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Summer School Lessons

07/24/2017

This summer I worked four additional weeks beyond the last day of school, teaching summer school. I was apprehensive about summer school, in part because teachers are given a half day to prepare for students we don’t know, in a classroom that is not ours, with very few materials provided. It turns out teaching summer school was the easiest job ever.

I felt obligated to make summer school fun since, hello, the kids were in school during the summer. During the regular school year, I get a little wrapped up in teaching kids to be functioning adults who can pay bills on time and order at a restaurant and not burn down their kitchen while making toast and read directions and cross the street safely and be respectful so as to not get arrested and, and, and, ya, all that. Seriously, all this is on my mind plus a million other things every day. It’s important that they learn all these things (plus how to take a test and behave in the lunch room and handle transitions and follow fire drill procedures), but summer school was a lot less pressure. Because there really isn’t time to accomplish the 500 things on the list in my brain.

In 16 half days, you choose a few things. You could work on something like taking turns or recognizing coins or sitting calmly during read aloud. But serious goals, like mastering 2-digit addition or reading 50 more sight words, were probably not going to happen. We did math and reading centers, speech and occupational therapy, but we also went on a nature walk, played games, researched Bigfoot, and played water balloon baseball.

Teaching is a difficult balance between rigor and fun, test prep and games, independence and support, tough love and kindness. Summer school was a nice way to remind myself what I love about teaching: seeing kids grow and learn while having fun. Now, as I prepare to return to school, I’m reviewing curriculum and thinking about what I want my students to accomplish. I’m considering new ways to hit all of those IEP goals and objectives, but I’m also carrying a bit of that summer school vibe back with me.  Because if work isn’t fun, what’s the point? My students need a happy, relaxed teacher. That’s my 2017-2018 school year goal.

The rest of the summer has been relaxing.  I spent some time at the waterpark. Being there with the now 12-year old boy means lots of reading time for me because he doesn’t really want to hang with his mom. Cool with me and as it should be. So, I read a lot of books. I wrote in various coffee shops, ran regularly and walked the dogs. I saw a few movies, and binge-watched The Good Wife and Elementary. I skated at Roller Kingdom, caught up with some old friends, worked on perfecting my popover recipe and went to Gay Pride. Of course, we sat in lawn chairs around coolers while watching fireworks. A simple yet satisfying summer. I am not ready to admit that it’s over. I still want to get to Lake Tahoe, go to Hot August Nights and Rib Cook-off, and see an outdoor concert or movie.

What I’m reading:

Nerd Girl by Holly Smale

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

Next Up:

Schooltalk by Mica Pollock

Empower by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani

Thicker Than Water by Mike Carey

Book Review: The Girls by Emma Cline

07/12/2017

the girls

After I have finished reading a book, I like to go to Goodreads and see if random strangers liked or disliked the book as much as I did. I never post reviews or comments, because I can’t remember my password, but I do enjoy reading other peoples’ opinions of our shared read. I guess I’m a Goodreads voyeur. Of The Girls by Emma Cline, a male reviewer said, “I don’t know if a man can love this book.” I am inclined to agree. The Girls is  mostly a snapshot of a girlhood summer, age 14, location, California. The book is full of teenage insecurity, confusion, fear and intrigue about boys and men, bad decisions, and loss of innocence. The male characters are also not very likeable, which I too would find annoying if I was a guy.

I knew the book was a fictionalized version of the Manson girls, a topic I am interested in strictly for the familial link. We, my brothers and the maternal side of my family, are related to one of the Manson girls. Admitting this fact brings me back to the memory of my mother’s tight grip on my bicep, hissing in my ear through clenched teeth, “Don’t TELL people.” Like I was the one who killed someone.

So I was drawn to the book at first because I wanted a little more insight into the story of my second cousin, the Manson girl, and her cohorts. I wanted this question answered: What causes a seemingly normal, non-violent teenage girl, raised in the 50s and 60s like my mother was, to commit such heinous acts of murder? The answer is complicated and elusive. I still don’t think I know. What I do know is that The Girls took me back to what it felt like to be a 14-year old girl in the world.

I was surprised by how relatable this story is. In many ways, it was like I was reading the story of my own teenage self (minus cults and crime). This fear/nervousness/confusion with boys and men was my experience too. Penises showed up in my life in wrong and unexpected ways: falling out of a grown man’s shorts as he leapt to catch a football; bulging in the pants of boys I used to play tag with; being grabbed by its owner, the middle school boy who thought cupping his crotch was a big turn on for girls; and in books and magazines and all over the girl talk during the slumber parties of my youth. My own mom was pushing me hard to care about boys and sex, and even though I strongly suspected I wanted nothing to do with any part of male anatomy, the thought that I might one day HAVE to was scary and icky. The obvious difference between me and Evie Boyd, the main character in The Girls, was she actually wanted attention from the boys. It drove her and guided her. Me, not so much.

Evie is not extremely  likeable, but she is relatable. I saw my teenage self in Evie, and I didn’t like that connection to this insecure and pliable character. During the ages of 14-17, I too was looking for an idol, and was willing to do anything for that person. For me, it was easy stuff. Staying out past curfew when nobody was home to care anyway. Drinking vodka and orange Crush at school and feeling like a badass, daring someone to catch me.  And, like Evie,  Simultaneously loving and hating my mom. Hating the small details of her existence, including random things, like her curled up knee-high nylons resting inside her sensible shoes, the wafting scent of her Oil of Olay and Chanel #5 in the house, even when she wasn’t home, her nervous habit of clicking her nails on the coffee table. I hated myself for needing her, and hated her for dismissing me for what I perceived was her dislike of all the things I was: athlete, tomboy, book nerd, fashion victim, non-wearer of make-up, girl oblivious to hair styles, hair products, and, most importantly, dating or talking about boys. I suppose all parents have a lost dream for their own children.

Cline explores the invisibility of girls, how we rated and judged our friends, and how we were defined by who we hung with, the music we liked, the clothes we wore, our knowledge (or lack thereof) of makeup and guy catching.  How could we really know who we were, when everything we were supposed to care about was not us, but the Seventeen and Young Miss magazine version of what we should strive to be? Maybe this figuring yourself out can’t happen in the teen years.

“The Ranch” in the book reminded me of another time in my life, ages 19 25 ish. I was reading a lot of Herman Hesse and Tom Robbins, listening to the Grateful Dead, and working on minimalism (because I was poor). My plan was to own only enough stuff to live out of my truck if I had to and move anywhere I wanted to in one trip. I wanted the simple life. I almost had myself convinced, especially after reading On the Road, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and Catcher in the Rye, that I was not going to play a part in my parents and society’s dream for me: sensible college major, career, white-picket fence, husband, children, PTA, meal planning, retirement, death. I was going to write, read, camp, learn to juggle, wear Levi’s cut-offs and thrift store T-shirts, go to festivals and outdoor concerts, and drink Americanos, journaling and judging the boujee people while sitting on patios of coffee shops to the subtle soundtrack of Blues Traveler and Sheryl Crow.

And then, I stopped. Because I realized you can have whatever you want, and you don’t have to align yourself to someone else’s ideal life. You get to make your own, whatever that looks like. With a kid, a wife, the picket fence and degree, juggling and journaling, minimalism and responsible bill paying, all.

Life evolves, and so do we. We age and we have the ability to reminisce and reflect. Cline juxtaposes chapters with the middle-aged Evie, a somewhat more confident version of her former self. The older Evie made me reflective about my life so far. Have I lived the life my parents created and hated? Am I like my mother, minus the nylons and clicking fingernails? The novel made me question my life, my journey so far. I questioned, I remembered, and it made me want to write more about my own story. I love it when a writer can do that for me.

 

I’ve been reading a lot lately, as summer school is over and I have a 3-week gap before school starts. I promised myself I wouldn’t think about school preparation until Week 3 of this break.

Recent reads that were awesome:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Orphan #8 by Kim Van Alkemade

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

George by Alex Gino

Current Reads:

Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer. I am really enjoying this one. My first Archer novel, and now I want to read more. I also started Armada by Ernest Cline. I was motivated to try another one of Cline’s books because I loved Ready Player One so much.

No Thanks, Seems Like I Already Ate at Home

06/20/2017

I’m just admitting this, and I’m not sure if anyone else has this problem, but I have a fear of potlucks. I probably need an intervention or therapy or something, but the issue is pretty minor compared to my other quirks, so I don’t see myself pursuing that. With some phobias, there might be one traumatic childhood event that caused this fear to settle in and take hold, like being bit by your best friend’s dog, or nearly drowning in your neighbor’s pool. I have no weird potluck stories from my youth. If anything, my childhood was marked by a lack of potlucks and adult parties in general. My parents did not “have people over” or “host dinner parties.” We were ahead of our time on that whole not trusting your neighbors thing. So maybe I didn’t learn at a young age how to potluck (if I may just use it as verb now), but I definitely did not have any traumatic potato salad or tuna casserole experiences that I can recall. Still, I want to analyze this issue, just for fun.

Possible reasons for my strange potluck aversion:

Cheese rules:  I don’t mean “Yay cheese! cheese rules!”  I mean, there are not many ways I like to eat cheese, and potlucks violate the Rules of Cheese for me. For example, there might be some quinoa thing, which sounds safe until somebody chops some feta cheese into tiny, impossible-to-avoid pieces and mixes it all in. Rule violation. I don’t eat raw cheese. The cheese must be melted. And the cheese must not be feta, or any type of blue or brie or stinky. So basically I’m this weird person who only likes melted pepper jack, mozzarella or cheddar. Also I don’t really like processed cheese food. You know, that Velveeta-y gunky cheese. Exception: salsa is mixed in to the cheese food, the concoction is HOT, and I have a cold beer to wash it down.  Possibly there is a football game on in the background. But a a potluck will always include cold, congealed, previously melted processed cheese food. Unacceptable.

Cleanliness: This one time, at a baby shower, I saw the food prep happen. The cat sat on the counter as the dip was being prepared. I mean, the cat was so close to the dip, its tail was touching the bowl and then hovering over the top. Normally I’m not super picky about animal proximity to food. But this was the same potluck that had the rainbow meat. Which brings me to the next thing….

Meat:  I’m kind of weird about meat. I was a vegetarian for three years, so I don’t know if I wrecked myself but I’m super skeptical about meat. I also really like to watch food documentaries and they often talk about how consuming meat will slowly kill you. Lunchmeat and ground beef are very suspect. So back to the rainbow meat: it was roast beef, and it was shiny and very much more roygbiv than I like meat to be. I also get scared about meat temps, because I worked in restaurants for years and took hourly soup temps that I then put on a record sheet on a clipboard every day of my damn life.

Mayonnaise, pudding, jello: I hate mayo. I don’t even think of it as food. It seems like mayo is a potluck staple, as is pudding and random things suspended in Jello. Along these lines, I also don’t like cream cheese, cottage cheese or sour cream.  More potluck landmines.

Food allergies: So I also have weird food allergies. Like basically, if it’s an easy-to-cook meal that involves cream-of-anything soup, Bisquick, instant potatoes, or sauces that start as powder from a packet, I can’t eat it. To clarify, I can eat it, but it causes minor breathing problems and congestion. Less fun at parties. So rather than track people down and ask about ingredients, I stay away from things that look like they might contain these landmines.

So there is my list. But, P.S., this happened once at a work potluck. A coworker signed up to bring hot dogs, and she forgot to cook them. So she put them in a foil tray and placed them on the dashboard of her car all morning. This happened in July in Reno. The coworker then presented these “cooked by the sun in her 4-Runner” hot dogs to the potluck table. I don’t think a hot dog can kill you, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

The bottom line is, I’d just rather eat my own food that I cook, or food that has been cooked by someone who’s kitchen has been inspected by the Health Department. And I guess maybe instead of calling this potluck thing a fear, I should just call it snobbery. I am a potluck snob. There, I said it.

So basically, that veggie tray is looking pretty safe.  Just for fun I googled fear of potlucks, to see if I’m the only one, and found this.

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/15/health/he-potluck15

After reading this article, I seriously can’t partake in any potluck at all, ever, because new scary things have been introduced to my psyche. I just can’t handle it.

Reading:

Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade

I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro

Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

Hulu, Twitter, Sleep…

06/12/2017

A blog, like a daily running habit, is patient. It waits around. It stays there, quietly chilling out, and sometimes metaphorically tapping you on the shoulder to say, “Heeeey….  still here if you’d like to partake.” It can be forgotten, for months on end, and when you are ready to post (or run), it says, go for it.

Back when I had an office job, blogging was easier. Those days, while others might be checking Google Reader, I was posting about important stuff like the state of the work bathroom or why llamas never gossip. But then I left the boring job to go to the not-boring job, and now I go home every day exhausted. My name is spoken 500 times a day (really, we tallied it once).  I answer the same questions over and over. I repeat directions three times. I get asked if I need a hug (always yes).  I advise on proper  hand washing techniques.   I positively reinforce, collect data, write and repeat objectives, post schedules, email parents, put band aids on owies, change pants (not mine but theirs), and tie shoes a million times.  Is it better than Project Management?  Hell yes. But being a teacher means I need more quiet time than I used to.  What suffers is the writing and running, because my quiet time these days involves Netflix, Hulu, and staring at my phone.

I started thinking, if my life was succinctly summed up like one of those old triathlon shirts (Run! Bike! Swim!), what would it say? Currently it might say “Binge Watch Hulu! Scroll the Hell Out of  Twitter! Sleep!”  I have a great life. But I’d like to create a new, fresh triathlon shirt for myself. Because I don’t really want to look back on my life and say, “Yes, I watched all 15 seasons of CSI, and re-watched all the Golden Girls episodes.”

The new shirt I want to design for my life says Write, Sketch, Run. It’s always been those three things for me. I just sometimes forget. Like most people, I get sucked into the show of other stuff.  I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t analyzing and goal setting my life, so perhaps it’s time for a little less social media and TV, and a little more writing.  My summer and beyond goals involve a little less observing and a little more creating. Well, that and teaching summer school , reading, doing the Arch Rivals Superhero Run and trying out that new slide at the waterpark (might need liquid courage first).

Currently Reading:

Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner

Music of the Ghosts by Vaddet Ratner

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle

Best books I’ve recently completed:  The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz, The Girl With All the Gifts by Mike Carey and Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Skrypuch.

In the queue: Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade and The Eight by Katherine Neville

Happy Summer!

 

 

Happy to Help. Or…Not.

08/18/2016

Lately I’ve been receiving weird customer service, which has caused me to say old-lady things like, “This shit’s really going downhill” and “Back when I worked customer service that bullshit wouldn’t fly.” I’m not saying the customer is always right.  I might even be high maintenance, I don’t know. But what I am saying is, as a customer, I’m a pain in the ass for wanting the thing the business offers, things like food and groceries.

So this happened at a restaurant recently. I wanted to sit at a table, order food, have the food brought to me, maybe drink a beer, and of course, be a good tipper, as I tend to do whenever I go out because, hello, I lived the dream of restaurant work for 14 years, so I know how bad it can suck. But it’s like I’m bothering them by wanting these aforementioned things, because I guess before I got there with my intrusive desire to be led to a table, they were talking. And now, they have to like, stop talking and work.

There is this trend to make the customer do the job, unpaid, while the workers can look at their phones and resent the customer’s presence.  I get it. Self-service, self check, seat yourself; it’s not like it’s new. I’m just saying, it could be going too far. That kiosk at the table, for example, where I have to order my own dessert and run my own credit car, is too much. For all that work, do I get free trivia games? No. I have to pay for that. Last time I used that thing, I started thinking about how people surreptitiously install credit card reader identity theft dealios at gas stations and ATMs. Those people at least probably wear dark hoodies and brave the elements. But now someone can do it while eating a breadstick and drinking a Bellini. Am I paranoid? Yes, I think so.

So at the restaurant, I wanted a beer. I asked the server about a certain kind of beer that I did not find on the menu, the name of which I could not remember, that I had last time I was there. And he said, “Let me make it easy for you, the beers are listed here.” Then he tapped the menu, like I’m too dumb to find the alcohol on a menu. I think “let me make it easy for you” might have been this guy’s code for “hey dumbass,” but I let it go because I really wanted a beer and this guy was like the gatekeeper. Although maybe soon that will be my job too, the beer getting. I ordered a Blue Moon and the guy disappeared. Then, a minute later, he returned with this line: “I gotta be honest with you, your beer rung up as a Blue Moon but it’s really gonna be a Shock Top, which is pretty much the same thing.”  Really?  Shouldn’t I, the drinker of this beer, be the judge of the sameness? This “I gotta be honest with you” thing led me to wonder, were you gonna lie to me? Did you have some kind of moral struggle, during which, after weighing the pros and cons, you decided to just come clean? Thanks for your honesty man, you are a GOOD person. Back in my day (the geezer said), we said things like, “I’m sorry, we are out of Blue Moon, but we do have Shock Top, would you like that instead?”  Not this guy.

So here’s another example of weird customer service. We went to the store that has been advertising all over the radio that they have Hatch green chilies and they will roast them for you. Now normally I roast my own New Mexico chilies, but it’s about 500 degrees outside and I feel lazy. So at the store and I asked the guy outside, who was standing in a roped-off area surrounded by cases of chile and a roaster, if we could get a box of roasted chilies. He wiped the sweat off his brow with the hand not holding the lighter and said, “Welllllll…” Like he was not roasting anything at all. Like he was just outside on a break and someone set this whole thing up around him without his knowledge. I waited him out while he played all hard to get about the chilies. “ Ya…,um….. I guess I can put you on the list”  he finally said. Okay, cool. I asked when we could pick up the chilies. And he actually said, “I’m not sure, a few hours at least because you have people before you on the list and sometimes the people after you will want theirs right away.” Say what? So in order to get my chilies sooner I have to what, stand here and bully you into doing my order before the five people on the list before me?  When I worked in a very busy coffee shop in Albuquerque, never did I tell a customer “I know you got here first but the guy behind you in line can be a real dick if he doesn’t get what he wants right away, so I’m gonna need you to wait while I take his order first,  K?” No. No. No.

All I’m saying is, I just want to go places and not feel like I’m putting people (the paid people) OUT by wanting the shit they sell. That’s all.

Reading:

Fahrenheit 451

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight (very fun and actually kind of enlightening)

Books downloaded from the library that might get to:

1984

Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Can I Just Slow Down This Quantitative Life?

07/29/2016

Do numbers define your life? This is the question posed by Tiny Buddha contributor Katie Jensen. http://tinybuddha.com/blog/lives-measured-love-not-numbers/. A great post. It definitely got me thinking.

My job is very data driven. As a teacher, I am highly encouraged (translation: required) to track my students’ goals and objectives regularly. In fact, if it is not “measurable and observable,” I am advised (okay, told) not to make it an educational goal for my students. This makes sense for work, but what about the rest of my life?

I’ve never thought of myself as a numbers person. Many math teachers from Los Osos and Morro Bay California can attest to this fact. I chose seemingly less quantitative courses of studies like journalism, English and special education (jokes on me, math is everywhere). But in reality, most of the time, I let my brain rule and assign value to my life based on numbers. How much do I weigh? How much did I weigh 20 years ago? How old am I? What size do I wear? What size should I wear?  How much is my house worth? How much will it be worth ten years from now? When I evaluate my life, quantities pop up:  number of relationships, number of workouts, miles covered or not covered, words written, grams of sugar consumed per day, years at my current job, the balance in my checking and savings accounts, credit card debt, interest rates, etc., etc., etc.

Would my life be better without these constant numerical assessments? Could I let the numbers go, and concentrate on people, places, things, ideas, love, all the things that make for a full, wide life? Perhaps I need  a list.  I do love lists. Maybe I won’t care about the number of items on the list;  I’ll  only care about the contents.

Like, for example, here is my summer list of places:

Gerle Creek/Loon Lake. Homage. Sparks Coffee Shop. Scheels. Galaxay Theater. Century Theater. Carson Valley Pool. Great Basin. Rounds. Lighthouse Coffee. Anytime Fitness. Washoe County Library. Walmart. Squeeze Inn. Jacks. Hometown Café. The Western Village. Hub. Coffeebar. The Truckee River. California Burger. Big Pines Mountain House. IV Coffee Lab. Chuck E. Cheese. A & W. Scoopers. Home Depot. Base Camp Pizza. Sun Valley Pool.  Pah Rah Park.

Or, my list of things: Books, coffee, s’more’s, lemon Oreos, watermelon, black bears, guns, movies, swimming pools, video games, camp stove and propane, flashlights, creeks and lakes, letters to friends, journals, weeds and fresh paint, dogs and leashes, Netflix, water slides, and  cold Cokes with frozen Jack.

I want to think more qualitatively and less quantitatively, while still making my lists (I do really love lists, did I mention?) Maybe I could look on my life- past, present and future- with understanding and even awe, rather than judgement. When I read biographies or Wikipedia entries about peoples’ lives, I don’t judge the numbers of marriages or kids or jobs they’ve had. I definitely don’t care how much my favorite authors weigh or how many calories per day my favorite actors consume. So why am I kinder to the strangers, living and dead, than I am to my own self? Why do I let numbers define me?

I am working on choosing different systems of personal evaluations. Even with running, I am focusing less on distance and time, and more on avoiding zombies (Zombies, Run) and making it fun. I am only competing with myself, not my Facebook friends and not my younger, super fit, and frankly very neurotic self. I mean seriously, I don’t want to go back to that time, when I was in my twenties and  had nice leg muscles and worried so much about what everyone else thought about me. So how about I let it go? Okay, good talk.

Currently reading:  For the 2016 Book Challenge: “read a book published before you were born”:  Jonathon Livingston Seagull.  And because that was so short, How to Win Friends and Influence People. I guess I’m going old school self-help or something. Also trying to finish What is the What and Urban Monk before I start any new stuff.

I gave up on My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. One hundred pages in, and I was still bored. I think next I will try A Man Called Ove, also by Fredrik Backman.

Lessons Learned While Camping

07/18/2016

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Our dog is the best possible camping dog ever. She is smart enough to be scared of bears. Very scared. Good call Javanater, good call. I was scared too.

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No matter how you fold it or roll it, that tent will not fit back in its bag until you try three times and drop lots of F bombs.

Mr. Bear will steal your snacks. And camping without snacks is kind of a bummer. I mean really, isn’t that why lemon Oreos were invented, for camping? And camping without S’mores is a bit sad. At least the thievery happened on the 5th night. I went all Paleo on accident after that.

The moment is the moment: be here now. At some point, the site its done. No more fixing stuff, you have dug in and you are set. Enjoy it.

Going to someone else’s abandoned site on Sunday afternoon to take firewood is not stealing, it is being resourceful. We were resourceful ten times.  Also scored 12 bottles of water from a bear box. Suck it weekenders, we ain’t done with our campfires yet!

You must completely submerge yourself in a cold, snow-run-off body of water (in this case, creek), at least once. It feels amazing.

I should remember how good it feels to have the simplicity of choices, the ease of decision making. A book. Not a choice of ten and the pull of the other five I should read before school starts. The cool sweatshirt, the warm sweatshirt. The one pair of flips. It makes me want to be a minimalist. Kind of.

A media hiatus is a great idea. No Facebook, Instagram, Medium, or Pinterest. No Trending Now anything. Thumbs up to not caring about what is going on in the world for a few days. The only trending thing was the morning discussion about the bear who visited us all six nights, and the discussion of the daily plan. Should we hike? Shoot some guns? Go to the lake?  These decisions were great to make. Trending now, it’s time to move our lawn chairs into the shade. And is 11:00 too soon to start drinking beer? Nope, it isn’t.

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Best Book: Gone with the Wind

Best coffee: Blind Dog, Nevada Black:  Melitta pour-over-the-cup style.

Best Hacks: Frozen water bottles in the cooler keep it all cold for days,  crack all the eggs ahead of time and store them in a container to just pour at breakfast time, and premake soup, freeze, defrost at site, heat, eat.

Worst hacks: Make pancake mix ahead and freeze it in plastic baggie, defrost, squeeze on to pan. No, didn’t work so great. And really, when all you have to do is add water to the powdered mix, how hacky do you have to get?

Highs and Lows:

Highs: Tommy reading Survive the Night to me. I love hearing that boy read. Coffee time that went on for at least an hour in front of a crackling campfire or a dancing creek. Shooting a gun for the first time. Lots of reading and journaling time. Talking with my family with no technology interruptions. Love.

Lows: Well, a bear did steal our snacks.