I am a freelancer in the publishing industry, so words are very important to me. I'm a leftist living in a world gone mad, so politics are very important to me. I'm an environmentalist living in a degrading world, so pick up your damn trash, get rid of your gas guzzlers, and don't touch ANWR, you self-absorbed capitalists!

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26 July 2006

We spent three days camping and caving with my father-in-law and his 10-year-old son. Here are some comments, in no particular order.

  • After several years of Big Vacations (UK, Belgium, & Switzerland; Montreal, New Hampshire, Maine; Christmas out East) this year we decided to do Little Trips (camping with un-friends; camping/caving in East Iowa; end of summer campout with friends [to come]). I have decided that I prefer Big Trips (less packing & unpacking of camp site).

  • Camp Hosts can be sticklers for the rules. Some of their decisions are reasonable (only 2 tents per site), others are not (switching sites allowed only if you pay an additional site fee [but you already paid for 2 sites, you just want to open up one of the original ones to someone else and take a closer one]).

  • Caving is necessarily an Extreme Muddiness sport.

  • A mother’s sense of safety of her family is not helped when she is told of all the very narrow passages squeezed through and slippery ledges grasped at from vertical climbs during a caving afternoon. Chuckling about it and adding, “But that wasn’t as bad as when…” does not help her pacing heart return to a normal rate.

  • If its shadow looks like a cat and its sound is a snorty snuffling, it’s probably a raccoon.

  • If you hear an intense QUACKADOODLE in the middle of the night, it’s probably an owl. (Whatever happened to soft too-whoos?)

  • The civic administration of Galena, Illinois, is very weird. They think that a sign placed at the top of a very steep hill which reads “QUIET ZONE. No braking unless in emergency” makes sense. But this is also the town where the local rock shop says there are no rock deposits in the area (Galena – as in galena, the mineral, for crying out loud!)

  • Camp-fire pyromania is genetic and can be considered a competitor sport. (Imperatrix has retired, but can beat any of these young whippersnappers if she so chose.)

  • Children will insist on telling scary stories at campfires, even though it has been proven time and again that someone will have trouble sleeping afterwards.

  • Having children in their own tent is a fabulous thing. (We’ve been doing it since Impera was 5 and Trixie was 3.)

  • Listening to stories on tape is the best thing for long trips. This time we listened to Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. (“Nae king! Nae queen! Nae laird! Nae master! We’ll nae be fooled again!”)

    Now I'm off to being anxious about all the work I need to get done. I dont' know why. I've got things under control. But somehow my body thinks this would be a good time to get all stressed out. Sheesh.