Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Upper Peninsula

My life began on a peninsula and I'm heading over to a new peninsula.  I thought for prosperity's sake, I should show you some pictures of my original peninsula and my homies there.

The Upper Peninsula

My first house

Teal Lake

Baba, Ann, Max and Tommy

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shirley's New Title

Yesterday, I realized that I've been sitting on a goldmine for my whole life.

My mother has been a grandmother since before I was even born, but we've only ever called her the classic, "Grandma."  I've always envied friends who call their grandparents by unusual names like: Gee-Gee, Grannie Annie, NaNa, etc.  And even though my mum isn't my grandma...

I decided to rename her yesterday for all of the grandkids.  I decided to take a step to make a change.  Be the change you wish to see, as they say.

It was a closed poll, until we started discussing it at my brother's kitchen table.

The winner is: Baba
Short for the Russian term for grandmother, Babushka

(It wasn't even an option, but I wrote it in later)...  Things just work that way in the voting world sometimes...

Grubby... So misunderstood

Memory #4: Grubby revolutionized Sky Ranch.

There is a story behind Grubby.

Two summers ago, some friends and I were in Brookshires in Van, TX.  On the way out, a claw game caught my eye...  That's never a good thing.  We approached it, I wasted 2 dollars and then sighed as we left the store defeated.  Before we even got out the door, a lady approached me and asked if I wanted some stuffed animals she won from a claw game in another grocery store.  She was apparently an expert at winning claw games.  I said yes and left with two ugly stuffed animals.  One was a pink and purple crab...  And the other was Grubby...

Later on that day I attached Grubby to a stick with some pink duct tape.  And a star was born...

Thanks to Andrew I now have a Grubby to take to Dubai.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Case of the Great Toad Detective

My mum and I arrived in Hazel Park today to spend some time with my niece, Kimberly, and her family.  The most wonderful thing happened: we arrived just as a very important detective job was unfolding.  I am so lucky!

Yesterday while at a party my nephews, Zedd and Ephraim, caught a toad and made a home to keep him in forever.  I have to say, it was very nice.

But apparently during the night, the toad "Frognella" escaped... maybe through this hole that was on the top of his home.

(Really, Kimberly let him go while the boys were out... shhhh)

So suddenly Zedd and I found the need to become very intense detectives.  Our intense detective faces are pictured here...

So, Zedd and I had a conference and came up with a plan to either a. catch Frognella or b. give up on him forever and find ourselves another toad.  After briefly looking for him throughout the house, we decided on b.  So we constructed what I like to call a Toad Resort.  This all-inclusive get-away would lure any toad within half a block straight to Zedd's house on Caledonia.

All-inclusive means that it even comes with a wide variety of food choices.

To conclude, we have not found any toads wandering into the Resort yet, but at least one of us knows what really happened...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Camping and Rest

Last night, we finally rolled onto a campground in Illinois to set up our tent, cook hotdogs, play the guitar and sit around a fire.  My heart had been pretty heavy all of yesterday and getting to camp was exactly what I needed.  It made me laugh because last time my mother and I went camping was over 6 years ago and I didn't like it very much, but this time was different.  The creation around me brought my heart into a place of rest, which I am very grateful for.  This week has been full of goodbyes and changes.  I'm learning to trust in a way I could have never prepared my heart for.  And I will rejoice even through times of change.

Friday, August 20, 2010

On the Road Again....

I really can't wait to be on the road again!  While I'm a little disheartened, I trust that everything is going to be okay.

We got my car back from the mechanic yesterday evening and got the report on what went wrong.
My car had an overflow of transmission fluid, which is not a good sign for the transmission.  At some point, we will have to get a new transmission and until then, we can only drive the car during the cooler times of the day.  So, we're heading out early this morning and we're going to get as far as we can before it gets too hot.

The miracle is that not only was the transmission in bad shape, but my front wheel bearings were too.  At any moment they could have busted and we would have been in far worse trouble than just transmission problems.  So, even though this has set us back 2 days... it is actually a blessing.  If you think of us, keep us in your prayers.  For safety, good family time and good perspective.

Hot Springs

After finding out we were stranded in Arkansas last night, I went online and looked up the Hot Springs public transportation schedule.... which in layman's terms means THE BUS!

Here are some pictures of what we encountered downtown in Hot Springs.  It was a nice day and I got some much needed rest!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of "Camping"

So, we left from Lewisville early this morning to get on the road.  And got past Arkadelphia when a light on my car started flashing, which left us here... at a rest stop in Arkansas.
This is part of the problem that left us "resting", an overflow of transmission fluid.
So we sat, talked, drank water and enjoyed the breeze on a very hot day.
 Until the tow truck guy, Dave, came.
Dave just happens to be my new best friend.  Not only did he take us all the way back to Hot Springs to find a place to work on the car, he also neglected to charge us extra towing whenever the Ford dealership wouldn't even look at my Mazda and we had to go to another place.  He was a wonderful blessing today.

The reason this really happened today: so that I would have internet access tonight and I talk on skype with Kimberly for the first time.  Best night of my life!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Three Posts in One Day, Somebody Stop Me

I do what I want.

Here are some more pictures from my weekend of goodbyes.  Thankfully I got to say hello to someone, my mom, when she came into Texas.  That hello settled my heart a little bit more.

As soon as she landed we went to my favorite restaurant in Dallas, Cosmic Cafe.  I'm usually opposed to people taking pictures of each other across the table from one another, but I made a small exception.

Then we went to Denton.  The home of my favorite bookstore in the world, Recycled Books.

And finally, we met Amanda for Chopsticks and Ice cream!

Fun was had by all and tomorrow morning we leave Texas... tear.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kate Swansong

Memory #3: I have never been more Asian in my life.

This summer, I finally found my cultural heritage and Jane helped me understand what that really means.  This is a real-life picture of me as I actually am with two of my favorite things: Habib, my fish, and Grubby, my... I'm not really sure what he is... mascot maybe

The artist is pictured on the right...

Spending Time with Steph

Stephanie and I have known each other since 4th grade, but did not become best friends until 6th grade.  That is our short, but long history.
And I love her... except for when she protests smiling in a picture with me and makes me try 8 times.  Here are the results.

And finally, she took a real picture with me.  I love you Steph!

All Moved Out

I have officially moved out of the Sentinel Lane house and said goodbye to all of my roommates... as well as Alfie, our house mummy.

This month is going to be full of adventure.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Trees of East Texas

Today is officially my last full day of camp.

I was journaling this morning and realized that I thought today would never come.  During staff training, I thought it would never get to this point.  During session 1-10, I thought it would be forever before this happened.  Yesterday, I was pretty sure I would stop breathing before the sun came up.
Hehe, just kidding, that was a little dramatic.

But the point is: it has been hard for me to picture today.  And now that it's here, I feel peace.

Naturally, I've been recounting a lot of things that the past 6 years have been for me.
- Growth
- Learning to live authentically
- Learning to trust
- My roots deepening not in a place, but in a Person
- Family

And at the end of this season, I'm grateful for the trees of East Texas.  I have spent a lot of time playing next to them, teaching OE kids about them, reflecting beneath them and falling in love with the one who created them.  And just like somehow their roots are grounded in the hard clay of East Texas, my roots are grounded in the one I'm walking into this next season of life with.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Girl's Night

Memory #2: Girl's night is about boas, ice cream, dance parties and sometimes.... homesickness. :)

I have always had a love/hate relationship with girl's night.  I loved it as a counselor, struggled with it my first few years as an Assistant Director (because of homesickness epidemics) and now love it again!  And last night was officially my last girl's night!  Jane and Haley wrote a mad lib that they had the girls cabins fill out and here was Sky 2's letter to me:

Dear Kate,

Hi!  We are writing you from Sky Ranch, so you can remember us when you are in the bathroom.  We are having a(n) squishy week at camp!  The girls in my cabin are so fluffy.  Our counselors are pretty smelly too.  One of them is named Kate, but we all call her slimy llama.  Last night she twirled!  It was really funny.

Every day, we go to lots of activities.  The glittery activity here is definitely the zip lines.  Every time we go there, we always play ping pong.  I also love the blob.  Yesterday, we went there and played Sorry!  It was fluffy because it was lightningy outside.

I got you a present!  In crafts, I made you a lafaunda!  It is mac and cheese and splattered and flabbergasted.  It is about the same size as a manatee, and it smells like ocean mist.  I bet you will love it!  I will try to mail it to you, but I hope that it doesn't cost more than ceptillian pennies to send it.

I have gotten so many silly bands from the girls in my cabin.  By now, I probably have at least 18.  I have a tortise, a pickles and a parallelogram.  I even have a glow-in-the-dark peacock!  Those are all really cool, but my absolute favorite in my Anya band.  I didn't even know they made silly bands like that!

We really miss you here.  It just isn't the same without you.  We miss the way you always belly flop at girls night, and your slobbery singing voice at Pow-Wow.  We always loved it when you came to jet skis with us and pooped.  Grubby misses you too.  He told us to tell you that "California flipped in the belly button."  He said you'll know what that means.

That's all I have to tell you right now!  Hope you're having a great time!
Sky 2

Farewell Girl's night, I'll always love you!

Saturday, August 07, 2010


As you can see, my Dubai facts have been few and far between as camp has progressed.  I will continue to post facts about Dubai, but I wanted to share some memories from this summer!

Memory #1: Franklin

For me this summer, Wednesdays became all about celebrating gnomes.  After finding Franklin the Gnome in the staff lounge, I decided to put a bungee cord around his neck and wear him around my neck on Wednesdays chanting: "Gnomes have rights!"  While this chanting was met with shouts of agreement and disagreement, it was a monumental summer for gnomes everywhere!  hehe, and even if it wasn't... it was really fun!  Here is a picture of Franklin, Natalia and Courtney... when they stole him!