my winter camp 2019 experience

hey!

i spent a long weekend last month working at that boy scout camp that i’m constantly talking about. (so, yes, this is another camp post, as if i don’t post enough about that place already.) staffing at winter camp was wildly different from my experiences there last summer. i thought i’d share my ordeal with you all, because how often do you get to learn about what really goes on at a scout camp?


packing list for winter camp:

– as many blankets as you can fit in your bag. it will be freezing and the heaters won’t work.

– wool socks, gloves, and a thick coat that makes you feel like a marshmallow. despite all those layers, you won’t ever be warm enough.

– a journal, to keep track of the health officers’ phone numbers and last minute lesson plans.

– don’t bother with showering supplies, because the camp will be winterized and there won’t be a lot of running water. just bring dry shampoo and deodorant instead.

– lots of snacks. the kitchen staff are stingy. they’ll give you two hash browns for breakfast and act surprised when they find you eating lucky charms in the back.

– water bottles. there’s no running water, remember?

– tea bags. preferably a kind with lots and lots of caffeine in it. you will not get nearly enough sleep to function without the help of tea or coffee.

– a knife, a lighter/matches, painkillers, and lip balm. be prepared.


| friday |

just getting to camp in the first place was tricky business. staff was asked to arrive at three in the afternoon, there was supposed to be a one o’clock dismissal that day, and it’s about a two hour drive to get there. so, time was a bit tight, but if i left immediately after school, it should have worked out. but then the school decided to let out at three instead of one. which is, you know, a bit inconvenient.

i ended up leaving school early, then going home to finish packing. because despite planning on staffing at winter camp since august, i still waited until the very last minute to find all my stuff. and i had a lot of stuff: three bag fulls, in fact. one backpack stuffed with things like books and snacks, a smallish duffle bag filled with typical going-away-for-the-weekend things, and then an enormous bag my mom forced me to take. she packed that one for me, and it contained lots of useless, bulky snow gear.

on the way there, i read love & gelato and listened to billy joel’s greatest hits on repeat. i’ve made that drive so often that the two hours doesn’t feel like anything. i just look out the window at familiar landmarks, i blink, and we’re there. amazing, really.

the camp has two sides: the boy scout side, which is where i go to summer camp and where i hope to work this year (i sent in my application a week or two ago . . . wish me luck), and the cub side. it blows my mind a little that i’ve been going there for three years, and i’ve never seen cub camp before.

anyway, once we arrived, i checked in and picked up my staff hoodie. it’s a lovely blue, so warm, and a huge improvement from the disgusting highlighter-yellow t-shirts from last summer. then my mom and i drove all the way to the other side and dropped my stuff of at a staff cabin. the cabins there are really more like plywood sheds, and there was a tiny heater on the floor — really cozy, you know?

and here’s where things get fun. as i was walking back to the main road from staff site, i heard our health officer talking on the phone with someone from admin (this health officer is yanni, the one who made me overdose last summer. i love him). he was complaining about the sink not working in the health lodge, and as he was talking, i spotted a line of port-a-potties beside the road. so, basically: there was just about no running water in the camp. there were a few working bathrooms on cub side, and the sinks at the STEM center functioned some of the time, but the only shower was at admin.

it wasn’t a great way to start the weekend. not being able to shower makes me a little panicky inside for some reason. i really did want to go home then and there, but of course my mom wasn’t going to allow that, so i just thanked God that i don’t sweat.


good things that happened on friday:

– i was reunited with some friends from last summer!! most of the staff are in college, and i assumed  a lot of them wouldn’t be at winter camp because they’d busy with exams or whatever. but most of them made it, so i spent the weekend hanging out with kaitlyn (aka my camp mom), jordan (handicraft director), john (nature director), and brie (friend from ahg camp who works on cub side). it was so wonderful to see them again and i miss them all so much already.

– brie went out to dinner instead of eating camp food (a very wise decision), and she brought me lo mein with tofu!!

– had a wild conversation with kaitlyn and john about how many staffers are gay. apparently, the answer is at least half. i love scout camp.

| saturday |

the next morning, i had to be at the dining hall on cub side by 7 a.m. to help serve breakfast. i got up at 5 o’clock every morning and walked a mile in the cold just to stand around in the kitchen for two hours and dish out a meal that i couldn’t eat while wearing a ridiculous paper hat. the only thing that made it bearable was the classic rock blasting from a speaker. i must have heard jessie’s girl twenty times that weekend.

after an appetizing breakfast consisting of a single dry biscuit, i headed over to the STEM center to help kaitlyn teach programming. i say “teach,” but really i just wrote lines of code on the whiteboard, because i have no idea how to help boys program games and calculators into java.

we had a campfire in the dining hall that night. this particular campfire involved no flames, and i couldn’t see or hear the skits, and it was all around  a little miserable. just before it started, i had spotted someone for last summer, someone who i associate really awful memories with, and i don’t know. i just freaked out. i couldn’t keep still; i kept pacing and fidgeting and i felt like the air was too warm and i couldn’t breathe properly.

i decided to wash my hair that night. i tossed a tiny bottle of shampoo into my backpack and hiked from my cabin to STEM at one in the morning. i have to say, there’s something about washing your hair in a dirty sink during the witching hour, while listening to rain on a metal roof, that is strangely poetic to me.

| sunday |

after another half-awake morning in the kitchen, i helped jordan with space exploration, otherwise known as my favorite merit badge ever. we headed into the dining hall armed with boxes of rockets and hot glue guns. it took ALL MORNING for the campers to get their rockets together, which made me desperately miss my friend scout, because he is a genius and can put one of those kits together in ten minutes flat.

eventually, the rockets were ready to launch, so we took them into the field outside and shot them off one at a time. it must have taken at least an hour. it was windy, and i was starving (i’d been living off of hot tea and vanilla pudding, which isn’t that filling), and my jacket was back in my cabin so i was cold, too. i ended up taking jordan’s coat, which helped some, but still. my only joy was using the C engines. those bad boys sent some rockets all the way to the other side.

Related image
this is a blue card. they are a pain and take forever to fill out.

afterwards, jordan proceeded to make me crouch in the mud while he signed at least twenty blue cards on my back. because, you know, what else is support staff good for?

that night, i moved into a cabin with kaitlyn and brie on cub side. that wasn’t strictly allowed, but i likely would have frozen to death if i hadn’t. it got down into the single digits that night, and had only warmed up to fourteen degrees by 7 a.m. the next morning. there was no chance of me walking a mile to breakfast in that kind of weather.

| monday |

when i was trekking up to the dining hall that morning, i paused in the middle of the icy road to gaze at the moon. the lunar eclipse had taken place over the night, and the super blood moon was still hanging in the sky, tinted red. there was a colorful ring around it that looked just like a lens flare.

they didn’t need help with breakfast that morning, and no one had bothered to tell me, so i made some hot tea in the dining hall and hurried back to the cabin. i curled up next to the heater and got a few more much needed hours of sleep.

kaitlyn and i were teaching the mammal study badge in the nature lodge that day. unfortunately, kaitlyn had procrastinated writing a lesson plan, and we also had no idea where the nature lodge was on the cub side. we ended up wandering around the camp while the freezing wind got under our skin until we got brie to give us directions over the phone.

the nature lodge was conveniently all the way on the outskirts of the camp. we passed some enormous red yurts tucked away in the trees and i started fangirling. that’s really the only way to describe it. i’d read about the yurts on the camp’s website, but i’d never seen them before. they were so cool!! i didn’t go inside any of them, but still. i love those yurts.

mammal studies was a little bit miserable. the lodge’s heater didn’t work at all, the scouts wouldn’t listen to me, kaitlyn and i weren’t prepared, etc. it was such a relief when we finished early. if i’d been out there much longer, i think i would have turned into a popsicle. as it was, i couldn’t feel my hands until at least an hour later, despite hanging out in the heated dining hall with a cup of hot tea.

my friends cleared out shortly after, so i holed up in the cabin with a book and several cups of vanilla pudding while i waited for my mom to arrive. it was sort of peaceful. the camp was quiet for once, instead of being filled with the shouts and cheers of boys playing in the gaga pit.

my mom got lost a few times on the way home. (it is truly amazing to me that after all this time, she is still finding new ways to get lost.) i had been looking forward to finally getting a shower, but as soon as i stepped inside, i got a text from a friend reminding me that there was pep band that night. i didn’t have time to change out of the staff hoodie i’d been shivering in all weekend, much less get a desperately needed shower, before i was at school and setting up a bass drum in the bleachers.


other things that happened at winter camp:

– my “friend” peter called me a communist and a liberal because i said i’m in marching band and don’t like meat?? i was telling him that i play percussion when he interrupted with a gasp and said, “i was afraid you were going to say that you play triangle! i can just see you jamming to a triangle solo.” and it would have been hilarious except i did actually play triangle at one point during our show. :’)

– a scout that i’ve never talked to in my life told me one night that i looked really pretty that day. thanks, i guess?? it was sort of weird. having guys flirt with me is my least favorite thing about staffing there.

– i’m pretty sure this kid that i troop guided for last year was flirting with me. i’m not 100% sure, but hear me out. he was support staff too and we worked in the kitchen together during every meal. he sat with me during breakfast, was really friendly, gave me cookies from his lunch, etc. we hiked all over camp together on friday, he walked me back to my cabin twice, and he even invited me to play cards against humanity with him in his cabin. do i just have a really big ego, or does it sound like he was flirting and i was just too oblivious to notice?

– everyone thought i was older than i actually am. when i mentioned my real age, it was followed by lots of disbelief and exclamations about how i’m “just a baby!” love that for me.

– i got really sick with the flu right after camp and ended up missing a week of school. i think i got it from kaitlyn. thanks, camp mom, i was basically dying but at least i got to stay home and read.


overall, winter camp involved a lot of shivering, not enough sleep, horrible food, and a scratchy throat from yelling at insolent scouts. it was unorganized and the classes seemed to stretch on forever. but do i plan on going back next year? oh, absolutely. i want another staff hoodie.

have you ever been to a winter camp? how did it compare to summer camp?

xo apollo

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point pleasant, wv travel diary

i had a four day weekend awhile back and managed to convince my mom to drive my friend izzy and i to a tiny town in west virginia called point pleasant. with a population of only 4,000 and a supposedly haunted one-star hotel, you might be wondering why i would willingly sit through a five hour drive to spend just one day there. the answer: mothman.

mothman is a cryptid said to reside around point pleasant. the sightings occurred from 1966-1967, and some people believe that he was involved in the 1967 silver bridge collapse. he’s a pretty neat cryptid, and buzzfeed unsolved has a great episode about him in season four that you should check out if you want to learn more (or read his wikipedia page).

it was a really last minute trip. i think we booked our hotel room in gallipolis, ohio in the morning before we left. we set off sunday afternoon and drove through west virginia as the sunset lit up the autumn mountains.

izzy and i both drew mothman on my chromebook on the drive down. hers was definitely the better one, but unfortunately we didn’t save a picture of it, so have mine instead!

on monday morning, we crossed the ohio river to visit west virginia’s tu-endie-wei state park, a fenced-in four acre plot of land against the water.

the early sunlight on the river, boats, and bridges were honestly spectacular.

izzy and i sat on a bench by the edge of the park and watched barges sail past.

the park also had some monuments and a log cabin called the old mansion house. i’m not sure what’s in there because it was closed, but probably a gift shop or museum.

our next stop in point pleasant was the river walk. about half a mile long, the walls dividing the town from the river are covered in murals depicting scenes between settlers and native americans, and some army-themed ones.

there’s also some graffiti, which you all know i love.

mad anne bailey + izzy making dumb faces

there are also some slightly anatomically incorrect statues along the way, plus several more cute murals scattered around the town.

we found this amphitheater by the river and danced around singing show tunes together.

next was point pleasant’s main attraction: the mothman museum! (admission is $3 for adults and $1 for kids ten and under.)

it’s a one-room museum in the back of a shop, filled with life-sized mothman and men in black figures, newspaper clippings from the first sighting, props from the mothman prophecies movie, etc.

see mothman in the mirror?

there’s also a room decorated like a diner where a documentary on all the strange happenings in point pleasant plays.

attached to the museum is the gift shop, stocked with pins, patches, shirts, books, and more mothman-themed souvenirs.

i bought a mothman sweatshirt and two pins, and i’m sort of in love with them right now. i had an nice conversation with my band director about mothman after i wore my sweatshirt to practice one day. finally, i found another intellectual!

after we’d looked at everything in the museum, izzy and i took pictures with the mothman statue found beside the building. he has amazing abs, honestly. 10/10.

then we wandered around the rest of point pleasant. some notable locations include the village pizza inn, which sells mothman pizzas, the coffee grinder that’s home to the mothman cookie, and a clothing store called m&z boutique that sells mothman leggings.

once we’d seen everything that interested us, we had lunch at two waters, an italian/mexican restaurant (they sell mothman rootbeer!!). it was probably the best unauthentic mexican food i’ve ever had, and the staff joked around with us and were really friendly.

it was a great trip and i’m glad my mom and friend got the opportunity to  learn about such an important part of west virginia’s history, because they were clueless before. if you ever pass by point pleasant, make sure to take the time to visit the mothman museum!

also, happy thanksgiving, i hope everyone has a great day. :)

xo apollo

ahg summer camp 2018

the annual summer camp post is finally here! this was absolutely the most interesting year so far, and i’m so excited to tell you guys about it.

i’ve been going to this camp for the past three years. it’s a boy scout camp that my scouting group, american heritage girls, gets to use for one week in august. it’s also the camp that i worked at as a CIT this summer.

the badges i took this year were pen & paper arts, creative crafts, boating safety, and outdoor cooking. my bff izzy and i were in all the same classes, and i was already friends with the counselors, so it was pretty fun.

pen & paper arts was taught by mary, who worked at outdoor skills during the boy scout camp and helped at the health lodge. we did origami, paper weaving, calligraphy, etc.

we were supposed to make something in the style of an illuminated manuscript, and this is what i made. it’s lyrics from peach // the front bottoms. i was originally planning on adding more drawings to the borders, but i decided that i didn’t care enough.

i created a stencil of a rocket and made this with it.

we tried suminagashi (paper marbling with water and ink, although we used paint) and mine turned out alright for a first try.

mary taught outdoor cooking, too. that day, we made all our meals in the class. most of the food didn’t turn out that well, and it took forever to get our fire started in the morning. it would’ve been fine if the other scouts actually listened to my tips, because i’m really good at making fires, but no such luck. they kept pushing the sticks i gathered out of the fire pit and telling me that i was building it wrong. i only got the fire going once most of the girls had drifted away to work with the food and i could do what i needed to.

i spent a ridiculous amount of time setting up this picture of my lumpy basket

jordan taught creative crafts at the handicraft lodge. he’s one of my favorite people at camp, and he’s going to college in my town, so that’s exciting. anyway, he showed us how to make clay pots and use a potter’s wheel, weave baskets, dye and stamp leather, and make gimp braids. while i loved his class, he didn’t get us anywhere close to earning our badge. i don’t think we even completed an entire requirement. i love jordan, but come on.

here are some pictures of stuff that i made in the class.

leather stamping

a calligraphy/watercolor disaster. i strongly believe that it’s the worst thing i’ve ever made, but i have no dignity left, so i’m going to share it with all of you.

boating safety was probably my favorite badge. we got to use rowboats, sailboats, and paddle boards. when we weren’t on the water, we were learning knots and how to radio for help and first aid.

i was signed up for an all-day hike on friday, but i hurt my ankle during a 5k the day before camp started, so i switched out of that. i ended up taking a waterfront survival class that was basically just lifegaurding stuff. i actually really enjoyed it, and it helped me get my swimming badge.

at one point, we were doing rescues with a pole, and a girl accidentally kicked the one i was using into the lake. (i got the blame, of course.) one of the staffers slid another pole down the dock to me, but he overshot and that one went into the lake, too, so we were out of poles.

beth & izzy during last year’s cinematography class

i got to meet up with old camp friends, which was probably the best part. beth was there, and we’ve been friends since my first year at camp. this year, we figured out that our real names are super similar (i’m loren, she’s laura, and we have the same middle name), and she hosted a “talk show” every night. we used a flashlight shining through a water bottle as a microphone, and we asked each other really dumb questions, the best of which was simply “eeg?” the number of imaginary listeners went up each night, but it started with just the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and her mom.

the other friend i was reunited with was rachel. she was there my first year of camp, missed the second, but came again this time. i love her so much, she’s kind of my other half. she likes the same music as me, has a dark sense of humor, and a rebellious streak. it’s surprising because she goes to an all-girls catholic boarding school, and that doesn’t fit her at all.

some shenanigans my friends and i got up to:

– rachel and i were hanging out in the deserted gaga ball pit at night, and we decided to make a bet. she thought her mom would come by soon and tell us that it was late and we should get to bed. her mom did show up a few minutes later, and she did comment on how late it was getting, but she never told us to go to bed, so i won. rachel was supposed to buy me food from the trading post, but it was closed, so she promised to do it next year instead.

– rachel and i were hanging out in the dining hall one night when we saw an entire apple pie on one of the tables. i love this camp’s apple pie, and i hadn’t gotten any for dinner that night. the pie didn’t seem to belong to anyone, so we took it and two spoons and went down to the fishing dock to eat it. we talked about mothman while we ate. it was honestly kind of magical.

we ate pie 2k18 ♥

– another girl i hung out with was paetyn. she probably hated me by the end of the week, because rachel and i sort of terrorized her during meals. we would select a piece of food, make it as awful as possible, and then get her to eat a bite (rachel and i usually tasted it, too). the worsts things we created, in my opinion, included a breakfast of powerade, instant oatmeal, ketchup, a hardboiled egg, and mustard in a cup, and a dinner of an already nasty BBQ sandwich, a raisin cookie, hot sauce, and cheetos, all doused in blue powerade. the staff actually encouraged it, which was maybe the funniest part. the boating instructor gave me the hot sauce to put on her sandwich.

– some of my friends and i were going down to the waterfront one evening when we found a pale green caterpillar outside the tent i shared with izzy. paetyn decided to kill it. she built a tiny cabin of sticks around it, used a chip as a fire starter, and burned the whole thing. it was really pretty cruel, but by that point, the caterpillar was in such bad shape it just seemed kinder to finish the job. once it was dead, we named the caterpillar kathryn and carried him down to the lake for a funeral. paetyn placed him on a lily pad and set that on fire, too. i gave a speech that was honestly quite touching and shed a tear or two. rest in peace, kathryn the caterpillar, you are missed.

– waterfront games is absolutely my least favorite part of camp. it was even worse this year because i couldn’t participate at all thanks to my sprained ankle. i guess beth and rachel hated it too, because they suggested we bail and go investigate the graffiti in the boys’ bathroom at the dining hall.  i didn’t want to vandalize anything in case it affected my chances of getting hired again, but rachel wrote “celery” in one of the stalls.

i really enjoyed the friday night campfire this year. the skits were terrible as always, but i loved watching my friends make fools out of themselves. i ended up having to embarrass myself too, though. the girls who took the search, survival, and rescue class had stolen my campsite’s flag and the patriots had to do the chicken dance to get it back.

(now, listen. that was technically against the camp’s rules. dancing/singing to retrieve belongings falls under hazing, which is prohibited, but i guess i’m the only one who knew that.)

i had to edit out one of the words on the bottom for safety reasons

the camp had a patch design contest for scouts this year. guess who won? :) i spent maybe an hour working on it the day of the deadline. it’s inspired by the totem poles at the camp’s entrance. it’s not that great, but it looks pretty dang good as a patch. and jordan told me that the staff was super proud of me for winning, so that was nice.

i’d lost my water bottle earlier that day (it was in the health lodge’s freezer, but i didn’t know that then), and by the time the campfire was over, i was ridiculously thirsty. the only water nearby was in the lake. so i got a cup from paetyn’s brother (he was on the staff and had been wearing a stack on his head) and just drank some of the lake water. it was honestly not that bad. a little warm and gritty, sure, but it was too dark to see the color, so it was alright. jordan noticed when i was on my second sip and sort of lost his mind. he screamed and slapped the cup out of my hands so it splashed all over us. it’s nice to know that he cared, but it was kind of rude.

every year after the campfire, there’s a sleeping under the stars event at the dining hall. and, every year, it rains and everyone spends the night inside instead. we watch a movie and the kitchen staff make us snacks and set out all the desserts that didn’t get eaten over the summer. we watched the lego movie this time, and when everything is awesome started playing, everyone sang along. it was kind of amazing. i love my generation.

the trading post was apparently giving out free slushies that night, and beth made me go with her to get one. unfortunately, they had just closed the store when we got there. but when they noticed it was me, they let us both in and we hung out with the staff for awhile. i know it didn’t matter that much, but it gave me the most wonderful feeling. i guess i realized that i had friends there who would bend the rules a little for me even though i wasn’t on staff that week.

i saved the most exciting adventure for last! tuesday morning, my sprained ankle was bothering me so much that i went to get ibuprofen from the health officer. i mean, it hurt so much that i woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep, and i was limping so bad i could barely get anywhere. anyway, i had a rough experience with pills when i was younger, so i’ve avoided them ever since. but pills were the only form of ibuprofen the health officer had, and i was willing to take them if it meant the pain would be more bearable.

i took the pills, and they helped a bit, so i went and got some more that afternoon. things were going alright until that evening, when my chest started to feel tight and it became hard to breathe and swallow. it seemed like an allergic reaction, but i’d never had one before, so i wasn’t sure. then i realized that it could be the effects of an overdose. the health officer had given me three pills that afternoon, which i was quite sure was too much medication for someone my size.

i figured the symptoms would go away eventually, so i tried to ignore it, but eventually it became so bad that i went and found the health officer again. he checked my oxygen levels and apparently they were lower than normal, and he said my throat was swollen. he decided to call an ambulance, and i ended up having to go to the ER. the EMTs gave me oxygen on the drive there, and when i got there i had to take more pills to help me breathe. i didn’t get back to camp until two in the morning.

it’s really going to suck it i’m actually allergic to ibuprofen. i’m an athlete, what am i going to do if i get injured during a game and can’t have any pain killer?

the health officer had to give me more oxygen later that week. i don’t know. that’s not really how i wanted camp to go, but it was certainly eventful, to say the least.


i wish i had more pictures of camp to use in this post, but there was a new rule this year asking that no one share photos of the scouts. i didn’t bring my good camera because of that, so the only pictures i have were taken on my ipod (which i wasn’t even supposed to have with me).

did you go to a camp this summer?

xo apollo

my summer in photos

let’s pretend this isn’t how it ends. walk through the garden of your heart’s plans. august love, you won’t remember it, but i can. (august love // grayscale)

(inspired by clara)

school started for me about two weeks ago, so summer is pretty much gone. but this summer felt like i was living out the plot of a ya-novel. i can confidently say that it was the best summer of my life, and maybe just the best time of my life in general. i think i’ll miss this summer until i die.

summer started with my best friend and i driving to the state border to frolic by a lake all afternoon. our sweaty hair was still tied back in ponytails from that morning’s soccer game. we picked bouquets of wildflowers, followed animal tracks through the sun-hardened mud, and fished (without any luck).

i accidentally locked our keys in the truck. we were miles and miles away from home and we didn’t have any cell service. we had to yank down the window an inch and use a fishing pole to pull the keys out.

my best friends and i were all reunited for one perfect day in late may. we met up at our co-op’s end of the year picnic and then relocated to bethany‘s enormous farmhouse. it was so hot that we couldn’t do anything more than lie around on the trampoline in their dusty barn and nibble on strawberry popsicles.

we caught up on how our lives had been going since the last time we’d been together. romance, summer plans, dreams, drama — everything confusing seems to fall into place once you share it with the people who know you best.

a round of popcorn gets intense.
hey there delilah

singing old love songs when your lips are stained bright red from the strawberries leaves me dying for a kiss.

it started to cool down in the evening, so we decided to go on an adventure. this “adventure” consisted of splashing around in a muddy stream until kelsie screamed that there was a snake in the water with us (there wasn’t).

we split up awhile later, three of us going to a lawn party while bethany went out to see another friend.

it’s easy to pretend that everything is simple when it’s twilight and you’re tumbling down a blow-up slide in your socks. this is what it’s like to be a kid again. this is what it’s like to be joyful.

we sprinted into a barn when it started to rain. beneath the fairy lights strung across the rafters were tables of food and desserts. i think i cried when there wasn’t any cheesecake.

and then there’s the old power dam. i biked there a few times to wade in the river and look at the graffiti. i don’t think i’ve ever found a place that’s more me. i love how it’s hidden but has lots to say, overgrown and vibrant. it seems almost romantic to me.

DSC_1433

ironic

the greatest lie the devil ever told was convincing the world he didn’t exist
i hope marty’s ok

one day someone will love me back, and i’ll take them here so they can see who i really am.

dear cheerful,
a poem

sweltering august days often lead to flushed faces
but summer isn’t the only reason for the heat in my cheeks
the staccato rhythm of the drumline across the parking lot
matches the pounding of my heart when i see you
the sweat glittering on your brow shines like tiny gemstones in the golden afternoon sun
it lights up your hair like a halo
sometimes, you are so beautiful it makes my chest ache

| summer 2018 playlist |

peach (lobotomy) // waterparks
take her to the moon // waterparks
stupid for you // waterparks
rollercoaster // bleachers
young volcanoes // fall out boy
never fall in love // MØ
time-bomb // all time low
rock to my roll // anarbor
still be around // a summer high
shut up and dance // WALK THE MOON
on top of the world // imagine dragons
favorite record // fall out boy
crush // tessa violet
wild heart // bleachers
riptide // vance joy


of course, there’s also all the time i spent at camp, and that’s what really made this summer so overwhelmingly wonderful. i’m working on a post right now about the highlights of my weeks there, and hopefully i’ll be able to get that up soon. :)

xo apollo

greenhouse

when i was a child, my family would drive down the gravel road to the greenhouse at the start of every summer. stepping inside the tent was like stumbling upon my own narnia, where it’s always june instead of perpetually winter. the perfume of so many flowers mingled together in the humid air. puddles on the floor reflected back the rainbow of blooms. bugs flitted from plant to plant. the atmosphere made it easy to pretend that i was the goddess demeter and the growing beauty all around me was my own handiwork.

my father would tell my brother and i that we could each pick one plant to bring home. my brother always chose something spiky and blossom-less, such as a serrated-edged, deep purple persian shield or a dark succulent. time after time, i was drawn to the romantic array of cherry, fuchsia, punch-pink, and candy cane geraniums. i always bought one and my brother always got a plant as sharp as his personality. some things are as predictable as the sunrise, and our greenhouse habits are no exception.

when my brother and i placed our special flowers on the counter beside my dad’s box of purchases, the worker would adjust her sin sifter and let us pick out a free marigold. there was a box of fiery blooms in the windowsill, straining for the sun. my brother would claim an orange one and i would choose yellow, and we would hold them in our laps on the ride home and plant them side by side in the yard.

my brother doesn’t care for flowers anymore. our family goes to the greenhouse without him, and i’m allowed as many plants as i would like. the woman behind the counter no longer offers me a marigold.

if we went early enough in the summer, there would be a cage around the back of the greenhouse where they kept easter bunnies. i cupped them in my hands one by one, trembling pompoms with a heartbeat, watching their bubblegum noses twitch and their fur flit around in the breeze. i begged my parents for one — promised that i would make its life heaven on earth, read every book about taking care of rabbits that i could get my hands on — but they never agreed. it’s too much responsibility for you, they said. the cats wouldn’t like them. bunnies are mean, anyway. so i never got a rabbit, and at some point, they got rid of the cages and i never held another easter bunny.

a year or two ago, i went on a walk one dusty, golden evening, and my feet led me down the gravel road to the greenhouse. i paused by the sign announcing the valley’s favorite greenhouse and stared out across the soy fields. birds rustled and sang from the crops and danced duets in the pale sky. the sun-warmed rocks beneath my bare, callused feet became too intense as i stood there, absorbing a picturesque summer sunset in the country, so i scooted off into the grass beside the road. wild strawberries poked up around my toes. a gemstone beetle crawled across a daisy as it continued its steady journey back home.

i have only known creekside junes and julys, spent hunting water snakes on slippery rocks, staining my lips and fingertips with blackberries, biking by myself through corn fields, burning marshmallows in the backyard while watching a shooting star overhead. the ache of every perfect summer i will never experience is eating me alive.

xo apollo

washington, d.c. travel diary (2)

i’ve finally finished writing my d.c. travel diary! enjoy, and read part one here if you haven’t already.


« day two »

one of the only things i hate about traveling is that i never sleep well. i always wake up ridiculously early and just wait in the dark until i decide it’s late enough to start moving around (aka 5 a.m.).

my mum made us pack up all our stuff first thing in the morning. we stuffed our bags into the car and went to get breakfast in the hotel’s dining room. i ended up burning my already hurt taste buds on (very) hot chocolate.

bethany and i texted each other while we ate, which was dumb, because we were sitting across from each other. my messages were along the lines of “wish you were here! this trip would be so much more fun if you were with us!” we’re stupid, i think.

we hadn’t picked what we were going to do that day, so we decided over breakfast: the eastern market. mum drove us into the city (we only got lost a few times) and we started walking in the direction of the bazaar.

the capitol building was on our way. being the tourists that we are, we stopped to take pictures by the capitol’s statues and reflecting pool.

bethany was vlogging some of our adventure. unfortunately, the only parts she got were of me making really awful weed and homeschooler jokes. :’)

some of the trees along the sidewalk had words and doodles scratched into the bark.

is it the illuminati or bill cipher? we’ll never know.

ironically found on a trashcan.

space cadet.

no war.

bethany insisted that we pop into one of d.c.’s many starbucks. it had this lovely mural on the wall, so i’m glad we went in. bethany got some fancy cold caramel drink and she let izzy and i taste it. it was the first time i’d ever had starbucks coffee. it was kind of weird and made my throat hurt, but i guess it was alright.

i wanted to take pictures of the pigeons, but bethany was in a modeling mood.

if i had a shop, i would definitely put up lights like these.

we started daydreaming while we meandered down the streets, gazing at the colorful ivy-covered houses squished side by side. we imagined we’d live in one together, the three of us, maybe with a cute puppy. bethany would pursue a career in makeup at the mall, i would become some kind of sad freelance artist, and i guess izzy would just eat all our food. it sounds nice, you know — falling asleep to the sounds of the city beside my best friends.

pastel walls.

color block.

we made a friend. :)

this gorgeous mural is next to the eastern market. it’s odd, but i like it.

i’m convinced that my friends only keep me around to take pictures for their instagrams.

bubbles always make me think of rutvi’s about to burst poem. you should definitely read it. :)

after a lot of walking, we finally reached our destination. the market is a vibrant, buzzing mess of creativity: always something new to see, to smell, to hear. there were paintings, jewelry, honey, flowers, clothes, fruit, soap, candles, live music, etc.

i used to knot bracelets like these, they’re really fun to make.

an outdoor display. the market was so colorful.

flower shop.

i ended up buying a tapestry with a dragon yin and yang design in the center. i actually just put it up in my room today!

fairy godmother books & toys
from pandelibros.com

while we were deciding where to go next, we spotted a tiny shop called fairy godmother books & toys. it was super cramped (you could barely move without bumping into a shelf or customer) and a bit messy (lots of books were splayed out on the floor instead of stacked), but they had a great selection.

i bought the screaming staircase by jonathan stroud. it’s the first book in one of my favorite series.

by afternoon, we were really hungry, so my mum fed us chocolate from her purse while we went in search of the food trucks. i feel like most mothers carry little snacks in their bags. it kind of creeps me out, because as soon as you say that you’re hungry, all the moms around dig something out of their mary poppins purse. bonus points if someone has those weird strawberry candies.

while we were looking for somewhere to eat, we took a detour through the national gallery of art. i don’t have pictures of the actual paintings, but here’s a photo of a little café tucked between the wings.

i did a drawing based on this one. i’m working on another art post right now so i can share it with you guys.

i wish this one wasn’t so grainy. :/

there was also this insanely cool pathway between two of the galleries. the ground moved under you, and thousands of lights in the walls lit up as you passed.

isn’t this magical?

i got two souvenirs from the art museum: a color wheel pin and a map of the gallery, which i didn’t realize was in mandarin until it was too late.

once we escaped the national gallery, we bought a really chewy soft pretzel from a food truck to share while we explored the statue garden. most of the statues there are just misshapen hunks of metal that would be hard to call art. still, there were pieces like the amor statue, a creepy rabbit, and two boards painted like the sides of a house that looked complete no matter where you were standing that i enjoyed seeing.

all you need is love . . .

lunch was french fries for me and fried chicken sandwiches for izzy and bethany, which i thought looked pretty gross. idk, maybe that’s just how it is in the south.

there was a street musician playing an electric guitar. he could make his voice do some insane stuff. it was nice to listen to while we ate.

we stopped at the smithsonian museum of natural history on our way back to the parking deck that evening. i’ve been there a few times, but it still amazes me. my favorite part is easily the gem section. i didn’t get any photos of it this time, but there are display upon display of vibrant jewels. and the hope diamond is housed there, which is allegedly cursed, so that’s exciting (read about it here).

there was a tiny garden by one of the windows, mostly orchids. i got an orchid around valentine’s day, and all the blooms fell off over the weekend, so i don’t understand how theirs looked so good.

           bethany must have mentioned these doors a million times. she was really set on getting a picture in front of them, so we paused to get one once we were done with the natural history museum. i think they’re by the building where the declaration of independence is kept, but i’m not 100% sure.

we listened to twenty one pilots on the way home. the blurryface album is good road trip music.


i had an amazing time, and i’m so glad i have friends who are content to just wander around all day. izzy and bethany, thanks for the wonderful weekend. <3

have you ever been to d.c.? if so, what’s your favorite thing to do there? i like people watching and looking at art.

xo apollo