What is Camp Mighty? These are the basics.

My travel mates and I and I arrived at our hotel after dark (which is anytime after 4:45 in Palm Springs) and found our rooms. I noticed that my roommate had already arrived (her gear was there brushed was not) and that the room was hipster paradise.

*photo from Ace Hotel’s website

The whole dang hotel was hipster paradise.

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The Ace Hotel is a mid-century, modern rustic hotel was converted from a retired Howard Johnson and an adjacent Denny’s. It is impossibly cool from top to bottom, inside and out. The Ace Hotel makes you feel cool like a rock star. It’s the perfect setting for Camp Mighty as you may need to pretend you’re a rock star and really good at everything to hang in a room brimming with (mostly) women who are rock stars and really good at everything. Bloggers, business women and/or badasses stacked to the rafters.

The first night brought a welcome party with nerdy pizza and salad. Team Mighty gave us a little ice-breaking Life List Bingo game to play. And open bar…which went a long way to making sure the evening was epic. It was totally epic. I think. It’s all a bit hazy. I do remember it ending in a nice, drunken soak in the Ace Hotel hot tub.

Good morning!

The next morning we gathered on the sunny, crisp patio for breakfast and more conversation. This patio was packed to the gills with beautiful, fashionable women of all sizes and ages. And styles. There was SO MUCH STYLE, y’all. It was like stepping into a live-in-person Mighty Closet on shuffle. Then we headed to the Commune to #gomighty and #gobing our faces off for two days.

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The speakers delivered messages of confidence, overcoming adversity (whether that be external or internal), perseverance, personal bravery, risk taking, and all sorts of other things to get us inspired. Afternoons contained workshops and I even got to do a craft! The camp contained TWO Sheri’s, both with one R. The other one wrote a great post on Maggie Mason’s talk. Camp also contained lots of lovely ladies (and a smattering of men) with whom I had not only a good time but also forged friendships. And thank heavens for Twitter so that we can have some regular contact and interaction. I’m eager to see where we all are a year from now (besides, you know, at camp).

In the evenings there were social functions. The final evening was a nice, sit-down catered dinner with endless wine and endless conversation. The evening before, Friday night, was Space Camp. Oh, Space Camp…you were a good time.

And we danced. #campmighty #gobing

Festive decor, Tangtinis and dancing happend. So, so much dancing.

Dancing! #campmighty #gobing

And an animated gif photo booth. Because when there’s a Space Camp party, still images just won’t do.

The next camp post will be more specific and full of feeeeelings. Lots and lots of feelings. You’ve been warned.

Food on plates, y’all

We ate.

And ate and ate.

Then ate some more.

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It was absurd. We took eating to an artform.

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No, really. One day…just because it was there…we snarfed Mondrian cake.

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When we went to Tartine, I got a Morning Bun, just as I was told to do. Then, just because it was there, I got a cup of seasonal bread pudding. Take a closer look at that action…

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I’d never guess that I’d voluntarily eat a sardine but when Chez Panisse touts a prix fixe… That night it was bucatini with sardines, pine nuts and all sorts of goodies I can’t remember.

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Truthfully, some of our foods were on jackets and sweaters….not just plates.

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And sometimes food only needed fingers.

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Paper plates and raw seafood, y’all.

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Of course I had to visit Bi-Rite Creamery.

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And we ate food in bowls. This was, maybe, the best breakfast I’ve ever had. Ever. In my life. And I’m a fat kid. Who works in the restaurant world. Just. Saying.

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Mushroom marshmallow

Chocolate lavender macaron

Chocolate & vanilla "adult" variety

So…yeah. You get the point. I’ll stop now.

Cousins!

Last weekend was the final weekend I’d have my kids before they start the school year. A few weeks ago I realized I hadn’t seen my niece and nephew since Christmas and they only live 90 minutes away. It was the hail mary of summer getaways and a TOTAL SCORE!

I rented a hotel room in Tulsa that had a small, indoor waterpark. I asked for the highest floor they had with two queen beds. We stayed in 1010 on the 10th floor (though, I will tell you that the hotel went to 11).

Our hotel goes to 11

I took four kids (7, 7, 10 & 11) thrifting and to lunch at Chuy’s. Then after 2.5 hours of hardcore swimming, chasing, splashing and tattling, we retired to 1010 on 10 for lots of Disney Channel and a profane amount of Mazzio’s delivery.

Sunday was breakfast AT the hotel (which the kids thought was pretty dern cool), a little more thrifting and then a movie! The boys and I went to the new Ice Age movie in 3D and I let the girls go alone to the Katy Perry movie. We even hung out in the Cinemark arcade afterwards for photos, games and prizes. Then….more food! Smashburger followed by Jamba Juice!

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My heart is full. Very proud of the kids they are and are becoming.

New friend boot camp

Pulled from the archives of a previous blog. Originally published May 24, 2008.

Wanna know how to get a fast-track to a new friend? Poland.

It worked for me.

Before we left for this Polish adventure I knew that I would probably get along okay with Megan. Not great, but okay. Who knew that once we got over there we would discover that we were practically the same person with the major differences of:

She plays soccer.
I can drink her under the table.
She reads way, way more.
I’m funnier.

Traveling for a month with women can be a little difficult. And by difficult, I mean it is like crawling naked for thirty miles across a field of rock salt that is wedged perfectly under a thunderstorm of elephants hovering in the sky 8 inches above your crouched, sweaty body. Of course I don’t mean that. Of course not.

It is worse.

The elephants are schizophrenic and have diarrhea and the salt is laced with poison ivy. And scabies.

The gleeming treasure in the whole experience is that sometime in that first week I realized that I had a soul sister among us. I was getting along with everyone nicely and them with me, but at some point Megan and I realized the magic. Actually, I realized the magic in Mikov when we went back to the flat to have a nap. It is awkward sharing a bed with someone you don’t know that well, but you can do it in the dark at night without much trouble. Exhaustion gives way to weirdness and it all works out. But there we were, crawling into bed together in broad daylight for an unexpected opportunity to nap.

Sheri: Goodnight.
Megan: Goodnight.
Sheri: Please don’t spoon me.
Megan: ::::spoons Sheri:::::
Sheri: “And I can’t fight this feeling anymore…”
Megan: “I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for…”
Sheri: “It’s time to bring this ship into the shore…”
UNISON: “And throw away the oars, FOREVER!”

That clinched it. We eventually fell asleep, but not before laughing hysterically for 20 minutes.

As the month wore on we experienced Poland in all its glory (not sarcastic) and there’s an upcoming post about Poland as a country and experience. Trust me. But there’s another facet of my trip across the pond and it is of finding a friend in surprising circumstances. That is this story. This is that story. Meg-aaan rocks. How do I know for sure that she rocks?

When we were halfway through our trip we had to carefully consider our luggage. We were traveling too heavy and there were rumors that if we were over a certain amount at the Lviv, Ukraine airport that Bad Things Would Happen. Terrible overcharges and possibly random assasinations of character. And scabies.

So she and I are sitting at our hotel in Krakow having breakfast (tomatoes, anyone?) and talking about what we are ditching in Lviv to save space and weight. The subject of our red blazers came up. They are our uniform and we were already resenting their very existence. Plus, the coats were heavy. We spoke of burning them.

Then I had an idea.

Capes. We would fashion capes from them. With cuffs. We simultaneously made jazz hands and the bond between M and S grew stronger. Two weeks later:

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With 2 inch scissors and a pair of nail clippers, we became superheros.

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Sorry for the fuzzy. Apparently Ukraine is so deficient as a country that the the air zaps the ability for cameras to focus properly. Luckily, another team member shot this little gem:

And then this one:

And that’s how I knew we’d be friends outside of Poland. Blazer capes.

The Routan Clan

Recently, we took a trip to the Wichitas and my buddy let us borrow a Volkswagen van…

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No, not that one. This one:

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When my boyfriend and I are together with the kids there’s a grand total of six that can only be transported in two cars. We were thrilled to borrow the Routan SE which had all sorts of bells and whistles to keep the chatter rolling all the way to Lawton. My son (age 7) was so enamored that the next time I picked him up from school after returning the Routan he had this defeated look on his face. “You took it BACK?” Yes, yes I did….just like I said I would. 😉

We made the trip from OKC to Lawton in 90 mintes, give or take to enjoy a day of hiking, climbing and at least one picnic. The Wichita Wildlife Refuge did not fail to deliver. Upon arriving at the base of Mt. Scott we had a quick lunch then wound up the corkscrew road to the top. My son was off in a flash, recklessly climbing up and jumping off of boulders. Clayton’s son was busy wandering around with his photgrapher’s eye capturing all kinds of magic. I was trying to do the same but it’s hard to focus on focusing when your focus is plunging from boulders with a giggle and a wink.

We drove around the refuge and park taking in the views of prairie dog reservess, herds of bison and  wandering longhorns. One of my favorite (and totally accidental) captures was this:

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Those are my two teenage friends staring in wonder at wildlife we’d stopped to gaze upon in our travels through the nature reserve. It was just a longhorn…but he was really close and totally alone. Twas a tranquil site.

We hiked through some interesting places that I never knew existed in Oklahoma. Cannot wait to go back! If I can get the other photog to send me a link I’d love to share his vantage on our day. For now, here are mine: Flickr Slideshow.