Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Day In Summer Camp

The 1979 edition of the Boy Scout Handbook had a rather entertaining section written in the second person—very rare—which we used for a skit. Just imagine the trouble a bunch of clowns can get into with this text and you'll start to get an idea.
FROM the 1979 edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, page 145:

A Day In Summer Camp


You awaken to an exciting new day with your best friends. You look out through the open tent door and see a smiling sun in a blue sky. You jump out of bed, grab soap and towel, and join the others for a morning wash. A few moments later, you are back in your tent. You straighten up things, bring blankets out for airing, and get dressed.

The patrol cooks of the day sound off: "Come and get it!" Not a moment too soon! You're positively starving!

After breakfast, there's work to be done. Your camp must be made spic-and-span in a hurry. It is. Just in time, too. The troop leaders are coming around the bend for the morning checkup. Your patrol gets the honor flag of the day. You knew it would.

You and the whole troop gather around the flagpole. Old Glory goes aloft. Your eyes follow the flag—red, white, blue, against a clear summer sky!

After the ceremony, you're ready for the day's activities.

First there is work to be done. Your patrol has decided that your campsite needs a few improvements and additions. There's a clothesline to be put up. There's a raised fireplace to be built to make life easier for the cooks. With all of you working together, the jobs are on the way in no time at all.

What's next? Perhaps this is the day you have planned to go adventuring. What'll it be? An exploration hike along that ancient overgrown trail? A nature hike, looking for animals and birds, rocks and minerals? An orienteering race, cross country with map and compass?

Hurry now! There's the call for swim! What a glorious feeling to jump into the lake and strike out for the diving raft with your buddy. Up on the raft and back in the water. Up again. In again. Not a care in the world.

"All out!" And, a moment later, "Lunch, everybody!" The patrol cooks are doing themselves proud. Every scrap of food disappears.


Afternoon in camp has a way of rocketing by. So many things to do. More Scoutcraft. Perhaps archery or marksmanship. And then, of course, another swim. And maybe not just a swim. Maybe an exciting waterspouts event with patrol contests in swimming and lifesaving, rowing and canoeing.

Time to get supper ready. You check the duty roster. It's your turn, with your buddy, to build the fire and haul in the water while another buddy team goes about the cooking.

Supper is probably the eating highlight of the day. It is also an opportunity for good fellowship.

After the cleanup, the whole troop gets together for an hour of action and fun. It may be a vigorous game of capture the flag. Or it may be a game of volleyball or soccer.


Darkness is falling. The campfire is about to start.

CAMPFIRE! There's nothing in the world that can compare with sitting with your best friends in a close circle, under the spell of the fire, watching the flickering flames, having a wonderful time together.

As the flames soar upward, the campfire leader opens a program that's a mixture of fun and seriousness.

Scouts with special abilities do their stuff. Each patrol puts on a skit. There may be a couple of campfire games.

And lots of songs. When the fire burns low, your songs turn into the soft, melodious kind. You end with Taps.

Day is done, gone the sun

From the lake, from the hills, from the sky.

All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh.

You walk back to your tent, silently. You crawl into your sleeping bag. A moment later, you're fast asleep.

Happy dreams! Tomorrow is another day. It will be full of excitement and surprises. That's what every day is in the camp of a real troop of real patrols of real Scouts.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

because I need to have this

Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare þe ure maegen lytlað.

‎"Heart shall be bolder, harder be purpose, more proud the spirit as our power lessens! Mind shall not falter nor mood waver, though doom shall come and dark conquer."

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sunday Morning In Honolulu

Transcript from the diary of Jane Doyle Hawes:
Sunday, Dec 7, 1941

We are at war with Japan. Early this morning a flight of bombers attacked the island of Oahu—treacherously, while their ministers talked peace in Washington. They came out of the rising sun to spread death and destruction in a sleeping city.

Mary and I were asleep—it wasn't nine o'clock—on a Sunday morning—and the telephone kept ringing downstairs. Finally we woke up enough to send Christine down to answer it. She came back and said a lady wanted her momma, and Mary went down. I don't know why—maybe it was the mixture of sounds—the guns in the distance—the voices in the yard—the odd sound of Mary's "No! Caroline!" and telling Chris to turn on the radio—but I got up fast and put on my dress and shoes and went down. Mary looked at me so funny. "Caroline says we're having an air raid." All I could think of was that men from Mars scare of so long ago—I said—she's crazy—and tuned in the radio. It was warm and sputtering. The announcer panted "Keep off the streets! Do not use the telephone! We are being attacked! Keep off the streets!" Even then it didn't seem real. I went to the back door and saw Toots and Anne in the yard looking up. Toots said, "It's time you got up! We're having an air raid!" I remember saying "Yes— I know—" and right then I guess I did know.

I looked up and could see smoke puffs in the sky—and little dots they said were enemy planes—presumably Japanese—we could hear the anti-aircraft guns—big guns—or maybe they were bombs—Mary told Caroline to try & get down if she was scared—and to bring the baby—

I decided to move into my new apartment in spite of the Japs. Thought I'd better get my things out of the car in case we needed it—or someone had to have it—so I lugged suitcases, boxes and stuff for about a couple hours. I had to stop and look up at the sky every once in a while—I used to think how nice it was to know it was only the mailman—but I guess those days are gone for good—or bad—

We got orders on the radio to fill everything in sight with water. The radio went off the air too—just came on to give orders and information—we filled the tubs in the yard and all the pots and pans in the house—just in case the water mains got hit.

Caroline came in about then with the baby. She was plenty upset—and came in from her house with her baby. She was honestly scared silly—just trembled and shook—and I've never seen anyone so pale and terrified looking. Anne and I went over to her house, to listen to the short wave broadcast. We kept hearing of planes coming in. Anne heard one report while I was out, of five troop transports lying off Barber's Point—and I heard a call for the police to get a man armed with a knife in Punaho Campus just across the street—so I went home to tell them to be careful. I looked out the window and saw three women trudging up Punaho Hill—with big bundles tied up in bed sheets—one of them was old, and had a bandana tied under her chin—it looked like the pictures you see of refugees in Europe—and they were refugees from some bombed section of the city.

Greg came home from the office picking glass and dirt out of his hair. Just after we got up Toots called him and asked him to come home—he laughed and said it was a joke—but it seems a bomb lit down there on Beretania—killed a woman twenty feet on the other side of him, and almost blew him out of the building—he was convinced.

About this time the evacuees began to come into the Hotel from Hickman Field and Pearl Harbor—when I left and got back to Mary's, she had given my apartment away, and I had to move out again. I didn't mind doing it—but I should rather have offered to myself, not to get told it was already done—but this is no time for little gripes.

Caroline and I got permission from the cop on the corner to go up to her place and get things for the baby—stopped for groceries on the way home—got reports over her radio of parachutist landings on Punchbowl and in the mountains at the end of Manoa Valley. When we got back to Mary's I finally managed to get through to Mother on the telephone. She and the girls are all right. Naturally her big worry is Dad. Seems they got attacked at Manila at the same time.

I went out and got permission from the same cop to go pick up some clothes. It didn't dawn on me until much later the the policeman himself was a Jap. Lord what a job these men have on their hands. Imagine trying to control a city waked out of a sound sleep by bombs—not a city at war—one at peace and totally unprepared—with all its varies races and people—can they keep it in hand? I hope to God they can—it will be hell if they don't!

Anyhow, I drove up to Mother's and picked up the warmest of my clothes and my slacks in case they evacuate us into a culvert like they have some people. Mrs. Studebaker and her three boys have moved in with Mother—they were living at Waikiki near DeRussy, but the incendiary bombs drove them out. I suggested to Mother that she and the girls each pack a small bag in case of evacuation.

When I got back to Mary's I packed a suitcase myself. Toots came over with bandages for us to fold and Mary, Caroline and I tried to do that. We spent the afternoon that way. Later Toots brought us some tea. They are planning to use the Main Hotel building for a hospital in case of need.

Anne brought over a kettle of stew and we all had supper together—but I forgot to eat—and by the time Mary came downstairs it was too dark to see or eat—we had no lights at all being totally unprepared for a blackout. I went with Anne to put Mike to bed, but it was so dark and eerie, and she couldn't lock her back door—so she decided to pack a case and come back over here. We stopped to listen to her radio. We could get the Mainland—and heard an unconfirmed report that the West Virginia was gone.
Transcript from a letter by Gertrude Doyle:
I'm writing this today—you know that we are O.K. here.

Sunday A.M. Dec 7 Darling,

We were awakened this morning by Pearl Harbor being bombed by the Japs. We haven't heard a thing as to what has happened or how it was made possible. The radio said the planes shot down had the "Rising Sun" on the tip of the wings. Oh! Pal how did they ever get in here. Guess it was going on before we waked up—I didn't sleep half the night, heard the clock strike five, so guess when I did finally get to sleep I was sleeping quite soundly and didn't hear the first part of it as it was mostly in Pearl Harbor.

At the present time I can again hear the anti-aircraft guns.

It's terribly nervewracking darling and everything on an emergency basis. The Army has warned everyone to keep off the street, no phone is allowed to be used. They want all the lines open for the emergency. Just called for about fifty doctors to report to the Tripler Hospital, saying that they were needed there on account of casualties. Whether they needed all of them there, or just some, they didn't say—But they did say they needed doctors there on account of casualties.

What else has gone on at Pearl Harbor they haven't said, so up to date we don't know—I could see puffs of black smoke in the air from our side bedroom window. It must have been from the anti-aircraft guns. The air seemed to be full of planes and we could hear the guns firing.

Pal, I can't understand how we were surprised like this. Then to think that these horrible Japs had the nerve to try an attack on these islands. They don't seem to fear us to attack without declaring war. Of course the place has been placed on an emergency basis. What makes it so dreadfully heartbreaking to me is that this is war and now you will actually be in it. O darling Pal, that is my most terrible worry—your safety—God protect you my darling Pal and may you come through this terrible situation safely. We have the radio on. They are doing a grand job of it trying to keep the people calm, play jazz music, etc. Whenever necessary broadcast instructions to the people and report all necessary news items. We are told to keep the radio on for information, also that they will soon tell us what to do for tonight's blackout. They are calling all militia, Legion members, emergency ambulances, doctors etc. to their emergency stations. All Inter-Island ships and planes to the other Islands have stopped. All cars ordered off the streets. Can't even park them—If you haven't a garage, they are to be driven onto the lawn. Don't know why.

Katie Roper called me just before the order for everyone to keep off the streets—asked us over there—we were dressing to go but thought better of it so remained at home—Stoney isn't here.

They say that we have the situation well in hand. Maybe we won't have another attack. Where are they coming from and how many are there? The Governor just announced his proclamation for a full emergency. He was terribly upset or scared—you could scarcely understand him. Sounded like he was ready to cry. I'm scared honey, I don't mind telling you. It affected me like an earthquake. Everything right now so calm—Don't know when another attack will come—and quiet. This is Sunday. Officers having no duty were home, others out "fishing", etc. Like Fred and Allan—so guess they got the word from their spies. We are at war at last. Out U.S. and these beautiful Hawaiian islands threatened by Japs. I can't go on. I'm just stunned.

A man came around to tell us to fill everything with water. Told us that the Phillipines were being bombed—and God help and protect you my darling. Oh! I could just scream. You must be protected by God I couldn't bear it otherwise—if I only knew how you were out there—all my love is yours.
Gertrude and "Pal" survived the war, as did their daughter, Jane, and her husband Fred. Fred's sister, Mary, lost her husband Allan on the Franklin in March of 1945.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins

1 cup white flour
3/4 wheat flour [we just used all-purpose for all]
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup chopped rhubarb
3/4 cup sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt [we used strawberry & vanilla]
2 tablespoons canola/vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350º. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine egg, milk, yogurt & oil in a small bowl. Stir them into the dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in rhubarb, strawberries, orange juice and zest. Pour batter into greased muffin tins. Sprinkle tops with white or raw sugar. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Unseen Academicals

A Pratchett book for Christmas! Excellent!

Terry Pratchett writes two flavors of books these days: Pretty straightforward plot-driven books, and Message books. This is not to say that Message books don't have fairly rollicking plots, or that the Plot books don't have the Message, but that some are stronger in one than the other. This one's interesting in that it does character development for some people who have been around for numerous books, and that it takes them in slightly unexpected directions.

Ponder Stibbons— the only "sensible" member of the Unseen University staff— is busier than ever, but has managed to turn his intelligence towards something to make his life easier, i.e. understanding how to work Archchancellor Ridcully around. Ridcully, in turn, is still bluff and blustery but displays more of the intelligence that we've seen mere hints of before. Lord Vetinari, the Patrician, is as Machivellian as ever but displays a certain amount of human emotion other than annoyance or mild pleasure.

As far as plot goes, it's actually a comparatively minor event in Discworld terms. No end-of-the-world staff, no Dungeon Dimension Demons, no occult races making things difficult— just football (soccer, to us.) Okay, well, there's a god of football, but she makes almost no appearance, unusual in Chekhovian terms. And as far as message, it's the usual Pratchett commentary that people are individuals, but not presented very strongly. (Some books do bludgeon you over the head with it.)

Was it good? Of course. Was it stellar? Well, not in terms of his overall body of work, but quite serviceable for all that. A lot of people may find it a disappointment if they're looking for Sturm und Drang. But it's quite likeable, and if you approach it as an exploration into characters in a less frenetic setting, you should enjoy it just fine.

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14th in Sacramento, California

Elk Grove is a primarily suburban community about fifteen miles south of Sacramento. It has been incorporated for less than a decade but has more than tripled its population during that time, a fact which has led to an unfortunate proliferation of chain stores and a lack of Indian food. There is, however, at least one excellent Thai restaurant, which is where we eat if we bother to go out at all.

Sacramento itself has a rather interesting position. Most people in the state have a hate on for it because it is the heart of the screwed up policies of the state. Or they hate it because it doesn't have the culture of Los Angeles or San Francisco. (Yogurt has culture.) At any rate, that's not what I see. There are tons of natural areas, including the American River Parkway, which runs from downtown all the way up to Folsom Lake, 26 miles of undeveloped land with a bike trail through it. And Elk Grove is following that tradition, putting trails along its creeks. At some point in the future, they hope to connect them all up into one huge trail system.

Not that I'm dealing with any of that today. Today is a typical Mommy Day.

The second Monday of the month is the day of a library play group, so I rousted Gareth before dawn. We dropped off his father at his work and drove up to see my parents, who are utterly heartbroken to have a grandchild come over so often. Heartbroken, I tell you.

It was a pretty typical morning. Gareth is beginning to be much clearer in his requests, through body language if nothing else, and it's pretty obvious when a child is trying to climb into the booster seat that he's hungry. He ate most of his oatmeal, but then Djadja came in and brought cereal, so he couldn't possibly stay in the seat. He went over and did his imitation of a baby bird, and Djadja obliged, spooning raisin bran into the open mouth. Gareth is going to be a big cereal child, I can tell.

The library play group was rather under-attended as it falls within the holiday break for many parents. For the first half-hour, there was one other child, a boy named Delano who was marvelously close in age to Gareth. To my astonishment, they proceeded to almost play with one another.

I suppose this doesn't seem too astonishing to most people, but it's the first real indication we've had that Gareth understands that there are other children in the world. Moreover, he wasn't trying to take toys away from the other boy because he didn't want the other boy to have them, and was doing the same things Delano was because it looked interesting.

For the most part, though, it was run around, run around, run around. And eat, once the snacks were brought out.

After we went home, he then proceeded to play with the dog. Pharaoh is an incredible find for my parents; he's never once displayed any nervousness around Gareth, and can take his toys back without so much as nipping Gareth's hand. He does have an unfortunate tendency to knock the boy over, since he doesn't seem to realize the discrepancy in their sizes.

Gareth doesn't seem to mind.

After lunch, Nana held him for several episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba, his absolute favorite show. And then it was time to pick up Daddy and go home, where they are snuggling on the couch.

Nothing really area specific happened today. Last week was far more interesting, what with colds and frigid weather (for the area; some parts of the city actually got real snowfall) and ants in my pantry.

I could write several blog posts about ants. I don't think they'd be very family-friendly, though.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Scenario: Scarecrow


Style: Shock
Position: Front Porch

RelaxingOkay, I admit this is something more for trick-or-treaters than it is for haunted houses, but I just loved this one when it was pulled on me.

Once my heartrate had dropped, that is.

This works best in a moderately busy neighborhood, where there is a somewhat steady stream of kids, but not so many that the next group can see what happens to the previous one. It's the ultimate in simplicity. On your dimly lit front porch (which was more of a front walkway in my 1950s-era ranch-style neighborhood), there is a chair in which a badly stuffed scarecrow is slumped, straw hat over the face. When the kids walks by, the scarecrow jumps up.

All you need is old clothes, some rope, a hat and some straw, and a person who can hold very, very still.