Thursday, May 29, 2008

Goodbye Cherry Cove!

So I'm sitting here in my empty room. There is a weird echo. Nothing of mine is in here anymore. Just the dressers and desks that were left for me here that I'm leaving for the next person. It's a weird feeling when you move from a place for good. I won't ever live here again. That's OK...and I'm ready for a new chapter, but it's still a strange feeling.

Jen and I were laying in our rooms last night and she says, "Annie, doesn't it feel like it's the last day of vacation?"

I replied, "Yeah, actually it does."

I will miss my roommate. We wonder when we will see eachother again. I love her...she's my best friend. We are both moving to new places and new things in our lives. The village is clean and nearly empty. I'm trying to think of a song that would go with this moment. I will have to think some more...nothing comes to my head.

Goodbye Cherry Cove. I've learned a lot from you...

Including the fact that communism ONLY works in theory!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pack up, Pack out

Only a few more days left! Which means, only a few more days to pack my crap. I've packed one box...and it hardly looks like I've packed anything. Kind of pathetic, really. I'm not sure how I've acquired so much stuff. I can't really even see my floor right now...there is stuff EVERYWHERE. I guess everything is sort of just spread out everywhere, so it just looks like I have a bunch of least that's what I'm hoping. Most of this stuff I'm looking at right now could probably just be thrown away. I'm such a pack rat. I have such a hard time throwing anything away. I'm going to be forced to now though...I don't want to ship eight million boxes home. I'd be willing to pay someone to pack my stuff for me.

I have a sleeping bag here that I will probably just donate to First Aid, as well as some twin sheets that I don't need back home, since I have a queen sized bed. I have a bunch of shirts and boardshorts that I will leave for the New Fish. A few pairs of shoes that I have here will probably just get thrown out because they are so worn out from wearing them here on the island...clothes get ruined quickly here.

I'm not sure that there is anything I hate doing more than packing. Just think...once I get home in a month or two I'll probably be moving AGAIN. I think I'm going to start selling things on Ebay that I don't want anymore...I can't be so attached to things anymore. They weigh me down.

Anyways, excuse me, I must go procrastinate on this whole packing thing again.

My room is looking much better...I'm currently doing my laundry and seperating things I want to keep from things that will stay here for the new people coming in and things that will get shipped to the Mission. It actually looks like I've done something. Seems I do my best work late at night!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Helicopter Crash in Two Harbors - just a mile away!

Karen came into the kitchen today while we all were eating breakfast to tell us that Bill and Bear wouldn't be in camp because of a helicopter crash that had happened in Two Harbors, which is about a mile from where we live. Bill and Bear take care of Cherry Cove, doing maintenance and stuff like that, but are also members of the First Responder Search and Rescue Team. Bill's first information was 3 dead, 1 they weren't sure about. Apparently, the Associated Press is reporting that there are 3 dead and 3 injured.

The Associated Press reports that there was a pop and a fireball trailing behind the helicopter over Isthmus Harbor at about 9:25 AM and it landed about a half mile away on the isthmus, behind the yacht club, about 90 yards from Catalina Harbor. Unfortunately, being all too familiar with the area, I know that the winds in the area shift so quickly, thanks to the isthmus fan that blows across Two Harbors. Even if the pilot was trying to save the landing, it would be nearly impossible because of the unpredictability of the winds. Granted it was cloudy and drizzly as well this morning, so that certainly didn't help any.

Though, still sad, I am thankful that no one we know was on the flight. It was a tour helicopter not a charter helicopter - though the press didn't report that, the flight left Long Beach at 8:30 AM and crashed at around 9:25 AM. All the commuter or chartered flights are only about 15 to 20 minutes long. The town of Two Harbors has only about 80 residents and since we spend the majority of our time there, we know nearly everyone and we do know that no locals were involved. This, of course, doesn't make the situation any better, but it eases our minds a little to know that none of our friends were hurt.

It's wild though...some of us here at camp were talking about it. Kyle and Craig were hiking their children right past that very spot at that time yesterday. Eva's cousin was supposed to come in tomorrow on a helicopter operated by the same company. All of the flights are now cancelled until further notice. Ferries are still coming in. My roommate went into town to drop her boyfriend off at the ferry terminal and the ferries filled with media are now coming in. We can hear helicopters all over the place flying overhead. Media, also, I suspect.

It's been a crazy day here on Catalina Island!

The article is here:

A good friend of ours, Paul, is the heavy guy leaning against the fire truck.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dreaming, Pick up Lines, and Heiny Cakes

I had an inappropriate dream about Boy Scout Adam last night. Don't get me wrong, he's a cutie and all...but whenever I have dreams about men who AREN'T makes me uncomfortable. The last inappropriate dream I had was a couple of weeks ago that included a chaperone from a school I was teaching on. That one was WAAAAY more inappropriate than the one last night...but since that chaperone is no longer around, it affected me way less - I see Boy Scout Adam everyday. *Shudders*

Today was a fabulous day. The kids are awesome - I will miss them when they leave tomorrow. I plan on sending them a box of goodies when I get back on the mainland. I have a couple ideas of some fun gifts to get a couple of them. We did a round of "roses and thorns" this afternoon. It really sounded like they had a good time. This one kid we call Saenz said he loved the food, but was sad he couldn't hang out with me the entire time. The kid is the biggest flirt I know. He and a couple of the other boys have also been practicing pick-up lines on me this week. My favorite one has been "Hey, Annie, you make my 2X4 a 2X8." They're ridiculous and I will miss them. The boys are really close-knit. It's nice to see a group of guys with such a great relationship. Sometimes it's creepy how close they are, but I think they do the weird stuff like hold hands and skip simply for shock-value.

I talked to Jerry today and he sounds like he's in a great mood. He's been saying for the last few days that I should skip clean up and just come home. I wish. I can't wait to get back home. Leaving here is bittersweet. I will miss a lot about it and I will NOT miss a lot about it. I will miss Jenny's smile and advice. I will miss Jen's friendship and love. I will miss Kyle's sense of humor and caring ways. I will miss Doorstop's Heiny-cakes. I will miss calling Craig and Kris's retards. I will miss Alex just stopping at my room for a chat and picking on him for being the biggest dork in the universe. I will miss Wiley's intelligence and frankness. Yes. I will miss some of them.

But there is so much ahead of me! I'm anxious to get my life back in Michigan. It will definitely be an adjustment...but what ISN'T an adjustment for me anymore? Life is full of change. And change definitely involves adjustment.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Is it weird that I think the group of 8th grade boys I have this week are pretty hot? OK, not that they're hot right NOW per se...but I think that when they are older, they'll be hot. I don't know. A part of me feels weird about that. There is one boy, who, if I was in 8th grade, I'd be totally crushing on him. Stoney (not a nickname!) is not super good looking (I never went after the good-looking ones anyway), but he's nice, interesting, and he plays the guitar and bass...totally the guy that I would have liked. The other boys are hilariously funny, which, alone, would have totally had me crushing on them if I was their age.

It's weird to think that way about students. Especially since I'm practically twice their age, but you can't help having your "favorites". I have a group of 14 kids this week - all the kids in their class at school - and I've been spoiling all of them pretty rotten. We went on our day trip today and I stopped in town and bought them candy. They loved that. I've been giving them extra treats since they've been here. Mostly because I can, but also because they're great kids. No bullies, no troublemakers, no one is disrespectful, they clean up after themselves and help one another out. They are an ideal group of kids. It's a great way to end my final season here.

The daytrip today was awesome. The surf was up, so we were able to body surf and boogie board. The kids had a blast. We also had some extra time, so we stopped in Two Harbors and let them play volleyball and basketball (the boys are really good! They beat a group of kids almost twice as big as them!). It was the best daytrip of the season, in my opinion.

I've had some bad flare ups recently, so I was nervous about having a group of kids alone for the entire week, but I've stopped dealing with dance studio stuff for the week and I've felt exponentially better. I can't afford to have flare-ups right now, so I've decided to stay as far away from studio stuff as possible. It seems to be doing the trick so far.

My room is a disaster...I have clothes everywhere. Some are half clean, some are dirty, some are completely clean. I've also got random shit everywhere. As I'm packing up to go home next week, I realized that I've acquired a crap load of stuff...not sure how...but I have. I'm going to spend a fortune on shipping.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Going back to "real life"...

I had a great day today. I have an awesome group of kids this week for five days, which is a great way to end the season. They "Got Yoked" this morning, ate like whales this afternoon, and had an amazing Ultimate Double Dare Squid session this evening. I feel good about the way today went. I like days like this.

So I've been thinking more and more about the move back to Michigan. (Only 10 more days!)I'm excited, don't get me wrong, but I will miss living STEPS from the beach and I'm nervous about going back to "real life". Living here on the island is nowhere NEAR "real life". I'm moving back to Michigan to run a dance studio and move in with my boyfriend...which are all big committments and huge responsibilities. I'm ready, of course, but change always throws me off at first. I always need an adjustment period.

Surprisingly enough, I'm MORE concerned about moving in with Jerry than running the dance studio. I KNOW I can run the dance life has been leading up to this since I was 2 years old. I will be in control and am solely responsible for the success of the business. HOWEVER, in relationships, there is no guarantee. I'm in no way in control of Jerry's feelings or actions. It also takes two to have a relationship, which means we BOTH are responsible for its success. I'm not used to depending on others, I'm not used to committment, and I'm certainly not used to living with my boyfriend permanently. Sure, it may be awhile before we actually move in together, but even moving back and being in a "normal" relationship is something that we've never had. I've been out of the country for a month of our relationship and all the way across the U.S. for three and a half months of our relationship. We've only been dating for about five the math. It's exciting, nerve wracking, intimidating, and refreshing, all at the same time. I don't know WHAT to feel, really.

Inundating myself with Blind Melon is all I can think to do right now. I want to spin in circles until I puke and curl up with the stars.

Monday, May 19, 2008


My boss, Jenny, is leaving at the end of the season, with 7 other "Cherries" (including myself), so today was her going away party. I danced my booty off yet again and we drank our fair share of beer and spirits...

So much so that a bunch of us ended up going in the water in our underwear (yay, white thongs with red hearts) on a full moon kayak. It was great until the stupid boys get in kayaks too and proceeded to tip us over. It was supposed to be a relaxing kayak, so much for that. They ruin everything.

Not gonna lie, though, it was a good time. There was a point where we were all sitting around in a circle and a few people were playing the acoustic guitar and I almost, ALMOST, got sad that I was going to be leaving. Then I remembered that I was going to be going home to something more meaningful, better, and long-lasting. I love each and every one of the people that I work with in a different way, but nothing beats my life-partner, my family, and the children in my life.

I'm excited to get home!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dancin' Fools

You know it's a good night when you're drinking and dancing and the people at the bar almost kick you out.

It's not even that we were dancing bad...we were doing flips and turns and crazy stuff like that. Granted, the guy I was dancing with almost dropped me on my head twice and we actually did fall on the ground at one point.

But I tell you what, we made it a good time, even though the DJ was bad and everyone else sucked. Go Cherries!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

I love my partner. I really and truely do. We've known eachother for years, have been dating since around Christmastime, and we'll be moving in together soon after I return to Michigan (in only two more weeks!).

But it's weird at times. We basically grew up together and didn't see eachother for six years...we got back into contact in December and have been together ever since. However, if you add up all the days we've seen eachother since we started would probably add up to only a month. Does that mean we WOULDN'T be ready for the next step in our relationship when I return? He says he's not, simply because we haven't spent enough time together. We've talked on the phone EVERY single day since I've been it's not like a casual thing. We don't date anyone else. My feelings for him are, without question, stronger than any other person I've ever dated. When he and I met back up, I wasn't interested in a relationship, and neither was he, but something happened along the way that changed all that. Suddenly we were in totally blindsided us.

I think because it happened so fast, he didn't really get used to the whole dating thing. He's never really been in a serious relationship like this before. Sometimes I find that he's incredibly insensitive, selfish, and immature. Other times, he's incredible. He shares his feelings, he showers me with compliments and loving words, and he'll randomly send sweet text messages. Being that I'm 2500 miles away, small things like that matter, but when I tell him I need these things to feel secure in our relationship, he gets defensive and upset. Sometimes I don't know what to do - being so far away has definitely put a strain on our relationship. Sometimes I literally hate myself so much because I know I'm hurting him and our relationship by being out here. I know that if I hadn't come back out here to California in February, our relationship would have progressed so much and we'd be so much further along in this process.

So I wonder what people you HAVE to be in people's presence to really know them or to be able to grow in a relationship? Can a relationship progress if you're far away from one another?

Frankly, I'm extremely surprised that Jerry and my relationship has lasted. I figured he would get bored with the phone calls and the difficulty of the situation and bail. He didn't. This is how I know he loves me as much as I love him. It hasn't been easy and he stuck around. I didn't give up either...and that counts for something on my end too. I have a habit of being a bit of a flake, not following through with things. But I love him...and I wasn't going to let that go. Everyone here at camp never thought that Jerry and I would last...I wouldn't be surprised if there was a pool going (seems there are pools about everything here). They have every right to think that. In the past, I've been terrified of commitment...but with Jerry, it's different. I trust him with everything, I feel so connected, we have amazing chemistry, and we are HAPPY when we are together.

We are polar opposites, though. He's a meat and potatoes kind of guy...and I'm a vegan. He doesn't like to dance...and that's my life. He's a country boy...and although I grew up in the country, I'm much more of a city girl. He's a fast food junkie...I'm a health nut. I love swimming and water sports...and he's terrified of the water. He's very down to earth and logical...and I'm an idealistic space cadet. I love sports...he hates them. I like to read...and he's never read a book in his life. He knows a ton about fixing things...and I'm completely clueless. We don't even like the same music.

Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, doesn't it? Though it's hard at times, it sort of

I'll be home in just two short weeks...I can't wait to see where this all leads. I hope it leads to something really positive and wonderful. Nothing in my life has been easy...including this relationship, but I feel since we've gotten through this 3 and a half months of being away from eachother, we can get through anything.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I got the loop

It's crazy because I'm going to type something that I've never typed before. I've said it outloud a few times, but there is something about the permanence of the written word that is different for me.

I have lupus.

I don't talk about it a lot...and normally when I do, it's as a joke, because, for me, laughing about the things that are not so great in life is simply the way I cope or deal with things. As the Barenaked Ladies might say, "I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral/can't understand what I mean, well, you soon will..."

If you don't know what lupus is, it's an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints. Basically my body is attacking itself. They don't know what causes it, though they suspect it's either environmental or genetic. And there is no cure. Lupus, also known as "systemic lupus erythematosus", can cause rheumetoid arthritis, hair loss, rashes, fatigue, and can make you lactose intolerant. I'm in pain a lot...but it's not immense pain, generally, and it doesn't bother me often. Lately, however, both of my knees have been giving me some serious problems - it's called a "flare up". I haven't gotten used to them yet - I don't know if I ever will. I will live with this for the rest of my life. It's not fatal as long as you take care of your body. People use medications to "control" it, but a lot of these meds, I've read, cause more harm than good. I use vitamins and some over-the-counter meds only when I have flare ups, but since I've been watching my diet, my problems have subsided pretty dramatically. I cannot pin point when flare ups happen, but usually it's stress-related. Ironically enough, I've been pretty stressed lately...

What makes this situation even more fun is the fact that my job is extremely active. I'm always on my feet, always moving around, which is doing a number on my knees. I can't just sit and rest them throughout the day. Being in the water is nice (Can't wait for my snorkel tomorrow!), it feels good to be in the water - takes the pressure off of my joints. My knees are so swollen and stiff...the pain is only a little bit worse than usual, but the fact that I can't really bend my knees is troubling. On Friday, I took a nap after the kids left camp at 2 PM (Fatigue is one thing I'm constantly dealing with as well). I slept til 6 PM, but literally could not physically get out of bed until well after 9 PM. It was pretty terrifying. The reality hit me that one day I could wake up and not be able to move at all, maybe never again. I'm a super active person, I love hiking and dancing and love to play sports when I can, so it's pretty difficult for me to accept the fact that this is going to happen to me. I want to do as much as I can NOW when my body is still relatively young and resiliant.

I'm not going to roll over and die, of course. I'm not going to let the fact that I have this disease control my life. I haven't yet. It's been over a year now since I was diagnosed. I'm adjusting to the constant joint pain, I'm adjusting to the significant hair loss (luckily I was blessed with super thick hair, so now it just looks NORMAL), I can cover up rashes, and luckily there are so many soy and rice milk products out there that satisfy my craving for dairy products. Living with it isn't so bad as long as I live a healthy, carefree lifestyle...but good luck in this day and age to do THAT.

Admittedly, I do worry about some things about my future with this disease. I worry about not being able to chase after my future children...that I will be stuck in a wheelchair and have to have my future husband push me around like an invalid...when my mind is 100% sharp (OK well...99%). I worry about never being able to dance again. I worry about never being able to hike up a mountain to see a sunset. I worry about not being able to coach my kids' T-ball teams. I know it all seems silly, but I'm an independent, active free-spirited person and I don't want to be trapped inside this broken body. It's terrifying.

As much as I get scared about it sometimes, essentially I have to laugh about it. One of my friends here has epilepsy and we joke about having these diseases. He always says he's got the "Ep", so, in turn, I got the loop. We laugh about it, because what else CAN you do?

I came across a list of a few celebrities that have lupus, I was pretty surprised:
Stone Cold Steve Austin, Michael Jackson, Seal, Louisa May Alcott, Flannery O'Connor and Sophie Howard

Anyway, if you read this, I'm not asking for a pity party, though if you want to give me a couple of microbrews, I won't argue. I guess I just wanted to get something off my chest. I don't talk about it often, in fact only a few people in my life even know this about me, and sometimes it's just nice for people to understand once in awhile...