Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Glamping We Will Go! Part 2

Rule 1 of camping: PRE-MAKE EVERYTHING. It makes enjoying your vacation so much easier when you don't have to fuss with preparation nor cleanup. I mean pre-make everything. Pre-cut your lettuce and tomato for burgers. Pre-package your sliced veggies for dutch oven cheesy veggies.

Pre-wrap your bacon hot dogs.
grilled bacon wrapped hot dogs for camping!

Premake your fire starters.
add dryer lint with vaseline to toilet paper rolls for quick firestarters that last at least 10-20 minutes

Pre-crack your eggs so don't have to worry about soggy cartons or cracked shells.
eggs in a jar for camping

Freeze your water bottles so you can use them instead of as ice packs. Plus you always have cold water!
Freeze your water bottles so you can use them instead of as ice packs. Plus you always have cold water!

 Pre-make, wrap and refrigerate your camporitos.
(Large tortillas, hashbrowns, bacon or sausage, cheese and eggs)
All you have to do is warm them up and add salsa!
camporitos, perfect for grilling while camping

Do as much as you possibly can before you go!

I'm a girly girl even in the woods. And I'm an over planner. And true to both traits, I've made detailed drafts of my best camping outfits for the weekend. So maybe this step is a bit overdoing it for most people. Certainly not for me. And at least it gives you a glimpse of what my personal camping comfort clothes are.

Leggings, t-shirts, and sweater boots. I mean, it doesn't get more cozy than this.

camping outfit 1: sweater boots, leggings, baseball shirt, hat

It is hot during the day, so a hat to keep the sun off my head and a swim suit under my tank makes it easy to strip down to once we walk to the lake.

camping outfit 2: camo cut offs, tank, swimming suit, Chucks, hat

It gets cold in the mountains the second the sun goes down. Be prepared. Bring a vest and a couple long sleeve shirts for staying warm when you're hanging out around the fire.

camping outfit 3: flannel, jeans, down vest, chucks, trucker hat

Thi is kind of redundant, but Colorado weather is bipolar. No joke. Be prepared and don't be afraid to layer.

camping outfit 4: cut offs, tank, vans, swimming suit, Ray Bans, bandana, fedora

I'm not even kidding. This is exactly what I'm packing:

Anyway, (I've done my Pinterest duty for the month) wish us luck this weekend and I'll let you know next week how it went! Have a good weekend everyone!

You can now follow me on Instagram! @thebrighterwriter

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Strawberry Supermoon 2013

I know I've kind of been a little preoccupied and busy and honestly just over blogging lately. I've been writing every single day, sometimes even twice a day, for years. Some of it was published on my past blog MGEN, some of it for a couple of small magazines in New York, some of it on, some of it for work, some of it for my degree and some of it just for personal cathartic decompression.

I think all the excitement of a new forum kicked me into overload when I started The Brighter Writer and after an entire year of posting nonstop, day after day, it just burned me out.

It turns out one of my posts is going to be featured in next month's (!!!!) and that was really just the kick in the ass that I needed to get myself back in gear.

So even though I don't have any crafts or recipes or whatever this week, the point of this blog was just to come as you are and write.

And so that's what I'll do.

Tonight's supermoon has been on my mind all week long. My love for the moon is evenly spread through its whole cycle and admitting how much I love it when it's full is sort of like a mother admitting she likes one child better than any other. But the truth is, I do. Maybe because I get to see Lady Moon as her whole self and not just a partial shading. Maybe because it makes me and everyone else do strange things. I'm not sure.

But there is another one tonight.
A big one.
The largest of 2013.
It will be 16,176 miles closer to us than on any other usual full moon.
It will be 30% visibly brighter to us than on any other usual full moon.
It will be magnificent.

Think of the moon as a woman in her mid-30's, who although is beautiful in everyday life, she only gets really dolled up and goes out to party once a year or so. And when she does, she goes hard. This is her night on the town. You won't see her at the club again until August 2014. So you better man-up and ask her to dance...

Arguments in the media are back and forth about possible increased risk of earthquakes and erupting volcanoes. Reminders that the supermoon of 2011 grounded 5 UK ships are in the back of traveling minds everywhere.  The tides being 18% larger on average throughout the world are worrisome in places of tsunami threat. Everyone seems to be on a heightened security.

All because of this shy lady:

supermoon full strawberry moon full moon 2013

June's full moons are known as The Strawberry Moon here in the United States. It was named by Algonquin tribes who knew by this moon it was time to start gathering up their ripened fruits. Across the pond in Europe, it's known as the Rose Moon.

So anyway, you can find me on my porch tonight, stargazing in a happy enchanted state, drinking strawberry martinis and nibbling fresh fruit. I'll be thinking about love. Do not disturb.

The Purpose of the Moon

by Tom Robbins (1979)


          Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear and sent it to Marilyn Monroe.
          Marilyn Monroe was so touched that she gave up everything—her career, her swimming pool, her wiggle, her telephone, her suicide, everything—and moved to the south of France to be with Vincent van Gogh.
          Did they live happily ever after? No, no one ever does. But they pretended to live happily ever after. And since all things become what we pretend they are, fake happiness is as good as the real stuff.


          Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear and sent it to Marilyn Monroe. When she unwrapped the package and found the ear, Marilyn Monroe dished up her famous cat-that-swallowed-the-banana smile.
          Marilyn Monroe put the ear in a rosewood box on her dressing table. Every now and again, she would remove the ear from the box, pet it, blow on it, scratch it and giggle. Once, she hooked the ear on a silver chain and wore it to a party. She always intended to write the ear’s original owner a pretty thank-you note, but she never quite got around to it.
          Was Vincent van Gogh a fool?
          Maybe Marilyn Monroe was the fool. After all, Vincent van Gogh made a grand gesture and Marilyn Monroe received it frivolously.


          Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear and sent it to Marilyn Monroe. Some weeks later, the package was returned to Vincent van Gogh. It was marked, ADDRESSEE DECEASED.
          Vincent van Gogh checked into the matter and found that it was true. In his research, he learned that Joe DiMaggio had ordered that fresh red roses be placed on Marilyn Monroe’s grave every three days, forever. Not for Joe DiMaggio’s lifetime, mind you, not for the duration of Hollywood, its films and its cemeteries, but forever.
          Vincent van Gogh leaned against the dizzy crown of an epileptic sunflower. Said he, “After the end of the world, Joe DiMaggio is going to have some money coming back.”


          Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear and sent it to Marilyn Monroe. Whereupon Marilyn Monroe cut off one of her ears and sent it to Vincent van Gogh.
          Vincent van Gogh cut off his little toe and sent it to Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn Monroe sent one of her little toes in return. Next, Vincent van Gogh cut off an eyelid and posted it. In the return mail, he received an eyelid from Marilyn Monroe. Their friendship was growing warm.
          They exchanged ring fingers, tongues, belly buttons and nipples. One day, Vincent van Gogh cut out his heart and rushed it to Hollywood—but by then Marilyn Monroe had become bored with the whole affair and run off to Tijuana with Warren Beatty.
          Vincent van Gogh was shattered. Yet he should not have been so surprised. That is often the pattern love follows.


          Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear and sent it to Marilyn Monroe. Not long afterward, Marilyn Monroe flew to Paris, drove a rented car to the south of France and called on Vincent van Gogh.
          Following proper introduction, Marilyn Monroe produced a package of Hostess Twinkies. Because Hostess Twinkies always travel in pairs; because, like the coyote, the gorilla, the killer whale and the whooping crane, Hostess Twinkies mate for life, there was a Twinkie each for them to share.
          When the snack was done, Marilyn Monroe reached into her sewing basket, drew out a needle and a spool of green thread and proceeded to stitch Vincent van Gogh’s ear right back where it belonged.
          “There,” she said, licking a smear of Twinkie cream from the corner of her mouth. “There, you naughty boy. And the next time you want to clip off a piece of yourself as a token of affection, you might keep in mind the old Jewish custom. It’s less messy, more socially acceptable. Remember, to ear is human, but to foreskin is divine.”


          Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear and sent it to Marilyn Monroe.
          The severed ear reminded Marilyn Monroe of a crescent moon, and for hours she contemplated it by moonlight.
          She telephoned Vincent van Gogh. “Does the moon have a purpose?” she asked.
          Vincent van Gogh considered her question. He decided it was silly.
          Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not.
          Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question is whether time has a beginning and an end.
          Camus clearly got up on the wrong side of bed, and Robbins must have forgotten to set the alarm.
          There is only one serious question. And that is: Who knows how to make love stay?
          Answer me that and I will tell you whether or not to kill yourself.
          Answer me that and I will ease your mind about the beginning and the end of time.
          Answer me that and I will reveal to you the purpose of the moon.


          Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear and sent it to Marilyn Monroe. Paul Gauguin was aghast. “That was in very bad taste, Vincent,” Gauguin said. “Years from now, after you are dead and gone, you will be better remembered for cutting off your ear than for the beauty and truth of your art.”
          From beneath his bandages, Vincent van Gogh looked at Paul Gauguin and smiled. “Don’t worry,” he said. “Art takes care of itself. And what the world thinks of me when I am dead and gone is none of my concern. What matters is life. What matters is love. Yeah.”
          The next day, Paul Gauguin cut off his wife and sent himself to Tahiti.
          “Poor Gauguin,” sighed Vincent van Gogh. “He understood only half of what I said.”


          Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear and sent it to Marilyn Monroe. Immediately, he had second thoughts and fell into a deep depression.
          “Oh, why was I so presumptuous?” he asked. “An ear is much too intimate. And what if she doesn’t fancy ears? I might better have sent violets or phosphor. I should have sent potatoes, toothpaste or brush strokes of significant width. That ear will offend her, I know it. Oh, they ought to call me Vincent van Gauche. I’ve blown it again.”
          In the midst of all his fretting, a note arrived from America. “Dear Mister,” it began, “Thank you so much for the silk purse.” Vincent van Gogh relaxed. He grinned from ear to....Oops.


          Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear. He wanted to send it to Marilyn Monroe, but he didn’t know how to go about it.
          He couldn’t afford to deliver it in person. They had no mutual friends. And were he to send it to her movie studio, a stout woman in a tweed suit would be certain to throw it away.
          Dare he trust it to Railway Express? To United Parcel Service? To Brink’s?
          Vincent van Gogh’s ear was his love. Unable to send it through normal channels, he went out into the wheat field and sent it by crow.

Wheatfield With Crows, Vincent van Gogh, 1890

"Incidentaly," he might have added, "are you aware that there's no such thing as a smithereen? The word only exists in the plural." Tom Robbins ~ Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Glamping We Will Go! Part 1


We're trying this camping thing again. Last year's trip was a failure, but we're optimistic that this go-around we (I) will be better prepared.

True to form, I've been in a list making frenzy the last 2 weeks even though we still have an additional 2 weeks before the big trip. I've raided our local Dollar Tree a dozen times and I am convinced that my shopping trips over the last 14 days have targeted me as a total lunatic. I tried to explain to the check-out girl that last year's trip was a disastrous battle and all of this preparation is, in fact, combat related but I don't think she bought it. She just doesn't understand what it is to plan a vacation with this particular thunderous three year old. There is an entire army inside her cute little toddler sized body. An army which is prepared to fight, to defend, and who has been trained to go straight for the jugular. She is a defiant whining machine. When she's good, she's sooo good. But when she's chooses the Dark Side.... I break into sweat when I even think about it.

I'm simply in combat training.

I've been hardened and strengthened.

This camping trip is going to be fun, damn it.

Anyway, The Family Dollar is currently stocked up on Summer supplies. Paying a measly dollar for anything that will be fun, keep her busy, and could possibly get broken or left behind is not so bad. I'd much rather go the cheap route than to buy the exact same thing at Target or Walmart for more money.

The best dollar store camping supplies:

1. Glow sticks, glow bracelets, glow wands, glow necklaces, glow hats, glow EVERYTHING. $1
2. Binoculars $1
3. Hand held tent broom $1
4. Magnifying glass with built in tweezers and holding cell for any buggies you may find. $1
5. Antibacterial wet wipes $1
6. Flashlights AND batteries $1
7. Disposable plastic table cloths so if you spill something you can toss it instead of attracting a thousand flies and bees. $1
8. Fly Swatters $1
9. Water guns / squirters $1
10. Beach ball, blow up floaties (assuming you have a lake near by) $1
11. Travel bottles! Transfer your bathroom things like shampoo / conditioner / lotions AND your food condiments like mayo, mustard, ketchup into smaller bottles so they take up way less room in the cooler or bag. $1
12. Freeze packets for cooler. $1
13. All grilling supplies you may need including grill scrubs, metal spatulas, napkins, hot pads/gloves, dish towels $1
14. Playdough that can be thrown away after being rolled around in sand, leaves or dirt. $1
15. Face paint (because it's fun) $1
16. Crayons, blank paper and clip boards to make rubbings of leaves or bark. $1
17. Tap lights to put by Kalynn's bed at night in case she wakes up scared. $1
18. Plastic hair caps to put over food bowls and keep flies out while you eat. $1
19. 3 for $1 mesh laundry bags to keep your filthy clothes seperate from your clean clothes
20. Butterfly (or Daddy's head) catching nets $1
21. Sand toys $1
22. Sidewalk chalk for drawing on trees or rocks or whatever else $1
23. Paper towels, paper plates, toilet paper, and plastic silverware $1

I'm telling you, my husband as well as many of you, may think I'm out of control, but I assure you, this place is amazing.
I've also packed phone books instead of newspaper for fire kindling just because they are compact and it's easy for us to rip out pages as we need them. We bought sturdy Coleman inflatable mattresses with battery operated pump so we don't even have to bother with the roll-up sleeping pads this time around. (What a pain in the ass those were.) I've also discovered that the pump which inflates/deflates our mattresses is perfectly compatible with our Space Bags so bringing pillows, sheets and blankets only take up a quarter of the space in our car. 

Here's our offical 2013 camping list:

Glamping packing list for kids :
Laugh if you may, but I've thought of absolutely everything. I've even placed a hold on every children's camping book they have a our local library (which I'll pick up tomorrow) so that I can psych her up for the next two weeks and make sure she's super excited.
I chalked last year up to a great learning experience and one that I did not take lightly. Having an over abundance of things to do and being realistic and smart about the things we need to pack is going to help out tremendously. I don't have the luxury of a constantly well behaved angel of a kid. Don't get me wrong. I love her so much I want to squeeze her tiny little precious head off sometimes but I mean, come on. She's a crazy, energy filled, 3-year-old only child. I need a plan of attack. And a back up plan of attack. And a back up for my back up.

Over reacting, you say? How can a face so cute be so out of control, you say?

Yeah, right.

Over and out.

Want to hear more from me? You can now follow me on Instagram! @thebrighterwriter