Posts Tagged ‘Girl Scouts’

The girl went over the mountain…

June 14, 2021

It’s rainy together. Rainy and miserable. And to be honest: it’s kind of put me in a funk.

To be more honest, I started out having a bit of a Jonah day. I have some custody stuff that bubbled up over the weekend, and…. I keep making hard decisions and tough choices and wondering when the terrible, awful, no-good, very bad hurdles will stop showing up. I’m doing my best to build myself back up, but at some point… Man.

So! Because I’m having a bit of a moment, a bit of a day, I decided to post something that I did this week. Another thing that made me feel deep happiness: I reached the top of Mount Wachusett.

There are a ton of hiking trails, all of which I want to crawl into, and explore, and see wildlife. They’re the kind of trails that make me want to sing Girl Scout songs at the top of my voice. (But that would scare the wildlife and the hikers.) So I haven’t. Yet.

The pictures don’t do it justice; the views are phenomenal, even in all the haze. There are helpful signs at the top of the firepost-climby-tower thing. They show you which mountains are which, and where they’re located. Did you know that you can see Mt. Snow in Vermont? Or mountains and ridges in New Hampshire? Obviously you can see Mt. Manadnock. That bit that’s circled red in the picture? You can’t make it out as well as in person, but that’s the Boston skyline! It’s stunning!

I can make it over the mountain. I know, sometimes, that it seems like asking for help and getting things in order creates more of a problem that never seems to end. But this is the life I’m meant to be living, and if there’s a mountain in my way? Well, then there’s a mountain in my way. It only holds the power that you give it and allow it to have.

So I’m going to be sad if I need to be sad. But I’m also going to remember that I can go back to that mountain top at any time and remember that I can do it.

I can do it.

….the girl went over the mountain, because that’s what was next.

My little survivalist.

March 22, 2013

The Brownies in our troop had homework for Girl Scouts tonight: create an emergency kit for the car using an Altoids tin. I’m not quite sure who was more excited by the challenge: me, or Gracie.

My sibs and I grew up on survivalist stories: Hatchet, Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of the Mountain, Dr. Quinn (frontier living does too count), Little House on the Prairie… you get the idea. We were forever playing outside, building forts, foraging for “food” (God bless our blueberry bushes and that inexhaustible mint patch), and playing all sorts of make-believe. Our mom encouraged our imagination and indulged nearly every whim – we had canteens, cap guns, slingshots, moccasins, rawhide pouches – all kinds of neat things.

Gracie (and her sister) have followed in our imaginative footsteps. They haven’t gotten in trouble for treating a cut her friend’s little sister had by filling it with a poultice made from berries and leaves, but give them time. (Also, ho w were we supposed to know not to do that? It happened in books and TV all the time! No one yelled at them!)

So Gracie was more than up for the task when she heard about the challenge. I showed her the Altoid tin so she would have an idea of how big her kit was, and then she started her list. A pocket knife! (I’m a little afraid to go to sleep after she saw what all my Bear Grylls survival pocket knife can do. In real life.) Nail clippers! Tylenol! Allergy pills! Bandaids! I refused to help her, although sometimes I would ask her why she had chosen a specific item. Like tweezers.

Me: Why tweezers, baby?
Gracie: You know – for pulling out splinters. Or if there’s a bomb.
Me: A…bomb?
Gracie: Yeah. [Completely missing that this was maybe not a normal answer.]
Me: Um…so how would tweezers help if there was a bomb?
Gracie: So you could pull out the pieces. From someone’s leg. You know. <Mimes extracting shrapnel with tweezers.>
Me: Uh. Okay. Good planning.

Gracie thought of a few more “traditional” items to include after that. Mostly because she was rummaging through the bathroom, methinks. Cotton balls. Q-tips. Tissues. Then she asked for an ace bandage. Uh, that wouldn’t fit. I tried prompting her to think of what she would want if there was an emergency. Phone numbers! Good – she made a list. A book! Ha! Nice try. And then, maybe my favorite – “DUCT TAPE, MOM!” Duct tape is approximately 8,439 times bigger than an Altoids tin, but I very much applauded the sentiment.

I’m afraid my junior survivalist missed paperclips, bobby pin, needle, thread, a length of string, and cash, but I refused to lead her towards any answers. She’ll learn all on her own, and I can’t wait to see what the other girls came up with. I’m still pretty proud of her for thinking of everything and getting it all to fit in the teeny tiny tin. And, hey, if you hit an IED while driving through our city, Gracie totally volunteers to de-shrapnelfy your leg. For free.

Make new friends…

March 19, 2013

Last Friday the girls attended their first girl scouts’ meeting. I’ve been wanting them to join Girl Scouts for awhile, they’ve been asking to join – really, it’s a wonder it’s taken us this long. When the flyer showed up in the girls’ backpacks, a very resounding “Yes, please,” chorused from Casa de Katie.

I’ll admit, though, that even with all of the anticipation and excitement, I was a little nervous. I’ve talked before about how awesome my own Girl Scout experience was. My troop leader? It is humanly unpossible to live up to her level of awesomeness. But I still expected the girls’ troop leader to try. For instance, there must be singing – what is a Girl Scout troop without singing? My girls already know dozens of songs we sang. Probably there wouldn’t be a flag ceremony – our troop divided into three groups of girls; each week one group was responsible for preparing snack, one group was in charge of clean-up, and one group was responsible for the flag ceremony. The flag ceremony was the opening of the meeting. The six or eight of us who were in our group would each have a role: flag carrier, two on each side of her, one behind her. We’d pick up the flag from where it was stored, and march it to the opening of the horseshoe. There were words that were spoken, we led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance, the Girl Scout pledge, and then we picked a Girl Scout song to sing. Anyway, since our troop wasn’t meeting in the basement of a neighborhood church, there probably wasn’t a giant flag to use for a flag ceremony. I was mostly okay with this. As long as there was some kind of opening ceremony-ish something. And there must be a closing ceremony. Our troop would gather into a circle, cross our arms, and hold the hands of the girls next to us. Our troop leader would impart some final lesson summarizing what we’d learned that night, and then simultaneously squeeze the hands of the two girls next to her. When you felt your hand squeezed, you had to make a wish and then squeeze the girls’ hand on the other side of you. Whichever girl got squeezed on both sides said “Good night, Girl Scouts.” Ta da! So that had to happen, too.

I knew things would be different for Bee and Gracie. For one, our meetings had been moved into the home of the troop leader. So for one thing, there were probably fewer girls in our troop. That made me a little sad because how would they play things like Giant’s House if there weren’t an oodle of kids to break into groups? On the other hand, the troop leader lived in our neighborhood, so we could walk to Girl Scouts meetings. Holla! And indeed they were different – when we walked in, the meeting was already…in progress. There was less structure than there had been in my troop. Everyone just sort of joined in the activity as they got there. Gracie’s Brownies were in the large front half of the house, and Bee’s Daisies were in the back half of the house. The division worked out well. We quickly learned who most of the girls were, and I met several moms. Gracie’s best friend from after-care was there, so she was psyched. It was happy, happy chaos. Everyone was very friendly and talked over each other, and younger siblings played underfoot. If it wasn’t like my troop experience, that was okay, because it was a lot like my family get-togethers where a million people were all visiting at once.

There were a few moments that made me smile: I overheard the Daisies in the back room all reciting the Girl Scout pledge. It’s funny how quickly something comes back to you: all week, the only line I could remember was “…and to live by the Girl Scout law,” but as the teeny tiny 6-year-old voices rang out, I found myself reciting along with them, if maybe half a beat behind. Goodo, there was at least one meeting that opened with a pledge, if not a full-on flag ceremony. And then at the end of the meeting, after the project had been half-cleared, all of the Brownies were asked to gather into a circle (YAY!), hold hands (no crossies?), and they sang “the Girl Scout song,” by which they meant the one that starts “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” Then a girl was picked (this week it was Gracie) to make a wish, stick her right foot into the middle of the circle to show she had finished, and squeeze the hand of the girl to her left. When every girl had a foot in the middle, they all yelled “GOOD NIGHT, GIRL SCOUTS!” and raised their arms into the air. Go team! Er, or something.

Good times, all around. I love our troop, I love our leaders, and I can’t wait to get into all the fun kind of trouble we have planned for the rest of the year. And if it’s a little different from how things were done when I was little? That’s okay. I’ll learn to adjust. Or maybe just take over for a few meetings. (Oh, like you didn’t see that coming!)


Only 7 years to go.

January 20, 2009

I don’t really feel like talking about how my kidney infection has returned, or the fact that after I ate last night, I was so entirely sure that I would be seeing my penne a la red sauce again very soon. Instead, let’s continue our Make Believe theme of the week, shall we?


Yesterday, I was at work doing my thing when I heard strange voices float down the hall. Now, working where I work and doing what I do, it isn’t all that uncommon to hear strange voices. What made these voices sound out of the ordinary was that they belonged to a child. I hesitated there; it obviously wasn’t a young child, but it was certainly someone who hadn’t yet learned not to interrupt with, “Mom! Mom!” or, alternately, “Dad!, Dad, look!” If I had to guess, I would say the young lady was between the ages of 9 and 12, and had just finished some big project and/or trip with her class. Her (estranged?) parents were talking logistics over her head as she tried to bring everyone up to speed on her most excellent adventures.


It got me to thinking about what it will be like when my girls are older – let’s say, 9 and 11 for make-believe’s sake. (more…)