Tag Archives: Camp Crystal Lake

Scarier Than Ghosts

Halloween isn’t celebrated in the Netherlands like it’s celebrated here in the U.S., so I’m very excited that Noëmi got to experience it here, or, if not the actual holiday, at least the preparation.

The first thing we did was get a couple of pumpkins for carving. Noëmi had never carved a pumpkin before, so she was very excited. We googled “Jack-o-Lanterns” for some good ideas, and then we set to carving.

Noëmi and a big knife

Noëmi and a big knife

pumpkin-guts

Tops off!

A bowl full of pumpkin guts!

A bowl full of pumpkin guts

noemi-carves-a-pumpkin-3 noemi-carves-a-pumpkin-2

Noëmi decided that her pumpkin would be smiley and cute, while I decided mine would be scarier, toothier. They both turned out pretty darn good.

Noëmi's first pumpkin!

Noëmi’s first pumpkin!

Once we had some ghoulish gourds, we set out to spookify the house. I took out my bag(s) of bones, my gravestones, ghosts, and my zombie gnomes, and we went at it.

grave-yard

Front yard graves

gravestone-and-foot

Back yard body parts

Ghosts!

Ghosts!

We're voting "Yes" on November 8 for a new library; and so is our ribcage and femur.

We’re voting “Yes” on November 8 for a new library; and so is our ribcage and femur.

We did a good job, and will hopefully scare the neighborhood children come Monday’s Halloween trick-or-treatathon. But our house wasn’t the only scary thing in Crystal Lake. There was also…WALMART.

See, one of the first things Noëmi asked me, when we started talking about cultural differences between the Netherlands and the U.S., was, “Can you really buy bullets in the grocery store?” And, although I hated to say it, the answer was, “Well, yeah.”

Because although you can’t get bullets at my local Jewel — and thank goodness for that — you can certainly get them at the local Walmart, where along with your baby formula, vitamins, green peppers for that chili you’re making, and new hand towels for the guest bathroom, you can buy as much ammo as you need! Great!

ammunition

Bullets, bullets, so many bullets! Welcome to the U.S.A.!

Walmart also sells bows and arrows…

noemi-and-bows-and-arrows…and bubble wrap:

Because who doesn't need this much bubble wrap?

Because who doesn’t need this much bubble wrap? And it’s somehow used by the Rebel Alliance, so…there’s that.

For more about Noëmi’s adventures with Halloween and Walmart, check out her excellent blog (it’s in Dutch, but her pictures are terrific [and maybe you read Dutch! I don’t know your life!]).

I’ll have more posts about Noëmi’s last days of adventuring at Camp Crystal Lake and Chicago, so come back soon!

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Pontooning Powers

At the start of the summer, we got a boat — a big deal for us — and we’ve tried to put it to as much use as possible these past few months. We’ve been doing a pretty darn good job, although we’ve done a bit of traveling and have had a little weird weather. Even Roo is getting in on the action, equipped with an pretty cool life jacket we got her (Trevor refused to get a pink one with little anchors all over it, citing “safety” and other blah blah blahs, so she’s got a super boring yellow one with a “high safety rating.” blah.)

And I don’t really have a lot to say about our pontooning adventures; they’re pretty low-key (although last weekend while hanging out with my friend Lisa and her family we went over a big wave and the front end dipped into the lake and we thought we were going to sink and possibly perish, but, of course, we did not). But here are some stories of the floatings we’ve had so far.

The Power family came out for the weekend in July, and we even got Rachel to come up from Florida. Florida! Along with the human Power family, we welcomed a new canine member of the family to the boat: Cheekah, a little gray Chihuahua who, unfortunately, didn’t get to meet Roo, but they probably would have been best friends and moved to New York together to get jobs as fashion magazine interns. Or as circus performers. Or pasta makers.

Fran and Cheekah

Fran and Cheekah, queens of the pontoon

During the Power Family Weekend, we also discovered that I’m no good at taking selfies. Now, this is something I’ve known, personally, for a long time. I really don’t take selfies unless I’m making a silly face to text to Trevor, and I pretty much look silly in 99% of the selfies I take. And sometimes, I’m not even present in the picture at all:

1/3 of my face made it into this one! Success!

1/3 of my face made it into this one! And everyone else looks fantastic! Success!

But being on our boat makes me take selfies. I don’t know what it is: the fresh lake air, the wind whipping through my hair, the afternoon boat beer…It’s a mystery. But I think I’m getting better at them.

Pretty good, right?

Pretty good, right?

I'm 100% happy with this one -- my entire head is in it, along with some of my neck!

I’m 100% happy with this one — my entire face is in it, along with some of my neck!

We had a great weekend all around, and it was so good to see Rachel. She left us on Monday to drive up to Door County to visit Grandma Madel, but we got to see her for dinner on her way back down and before she left for home. Hopefully Trevor and I will visit her in November for Thanksgiving like we did last year. Maybe this year we can convince her to help us steal a shuttle and take a quick trip to the moon. Or whatever; we can also just eat some space ice-cream. Or regular ice cream, I’m not picky.

Last weekend my friend Lisa, her husband James, and two of their three kids came over for some ‘toon time (yeah, I just used the phrase “‘toon time,” judge me if you will). We had a great time swimming around and eating snacks for a few hours.

Lisa Eli and Violet

Lisa and her two fish-monkeys

And Trevor might have asked for some help driving the boat.

Eli and TrevorViolet and Trevor

And he also made some a new friend (a friend who was wearing a matching outfit, so…destiny.):

Walking on Oak Street

Trevor and Eli: co-captains and new best friends

On Sunday, it was just Trevor, Roo, and me, and we tried out our new tube. Trevor got it primarily so Roo could take breaks while swimming, since Roo’s “swimming” technique involves a lot of water eating. Lifting her up into the tube is easier than lifting her up into the boat, and if she’s in the tube while we’re swimming, she’s a bit calmer than if she was watching us from the boat. A bit.

How cute are these two? CUTE!

She looks calm, right? Well. Trevor does, at least.

And those are our pontooning tales! Are they everything you’d hoped they would be? Even better?! Good.

Trevor will be doing a lot of traveling in late August and September for work; he’s going to Florida and then to China (China!? I know, right?!), and while he’s gone I’m hosting my amazing book club babes for a nautical book club adventure and some of my high school girlfriends for a Labor Day ladies’ pontooning party. So our adventures are not yet over, although, they will likely be just as “exciting” as these were. I’ll keep you up-to-date.

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The Gang Gets a Boat

Trevor and I moved out to Camp Crystal Lake three years ago — June 20, 2013 to be exact. Our first summer (a half-summer, really) we spent settling into the house and the neighborhood; the second and third, I’ve written about before, and this, our fourth summer, can now be called the Summer of the Boat! Because we got a boat! (I am not subtle, no.)

We’ve been talking about getting a boat since we moved in. That’s a big part of why we moved out here: we wanted a little lake house with a fireplace and a yard for Roo. And we use the heck out of our fireplace and pot-bellied stoves, and Roo uses the heck out of the yard (for running a course around at 1,000MPH, and also for her…other business…). But we’d not used our proximity to the lake to its full potential. Yes, we swim (even Roo, though she tries to drink all the water as she swims, which is weird and kind of gross) and we float around in tubes and on noodles. But we wanted to really use the lake. Like, use it up.

And how better to do that than with a boat? (A: there is no better way.)

So, after years of research (yes, I know I’m prone to hyperbole, but in this case I’m telling the truth [and if you know Trevor at all, then you know how truthful this is]), we got a 20 foot pontoon boat from a dealership in Volo, near the Chain O’Lakes.

As soon as we boarded, we knew it was the boat for us.

T in Captain's Seat

This feels right.

It even came with a bird. We couldn’t convince her to stay with us, though. She mentioned something about moving out West to San Diego. She has some friends out there with a nest-building business; she’s going to do inside sales for them. It sounded nice.

We almost convinced this bird to come with us, but she wanted a nice nest in San Diego instead.

Good luck, bird.

After doing the paperwork and getting the necessary registration and city stickers, we had five days until the boat would be delivered, and we needed a dock to park her. Our beach association has a pier, but boat owners are responsible for building and installing their own docks, so Trevor set to work to figure out how to do it.

He called his dad, the trusty and skilled carpenter, John Power, and secured his availability for the build and install. There was a yet-to-be-installed dock sitting on our beach, so Trevor took a look at that to get an idea of what he needed. He examined, measured, took pictures, drew schematics, and then bought his lumber (pressurized pine) and supplies (poles and augers to be screwed into the sandy lake bottom). And he and John set to work.

The Dock BuildingThere were two sections, each measuring ten feet: one that had an angled end and clipped directly to the pier, and a second section that connected to the first. The first day they measured, cut, and assembled; the second day they measured, cut, and assembled some more, and then they installed the dock in the water. They had to get it in before the boat was delivered at 3 p.m. on May 21, and they got it done with an hour to spare.

They are, in no uncertain terms, my heroes.

These men built and installed this dock.

These men built and installed this dock.

Power DockWith the dock good to go, we were ready for our boat, and it arrived right on time. We met Vince, our delivery guy, at the park district’s boat put-in area, and he unloaded it onto the lake. We picked John up at our dock and then drove around for a while so Vince could show us the ropes.

T Watches the Put In

Trevor and the very helpful Vince

Man and His Boat

A man and his boat

John, finally getting to relax after we worked him like a maniac for three days

John, finally getting to relax after we worked him like a maniac for three days

We could have driven around forever, but Vince wanted to go home so we unloaded him, and John finally had enough of us and headed back to Elgin and Fran. We tooled around for a bit longer, then finally headed in so Trevor could get some rest.

On Sunday we had perfect boat weather. My brother, Greg, was visiting a friend in our neighborhood, so he stopped by and we all went out in the morning. We included Roo, whose last adventures on a pontoon boat were two years ago in Door County — we tried to get her to swim, but she didn’t like it, and then she got very nervous to see everyone else swimming while she was on the boat. Trevor and I hoped she’d be better this second time, because it won’t be as fun this summer if she’s not hanging out with us. And she did very well — she only jumped on the bench once, she sniffed everything, she did a lot of looking out into the lake, and she split her time between the sun and the shade. I think she’s going to be just fine.

Roo Watches Water

Roo checks everything out

Roo and Engine

I’m going to teach her how to climb that ladder

T and Greg

Trevor and Greg

L and T on Boat

This is where I’m going to be all summer

T and Roo

They look very serious for people sitting on a pontoon boat — PONTOOOOOON

So now we’re boat people! I got us matching Camp Crystal Lake t-shirts at the Walker Stalker Convention this weekend (a post on that is forthcoming)…

Yes, we will wear these at the same time

Yes, we will wear these at the same time

…and we’re going to name the boat ( we have a short-list of choices, and we’ll let you know that soon enough [I wanted to name it the Mrs. Voorhees, but Trevor vetoed me]).

Now, the only thing left is to hold the lake’s biggest dance party!

Five Exciting Things That Happened Over Spring Break

Tomorrow I go back to school after having a week off of classes for spring break (#springbreak2016whoohoo!). Trevor has been busy at the studio, and we weren’t able to plan any kind of a getaway, so instead, I just hung around Camp Crystal Lake with Roo and did a whole lot of nothing.

But there were a few interesting, nay, exciting things that happened. I decided that I would recount them here for you so you could get a real taste of what a fast-paced life I lead.

Number Five: The Library Stole My Heart!

Three weeks ago I picked up Stephen King’s latest collection of short fiction, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, at my local book joint, the Crystal Lake Public Library. The book was marked as a “Hot Pick,” which meant that it could only be checked out on a seven-day loan, and it couldn’t be renewed. It’s a good-sized book, coming in at just under five hundred pages, so I was disappointed when I had to return it having only read half. But moments after I dropped my copy into the “Returns” book slot, I wandered to fiction and saw that there was another copy of the same book on the Hot Picks shelf; so obviously I grabbed it. Excellent loophole, CLPL!

But this second copy was, alas, due last Saturday, and I still wasn’t finished. I had about a hundred pages left to read, but I thought, hey, that’s okay, it’s short stories and will be easy to pick up whenever I see it again. So I returned it, and figured that sometime after the semester’s end, I’d pick it back up.

But then — but then — on Monday, my first day of spring break, I went to the library to check out some movies for my week-long couch potatoing, and the book was back on the shelf. Score! But wait! I grabbed the book and was waiting to check it out when I flipped it open and saw that my book mark was right where I had left it! KWHAAAAAT???!!!!!

THAT’S MY BOOK MARK! RIGHT WHERE I LEFT IT!

Yes, that’s right! Whatever wonderful human at the circulation desk checked my book back in did not remove my book mark. What a great way to start a spring break, right?! I finished the book that day and returned it, so hopefully some other lucky soul is enjoying it right now.

Number Four: Knives Are Sharp!

Thursday night I was fixing dinner (stove-top lasagne) and was having a pleasant time, just chopping up my vegetables, listening to my latest audiobook (Charlotte Brontë‘s Villette [good, good]). I was about to start sauteing (pot on the stove, olive oil heating up) but I needed to open my packet of Tofurky Italian sausage; so I got my big fat knife and plunged it in, and caught a nice chunk of my middle finger. I almost passed out (I’m weak in the stomach for all blood that is not made of corn syrup and red dye 40) and had to put dinner on hold until Trevor got home from work. And now I have this damn stupid gross cut on my finger and I’ve had to wear a rubber glove to take a shower and I don’t think my left hand has been really clean for a couple of days (there’s still blood underneath my fingernail [yeah, I know: gross]). I decided I would not include a picture of this. You’re welcome.

That should teach me to never eat Tofurky again.

Number Three: The Birds!

This jerk bird tried to break into the house:

Birdgular

Hellooooooo.

For days I’d been hearing something flying into the window, but I always looked at the top, where birds sometimes hang out under the eaves. But I was in the kitchen filling up my coffee mug on Friday morning and this guy flew into the bottom of the window, just beak-firsted right in there. I figure he was either trying to perch on the sill (he could hold this pose for about one single second) or he was legit trying to break into the house and steal my stuff — probably all of the dryer lint, thread, and newspaper he could get his little orange beak on.

He did it a few more times and then took off somewhere else. I think he and his family will build their little cardinal home in one of our bushes, like they did last year. Maybe he was trying for a warmer kind of place inside the house rather than out, but I am not having it. It’s a slippery slope to a whole lot of horror.

Number Two: New Publication!

On Friday, the amazing website Bitch Flicks published an article I wrote for their Women Directors theme week. It’s the third one they’ve published of mine, and I love writing things for them; it’s a great excuse to do “research” and watch a bunch of great movies and t.v.

Women Directors Screen Shot

This should probably be number one on my list of exciting things, but since I wrote and submitted the article before spring break, I didn’t want to give it the prime spot.

Number One: Signage!

Trevor got me a Camp Crystal Lake sign for the house!

THIS IS GOING TO BE HANGING ON OUR HOUSE VERY SOON!

THIS IS GOING TO BE HANGING ON OUR HOUSE VERY SOON!

For those who don’t know how exciting this is, let me tell you: this is very exciting.

Because we live on a lake and a lot of the houses were originally vacation cabins, many have lake house “names.” Some people give their house a straight forward name (“The Fort” is one of our neighbors), and some people make up puns based on their last names. People get really into this and hang signs — some simple, some elaborate.

And of course as soon as we moved here, we knew we had to get a sign for Camp Crystal Lake. Because we live on CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE HOLY CRAP! (if you don’t know why this is so exciting, please read this and know that I have very strong feelings about these movies [all of which I own and maybe I will loan them to you one at a time]).

And now we have a sign! Trevor’s going to treat it to make sure it won’t warp or crack in the weather, and then we’ll bolt it to the garage for everyone to see. I am so happy.

 

And that’s it! Of course, there are some other things that happened this week, and some things that I learned, but these didn’t make the list because they weren’t that interesting. Things such as, there is a limit to how much grading one human being can do in a week; it’s a good idea to leave the house at least once per day, just to make sure you haven’t napped through the zombie apocalypse; ice cream is delicious; and showers are great but don’t have to be taken every day.

And now, I will leave you to finish my lesson plan for my morning class and remember that I have a closet full of clothes that are not the same t-shirt and jeans I have been wearing for eight days (not literally the same: variations on a theme [well, maybe the jeans are the same]).

Have a good week!

Snnnooooooowwwwwww

We got our first snowfall of the winter at Camp Crystal Lake, and it’s pretty, and it’s cold, and it makes me happy that I went to the grocery store last night to stock up on provisions (cheese, pizza, ginger beer [don’t worry, we already had cookies so I didn’t need to pick up more cookies (although it’s insane to think that there could be too many cookies, so I should have gotten more just in case, I might need to bake some cookies today)]) and to the library to get a copy of The Shining.

The only other things I might need are a robot teacher to do my grading, and a robot maid to clean our bathrooms and do the laundry while I eat cookies and watch The Shining. But I don’t know if that’s likely, so I’ll grade some papers and reward myself with a nice, terrifying dose of The Overlook Hotel once I’m finished.

The other creatures in the house are hogging the heating vents:

Roo the Heat HogAnd taking a break from playing Call of Duty to shovel snow. I don’t have a picture of Trevor shoveling or playing CoD, but here’s a picture of our garden bed:

Snowy Garden Bed

Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow.

So I hope all of you are inside and have your own stock of pizza, ginger beer, cheese, and cookies. Stay warm and cozy, and have a happy Saturday!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, you spectacular humans!

We’re celebrating this Halloween weekend with our friends Cristen and Jayson (who arrived at Camp Crystal Lake last night) and Juli and Matt (who are scheduled to arrive this evening). It’s a rainy day, so we likely won’t be doing much decorating this morning, but we’re definitely gearing up for any trick-or-treaters who brave the weather and come by the house today.

Trevor is ready:

Holy crap.

Holy crap. Cristen doesn’t realize what’s lurking behind her.

Roo is ready:

Roo in Halloween Bandana

I’m ready.

The house is almost ready:

Face in Jar 1 GraveyardGrilled Hand

And I had time this week to get ready and try out some costumes. There was a costume contest at school on Wednesday, so I took the opportunity to dress up a little bit, knowing that I would blend in with some of the students. It just so happened that I had some elements of a witch costume in my closet, so I donned my hat and striped stockings, painted a spider on my face, and went to class. Luckily, the students were doing a group activity and didn’t have to listen to me talk; otherwise, they’d not have heard a word I said.

And I got to wear my "costume" to bookclub that evening, so it was a double bonus!

And I got to wear my “costume” to book club that evening, so it was a double bonus! Thanks, Cecile, for the picture!

On Thursday, our English comp./horror film class had a Halloween pot-luck, so my co-teacher and I took the opportunity to dress up. He pulled off a good Jason Voorhees, and I tried my best to be Rosemary Woodhouse.

Jason and RosemaryThe students didn’t dress up much (although we had a cowgirl and a male version of Mia Wallace’s o.d. in Pulp Fiction), but they really pulled through on bringing excellent snacks for our viewing of Scream.

A few students stock up on snacks

A few students stock up on snacks

One of our students brought blood spatter cookies. BLOOD SPATTER COOKIES!!!

One of our students brought blood spatter cookies. BLOOD SPATTER COOKIES!!!

And for actual Halloween today, I’m going to be someone who’s not scary, but pretty cool:

Supergirl

There will be more pictures to come, so check back later this weekend.

And everyone have a happy Halloweeeeeeeeeen!

Camp Crystal Lake is Open for Visitors

It’s been a busy few weeks at Camp Crystal Lake, because Trevor, Roo, and I have been hosting overnights for some of our favorite people (to be fair, though, we have a lot of favorite people [Trevor sometimes says I’m hyperbolic and I usually tell him that he’s absolutely insane]).

In September, I asked my book club — The Ladies of Literature and Libations (because yes, it’s cool to name your book club, and yes, our name is the best name of all the names) — to make the fifty-mile trek out from Chicago to spend twenty-four hours talking about all things David Foster Wallace.

David Foster Wallace

I was ready in case we got bored.

In February the group decided to read Infinite Jest, DFW’s 1079-page novel published in 1995. I’d read IJ before, but I hadn’t had a cohort to talk about it with (it’s a lonely book, and it’s a f*cking amazing book [imho], and book babes make loneliness less lonely and f*cking amazing even more f*cking amazing), so I was really excited. We knew it would take us a while to read it, so we had a couple of check-in points in the spring and summer. Then, on September 26, 2015, seven wonderful women came to Camp Crystal Lake to get down with the Jest. And it was super fun.

I made a pie (and veggie “Whoppers” [and I provided plenty of Trial Size Dove Bars]):

Peach Pie

And I made some bookmarks:

Book Mark

And, of course, book bags…

Enfield Stencil

Enfield Totebags

I filled each with little treats, including a bandana for everyone to wear and channel DFW:

This is DFW (image: Salon.com)

Book Club

And this is us–so many bandanas!

We talked about breathless prose, tennis, wheelchair assassins, addiction, and end-notes; and we didn’t even scratch the surface. But it was so much fun. I’m almost certainly going to make this an annual invitation.

We had a couple weeks to breathe before this past weekend, when T. and I got a visit from Dan, Best Man Extraordinaire, and his stupendous daughter Maya.

Bestest Man

It’s painful how cute these two nerds are (Image: Tone Stockenstrom)

I hadn’t seen Dan in forever, and I hadn’t seen Maya in double forever (remember: hyperbolic). I remember when she was just a tiny booger who looked like this:

Smiling Maya

This is the first time I babysat Maya. It’s the night I almost ate a baby because of an unrelenting hunger for cuteness.

And then this:

Maya

But now, she looks like this:

Maya Picking Apples

Image: Dan Segar

She’s so grown up! And in addition to being super grown up, Maya is one of the best kids I have ever met. Over the course of the weekend, she jumped off hay-bales, picked the best apples in the orchard, and drew a dozen or more pictures that included a time machine and a fruit cocktail (and a dolphin, paperclip, the Milky Way, bubbles…).

Maya in the AirPicking Apples

She also made her appetite preferences crystal clear to Trevor; after he asked her if she was sure she didn’t want more pizza before she ate a piece of apple pie, she replied, “You don’t understand: I’m not hungry for pizza. I’m hungry for pie.”

You don’t understand, Trevor. It’s pie, for god’s sake. Get the girl a piece of pie.

Tiger Face

If you don’t feed her a piece of pie every hour, on the hour, she turns into a tiger.

She also wanted to learn to knit after she saw my basket of yarn (really, though, who could resist a giant basket of yarn? no one, that’s who); and then she told me that I was really good at knitting. She’s too young to know how wrong that is, but it’s a pretty terrific thing to say, so I let it slide.

T. took Maya and Dan down to the park while I did some work, and Dan took some gorgeous pictures:

Maya and Trevor

Image: Dan Segar

Maya and Boats

Image: Dan Segar

When they got back, we all walked down to the beach and she made some abstract sculptures in the sand. And then, as though she wasn’t already the best first grader I’d met ever, she did math homework.

Math Homework

Now, to be honest, getting her to finish said math homework turned her into Paul Rudd in Wet Hot American Summer.

Image: Elle.com

But she still got it done.

In a couple of weeks, T. and I will open our doors again for four more of our faves: Cristen and Jayson, and Juli and Matt (remember Juli and Matt?! they got married in Maine this summer! and remember Cristen? she’s a filmmaker! and remember Jayson?? he’s Tapeface!!!!!)

I’m currently preparing the house for their arrival, and I’ll share more of our spookifying with you all here, so look for that soon!

Spookifying 2015