must be finished, I firmly held my ground and most, if not all the girls, ate everything on their plate before having dessert, lemonade, or second helpings of spaghetti.
  3. “No dessert if you don’t…” is a fantastic incentive for listening to your counselor. One of my girls was a little wild child, running with the boys to capture grasshoppers, hornets, bees, wasps– you name it, she was trying to find it. As a counselor, my job is to keep the girls together at all times while keeping them interested, happy, and what-have-you. Grasshopper Girl did not understand this, and would go running off while I used the facilities, or had to make sure that the table in the dining hall was cleaned, or whatever. She taught me more than the other girls combined, including the fact that revoking dessert is usually a very powerful motivator.
  4. Taking away dessert for a long time is not a good idea. Grasshopper Girl lost her dessert for a week after repeatedly going past the safety boundaries near archery. I quickly, to my chagrin, realized that, having lost dessert, Grasshopper Girl could not be threatened with anything.
  5. A little bit of dessert for good behavior is also a great incentive. Grasshopper Girl was speedily told that if she was good, she could have a little bit of dessert. (This was a win-win, as she got a little dessert, and the other girls and I could split the rest of hers.) The interesting thing about this is that Grasshopper Girl was happier to have a bite of chocolate chip cookie after the archery incident, than she was to have a whole chocolate chip cookie BEFORE the archery incident.
  6. How to Shout. Grasshopper Girl and Miss Ballerina (who stayed with her grandmother and little brother in their cabin because she didn’t like sleeping with strangers), must have some deafness (or really, really good concentration), because I learned how to shout without hurting my voice (too badly). With as many acres as the property has, and as noisy as kids are, (and as tired as your feet will get), shouting is sometimes the only way to make your voice carry. I have scared people before by shouting for the girls while being next to other campers. The idea, if you want to learn to do it, is to suck your stomach in as you’re shouting. 
  7. Kids are nice once you know them for about three days. Many, many of the older boys  think that a lot of dumb things are cool and funny and awesome. Like twisting a waterbottle until the cap shoots off and then inhaling and breathing out the water vapor formed. This actually is pretty cool, but they don’t quite understand the concept of throwing away the waterbottle and the cap after using it, instead of leaving it in the grass. They drove me nuts, until I saw a couple of instances where they were being ‘normal,’ instead of trying to impress people. What I saw then impressed me, and made me be a whole lot nicer to them in future encounters.
  8. You can get a whole lot done without talking. One morning in the second week I didn’t speak to my eight girls from 8am (when I woke them up) to about 10am. Two hours in which I got them: dressed, teeth brushed, hair brushed, beds ‘made,’ up to the dining hall, fed, table cleaned, down to prayer (with skirts and head coverings on). I had to talk partway through because one wasn’t feeling well at all. They thought I’d lost my voice, and asked me, at one point, if I’d answer the priest if he asked me a really, really important question. I’m glad they don’t understand anything below a certain level of decibels, because I was talking to the priest right in front of them at breakfast. 
  9. Twelve year old girls are impossible. They need to change their shirts, pants, sunglasses, all the time. They don’t have anything to wear, despite their entire suitcase being all over the cabin floor (I don’t have any energy to make them clean it up during nap time or at bed time, when they should). The younger girls take the older girls’ example and start with the same idea.
  10. Kids have to learn to do things by themselves. Little Questioner, the seven-year-old whose grandmother stayed with us in the cabin, is one of the sunniest, happiest people I know. She also has a question for everything (“What time’s breakfast?” “Are girls swimming before boys?” “Do I need my sneakers?” “What are we doing after nap time?” “How long is church?”), despite the answer being mostly the same. If she has a water bottle in her hand and is in a room full of tables, she will ask, “Where can I put my water bottle?” I learned and implemented (sometimes not very nicely), the art of asking HER the question, or guiding her through the thought process of how to find a cup so you can drink water from the water cooler

I’m certain there were a few other things I learned, but currently these are the ten things I learned in two weeks of being a counselor at camp. Part 2 deals with what I learned while being with my father and brother at home, while my mother and sister are away at camp. It’ll show up sometime in August.

Accomplishments #9 and #10

June 30th:

– Finished Return of the King, which was great.
– Also Finished Two Towers, before Return of the King.

July 1st:
– Woke up using Sleep Cycle, which was very fun except for the factt that I stayed in bed 20 minutes over time in order to check out the graphs and such. oops!
– Cleared out my gmail inbox, which does not understand when I delete something in Mail. It’s clean. I’m happy.
– Formatted Perfume for printing.
– Formatted the One-Pass Revision by Holly Lisle into a quick checklist to refer to regularly.

 

Accomplishment #8

I cleared out my inbox and parts of my archives and parts of my folders (then stuffed foldered emails into four folders: Writing To Do (which will be deleted ASAP), Scott Young, School, College Reference). School is for Romanian literature in the public domain, and College Refreence will disappear May of next year. I cannot wait. College searching is no fun when you have to put everything on hold for two weeks. All I can do now is locate textbooks for something to do in the next few months (and that is a whole other complicated thing I tried but didn’t succeed at today, because the parents have been away all day and I find I need an older-person opinion).

Also, I read a lot of things on how to edit, in preparation for Camp-NaNo-which-will-be-called-Editing-Month. After reading all those, I figured out a ‘quick’ 13 step process that I think will work best for me. Here it is, reproduced for your benefit. (you can find all the resources I used by googling ‘how to edit a novel’ and clicking all the links on the first page, then googling ‘one-pass revision’ and using the Holly Lisle link that pops up)

1. Read through. Check for bad plot, bad storytelling, etc. Use Chuck Wendig’s two column thing for the writing and storytelling.

2. Re-outline the beast as you read. (chapter, plot, core conflict and changes, comments)

3. Have the theme, subthemes, micro summary, main character story arc, and blurb written down. Print them out, hang them somewhere where reference to them is easy.

4. Do 10 scenarios. Find the best way to tell the story.

5. Do the re-re-outline, based on one of the ten scenarios. (same as the re-outline)

6. Take a deep breath. Print out the manuscript if you’re going to print it out. If not, save the Scrivener file somewhere, back it up, and duplicate the first draft somewhere. Don’t touch the first draft).

7. Print out the One-Pass Revision checklist which you either have created or will create.

8. Begin the One-Pass Revision. Take notes in a notebook next to the computer if necessary. Keep revising. NEVER GIVE UP.

9. Having finished the one-pass-revision, you will have good scenes, lovely grammar, and pretty spelling. Few typos, also. Make it clean, now, by making sure that there’s only black text. If you do the print-out, this is the ‘type-everything-onto-the-computer’ stage. Once you’ve done that, you’ve got

9b. Fix any typos you may have made while typing up.

10. Print out again, this time in ‘book’ form (or perhaps a Kindle). Read the whole thing out loud. Fix any malingering typos or weird sentences.  fix the typos on the laptop.

11. Give the manuscript to an ‘editor’ or ‘agent’ (or very good friend you trust to critique it)

12. Make any other needed revisions suggested by the agent-editor-friend.

13. Regale in awesomeness.

Tomorrow comes the step of assigning each of these steps to a certain day in July. I’m definitely not expecting to FINISH this in July, as actual real-life camp will interfere for 14 days, but I am planning on getting at least part of this done. Wish me luck!

Accomplishments #6 and #7

I forgot to post yesterday, probably because… well I can’t remember. But at any rate.
June 27th:
– Finished College Admission by Robin Mamlet and wrote a review for it on GoodReads.
– Finished Assessment 9a.1
– Reached 57% in Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

June 28th:
– Finished Assessment 9a.2 and 9b.1
– Reached 75% in Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
– Sewed the beginning of my two wrap-around skirts
– Grammarchecked my mother’s translation of something for church.

Accomplishment #5

The accomplishment for today is quite simple. Last night I couldn’t fall asleep, mostly because I was trying to figure out how to do a todo.txt file with a Command Line Interface (CLI).

Well, the problem was that the other two times I tried to do this, it didn’t work. I’m not sure what I did wrong back then, but I did do something wrong, and so I gave up in a huff– twice. Today, however, I’m not sure what I did, but I basically went through all the problems and the ideas until I got through it all the way.

So, as shown here, this is what my todo list likes.

The second accomplishment, perhaps a bit smaller, is that I totally took back everything I said in regards to the Camp July Novel and suddenly (not really suddenly, it’s been coming on, I think, for a while) decided that I would be editing Perfume, from Camp… May, I believe, of last year.

And the reason for going into this and editing it now, I believe, is partially because I don’t really have a plot, and I don’t want to expend energy to figure out a new plot. I want to figure out an old plot. And Perfume, I think, was my favorite story, which is why I think I’m starting to edit it.