Sunday, May 30, 2010


Highlight: The dorms this year were carpeted, which GREATLY reduced the noise when all those weird get-up-at-5:00 a.m. people bounced out of bed. I dozed till 8:00 and then wearily began the process of trying to organize myself, find clean clothes, iron them, and get cleaned up for the day.

Highlight: I woke up around six, I think, because I could hear people stirring. But I didn't mind watching the trees out the window get sunnier and sunnier as the sun came up. Lying on the top bunk has its advantages.

Beige...I think I

Highlight: Taking a shower. Last year, the facility's showers were... er... primitive, let us say. This year's bathrooms were a Great Improvement. For one thing, I could put my clothes and towel on something other than the shower floor.


Highlight: NOT ironing my clothes. Why would I want to bother with that? Don't ask me why Raquelle wanted to waste her twilight years ironing clothes when she could be whooping it up with friends.

Raquelle: My twilight YEARS? What am I, some kind of old FOGEY????

Of course I ironed my clothes. You think I want to go around looking like my clothes were stored in a plastic Easter egg???

Highlight: I brought an iron. :smug:

Highlight: I brought an ironing board. :smug smug:

Highlight: Sara G made sweet remarks about my hair looking as good when I get up as when I go to bed. Sara is currently in my "Top 5" list of friends.

Heather: That's cuz of all that glue you put in your hair so it doesn't move.

Highlight: Meandering over to the dining hall and taking pictures of people who seemed to be considering waking up. Some of them actually didn't wake up till after breakfast, I think - judging from appearances anyway.

What? Like you look all spiffy

Chatting with friends at breakfast.

Highlight: Breakfast.*

*Note the difference in our highlights. I am into the essentials of life. Food comes first.

Raquelle: Neeener, neener, I'm not so shallow. PEOPLE come first. *preen*

Heather: Yer gonna be hungry.

Raquelle: Yer gonna be LONELY. And SINGLE. *snert*

Highlight: Singing songs after breakfast.

Highlight: Getting my KP lunch orders from Commander Miss Debi after breakfast. Since I was in charge of my KP team, she wanted me to know what was being planned for lunch. She and Miss Melanie had to go to the store so I would need to get things started in their absence.

Double Highlight: Lydia offering to help me with KP since I didn't yet know where everything was in the kitchen. She and I made a Highly Organized List of Things To Do while folks were singing in the dining hall.

Side note: I LOVED all the music at the TN Gathering this year!


Lowlight: Mom and Dad had no cell phone reception at the Inn, so we couldn't call and say hi.

Lowlight: Not only could we not say hi, but I couldn't instruct them to bring the VAN instead of the CAR for the dance. In the processes of unloading the Disastrous Van in the dark last night, several things were left behind, including my dance cue cards with my notes on them and my thnuggly navy thweater.

Highlight: There was a PHONE in the DINING HALL. And it had the phone number for the INN listed. COOL!

Lowlight: It was a durn pay phone. But there was nothing about how MUCH it cost. Heather and I looked it all over, up and down, and couldn't figure out how much money to put in.

Highlight: I'm no dummy. I iz kollidge edjoocated. I iz schmart. Newsflash! After half an hour of wrangling with the phone it occurred to me..............uh, I have cell phone reception. Why can't I use MY phone to the INN?

Epic duh.


So much fer mah kollidge edjoocation.

Your stupidity is blinding

Highlight: Calling Mom and Dad and saying hi and confirming what time the dancing would start that night and telling them I really needed my thnuggly navy thweater.

Highlight: The weather was delightful. Jason S. pointedly informed me that I had to play softball this year. I declined firmly, on the grounds that I've had way too much surgery done on my mouth and teeth to be interested in any game that involves rapidly hurtling projectiles. I'm dead serious. I could probably top anyone here with dental horror stories, including jaw surgery, gum surgery and reshaping multiple times, a dental implant, and wisdom teeth out, plus five years of braces. Ten years of torture to be jeopardized in a softball game? Jason was clearly unconvinced. Jason probably was born with straight teeth, what does he know?????

He tried to help me change my mind....some of the guys were tossing a ball around on the patio and he threw it to me. I dramatically shrieked and ducked and made a great show of not catching the ball and throwing it back badly. He didn't bug me anymore after that. *snicker*

Lowlight: Most people took off to go do sports. Yawn. Remember what I just said about rapidly hurtling projectiles? I stayed back at the dining hall.

Heather: I'm not afraid of rapidly hurtling projectiles. I just rapidly hurtle them back.

Raquelle: Yeah, but you ain't been through what I been through. *looks martyrish*

Chatting with Jill.

Highlight: Riding with Jill up to the softball field.

Highlight: Chatting with a bunch of people including, but not limited to, Jill, Mrs. Ferrar, and Michaela.

Highlight: Riding back to the lodge in the back of somebody's car with Jason, Allison, and Helena.

i think we ran over somethin

Lowlight: Being videoed by Jason while feeling carsick. I think I sounded particularly dimwitted in that video. Ah well, such things happen when you can't get away from the paparrazi.

Several other people weren't interested in sports right then and we had a rip-roaring good game of Mexican Train. That's a domino game, for those of you unfortunates who are in ignorance.

I believe some card games went on also.

Tell you what...

Highlight: Plugging our iPods, Zunes and cheapy-off-brand-MP3 players (like mine) into the big speaker and listening to the High Kings CD and other fun stuff. Sonia let me listen to some sound clips of the stuff she had planned for the dancing. Me and Sonia had fun plotting. Sonia did most of the work though. :D

Lowlight: I was on KP duty that afternoon. With my BOSSY BIG SISTER as KP leader! OH NOES!!!!!!!!!!

Highlight: It turned out to be a blast. It was hard work to tie Heather up and gag her and throw her in a cage in the pantry, but it worked pretty well and kept her out of everyone's hair.

Heather: Wait, wait, WAIT! We interrupt this program with the Official Version from the KP Group Leader: ME.

Highlight: Hollering at my KP team on the softball field and telling them it was time to go back.

Lowlight: Greg (on my team) stalking up to me and announcing, "I quit." Bah, first day on the job and he's already flaking out.

(Side note: He had a good reason - he was basically having to cook all his own meals already.)

Highlight: Swaggering into the kitchen and laying out The Plan with Lydia. "Let's see, we'll cut up the Eye of Newt Soup over here and the boil the bat's wings over there..."

Lowlight: Jason coolly informing me that he didn't have to do anything I told him.

nhhh! to you 2  (sutpid kid)

Highlight: Getting out a broom and watching Jason capitulate.

Lesson 37:  It takes 42 muscles to frown, and  only 4 muscles to reach out and smack you

Highlight: I HAVE AN AWESOME KP TEAM. So there.

u ABSOWUTEWY   shur bout dat?

Highlight: Daniel P. and I were on sandwich-making duty and made OUR tray faster than the OTHER group, who were cutting their sandwiches into picturesque precision triangles.

Lowlight: The picturesque precision triangle sandwiches disappeared first at lunchtime. Maybe there's something in asthetics after all...............

Highlight: Being on the food prep team meant I was NOT on the food clean-up team.

Highlight: Lunch!

Yah... I ate your whole pie... SO WHAT!?

Lowlight: TRYING to get people sitting in ROWS at the table to SIGN the CARD for JASON (who is deploying soon) and PASS IT to the NEXT PERSON. Not that hard. In a line? Send it down the line. Easy peasy. But nooooooooo. Homeschoolers just don't do lines. It was an utterly foreign concept and docked routinely one person at a time. I had to leap up and pound the table like a drill sergeant and made a scene every thirty seconds. Er, something like that. It was pretty pathetic.

Highlight: FINALLY getting the card signed.

Lowlight: Almost everyone ran off to play more sports.

Highlight: Half a dozen of us stayed behind and had a Fabulously Fun Time in the kitchen making cookies and brownies. The mixer was an ancient rusty dinosaur that we were all reluctant to use, not having a strong desire to add extra iron to our diets.

Highlight: In a most fortuitous set of circumstances, Nate F. stayed behind to help with the cookie making. I don't know if he was bribed, badgered, threatened or volunteered out of the goodness of his heart, but any rate, we put him to work! Beating up multiple sticks of butter, six cups of oats, three cups of flour, and eleven cups of caffeine by hand is no joke. Thanks Nate!

Highlight: We had a royally raucous time in the kitchen!

The Expresso  just kicked in!!!

Lowlight: The kitchen was under-equipped in the form of oven mitts to remove giant hot trays of cookies.

Highlight: We palmed that job off on Nate too.

In the absence of timers, we took turns poking our noses into the oven and saying, "Nope, not done yet," every five minutes. And then we got bored with THAT and started clowning around.


And then we got bored with THAT and went out to the dining hall to teach Joy Gardner some basics of ECD.

By the way, I got a kick out of Alaina, who was helping make cookies. Her T-shirt was one of the funniest I've seen. On the front it said, "Let's eat Grandma" vs. "Let's eat, Grandma." On the back it warned solemnly, "Punctuation saves lives." Haw haw!

I took a NAP. It was lovely.

I shall nap..

Highlight: Dashing off to the dorms to put together the gift bags for the planners of the TN Gathering.

Lowlight: Jason S. conned me into ironing his dress shirt for tonight AND tomorrow. For free, no less. Ain't gonna happen next year. Bah.

Request denied.  Resubmit in   30 days for further disapproval.

Highlight: People had contributed a lot of great stuff for the gift bags! Thanks for pitching in, y'all!

Highlight: Mom and Dad showed up. WITH the van. WITH my dance cards. WITH my thnuggly navy thweater. AND with my pwecious widdle sewing basket that I had forgotten I wanted to bring in. Are they awesome or what?

Highlight: Hangin' out with my friends and my parintz. Item: My parents are cool.

Highlight: Dinner!

Lowlight: Nervously gobbling macaroni and keeping an eye on the line, waiting for JUST the critical moment when the line was done but the first-comers hadn't left yet.

Highlight: Getting up and embarrassing Jason S. and presenting him with a card and chocolate and well-wishes from the gang for his deployment.

Highlight: Embarrassing the planners by giving them the gift bags and a standing O!

Lowlight: My macaroni was cold when I sat back down. *moment of silence*

Highlight: Daddy set up the sound system and headset mic for us. Look out world, here comes the music!!!

AH SED  TURN IT DOUN!!!111!!!!

Highlight: Dressing for the evening dance in our ridiculously wacky poodle skirt outfits.

Lowlight: Trying to FIT in the infinitesimal bunk aisle with my poodle skirt on and piles of my JUNK strewn everywhere.

Highlight: Leaving the mess behind!

Getting to meet Jo the Merry! She wasn't at the Gathering, but she stopped by to meet us and say hi. Now I have a real live face to put with the person I chat with on HSA!

Highlight: Dance calling! I LOVE bossing the world around, haw haw!

Lowlight: I forgot to have people switch numbers and walk through "Barbarini's Tambourine" the OTHER direction before trying the dance. Epic train wreck. Sorry guys. It's a great dance, maybe I'll call it better next year.

Highlight: Learning lots of new dances from Josh and Sonia!

Highlight: The zany collection of goofy costumes! Some of us looked, er, pretty funny!

See  This is how stupid U look

Funny moment: Dancing the "Dashing White Sergeant" with two of the youngest Ferrar girls. The very littlest one, Lydia, (age 8?) was AGHAST when we came up against a threesome that had one girl and two guys, instead of two girls and one guy.

"There is SUPPOSED TO BE A GUY IN THE MIDDLE!" she exclaimed, appalled.

"I know, but there were extra guys, so some of the sets ended up this way," I explained.

She didn't buy it. What a load of malarky. "ONE OF THE GUYS SHOULD SWITCH TO THE MIDDLE," she announced flatly.

"I can see your logic," I nodded somberly. "But I think we'll just have to go with it this time."

Well, okay. Realizing that I too was just humoring a bunch of clueless delusionals, she pursed her lips and condescended to allow this ridiculous bending of the rules. Just this once. Clearly some people were out to lunch.

ur rediculous little opinion...  has been noted

Highlight: Dancing Levi Jackson's Rag! That is my FAVORITE dance! Love it, love it!!!!

Highlight: A muscular guy (sorry, I can't remember which one) helpfully carried our whoppin' speaker inside since Dad and Mom had already departed for the night.

Lowlight: It was time to go to bed.

Highlight: Flopping into bed within five minutes. Did I mention the advantages of a SLEEPING BAG over sheets and blankets?

Highlight: A nice cool shower, since dancing for four hours in muggy weather can make you sticky.
Lowlight: Michaela thought she found a tick on her. Everyone was full of helpful suggestions, including, but not limited to, vaseline, toothpaste, hot matches, tweezers, radiation, electrocution, solitary confinement, or jumping up and down in hysterics. "Of course," I offered, "it might just be a mole you never noticed before." As the veteran of both real tick bites (1) and imaginary tick bites (4,172) I felt very experienced in THAT area. Turned out I was right--she decided it was just a mole. *smug*

Highlight: Michaela has some great friends. We told her if it was a real tick bite and she keeled over and died, we'd eat chocolate in her honor. Sweet, ain't we?


Highlight! Bed! Ahhh! Stay tuned for Tuesday.............

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Heather: Alright, I know this event started on Sunday but I'll start at the begincement for US, which was actually Thursday. Because the Sheens never do anything simple if they can make it complicated.

Raquelle: *looks melancholy* So true, so true.

Heather: On Thursday, we left for a Civil War reenactment in Sacramento, KY. We had a lovely time except for the heat. On Sunday afternoon, packing up was carried out in 95 degree temperatures with heavy humidity. Packing up involves taking down and putting away two tents, three canvas tent flies, 8 heavy wooden chairs, a bunch of heavy wooden tables, and sundry stools, tubs, tarps, and TONS of Civil War engineering equipment. It was MISERABLE.

Raquelle: Let's be clear. Packing all this stuff up takes a minimum of two hours, even when things are going well. When things are hot and we are tired, it's worse. And the worst part of it is all the STUFF that gets FLUNG into the VAN and it becomes an EPIC disorganized JUNGLE. You could get lost in there and never make it out!

Reenacting stuff alone is bad enough. Add it to our luggage, bedding, costumes, and sound system for the HSA reunion and..........well...........we took two cars on the trip because Dad was actually concerned about overloading the van. It was literally almost to the ceiling.........and no, there's no back seat, just four captain's chairs. The ENTIRE back of the van was STUFFED.

And disorganized.

To her surprise,  Bella finds the foot she

Heather: So when we finally got on the road, we were HOT and TIRED. We staggered into the first McDonalds we found for some mocha frappes (our family's latest craze) and also stopped for supper. This meant that we arrived at the entrance to Falls Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee at around 8:30 pm.

Raquelle: No, I think it was 9:30.

Heather: Whatever. The key word there is "entrance." Not the lodge where we were staying, just the entrance.

The rest of this narrative will be delivered in our usual style of highlights and lowlights. Ahem.

Highlight: Finding the entrance to Falls Creek Falls State Park.

Lowlight: Driving... and driving... and driving...and not finding the Group Lodge (where Raquelle and I were staying) or the Park Inn (where Mom and Dad were staying).

Exceedingly dim light: Driving... and driving... and driving... with a heavily loaded van pulling a heavily loaded trailer full of heavy reenactment stuff. Those dratted mountain roads were steep... and let's not even mention the hair-raising hairpin turns!

Pitch black light*: Trying to read the signs in the dark every time we came to a turnoff or fork in the road. Dad was in the lead in his car and he would suddenly see a sign and slam on the brakes to read it in his headlights. Mom and I were following in the van (did I mention it was heavily loaded and pulling a heavily loaded trailer?) and slamming on the brakes was... um... interesting. Finally we pulled off and Raquelle hopped in Dad's car to help him navigate. We had walkie talkies and it sounded something like this:

Raquelle: That sign wasn't it.
Mom: Don't slam on your brakes like that!
Raquelle: That wasn't it either.
Mom: Remember, I have a TRAILER back here!
Raquelle: Watch out for the deer!
Mom: Are we THERE yet?

*Is a "pitch black light" an oxymoron?

I shudda taken a left at Albuquerque!


Highlight: Finally finding the Park Inn.

Lowlight: Waiting five minutes while the desk clerks milled around with paperwork and ignored us. When they finally did notice us, we asked where the HSA group was located and received a blank stare. "Um.........." the clerk stared at a list and shook her head blandly. "Nothing like that here."

"How about the organizer's name?" I asked desperately, stifling an impulse to jump up and down and throw things.

"Um................Debi Reynolds?" she inquired languidly.

"YES!" I nodded vigorously.

She told us where to go and drew us a kindofsortof outline on a map. Then she registered Mom and Dad's room.

"Do you want a patio room or a balcony room?" she asked Dad.

Dad, who was also resisting an impulse to jump up and down and throw things, longsufferingly said he didn't care.

"Well, which should I give you?" she pressed.

"What's the difference?" he asked.

She gave him a long-winded explanation and again asked which he wanted, as though it was the decision of the century.

"I'll take a balcony room," he said wearily.

The clerk busily clicked a bunch of buttons on her computer. "I don't have any balcony rooms available," she announced.

So why did she OFFER it? Oh plz. And think, people like this get to vote. Oh well, we'll give her the benefit of the doubt and blame it on the computer system.

I sez SYSTEM IZ DOWN  Petting will now commence


Highlight: Dad and I went over and looked at the big park map on the wall. Have you ever left a pile of string on the floor and let some kittens play with it? That's sorta how all the roads looked on the map. However, we figured out a tentative route however and decided to try it.

Highlight: Dropping the trailer at the Inn. Now we just had a heavily loaded van to deal with. Much better.

Lowlight: Driving for another 20 minutes, repeating the same process listed above.

Highlight: Finally seeing a sign that actually had "Group Lodge 2" on it!! We took the road and found the lodge within minutes. Yipppeee!

Raquelle: Actually, that's not true. We saw a sign that just said "Group Lodge" because from that direction they don't bother telling you whether it's #1 or #2. We thought it was the OTHER Group Lodge and went right past it and ended out on the highway again and had to turn around. Dang. Dad and I were muttering darkly about stewpid state parks with stewpid signage. This is not the first time we have encountered stewpid things like this at stewpid state parks. I'd like to know who the brainiacs are that design these things anyway.

he waz already stuipid  when i came in

Highlight: Seeing real live bodies of real live people at the lodge. Some kind folks (whom I didn't recognize in the dark) helped us unload all our JUNK. This was rather difficult since we had to sort through the reenactment stuff versus the TN Gathering stuff. We eventually got it all unloaded and trucked to our bunks.

Highlight: We had been saved two corner bunks! This gave us a nice cubby hole in the back of the room to spread out our culch pile. Everybody needs a tiny kingdom to call their own in the girl's dorm.

I is very tiny ruler of very tiny tower  Er... fear me.

Highlight: Making my bed, which included opening my sleeping bag and plopping my pillow on it.

Lowlight: Making Raquelle's bed, which included layers of sheets, blankets and afghans, not to mention pillowcases. Some people like to make life complicated.

Raquelle: I don't LIKE sleeping bags. There's no possibility of temperature control. You're either IN it and too hot, or OUT of it and too cold. Blankets provide much more flexibility.

Lowlight: I wasn't feeling well.

Highlight: It was pure heaven to crawl into my warm sleeping bag and CRASH.

Thus endeth Sunday.

Raquelle: For you, maybe. That's because you weren't feeling great when we were breaking down the reenacting stuff and YOU got to spend half the time in the air-conditioned van eating chocolate, while I was working. *sniff*

Heather: Oh yeah, it was so great moaning and groaning in the van while you guys got to do something productive towards getting us OUT of there. And I was NOT eating chocolate. Just cheese bunnies.

Raquelle: Cheese bunnies, schmeeze bunnies.

Highlight: Taking a shower and getting the cannon smoke out of my hair.

Highlight: Chatting with the other late-night prinking girls while curling my hair. You find out all sorts of confidential secrets late at night.

OMG! Your teeth are removable?

Lowlight: Getting hungry and being too tired to roust out a snack from my snack stash.

Lowlight: Going to bed very late and getting a second wind and staying pop-eyed till about 3:00 a.m.

Highlight: Finally falling asleep.

THUS endeth Sunday. Get it STRAIGHT.