Sunday, August 21, 2005

Camping and the Long Silence

I know, I know, I've been back from camping for a week now, and no posts. Well wait, I can explain (here come the lame excuses I can hear you mutter under your breath). O.K. so here's the thing. First of all I got back from camping late Sunday night and I was way too tired to do any posting then. On Monday, two things happened. First I checked my e-mail and discovered an urgent request from ETS to come to New Jersey on Wednesday to work on a national committee reviewing the Praxis exam (a test pre-service teachers in the US have to take in order to get their teaching credentials), so I actually ended up on a plane Wednesday morning bound for New Jersey. More on that later. I got back from New Jersey late Friday night. Yesterday I was at a pool party all day, so that brings us to today, and this very late post. So why didn't I post on Monday or Tuesday last week? Well on Monday as I began catching up on various blogs, I found an irresistible invitation from my fellow blogger Herge at Angry Chimp inviting other bloggers to create an "angrychimpesque" blog entry. And so I spent the next two days working on a submission which I am pleased and humbled to say that Herge posted on his blog. That left me no time for posting here, and I had to put it off until I returned from New Jersey.

Now I can tell you all about my adventures of the last week and a half. First the camping trip. I had a wonderful time communing with nature for 4 days, but most of the communing I did was from the pool as it was in the mid-90's the entire trip! I'm just not a big fan of taking long hikes in humid, 94 degree weather. In fact I'm not a big fan of humid, 94 degree weather period, and the pool was the only place to find relief. Not to worry though, at my campsite alone I saw 2 snakes, 3 toads, numerous chipmunks, and 3 deer. So that was plenty of nature for me. Now Herge wanted to know if I was mauled by any bears. I am a dedicated bear lover, and I can happily report that indeed, I encountered numerous bears and was mauled or perhaps more accurately molested by several of them in wonderful, hot, sweaty encounters in the woods, and in the "barn" that the campground owners have refurbished, to facilitate exactly those types of encounters. All in all, despite the muggy weather, I had a great time camping. I'm going back in September for their annual "bear weekend" and I am really looking forward to it. Even Ron is considering joining me for this weekend.

The trip to New Jersey wasn't nearly as exciting. ETS (Educational Testing Services) is the giant of testing companies in the United States. In comparison, the company I used to work for (and still consult with), Measure Progress, is about 1/20th the size of ETS. ETS is a not-for-profit company that makes a huge amount of money. All they money they make must be sunk right back into the company, and it shows. They have this 200 acre compound outside of Princeton, NJ (home of that world famous Ivy League University of the same name) which is absolutely beautiful, but also in the middle of no where. Fortunately the work was intense, and I was exhausted at the end of each day, so I didn't miss the lack of night life or other leisure activities. They do have a pool, and I just relaxed by the pool and read the newest Harry Potter cover to cover.

So now I'm back home for good. School starts in a week for me. I'm not ready to go back! Summer went way too fast. But that means I'll be around, and regular posts should be hitting this blog for the foreseeable future.


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