Wednesday, August 29, 2012


The last time I lived in Atlanta was when I was in high school. Well, technically, at least. I was always here a lot, just never on a permanent basis.

My mother has always referred to me as the Phantom Child. I'm never around, I guess. For example, on a small scale, I run to Starbucks in the morning and then never come back. Things will come up, someone will call, and I'll keep myself busy all day. On a larger scale, I do things like move to Florida, move to Canada or go to Maine for the summer.

I can't help it. Life happens.

You see, things come up. Opportunities present themselves. Ideas strike. I jump.

Is that a bad thing?

Anyway, throughout all the journeys and adventures, Atlanta has always been homebase.

It is weird living in another country these days. I mean, let's be real, Canada is far away. It is adjacent to the ole USA, but it is still pretty far. I know we're not crossing oceans or anything but still... For the first time in my life I can't just drive home for the weekend.

I don't know what I'm trying to say here. I guess my point is that I'm sad to leave tomorrow. I miss the US. I miss my friends. I really miss my family.

But, I've missed TC too. I miss our house in Canada. I miss my life. I miss my routine.

That is a lot of stuff to miss, isn't it? But you know what? It's been like that my whole life. My family moved a lot when I was little. Since I graduated from high school I've been on the go. I'm constantly leaving one thing for the next. And that means missing something all the time. It's a part of my life. However used to it I am, it doesn't necessarily make it any easier.

So, tomorrow I head to Maine for a few days and from there I'll head back to Canada.

This must be why my mom calls me the Phantom Child. Apparently, I'm hard to keep track of.

I can't imagine what on Earth she could be talking about.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Marissa Big Teeth.

My sister has an Indian name. Marissa Tiny Teeth.

Side note: Is it politically incorrect to use the term "Indian name?"

It's true. She has tiny teeth. Remember the gum, Chicklets? That's what her teeth look like.

It's not really noticeable because she has such a great smile but I guess we all have our insecurities and things that we wish we could change.

Lucky for her, tooth size can be changed. Did you know that? It's not something I think about very often, but I guess I had heard somewhere that it was possible.

So the other day she booked herself an appointment with a cosmetic dentist to have her shall I say...enlarged.

We got the the dentist's office, a pretty swanky place actually.

Marissa filled out some paper work and I promptly left her ass and went to Starbucks, like the good sister that I am.

An hour later she came out with a new Indian name: Marissa Big Teeth.

While she was back there, and I was sipping my coffee in the waiting room, the dentist x-rayed her teeth, gave her a million numbing shots in her gums and then took a laser and cut back her gums to reveal more tooth with perfectly arched gums. She swears she felt no pain and only smelled the faint scent of her flesh burning. Her gums burning!

I shutter at the thought.

When we got home her mouth was still numb. The dentist told her to drink cold water to help with swelling. Let's just say that didn't go well. It was, however, hysterical to watch her drool the water all over herself. The water would go in her mouth and then spill right back out. Definitely the highlight of my day.

Now, the photo I'm about to show you is a little gory. It's not bad, it's just a little vampire-ish.

New Indian name: Marissa Bloody Teeth.

Instead of drinking coffee, perhaps I should have been thanking God for giving me normal sized teeth.

Recap. Here's the before and after of the four teeth she had work done on.

Makes me want to vom.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Whoop. Whoop. Whoopie Pie!

I just got back from spending the evening at the theater with my family. We're fancy like that. We saw a local production of Legally Blonde: The Musical. I bet you didn't know this about me, but Legally Blonde is my favorite movie of all time. I know 90% of the words. Sweet Home Alabama comes in at a close second. I love Reese. I love Elle. I want to be gorgeous and smart just like her.

Anyway, the point is that I'm still in Atlanta where I've been doing a whole lot of nothing. And I'm loving every second of it.

The other day my mom was perusing TJMaxx (or Winner's if you're Canadian) when she stumbled on this little gem. For $14 she scored a Babycake's Whoopie Pie maker. They're usually around $30 so that is quite the deal.

I'm not sure if whoopie pies are a regional thing or not, but I've ran into a handful of Southerners that don't seem to know what they are. In New England whoopie pies are in every corner store, sitting right next to the cash register. They must be popular in Iowa too because my Grandmother sent me a recipe from the newspaper last summer.

Either way, a whoopie pie is essentially two round pieces of a dense cake with a cream or frosting in between. They come in a million different flavor combos and making them from scratch is an art. If your mom makes a good whoopie pie then you get bragging rights and are the envy of every kid at school.

This machine is great because it lets you cheat. Its basically like a waffle iron, but with little round indents that cook the perfect mini whoopie pie in less than three minutes.

To begin the cheating, we used a box cake mix. Here's the secret: cut down the water by half. That makes the cake dense.

Then we used a tablespoon to measure out the perfect amount for our mini pies. 

After a bit of experimenting we decided that cooking the cakes for 2 minutes and 45 seconds was perfect. 

The Babycakes machine makes 12 rounds at a time, which will give you enough for six whoopie pies. The whole bowl of cake batter was enough to make about 24 mini whoopie pies.

For frosting, we decided a peanut butter frosting would compliment the chocolate pie perfectly. If you don't have a peanut butter frosting in your arsenal, be sure to add this:

Peanut Butter Frosting: With a mixer, blend 1 cup peanut butter, 7 tbsp butter, 1 tsp vanilla. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar and then 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream. Beat well.

Where was I? Oh yes. Mini whoopie pies.

Slap a scoop of frosting on a pie and then smush it down with another pie.


Wanna know another secret? Throw them in the freezer and eat them cold. 

Babycakes also make a donut maker and a cake pop maker. I haven't tried either, but the whoopie pie maker definitely gets my approval. 

Imagine the baking possibilities!

Psst. Have a baker in your life? Put this on your Christmas shopping list now. It's the kind of thing that will make a perfect present but you'll totally forget about by the time the holidays roll around. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Photos Just About Sum It Up.

This is going to be my last post about the summer. I promise. Well, I'll try.

We'll wrap it up with my favorite photos. Some are my favorite because I just like the photo, some because they represent a great memory that I don't want to forget.

I know this is going to come as a shock to you, but I don't write this blog just for you. Often I write it for myself. Because it helps me remember things. One of my favorite things to do is look back through my old posts and take a trip down memory lane.

The swim beach. My front yard. The clouds were spectacular that night. It had stormed earlier in the day and the left over clouds were so badass.

Same night, but we brought down a bunch of camp-made adirondack chairs and built a camp fire for an evening under the stars. It was very camp-esque.

My beloved. He loves tearing around the lake on his jet ski. I repeat, he loves it.

My favorite place at camp. My home for five glorious summers. I know every inch of the ski dock.

I was also playing with a really fun wide-angle fisheye lens that day and thought the photo turned out really cool.

That is me! I finally got a chance to dress up as the moose!

It doesn't really smell good in there.

We don't get very many days off at camp. Six to be exact. So we try and take full advantage. TC and I have fallen into a bad habit of going to the same places over and over for our days off. This summer we tried to broaden our horizons a bit. This is us on top of Mt. Washington in North Conway, New Hampshire. It's in the White Mountains and is the highest peak in the North East. It is also home to the fastest winds in the world - like 231mph fast.

I think it may be our Christmas card photo. If I ever get around to making a Christmas card.

A sunfish. We have a fleet of 14 sail boats that include Sunfish, Hobie's and a JY. The sails are brilliant colors but this photo just lent itself to black and white.

I spend most of my day chasing the sunfish around. TC loves the boats so much that he named his dog after them.

For years I've heard the locals talk about a country western joint called the Silver Spur. 

I finally had a chance to go this summer and it was unlike anything I've ever seen. Old timers dancing. Legit cowboy hats. Belt buckles. BYOB. Barn doors. All under a disco ball.

It was awesome.

I won't name names, but this photo is summer love. I love the boots with the Toms in the background. Standing up on her tippy-toes to sneak a kiss from her summer sweetheart - Be still my beating heart.

I hope they get married.

Theme of the summer: Super heros.

Socks with capes? Doesn't get any cooler than that.

Remember how I said that TC and I go to the same places over and over for our days off? Well this is our favorite. It's a little cottage outside of Freeport, Maine. See our chairs on the porch with a table in between? That's where we play cards and split a bottle of wine. Then we fall asleep by 11pm because we're exhausted. And old, apparently.

We didn't get much liquid sunshine (aka rain) this summer, but when we did there was always a rocking rainbow right after. 

We even had a triple rainbow one evening but of course my camera was clear across camp and I missed the shot.

This summer we shot a new promotional video. For a month a production crew of six guys came in to get the footage. The guys were really cool and I tagged along a lot. It was really cool to see how they worked and learn about their different cameras and lenses.

Anyway, we had a helicopter come in one day and then another day they brought in a mini-helicopter to get some different angles. The mini-helicopter was about four feet long and remote controlled. We even brought it out on the lake and had it land on the pontoon boat. 

Last but not least, momma and baby loon. Loons are huge, like a big goose. They're great swimmers and can dive under water for over a minute, then resurface clear across the lake. We have several pairs of loons on the lake and every now and then they'll have a chick. This little guy went from riding around on his momma's back to diving and fishing all in the span of a few days. The best part of loons are their calls. When it is quiet and still at night you can hear them singing all the way down the lake.

Okay! That's it. No more talk about the summer.

Soon enough we'll be talking about snow. God help me....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Day in the Life.

As you know I just returned from my 8th summer working at a camp in Maine. TC and I like to spend our summers there because, frankly, it works out well when you're in the education world. We're not counselors, and haven't been for years. We run the waterfront, try to guide a staff of 40 waterfront counselors, live in our own cabin and also try to help out in other random/behind-the-scenes parts of camp. Its a tough life but somebody's got to do it.

I thought you'd like to see what a typical day is like for us. It's a bit crazy so hang on to your hat.

Camp is a busy place and every day is completely different than the one before it. That being said, there is a general routine that I follow every day. It just doesn't really work that often.

Most days TC and I wake up around 7:15am. We are tired and not ready to open our eyes. We were usually up until 1am the night before and after a while six hours of sleep starts to catch up.

We walk across camp to the dining hall where we can finally get a cup of coffee.

Coffee in hand, I go to my morning meeting in the Arts and Crafts building. TC and I are what we call Area Directors, which means we are responsible for an area and activity of camp. TC and I run the waterfront but we also have an athletics director, a theater director, tennis get the idea.

Anyway, we all meet every morning to go over the day, work out any kinks and get everything organized.

From there I head to breakfast with the other 599 people on camp. I try to eat Cheerios and banana every morning but mostly I end up with eggs or a bagel.

That could explain the ten pounds I've gained...

After breakfast I write the daily blog for camp. I write it from the perspective of our mascot, the moose. Usually I go up to the only place on camp where I can get some peace and quiet - the maintenance shop.

While I'm there I usually have something for Gene to fix. On this particular day I needed to cut some plywood to make into plaques for a swimming trophy.

When I leave I head down to the lake. First, I check in with Marcus, who runs the swim beach. 

He's wonderful and I never, ever want him to leave.

Then I meander on down the shoreline and find TC who is working with one of our crew counselors to fix up the oars. 

We're pretty hard on the equipment here and it takes a lot of mainenance to keep it all in working order. Maybe if we didn't have 400 children using it everyday we wouldn't have these problems. But then again, I'd be out of a job so I guess these aren't bad problems to have.

Next I usually head out on the lake to check in with everyone and say hi from my jet ski or pontoon boat.

After a few hours of working on the lake, it's time for a mid-morning snack that we call Fruit Break. Yes, we even have a song about it. It's titled, Fruit Break. Shocking, I know.

This day was a treat - pears. Peaches? A real treat. As are plums. But mostly it is apples. It's always at least a ten minute discussion to try and guess if it is going to be red or green that day.

Oh, this is what I look like every day. Pink flip-flops, Nike shorts, a bathing suit, a grey staff t-shirt, a SeaDogs baseball hat, a life jacket, and a walkie-talkie. 

It's really a good look, I know.

We also take quick breaks to reapply sunscreen while eating our fruit.

About this time the boss man usually walks by to say hi. He's friendly as usual. Kidding! I'm kidding. He's wonderful and I couldn't ask for a better boss man.

At 1:00 its time for lunch. Lunch is buffet style and most people eat outside. I've baked in the sun all day at this point so I eat inside where I can finally get some shade while enjoying my salad.

After lunch, I head back out on my old busted jet ski. I like to leave the shiny new ones for the counselors to drive. Every day I take Ellyssa the photographer out with me so she can grab some good shots for the website.

We swing by my beloved MasterCraft ski boats to make sure all is well and everyone is behaving themselves.

Next up, I get in the new big-boy pontoon boat and take out a photography class that has requested a tour of the lake.

When I get back I discover that someone has decided their walkie-talkie was hot and wanted to cool off in the lake. I try to take it apart to dry it out but am unsuccessful so I call in TC because he is much better at these things than I am. We make a good team.

At this point the wind is picking up and it is a guarantee that all 14 sail boats are going to be going in eight million directions. Therefore, I grab my favorite sailing director and head back out to try and keep all the boats from capsizing.

While I'm out with sailing a ski boat radios in that their boat won't start. So I go out and have a look. Sure enough, it's dead. I call TC and he comes out to bring in the skiiers and then comes back out to tow me back to the dock.

Once I get the boat to the dock I climb in it to have one last go at starting the engine. As I climb in I manage to step on a wayward upholstery staple that goes directly into my heel. Deep. I scream in pain, am totally freaked out and then ask a counselor to pull it out because I can't stand the though of it in my foot. What if it hits my bone?! 

When I manage to walk myself to the health center, that is manned with plenty of nurses, I see my boss and he hands me a delicious soda as a treat. That and the band aid helped dry my tears.

Then I go to the office and call the mechanic so that we can get the boat up and running by the next morning.

After activities are over for the day the whole camp gathers at a place we call Cove where our director greets everyone, announcements are made and songs are sung.

From there we all adjourn to dinner. Most nights are normal dinners, like spaghetti or baked chicken. This night was special and we had a lobster and steak feast. As always, it was delicious. 

To end the day we have evening programs. Some night the programs are divided by age groups and they do different activities like Capture the Flag, Name that Tune or something else that probably wouldn't make sense to you. This particular night was a dance, or as we call it, a Social. The counselors always dress up in themes and the younger boys counselors had a gladiator theme going on that night. 

At the end of the night, around 10pm, when all the kids are snuggled in bed a crew of staff stays on duty to make sure all is well. That leaves the rest of us to have the evening to ourselves until 1am. When TC and I aren't on duty we head out to a local dive that serves some of the best adult beverages this side of the Mississippi. We enjoy our evening with out friends, chat about the day, catch up on the gossip and just relax.

Then we wake up the next morning and do it all over again. But with different issues. 

And no staples in my heel.