Sunday, September 23, 2007

every minute i can get

there is still so much about my summer at unirondack i need to write about. i keep thinking i'll still have time to do it before i forget what it was really like. for now, i want to mention this morning..

i'm back at unirondack for the weekend. i left finally about 2 and a half weeks ago, and was completely thrilled to have the chance to get back up here this past weekend. it was the board retreat, and a few of us summer staff (myself, jonathan gotfried, marie, beth and mike, and colin) came up to do some projects around camp, and spend time with the board of directors.

it was a lovely weekend, with warm days and cool nights. i had my down comforter. and there were fires in all the fireplaces. the leaves have started to turn, and there are little firey places all across the lake. its lovely.

this morning i got up and took out a kayak on the lake. it was smooth as glass, and the fog was lifting up with the sunrise. there were loons out while i paddled around the edges near the lillypads, and a little frog on the shore as i was climbing into my kayak.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

singing and songwriting

how lucky am i? let me tell you. i'm still here in the beautiful adirondacks. i'm doing some work today for a client. however, while i sit here and code and work on images i have a view of the lake from my spot in the loft of the lodge. and all the kids are here right now, in their morning program. this weeks program is music, poetry and songwriting. the camp brought in some amazing musicians to teach and i get to listen to their incredible music while i work. it's cool to be me today.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

i cant blog... i'm too busy making bracelets.

thunderstorms, power outages, cornrows, painting portraits, joe&forrest, bats, only three more weeks of camp...

so a week ago there was a huge storm here. it started in the afternoon, which was pretty cool. i was in the art shop down on the lake. the view was spectacular. and... the power went out. our camp is pretty remote, and the power didn't come back on till late that night. not too much of an emergency, but no power also means no water for us. our water is pumped up from the lake (and filtered, etc.) so without the power it basically just stays in the lake. we had a couple of cases of bottled water though.

also, it was friday, which is the night the kids have a dance. we had to do that the old fashioned way with flashlights on the disco ball, and a battery powered boom box. i think it added to the fun. it was impressive just how dark it was. it usually is at night, we have some trail lights here and there that dont go out till about 1am, and their absence was noticeable. many nights i notice that the moon reflecting on the lake is far brighter than the trail lights. it lights up camp with a cool glow.

during my last big staff meeting, jon ferguson put cornrows in my hair. he is one of my favorite people here. very sweet guy. he's our youngest counselor but already one of the best! he and i hang out with the kitchen crew together a lot. helping get ready for meals, chatting and snacking on cookie dough. he's also my hero when we get the kiln firing started late in the day. he's always willing to hike down to the art shop at 1 in the morning to turn up the kiln dials, a task which i dread for some reason. he taught me to knit properly last week too. i already knew how to "knit" but had never gotten around to adding "purl" to that. so now i am making a whole new bunch of scarves. and nobody has better hair than fergie.

i've been doing a little bit of painting lately. we have an evening program here called "wish night" where all the campers (and staff if they'd like to) can write down a wish on a piece of paper. the papers are then handed out to other people to grant the wishes. one of our counselors wished for a portrait. i did one pretty quick, spent a few hours sketching, and a few more coloring it with watercolors. it reminded me how much i actually like to paint. i'm rusty, but its still fun.

every week come saturday morning there is a whole lot of crying going on. yes.... saturday is the day that regrettably, some campers must part ways with unirondack. usually it is the campers leaving their camp friends who are doing all the crying. they start well before breakfast, and mope about till the rides arrive. its sad. i have loved a lot of the campers we've had, however yesterday was the first time i really wanted to cry when campers left. that is because yesterday i had to say goodbye to joe and forrest (or jorrest) and jessie. the three of them have kept my art shop (and all of camp) quite lively. joe and forrest are usually about three seconds shy of getting into trouble. they remind me of a child size version of my uncle gary in fact. jessie doesn't usually get into trouble, but it is clear the gears are always turning with that one. he's one to watch for certain. i wish they could have stayed all summer. as it was they were here for multiple sessions, but it just wasn't long enough. :(

i've had a bat in the art shop. i'm not sure if its always the same bat, or if he's bringing his friends to use the pottery wheel. either way, every time a bat is spotted, we have to evacuate the art room. even though there aren't any documented cases of rabid bats int he area, precautions must be taken. did you know that a bat can bite you without you even feeling it? who'd have guessed.

i can hardly believe there are only three weeks of camp left. its seems impossible that the summer has gone so quickly. i love it here. right now, we have high school age campers. they are here for 2 weeks. after that we have one week of family camp. i may stick around to help out with some maintenance at the end of the season.

there are still lots of wonderful things happening in the art shop. we silkscreen, and paint, and play with clay (because EVERYONE loves clay), there's a lot of sewing, we're working on a tile mosiac. lots of jewelry making. yay art!

i'm also noticing a lot of new and different wildlife coming around to hang out. there seems to suddenly be a bunch of orange butterflies about. im not sure if they hatched from cacoons, or flew here, but they're great. i also have been seeing and hearing a flock of geese. they are my art shop neighbors. they sound crazy in the morning, but then again, so do the kids.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

new photos, new art!

ok, tons of photos that i've taken that i haven't had time to write about or post!

beautiful skies from the art shop balcony.

late night in the lodge. (note the mosquito bite)

stuff from the kiln... including leroy the red whale, and dinomouse!

thats too cute to be an ugly doll! buttons and pink fur don't know how to be ugly. i couldnt believe how many kids wanted to make these. sometimes i dont even know whats going to be a hit. glad i brought extra fabric!

king of the art shop. cute orange stripey king of the art shop. how wonderful it is to have meaty follow you around camp.

coolest coffeemug ever. (i take teeny tiny partial credit, i helped with the design)

we had the most amazing rainbows a few weeks ago. i meant to do a whole post about it, with tons of pictures. but heres one at least. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

meaty, triathalons, harry potter, and other stuff i've been too busy to write about.

today i let meaty out on his own. he was totally adorable. i decided he needed some freedom and fresh air. he ran around a little, was slightly scared by large noisy groups of kids, but for the most part was out and about having fun. when i went down to the art shop to be there for a few hours i brought him down there with me. he moseyed around the art shop, chased a small squirrel which escaped up a tree, he checked out people's projects, and laid around in the sun. i expect that every time i let him out he will be more and more bold. when i was ready to head back to upper camp from the art shop, i only had to call his name and he followed me up the trails back to our cabin. super cutey orange striped man. i think if i eep letting him out he will not come back so easily. we shall see.

as for harry potter, i have yet to read a single page!!! craziness. yesterday we had a hogwarts banquet in honor of the book release. we had banners for each of the houses, and a professors table up on the stage. people dressed up, and the kitchen made us butter beer, fudge and pumpkin cookies. 9 copies of the book arrived at camp... before campfire they played an audio recording of j.k. rowling reading the first chapter, and they let all the kids sleep over in the lodge. i stopped in after setting up some projects in the art shop late that night, and at 2am there were still kids reading their books by flashlight. a few counsellors have copies, so i'll start reading soon!

i cant believe how fast the days seem to be flying by. i had been meaning to write about excursion from last week. that was wednesday, and i haven't had a spare moment to write.

so.. wednesday i got to go on a teeny tiny triathlon. we set out in kayaks from camp, kayaked across the lake and upriver to just before the small rapids. we pulled out the kayaks and hiked through the woods three miles to moshier falls (incidentally in herkimer county!). moshier falls has a beautiful stone swimming basin, and the falls are lovely. there's areas to climb and hike and swim. on the way back i took a mountian bike one of the counselors had ridden in on the access road, and got to ride it back to the van they were using to bring in some of the campers (who were skipping the kayak portion). i was exhausted, but it was a lot of fun!!! it was a completely beautiful day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

lovely lovely adirondacks!

meaty and i are currently sitting outside enjoying YET ANOTHER beautiful day in the adirondacks. the weather here is truly fantastic. meaty is pondering the pros and cons of the tether. he likes to be out to try to track the chipmunks, however, whenever he is outside a large group of teen girls swarm down to pet him and coo over how darling he is. meaty is not really that type of cat. he's more the quiet one person at a time sort of man. so far he hasnt bit anyone. we'll see if he can keep that record.

camp is flying by. the weeks seem to blend together. the current session is Channing I (there is also Channing II). campers during this session are junior high and early high school. the first day they arrived was very intimidating. they were very, very, very too cool for everything. some of the girls are a little clique-y. we do the best we can to bust up cliques. now that they've been here they seem to be relaxing more, and letting their ultra-hip coolness gaurd down a little. this makes them so much more human. they're old enough to have some interesting insights on the world, and also old enough to clean up their art supplies, and not run when the kiln is on. i'm very very happy about that.

at mealtime i find myself drawn to siting with the ones i would have been friends with. we have a few artists, and odd nerdy types. a few gender benders. theyre cool kids all around, but i have my favorites.

the projects in artshop are getting some pretty interesting results as well. they're coming up with neat silk screen designs, and sculpting clever things in clay. i have a workshop on friday to make ugly dolls and monsters. when my day off started yesterday afternoon i went and got some fabric and things in town. i'll post the results. :)

Friday, July 13, 2007

busy, busy barton

my second week of campers is winding down to a close. as you may have noticed due to my lack of posts, barton was a busy week. but lots of fun!! yesterday i took two groups on excursions to eagle falls (without my camera because im a damn fool!). next time, pictures for sure. the art shop has been a wild and crazy flurry of late night kiln firings, glaze and paint and costumes and silkscreening, and candle making and beading and BOONDOGGLE (also known as: gimp, lanyard, and "hey i want to make one of those things with the plastic strings, but i don't know how to start it will you start it for me?"). if anyone needs a plastic keychain, by all means let me know.

i have a few shining art stars who make pottery i want to keep for myself, and do nice self portraits and beading. they rock. as always.. pictures will come later.

meaty has learned to open the cabin door, and has thus escaped twice. now that hes been out and about on his own, he is very determined to be out again. if hes out on his own (as in, off the leash) he has a sweet young chipmunk in his mouth in about two minutes flat. im incredibly torn. i would love to let him have his freedom and run around, but he would endanger the other cute and stripey population here at camp. oh.. what to do.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

my cabin

i had promised to post some more pics, and i had taken some of my cabin last week, but didn't have a spare moment to post them. one of my next door neighbor campers told me this evening that my cabin looked like a hotel room. i think that's a gross overstatement, but it was very cute. and it reminded me that i had planned to put these pics up.

so my cabin is small, but great. it has one main room, with a closet and a small bathroom attached. it has a large window overlooking the lake, and a cute little covered front porch. it has wood trim and a small bookshelf next to the bed. the upper half of the walls are painted a soft yellow. the floor is wood, and somewhat patchy. i like it.

meaty seems to like it well enough as well. he gets lots of attention. the kids come by and call to him through the window, and ooh and ahh over how cute he is. he has a nice view of the lake, the trees, campers and chipmunks running by all day.

the window is big enough that you can see my quilt from outside, and that really brightens things up. the whole place is cozy and happy. we like it. the first day i was here cleaning the art shop, i found a little wooden fish on the floor that someone had started to paint and given up on. i repainted him and made him into a light pull for the light over my bed. i am slowly but surely adding little bits of color to the room. :) i also snagged a bunk bed ladder that was being thrown away to use as a shelf for extra blankets. cozy indeed.

wildness and the germs that go with it

as it turns out, they are also full of germs. this age group isnt big on handwashing. so, i've gotten a cold already. but thats ok. my classes are a lot of fun. we've been playing with clay, and painting. i have a friendship bracelet and beading workshop that im giving tomorrow night.

the campers downstairs (lower lodge) just broke into a huge tambourine/acoustic guitar/bongo drum rendition of wild thing.
highly appropriate.

... and so much fun. ;)

Monday, July 2, 2007

it just got louder in here....

campers arrived yesterday. there are only 35 of them, but they sound like 135. they are 8-11 years old, full of energy, and mostly totally adorable.

Friday, June 29, 2007

care packages can be sent thusly:

Elizabeth Bashur
c/o Unirondack
8722 Unirondack Road
Lowville, NY 13367

(for those who have asked) :)

the lodge

so, i figure i should start posting some photos from around the camp. this will take a LONG time because there is a lot of camp. also, bear in mind that these photos will not nearly do it justice, and if you think the pictures are pretty you should surely talk to me about coming up here to camp sometime so you can see it in all its glory.

so, i'm starting with the lodge, and a tiny bit of the area around it. our lodge is huge, and beautiful. the original lodge had a fire, and this one was built after that. i'll look up the story and dates, and edit this post.

the lodge is two floors, with an open area in the center, so you can look down from the second floor loft to the first floor, and the fireplace chimney (which is huge) reaches up through the center. the first floor just had a new hardwood floor installed last week.

the main room is in front of the fireplace, and we have couches all around. this is where we have our programming meetings for staff, camp council, sit and talk late at night, drum or play the piano. theres a large room behind the chimney that has a foosball table, a ping pong table, and big built in orange couches, sort of like seats for a diner booth.

upstairs there are big chairs and tables, and books and games all around. huge windows starting on the second floor reach up to the peak of the building letting in tons of sunlight, and a view of the lake. i like to sit up here in the evening with my coffee and write this blog! there are a number a large wooden chairs, "kings chairs" with tall backs. the kids love to sit there while playing board games, and pretend they rule the camp.

there are three trails leading from the lodge. the first goes down a set of steps into the woods, to the art shop, boat house, waterfront, field (for sports) and the campfire circle. a second trail leads to the dining hall and the "sweet" cabins (where i live) a third that leads off to the "woods" cabins, parking area, maintenance cabins (wayne manor), shower house, and the nurses cabin.

there's a small "camp store" built into the side of the lodge, with a window that opens out over the porch so the kids can come and buy snacks and tshirts and things they may have forgotten from home (toothbrushes and stamps and such). the back porch is huge and screened in, with chairs and benches and a view off into the woods.

there are people at all hours in the lodge. they dance, read, write, drum, play piano, drink coffee, have ping pong championships, discuss, sing, etc. the lodge also has wireless, so it is where i'm at whenever i'm posting to this blog. :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

clay clay clay!

i'm sitting in the lodge tonight, drinking my r.w.knudsen lemon lime spritzer. i'm concerned i may develop an addiction to these things. they have them in the camp store, and we just keep track of how many we drink. it could become a delicious problem.

ups says my art supplies are currently in east syracuse. a mere 4 hours away! i cant wait. 4 boxes of beautiful art supplies. tonight i had the staff all come into the art shop after dinner and play with clay so that we can test out the kiln. i forgot how fun clay is, and how good it feels. i did some hand building today, and i think i may try to throw a piece or two on the wheel tomorrow.

i forgot to mention yesterday that a pair of butterflies have come to live in the art room. they are black and white, and one of them has a tiny tear in his wing. they visit me everyday. (i'm taking name suggestions)

we've had a lot of program meetings the last few days, preparing age based classes and workshops. campers arrive on sunday. only two more days to get ready! our first session, "emerson" is 4-6th graders. after saturday it's pretty much campers back to back the rest of the summer. some of the really busy sessions i'll be a cabin counselor as well as running the art shop. i think i can safely plan on being exhausted, but happy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

jump in the lake!

so if you've spent your morning sorting dusty boxes of art supplies, a random hodge podge (or should i say "mod podge") of feathers and paper tangles of yarn and silkscreens, and its hot and dusty in your art room, what do you do? JUMP IN THE LAKE! i love having the lake as a constant option. i visit it a few times a day. it's such an amazing luxury.

speaking of luxuries, this morning i ordered $827 worth of art supplies. i think a moment of thanks to you, mom and dad, is in order. thank you for always buying me real art supplies. for all the art indulgence i was given when i was young. thanks to you, i get to spend my summer at the lake, teaching art to campers.

ok, back to the order... i got yarn for the weaving loom, beads of all kinds, sculpy to make our own beads, wax for melting and making candles, paper in tons of colors and textures, clay, glaze, glitter, scissors, colored pencils, brushes, tie dye, and so much more! im excited to say the least. :) and with that, im off to a staff planning meeting.

Monday, June 25, 2007


right now smells like woodsmoke. it sounds like someone playing "blackbird", and ping pong. people talking and shuffling off to showers and bed, and people calling out words for boggle. tonight was our second night with a full staff. we've been working on projects and moving things, and brainstorming a combination of workshops for campers, and pranks to play on campers. they're all so much fun.

today we worked on putting together these modular floating docks and setting them out in the lake. it was brisk at first, but wonderful. a 15'x15' section of docks was at the boat house, and we needed to get it to the swimming waterfront a little ways around the lake. 16 of us hiked up, launched it into the water, climbed aboard, and rowed it like a giant raft. so much fun!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

sunday morning

it was super cold this morning. meaty was huddling under the covers with me, and i was looking for extra socks. walking into the kitchen however was dreamy. it was steamy and warm and smelled like sausages and cinnamon buns. they had already lit a big fire in the dining hall fireplace. i’ve come to really enjoy eating breakfast with 50 people. i think one of my favorite things is the contrast that proceeds the meal. because UU is a non-creedal religion, we don’t have specific prayers or anything that we say, but rather take things from everywhere, so every morning before breakfast someone will suggest some sort of song as a “grace”. its usually something kind of soft like this morning’s “thanks be for friends and daily bread” and it’s this nice sleepy melody, followed by a booming echoing clang 50 folding chairs clang open and we sit down to a hot meal.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

cedar, campfire smoke, and deep woods off

these are my new scents. and there are new sounds as well. frogs and birds and a quiet little wave sound of the lake below my shop. i worked on the art shop for hours and hours today. significant progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go. it was nice to get it opened up, and aired out a bit. i did a lot of sweeping, and dusting off of cobwebs. i have yet to start ordering supplies. i really need to do that right away! i had a couple of workshops with the kids today. the dozen or so kids that are here this weekend are the children of various RE directors that are having a retreat (did i already say that in the last entry?) so they are quiet varied in age for such a small group. the tiny ones are painting rocks, and beading bracelets. the older ones are drawing and knitting. after dinner and cookies the little ones were all sugared up and running circles round the art room. needless to say, i prefer morning session better. i think i'll have more energy for the running once the art room tidy up is finished.

mmmm.... hot shower.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Unirondack! Woo Hoo!

we arrived a little before midnight last night. meaty was the ultimate champ of 12 hours in the car (thats 8 for actual driving, and the rest for stops, including niagra falls). he sat on my lap most of the way, and watched the road go by. john did all the driving.. which was very nice. towards the end we weren't sure we were going to find camp... there was a big lot a 'nothin out there! but when we did, it was beautiful. even in the pitch darkness, with only the suggestion of trees, the amazing stars, and the smell of cedar.

amiee showed us around as much as possible at midnight, and showed me a few cabins. i chose one near the lodge. its lovely. has wooden windows with little curtains, a covered front porch which was great today in the rain, it even has a half bath of its own. it was chilly last night, and this morning john and i woke up, looked out through the curtains, and thought it had snowed! there was all this light area outside the cabin (this was the view through the curtains remember). once we pulled back the curtains, it made a lot more sense. the light area outside was the reflection off the lake. as it turns out, my lovely little cabin is lakeside, and has a wonderful view.

we spent some time in the art room this morning, and i was completely overwhelmed by how wonderful it is. it's far larger than i thought, so much larger than it looked in pictures. there's a nice big deck off the back with a panorama of sparkling lake. it's disheveled now, but i'll work over the next few days to re-organize it and get everything up and running. we had a group of educators come in today for a weekend retreat, and dan (the other director) arrived. there have been lots of neat people to meet, and really it's only a ghost crew.

meaty likes our cabin pretty well, and by tomorrow afternoon i'll have it all appointed and set up. for now i'm going to get to bed. i hardly glossed over everything that happened today, but i'll try to catch up when its not my first day!

with love from unirondack,
meaty and elizabeth