Jonas Brothers Rule

carter's reaction to the news she was going to the Jonas Brother's concert

carter’s reaction to the news she was going to the Jonas Brother’s concert


Carter and I had to rush home from Maine because today was the big day she was waiting for – The Jonas Brother’s concert!  In April I jumped off the high diving board and bought Carter and her friend Ellis meet and greet tickets for their first boy band love.  I did not tell Carter right away, but surprised her and told her via Skype while I was in Mexico.  I knew she would be happy so I photographed her reaction.  I had no idea she would break down and sob uncontrollably.


This year has been boy band hell for me.  First Carter and I went to Justin Beiber with her friend Ashley and her mom Ellie, and then we had the One Direction concert with twelve other girls and two other moms.  At each concert I learned more and more tricks about how I could get out of going to these shows.


First, at Justin Beiber I learned there were parent waiting rooms.  I wish I had known this before I bought myself expensive tickets.  I would have paid to not sit in that stadium of screaming girls.  By One Direction I learned about box seats so I could needlepoint at the concert.  I was more or less just the transportation provider for that show.


By the time Jonas came around I had learned that some lucky people get to go to the sound check and a meet and greet with the band.  Well, not just lucky, but people who are willing to pay for this.  I was willing to pay for this as long as I did not have to go, just be the transportation.  Thank goodness these events attract nothing but a lot of screaming girls so I felt safe letting Carter and Ellis go without me.


Without me is not exactly the case.  At noon I picked the girls up and drove them to Raleigh where I had to show a ridiculous amount of identification proving I was the person who bought the tickets.  Then the three of us and Shay Shay in her Jonas Bros. bandana (Yes, I brought the dog) waited in line to get their VIP credentials where I again had to show my ID.  At that point I left the girls, 2:00 PM for a 7:00 PM show.  I think they are going to be exhausted by the time the Brother’s three actually get on stage.


The deal I had with Carter and Ellis is that they needed to text me every hour to keep me posted on what is happening.  So far Carter has texted that she talked with them at sound check and asked them if they had girl friends.  Nick Jonas does not, information for all you girls who have our eye on him.  Carter said it was already the best day of her life and they still had the meet and greet and concert to go.


For me it is a long day too since I am going to have to go back to Raleigh around 10:30 to retrieve the girls after the concert.  I know they are going to be pooped.  Ellis started her day early helping at tennis camp. When she told her four-year-old students she was going to the Jonas Brothers’ concert she was met with blank stares, no four year olds knew who they were.  Ellis recounted her first memory of seeing them on Disney channel singing the song “the Year 3000” while she was eating her apple jacks out of a plastic baby bowl when she was about four.  The love of boy bands starts young and stays strong.    The concert is outside rain or shine and I hope that the rain holds off.  I’m not sure it even if it does rain that it will ruin the day for these two happy girls.

Carb Fest

One of the best things about Camp Medomak is one of the worst things for me personally, that being their cook Andrew.  See Andrew is a very shy guy who is in charge of cooking three meals a day for about seventy people.  Just thinking about all that cooking causes Andrew a lot of stress, that and also having to possibly receive many compliments from campers in person.  To help balance things out Andrew bakes.  And he is quite a world-class baker.

I know all this because Russ would get up very early everyday at camp and go up to the farmhouse where the kitchen and dining room are as well as the wifi porch that became Russ’ office.  Even at six in the morning Andrew would beat Russ to the farmhouse and begin his day, silently baking.

Food at camp was no pre-made, food service heat and serve stuff.  They have a big garden and a cow for milk and get as much sourced locally as possible.  Being just twenty minutes from the ocean also gives Andrew a chance to get a lot of good seafood, but the baking, that is obviously his real passion.

Vacation started at our friend Warren’s house where he was generously mindful of my diet.  I stayed away from the walnut bread and my own ice cream cone when I was there, then we went to camp.  At camp you eat what you are given and if you don’t like it there is always peanut butter and jelly.  You can be assured I always liked what was served and also did my best to stay away from peanut butter and jelly.

I would arrive at meals famished from running, well, maybe walking fast, kicking balls, shuffling tiles, throwing balls, paddling boards, making art and playing games.  At first I did my best to stay away from Andrew’s baked goods.  Although lunch the first day was impossible since he had made up this tuna melt bread where the tuna and cheese were rolled into the center of a homemade wheat bread kind of like a tuna melt Stromboli.  One bite and carb heaven came back to me.  That night I skipped the cranberry wheat rolls because the roast turkey was so good I was able to withhold, but then came the banana cake.  Enter the flour and sugar nirvana I had avoided for all these months.

The next day the leftover turkey on warm fresh focaccia and I was full blown back to eating carbs.  Yeah, I ate salads and the many fresh vegetables, but the zucchini and goat cheese flat bread with the hint of corn meal it was worth every calorie.  I ended the week at camp with apricot and ginger scones for breakfast.

Three days of post camp vacation in Maine had me still loving carbs.  What the hell, I was not about to try and detox while I was sharing one hotel room with a fourteen-year-old girl and did not have access to enough iced tea.  At last we are home.  I have gone to the Harris Teeter to stock up on all my standard foods and I am about to begin the three days of hell to get off carbs again.  At least the ones I did eat at camp were worth every bite since they were loving made by Andrew and did not have any preservatives or crap in them.  I pray now that I will not dream about the challah or the whoppie pies he made.  Tomorrow the scales will give me the honest truth of the damage.  One week a year of that is about all I can take.

Maine For Sale

Everything in Maine is for sale. Even if it does not have a sign if you see something you like make the owner an offer, they may go on and sell it to you. Carter and I ventured over to Harpswell and Orr’s island this morning. Carter was a good egg about driving around exploring with me even though it was not as exciting as either of us wanted it to be.

We went through Brunswick and I drove her through Bowdoin’s campus. Carter felt like she was not cut out for going to school in such a cold place. Good thing for me because this is really far from home.

As we went further down the peninsula to the waters edge we counted more houses for sale than not. Boats were the next big ticket item that everyone seemed to be selling in their front yards. In the stretch of three miles I saw three what I would call water ski boats in various states of distress, a big ‘ole lobster boat, six different sail boats, half wooden the others fiberglass and a giant cabin cruiser with two hulking’ ass engines all for sale. Not one of these boats were in the water, nor were they at a marina. It was Iike a big progressive boat yard sale.

Art or what some consider art was the third most prolific thing for sale. With so many people cooped up during the long cold winter I’m sure that creating art is a popular pastime. Summer seems like the only time these artists can get rid of some of their works, what with all the tourists here. At our hotel I have met people from Texas, Illinois, Arizona, California, Florida and every eastern seaboard state. The only problem is they are all old and not in the collecting time of life.

After our Harpswell jaunt Carter and I stopped for lunch in Brunswick and ventured into a giant antiques store after our Thai food. Antiques rival art as the next big category of things for sale in Maine. With so many old people dying off up here there are a lot of people trying to get rid of what their relatives thought was collectible. Lucky for us this was an actual antique store and not a flea market full of Hummels and Yadro.

I did find a beautiful Majolica platter for a greatly reduced price. Carter, after studying all about wars in history class took a particular interest in the war pieces. I was happy she was not interested in the Nazi memorabilia, but I had to tell her no to a revolutionary war spear head for a riffle. I was sure it would not make it through security at the airport and I did not want to check something that valuable. I’m sure the luggage thieves who riffle through suitcases were all looking for revolutionary war memorabilia. I was just happy that Carter took an interest in something old.

After tea we are off to L.L. Bean to buy that suitcase we need to get all our other Maine purchases home. I and my American Express card need to get home quickly and take a rest. Shopping and eating out are things I don’t need to do anymore.

The Opposite of Camp

For our last few days in Maine we decided to come further south and stay in Freeport since we are flying out of Portland. Last night Russ, Carter and I ventured into Portland since we had read it was so cool. It was. Portland Maine reminds me somewhat of Portland Oregon mixed with Durham,NC. There were many cool stores selling unusual stuff. Stores that are owner operated selling things made locally or in small batches are just hard to find now a days.

Before dinner I went into one called Motifs on Commercial Street that sold clothes, housewares, books and other stuff. I had never seen one of the things they sold anywhere, not even the books. I can’t imagine how they did that in the world of mass production, sold on the Internet, same thing in Paris, France as Paris, Texas. I did pick up a few Christmas gifts. One thing about Portland that really stood out was the number of pet supply stores, not like Petsmart, but more like pet boutiques. Dogs obviously rule here. Carter was even able to find a labradoodle sticker, the first we have ever seen.

We went to dinner at a place called the Salt Exchange because the idea of a big pile of salt calls Russ and Carter to it like pilgrims to Mecca. It was a small owner run operation that did not disappoint. As a member of a group who promotes unusual fish, they had Dog fish on the menu. Dog fish is a type of shark that has no natural predator and has invaded the waters up here. Fishermen are trying to make man it’s predator because the dog fish eats a lot of smaller fish and is decreasing their populations. I ordered it and am now an official Dog Fish Predator. If I find it again I will eat it. It is fairly mild, but sweet and not like any other fish I can think of. I think that the name is not helping it be a big seller because no one wants to eat their dog.

Russ flew home this morning to get to be with our sweet dog. Shay and Russ just face timed us which was very confusing for Shay. She knew that Carter and I were in that screen and could here us but thought we had gotten much smaller and flatter.

With Russ gone Carter and I did some serious shopping. Time at the Freeport outlets is the opposite of being at camp. I am happy to get Carter’s school clothes in Maine at the end of their summer season because shorts are on deep discount and she can wear them in North Carolina more than half the school year. After dinner we area going to walk down to L.L. Bean since they are open 24 hours a day and buy another suit case to get our haul home.

Haiku Off at Camp

We have left camp with hugs and kisses and sad goodbyes. It is the counselor’s day off so most of them slept in and we did not get a last chance to say goodbye.

The talent show was a hoot. Carter honked her seal like sound through the whole alphabet. My story of losing my luggage on the way to Saskatoon, was followed by Corey’s story of putting his poopy underpants in his carry-on backpack when he was ten and having security take them out at screening.

After the four grown Stone children and their parents did a rendition of peel orange, banana and potato Carter screams back to me we need three more kids in our family. The camaraderie of family is why we go to camp.

Half way through the talent show we had the Haiku off. About seven us had written poems. We stood in a line and each read one and then started over again. When you had finished reading all of yours you sat down. I was the last one standing, although Peter who was up there last with me had some great ones. Here are all my haiku’s about Camp Medomakcamp medomak.

Medomak best camp
For family reunions
And strangers alike

Yoga campfires games
Playing winning laughing fun
Why I love this camp

Holly and George Stone
Make memories for us all
Thank you for this camp

Camp food yumminess
Two desserts a day oh my
Diet starts at home

Jen wakes early to
Milk the cow. Making yogurt
We need Jen at home

Paddle board virgin
Now I can walk on water
I’m no Jesus

Lobster Mac and cheese
Muscles whoopie pies and slaw
one meal Too much good

Learning how to milk
Perry the docile sweet cow
Five gallons of good

The staff is the bomb
They work hard for us to play
Does not seem like work

The sun moon and stars
Closer brighter nearer too
God must exist here

Thank you mother earth
For giving us this blue lake
Fish say thank you too

Rain coats hang dripping
After morning of rain scag
No holes in one here

Week of Friendships form
Just beginning to know you
Sad time for goodbyes

Liz lends Carter sweats
For the night at north star lodge
Thanks for warming legs

Jackie rings the bell
Gives us all the news today
Too many fun choices

Norwegians cut wood
Elizabeth and Purnell teach
New benches exist

Noah and Rick sing
Strum sweetly on their guitars
I wish I could sing

Gosha arts and crafts
Lindsey learns about our games
Fun new counselors

Peters back at camp
Maintenance is his new thing
Being Sean’s bitch

Alexa in back
Of the candy store counter
Doling out goodies

Corey kicks the ball
Straighter farther than the rest
No wonder he wins

Andrew Perry who?
Oh you mean that guy Pierre
Which name should we use

All the stone kids
Here at camp for the whole week
What good parents make

Nature or land sports
Yoga or arts and crafts, ooh
Too many good choices

Russ sits on the porch
Sucking down the wifi line
At least he’s at camp

Carter learns to row
Gliding across the water
Thanks to George and Liz

Andrew’s kitchen hums
Making all our yummy meal
Quietly he nods

It’s cold in my bed
I forgot to get blankets
It’s 100 at home

Fourth cabin on right
Home at camp for a week
Nice neighborhood eh?

A rainy camp day
No swimming or no sailing
Still better than work

Jackie gives coffee
handle of the mug sticky
Thanks to marshmallow

Hey Dave can we come
To camp during reunion
Yes. You family.

Barn roof is shinny
Gathering the rays of sun
George makes energy

The Last Day at Medomak

Sad, sad, sad. I don’t even like to think about the last day of camp. It has rained all day and a rainy day at camp Medomak is better than a sunny day anywhere else. I played scag (soccer croquet and golf) in the rain first thing this morning. I can’t remember the last time I played in the rain but I know that I want to do it again soon. There is something freeing about not worrying about getting wet and just letting the water wash over you. My scag score was not as good as dry scag but my fun level was probably higher. I was just thankful that I did not fall down as I approached the ball to kick.

After land sports I went to games in the barn. The bananagram devotees were all there and many different people won so I was not runout of the barn on a rail. Then a big round of Scategories. I got an extra point for Tart Tangerine Jam in the food that begins with T round since it used two T’s. I need to make more time for scategories in my life.

Peter taught me how to fly fish today. Well, we did not actually fish, just cast. After a while I got the hang of keeping the fly horizontal and in the air as I let the line further and further out. Next time I need to try it where fish actually live. I think it was a lot safer for Peter for me not to have a hook, especially since I caught him in the ear with the line.

Tonight is the talent show and haiku off. The haiku’s all have to be about camp and it is purely a numbers game of who can write the most haiku’s. I can’t say here how many I have because I don’t want to tip off my competition, but I will say I’ve got more than a few. The last time I was here I won with 31 and my closet competitor had 13.

As for the talent show I don’t have any of the normal talent show abilities. I’m the most unmusical person, I can’t do any gymnastics, no one consider’s needlepoint a performance art so I am left with my only possible ability of story telling. I probably will tell the crowd favorite Saskatoon story, but you never know what will come to mind when I get up there. I just have to tell a fairly clean story since there are children here and I don’t want to become the subject of a story of their own about the time they learned what #%^£ means.

As I lie on my bed writing this with Carter across the cabin on her bed reading her book with all her clothes in a huge mound on the floor I realize I don’t even care, it’s camp. It’s all about fun, trying new things, making new friends, no work except clearing your plates at meals, no worries, even about eating dessert. I’m soaking in the last of the carefree world of camp.

Bananagram Virgins

Games hold a dear place in my heart. Some people would call it an obsession. I would rather play a game than do almost anything else, even eat. Of course you would not like to be playing against me long if I have not eaten. My favorite game is Mah Jongg. At camp we do not have any Mah Jongg so I am playing a camp favorite, Bananagrams.

For those who have never played, it is a scramble-like game without a board and everyone is making their own words that attach together. It is a speed game and you want to use up all your letters first then you yell “peel” and everyone is forced to pick another tile which you have to add to your board. The first person to use all their letters when there are none left on the board wins.

There are a few tricks that really help you win. First is knowing all the two letter words. If you play with someone who has never heard of the words that are the spelling of the letters of the alphabet, like “em” for “m” or “en” for “n” they get very upset with you so having a dictionary or dictionary app is very helpful. Second trick — always use your worst letters like Z, V and Q in the first words you try and make. You can always find a place for an A or S, but when you pull K good luck. The most important strategy is not to be wed to the words you have already made. This is not scrabble, you are allowed to change things around.

At camp this week we have a lot of brilliant scientists so I am having fun teaching them this great game. I am not very popular because I am winning, but I am also creating a big challenge for them to try and beat me. I’m not sure how long it will take them to overthrow me, but I am enjoying these virgins while they are still learning. Sometimes not being a scientist is helpful because long words are not always useful in this game. It is not about making the longest words, just the fastest. There are no extra points for smart words, just some oohs and aahs.

The only unfortunate thing is that we are not playing for money. I would hate to take money from poor college students trying to earn money to go to school, which is the case for most of the counselors working here, but those scientist’s dough, that would be ok. Maybe it’s not that bad we are just playing for bragging rights because I might have been run out of camp by now and I still love being at camp, even more than winning at games.