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gracie's world 2000


gracie's summer camp notebook

Gracie's World

August 2000

Tuesday, August 1
Well, here I am at Summer Camp!

It is the very first day of Summer Camp! The kids they are milling around and sitting on their duffer bags and chasin' each other around and throwing Oak Tree Nuts at each other on account of the Dads and Moms are over there in the Camp Office which is really just a shed like what you keep a lawnmower in, and Mom is in that little lawnmower shed signing all these papers about how it is not Camp Wannabee's fault if for example we get maimed or possibly killed!

Me I am sitting on a rotty itchy stump and I am writing in a little teeny notebook with a ink pen which was Mom's idea which I am writing and writing on account of I don't want to forget a single thing! The ideas of which I will put into actual words later I guess!

Us kids we are milling around and there are all these Moms and Dads yellin' Yesss!! and these Moms and Dads they are hopping in their goony-looking vans and screetchin' down the lane and some Moms and Dads they are yelling Yay! and wavin' their fists triumphantly out the windows of their vans as they drive away!

Ben he is sitting on this scabby lookin' log over there what is dropping its bark all over the ground and he is whitteling a stick into some lumpy thing with his little nife and he says those Moms and Dads they are yelling with Anguish at leaving their precious children!

But I don't see any Anguses around here. Just some little botes bobbing down there in that pond.

No shy woodland creatures either.


A Oak Tree Nut it just whapped me on the back of the head!

Ben he is whitteling and whitteling and he is very pensive and there are these little pink ants scragglin' over his toes.

Wednesday, August 2
Well here it is the second day at Summer Camp!

On the very very first day of Camp which was yesterday we sat on these wooden benches in the Clubhouse which smelled like some moldy gasoline and we watched these rattly films that rattled on a old rattly black Film Thing that uses these scratchly films that are on these wheels of which are called Reels and the first film it was about Shy Woodland Creatures!

For example these birds which are called Banded Loonies which are very winsome and speckled and which make nests lined with their own stomach fuzz! These birds they make these stomach fuzz nests right there in the grass among the waving reeds with the sun setting majestically all over the place and these birds they sing these mornful songs that sound something like hootie! hootie! and that make everybody terribly sad and the Banded Loonies they Mate For Life and Nurture Their Young for years and bring Great Beauty to the world and then they all get eaten by Pythons!

Then there was these Caddis Fly Nymphs they live down in the bottom of ponds because that's all they can afford and they crack their knuckles and they are HIDEOUS.

Then there was this part of the film it was about how Cheetahs Make Baby Cheetahs and we all started cheerin' and Mrs. Knuckler The Camp Director she makes the film go really fast and all the sudden we're watching some Water Buffalo sloppin' around in the mud!

Also we saw a film called Safety First Last and Always! It was really good! I learned a lot! For example always remember not to take lots of cold medicine and then go operate a Bull Dozer! Also when you are chopping down a big huge tree that is hundreds and hundreds of feet tall and weighs maybe more than a asteroid and you are using a gigantic chainsaw with a six-foot bar, AVOID HORSEPLAY.

Then we saw this awfully embarrassing film about GOOD OUTDOOR HYGIENE FOR CATS. That is for example digging holes in the dirt when you have to pee!

It was very embarrassing!

Then I realized I had to pee!

I sat there havin' to pee and that film it was going on and on and it was showing about how to keep burdocks away from your tail and how to detect whether Catnip has been tinkled on by a dog and I kept lookin' around to see if there was a Litter Box Room I could slip off to but I could not see any Litter Box Room whatsoever anywheres!

Chickenloaf she was so fascinated by those films on account of she has never seen a Real Movie she could not take her eyes off that big screen with the frazzly rip down one side and she was wagging her leg! Pia she was sitting in the back with a smelly bottle of fingernail paint and she was totally ignoreing that GOOD OUTDOOR HYGIENE FOR CATS film and she was paintin' her front claws Pinch Me Pink which is all the rage now. Ben, he had his little silk handkercheef out and he was dabbing his eyes on account of that GOOD CAT HYGIENE FILM FINALLY ENDED THANK GOD and Mrs.Knuckler she was puttin' in another film called Camping Is Fun! and Ben says that is his favorite film it is so sad! So then I had to sit there watching these instructions on how to build lean-toos and climb in and out of botes and listen to Ben sniffling!

Then that film it ended and Mrs. Knuckler she put on this film called Water Safety Is For Everyone! and it showed these little kittens splashing around in the water wearing little orange rubber things around their chests to keep them afloat!

Boy did I have to pee!!!

Then that water safety film it ended half of the way through on account of it made a terribly screepy sound and this scene of happy kittens holding up a whole bundle of bluegills they caught it, went all sideways and disappeared and the film broke and it flapped all over the place and so Mrs. Knuckler she put in this other film that was on a really really BIG reel and that film it was called TITANIC.

I couldn't stand it any more! I scrambled the hell outta there and galloped around behind the Clubhouse and I peed on this little low gray fuzzy plant with pink flowers growing in the Herb Demonstration Garden!

Thursday, August 3
I have been at Camp Wannabee for exactly two-and-a-half days! We just had lunch it was beans and hotdogs again! Yum!!!

Today we did Arts and Crafts! We made something that is called Dog's Eyes that are yarn and sticks! You hang them on your porch and they spin and are supposed to look just like Dog's Eyes! I think they are supposed to scare away cows or something.

Here's mine!

My Dog's Eye Which Scares Cows!

Friday, August 4
Summer Camp it is all these teetery wooden huts in a row with little or no doors! Mine is the third from the left in the back!

These shacks they have these slivvery woodish floors not at all like the Highly Polished Floors at home plus you have to be careful not to drag your feet or you will get slivvers and there are EAR WIGS in the cracks of the floor and if you are not careful they will crawl into your ears at night and chew up your brain and you end up not very smart or insane or possibly insane plus not very smart!

Also there are these HUMUNGUS SPIDERS in the windows! I saw one of them spiders bundling up something and it looked like a little cat!

These sheds they have these roofs they are made out of abrogated tin that gets jangly when it rains and make me think of Chickenloaf's clawhammers hammerin' right on my head! Pia says these sheds used to be Slave Quarters and they are actually called Shacks and don't forget it!

But I think they are very homey!

Saturday, August 5
Today in Arts and Crafts we got to put this thin copper foil stuff over top of some lumpy drawing of a pony pulling a cart that somebody else drew a long time ago with lumpy pencils or something and you are supposed to rub the copper foil stuff with your paws and voila it looks like crud!

Then we learned about useful plants! Mrs. Knuckler she herded us all over the place and pointed at all these weeds of which that cure flatus, goatishness, bilious natures, and the croot!

Sunday, August 6
Also I forgot to say that everywheres in the corners of our huts there are these bony spiders what are called Scissor Jacks and they go skeeterin' acrost the floor 90 miles an hour and you can hear their joints creaking! All they have to do is stop their skeeterin' and stare at you and you FALL DOWN DEAD.

I am setting here on my bed on the scritchy green wooly blanket on my bed and I am writing this while at the exact same time Chickenloaf she is humming and she hanging these little foamy curtains!

I picked a nice leef today and pressed it in my notebook here it is:

I have to go to supper now. Yum, we are having beans and franks once again!

Also tomorrow we go on a Nature Walk through the Woods! Yippeeee!

Monday, August 7
It is raining so no nature walk.


Mrs. Knuckler she got out all these Bored Games and Chainsaw Puzzles and we are sittin' around in the Clubhouse playing with these Bored Games and Chainsaw Puzzles!

Pia she is playing Chess with this screevy lookin bald cat with no hair and with horn-rim spectacles and they have been playing the same game of Chess all morning it is just about the most boring thing in the world! They stare and stare at these little figurines and then they shove one of the little figurines a little bit and once in a while they say check and it makes no sense at all!

Chickenloaf she is playing Boggle.

Me I am putting together this Chainsaw Puzzle of all these little bitty pieces and it is supposed to be a Basket of Sweet-Faced Kittens but alls I can find is the edges and it is kind of boring if you want to know the truth.

But the good news is we are having beans and hot dogs again today for lunch! Yummmmmmmm!

Tuesday, August 8

It is raining again today so no nature walk again today not even sticking our toes outside! On account of it is thundering down rain like hell! I wanted to see some Cheetahs or possibly Wart Hogs!

Pia is busy right now she is painting her front claws Kiss Me Dog Nose Mauve. It looks really really good with her black fur!

Mrs. Knuckler says if it is not raining tomorrow we go swimming!


Wednesday, August 9

Today we went swimming for the very first time in our whole lives! We all got in our bathing suits and mine it kept bunchin' up under my armpits and was terribly bothersome and we wore flipflops and we walked thwop! thwop! thwop! in our flipflops down to the little pond!

Mr. Smeltz he is the Swimming Instructor he was wearin' these great big baggy trunks with coconuts and hibiscuits and parrots alls over them! Mr. Smeltz he said Okay! Righto! Let's all hop off the dock into the water! Hup! Hup!

So one by one we had to jump off the dock into the water! Pia she tiptoed up to the edge of the dock in her acid green beekeeni and she said NO WAY I'M NOT JUMPING IN THAT SCUMMY WATER WITH MY NICE NEW BEEKEENI ANYWAYS I JUST PAINTED MY NAILS.

Then Mr. Smeltz he gave us a lecture on how Fear of Water it is a very common yet unfounded fear among housebound cats, which can be overcome by Simple Self-Discipline and an Unwavering Regimen of a Brisk Swim Every Morning. Mr. Smeltz he pointed to this whole team of Turkish Van Cats all wearin' the same kind of shiny tight black swimming suits and swimming laps over next to the bote house.

They had these funny rubber hats on! You could not see their ears!

Pia she said BITE ME and she whirled around and she marched right back up the hill and she wasn't looking where she was going and she yelled ow! halfway up the hill 'cause she stepped on some thorns and she was yanking thorns out of her paw pads, and then she Remembered Her Dignity and she kept right on marching and swinging her tail this way and that!

Then it was Chickenloaf's turn and she yelled wheeeeeeee! and she skipped right up to the edge of the dock in her little skirted swimsuit with the strawberries all over it and Chickenloaf she leaped right off the dock splat on her belly into the water! Then Chickenloaf she started swimmin' around nice as them Turkish Van Cats I swear!

Then it was Ben's turn and he said that his Last Will and Testament plus a Letter to the World is under his little pillow in his hut in case it is required and then he pinched his nose shut with one paw and he covered his eyes with the other paw and he jumped off the dock and sunk like a rock!

Everybody gathered around the edge of the dock and waited for Ben to come back up.

But he didn't ever come back up!

Everybody got real quiet.

Alls you could hear were the chorizos buzzin' in the weeds.

We stood there a real long time lined up along that splintery old dock lookin' at the water and listenin' to them chorzos, and then Mr. Smeltz he claps his big dog paws and he says Ah well! Suppose the old boy's gone! No sense dotting about and woolgathering! Next up! Hup! Hup!

Then it was My Turn!

I got all wobbly! My legs they were like rubbery cheese, plus my knees they were going whacko or something!

Plus I kept thinking of Ben down there sunk like a beer can! Plus I kept thinking of those Caddis Fly Nymphs down there cracking their knuckles and crouching 'mongst the bones of Banded Loonies!

Chickenloaf she didn't care she was paddlin' all around the pond, swimming on her back, doing the Gypsy Moth plus lots of other fancy swimming strokes!

How the heck did she learn all those fancy swimming strokes???

Mr. Smeltz he just kept sayin' Hup! Hup! I was hoping Mr. Smeltz he would suddenly get eaten by a Snacking Turtle!

That pond it was about 1,000 feet down there below my feets and my heart it was a thumpin' in my ears and there was some suspicious ripples in the water caused by maybe an Articluated Python! I was terribly dizzy as heck and there were these wheezly little black bugs fizzing in my face and I was just about to Leap to my Doom when Ben's head popped up out of the water and he spit water everywhere and Ben he was yellin' help! help!

Ben he was paddling and spluttering There's a huge ship down there loaded with iron ore! I believe it's the Edmund Fitzgerald!

Then I lost my balance!!

Next thing I know splash I'm drowning right there in the water! There is pond water in my fur and my ears and my nose and my lungs and my throte and maybe inside my spleen and my brain and I realized this is to be my Watery Grave! I am drownding in a goony old fishpond and I am gasping and paddling desperately for my life! I keep going under and seeing these HORRIBLE LARGE GREEN SHADOWS that look like dead refrigerators or Dodge Darts or something and they are covered with this hideous mossy waving stuff and that damned bathing suit it was bunchin' up under my armpits again and there were bubbles everywheres and they looked like snazzy jools and the water it was a interesting ferny green and there were these little water plants with roots danglin' down and some cute little minarets peering outta them plus there are some big old whiskery goggle-eyed fish with their lower lips sticking out with old rusty fish hooks in them, and those old fish they were trying to say something to me but the words they are just bloops that's all, plus some skeetery black bugs were skating overhead wearing waterproof tuxedos and after while it is actually sort of fun!

What was really fun was I could see Ben's hind legs paddling under water!

Thursday, August 10
Whew yesterday was exhausting I swam and swam and swam!

Swimming is fun!

By the end of the day I was so exhausted also ravenous! I ate so many beans and franks! I also ate Ben's beans and franks too! On account of he was very, very pensive! He just sat there at the supper bench shaking his head now and then and saying what a Crying Shame it was!

Then last night we were all sittin' around the campfire roasting mice and making 'Smores with our roasted mice, and that fire it was so toasty and it smelled so toasty and it was all crackly and cheerful and them roasting mice smelled DELICIOUS and the fire once in a while it would go flooey! and Miss Derrier the art teacher she taught us this hilarious song about the TITANIC going down to the bottom of the ocean and everybody drownding and ending up dead as socket wrenches! Plus then Pia, while she was painting her claws Kitty In Heat which she says is all the rage in the big kids' camp over across the pond and we was wonderin' how she knows that, she taught us this hilarious song that goes "99 Bottles of Milk On the Wall, 99 Bottles of Milk!"

Mrs. Knuckler she said it wasn't nice or holesome to sing about drinking so much milk all at once but we thought that song it was really hilarious!

Then we sang "Kum Baah Yaah" which I love that song! It always makes me so sad!

Then it was time to go to bed!

But Ben, he had been sitting there so pensive whitteling with his little jacknife, Ben he stood up and he cried out Doesn't anyone care about the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?

Then Ben, he gets out his little guitar which has Real Gut Strings! Ben he sings us this big long song that goes on for about 45 years and which is all about The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Ben he sang it in a real high squeaky voice and his voice it kept crackin' whenever he got to that word Gitcheegumeeee!

That song it was so hauntingly beautiful!

Also sad!

Maybe even sadder than "Kum Baah Yaah"!!!

Friday, August 11

Breakfast was nice! We got to make our very own breakfast on account of the cook he was feeling a little unwell and Pia said he had a hangover for sure. I guess that is correct on account of he smelled like a beer factory. Also that cook he looked sorta like a lawn dethatcher ran over him but he was in a pretty good mood! Anyways the cook he said guess what kiddies you all get to make your own breakfast!

I made waffles!

So did Chickenloaf she made waffles too!

Suzie the dumpy Angora from hut 5 she made waffles too! She mixed in some termite larvae plus corn!

Ben he made a lovely omlet. He chopped up Vidalia onions and bell peppers and some Morbier cheese and some parsley and some chives and he stirred up the omlet with this whiskery thing and he poured that liquidy omelet out on the hot girdle and then he folded his omlet over very nicely on his plate and garnished his plate with three strawberries sliced in fan shapes plus this little bouquet of lavender tied with one small noodle.

Then Ben he poured some cranberry juice in this tall spindly stem glass and he dropped a curl of lemon peel in it and he floated a raspberry blossom on top and then he sat down and he burst into tears!

So Pia she ate Ben's omlet.

Chickenloaf she drownded her waffles in blueberry syrup plus chocolate syrup plus she piled a whole big pile of powdered sugar on top plus some huckleberries but she ate the whole thing and nothing went to waste so it doesn't matter.

Saturday, August 12
I am setting here writing in my little notebook on a screevy old log which has sawdust leaking out some holes and there are these goony insects ganglin' all over the place they look like Evil Aliens From Hell!

An Evil Alien From Hell!

Also there are all these Crickets screetching and screetching it is like a hole swarm of First Alerts!

Gotta go! We are visiting the Mush Rooms!

Sunday, August 13
Today we learned to Create Fire!

This big beardy outdoorsy guy he visited and his name was Buck and he was wearing these clothes that looked like leaves all over them and a hat that looked like leaves all over that hat and there were these big bulges in his pockets everywhere and Pia said those bulges in the pockets they were GUNS AND KNIVES.

Buck he showed us how to make a little bitty teepee from junk you pick up off the Forest Floor and then you rub these two little sticks together like you don't have anything better to do and you rub those little sticks together for about eight zillion years and just about the time you are getting bored out of your skull those sticks they BURST INTO FLAME.

All the time Buck he was rubbing those sticks, Pia she was fishing these things out of his back pocket and they were Slim Jims!

Then it was our turn to Create Fire!

Buck he says whoever starts a big roaring fire first gets a prize which any outdoorsman would be proud to own and if we're lucky the goshdarned government won't take 'em away from us any time soon because it's our Civil Right plus it might save your life someday.

We got right to work gatherin' junk off the Forest Floor and rubbin' them sticks!

Me I couldn't get my little teepee of junk to stand up it just kept falling all over the place and looked like a pile of little bitty junk that's all, and then my little sticks kept breaking and boy was it boring! However, nobody else was doing so good either so I didn't feel discouraged but then Pia's little junk pile was burning two feet high!

But Pia, she used a cigarette lighter, so she got Summarily Disqualified and Pia, she said THIS SUCKS WHOEVER HEARD OF RUBBING LITTLE STICKS TOGETHER TO MAKE FIRE GET A LIFE and she stomped off!

Chickenloaf she built this perfect little teepee out of some dead old pine things and she rubbed these two little oak tree sticks and started this perfect little fire and so she got the prize!

Chickenloaf she got a Humvee!

Monday, August 14
Today we got this nice card from home!

Tuesday, August 15

Well, today the Coast Guard and the National Guard plus a whole passel of Photographers and News Reporters plus TV News Vans plus some ratty-lookin' guy from National Public Radio of whom which nobody recognizes plus some Geologists and Oceanographers they are coming to visit our Summer Camp and there's this big machinery setting down next to the swimming pond on account of today they dredging the swimming pond for the Edmund Fitzgerald!

Walter Cronkite is down there!

Ben he's down there too! He is marching back and forth all anxious and calling orders and granting interviews!

But that's not the big news! Today we are finally going on a Nature Walk!

I've been hunting all morning for my nice book about wildflowers that Weakie gave me that tells you what those Wildflowers are and their genius names and everything and I can't find it! But that's all right I am taking my notebook.

Gotta go! Everybody's gathering down next to the Herb Demonstration Garden with their ponchos and napsacks!

Wednesday, August 16

I just walked out to the La Treen and there's sparkly dooo everywheres on the grass and I kilt a big spider plus a big moth and I ate them and now my toes are wet from the sparkly dooo.

Also I saw a whole big herd of Ibexes wagging their tails! I know they were Ibexes on account of the nature film we watched last night! Ibexes they are these big brown things except for the baby Ibexes they are spotty. Some of the big Ibexes they have antlers and they wear white boxer shorts! Also when they want to alert all the rest of Ibexes to DANGER they jump around and they flap their big white boxer shorts and all the Ibexes they like hell!

I liked those Ibexes!

I am so glad I snuck Dad's nice big camera out of his briefcase I took a pitcher of those Ibexes here they are!


Thursday, August 17

I am wearing Chickenloaf's lambs wool slippers they are so toasty!

Also yesterday we went on a Nature Walk it was so great!

First we walked down this scrawny little path and I was gettin' this itchy feeling that I'd seen that path somewheres before! Miss Derrier she says that feeling is day-jah-voo, but mainly it just seemed like I'd seen that path somewheres before!

Then I remembered them spotty pups!

It was just so peaceful! There were these chickadees screepin' and there were these pink flowers blooming along the path and they are called Oxymorons.

We hiked by this big old smelly swamp that smelled like a smelly old beagle and it was full of Combines and Forage Harvesters and Skeleton Ferns and Whattles all over the place!

Then we saw these big things snufflin' in the weeds and they looked like butter tubs and Mrs. Derrier the Art Teacher says they were Wild Pigs! But I thought NO WAY!

Also I almost forgot: There were bullfrogs!

We startled a Wood Duck! It had a nervous breakdown or something!

Then we were walking under these big Ancient Oak trees and there was Oak Tree Nuts layin' everywhere and we picked some up and sooveneers and there were skillions of these cute little red squirrels up in the branches and they were all hopping up and down and chattering and squealing and yelling fuck you! and giving us the finger!

Then we walked under some big needly trees and they smelled just like that green stuff that Mom scrubs the floor around the toilet! I got so homesick!

Then there were some nice flowers wavin' all over the place and I identified them all without even requiring the assistance of my wildflower book on account of I remembered them all! They are Salmonella, Listeria, Marmota, and Thanatophopia. Then I went to pick a Marmota on account of it was very pretty and smelled nice and it blew seeds all over my whiskers and head!

Anyways I pressed that Marmota in my notebook here it is:


Friday, August 18
This morning a great big hawk it tried to fly off with one of the little kittens in the little kids section of camp when they were paddlin' around in their wading pool, and Mrs. Knuckler she had to beat that old hawk off with a Bissell Sweeper!

Saturday, August 19
Lunch Time

Mrs. Knuckler she has left the room momentarily and everybody is throwing beans at each other except me!

Also I almost forgot they found the Edmund Fitzgerald at the bottom of our Swimming Pond! Ben he is now a large hero!

But that's not the big news! I found my flower book! I couldn't find it anywheres but then I found it over in Pia's hut! Pia she was sittin' on the edge of her bed paintin' her hind claws this weird blue color which the label on the bottle said Cat Scratch Fever but it didn't look at all good with her black fur. Then I realized there was my flower book proppin' up one of the legs of Pia's bed!

So anyways I have my flower book once again.

Also we are having beans and hot dogs for lunch again!

Tomorrow we have Survival Class! I cannot wait!

Sunday, August 20
Today in Survival Class we got to kill a snake and eat it!

It was so fun!

Monday, August 21
Chickenloaf's claw hammers they are very useful after all! We kill the window spiders with them! We sit on the bunk beds and we throw the hammers and SPLAT!

You have to throw the hammer just right! It has to spin and spin! Otherwise that hammer it slops against the wall like a old stick! And the spiders they just run off somewheres!

Pia she is best at throwing the hammers!

Tuesday, August 22
Hot dogs and beans again.

Wednesday, August 23
Hot dogs and beans again.

Thursday, August 24
Hot dogs and beans again.

Friday, August 25
Hot dogs and beans again!!!

Saturday, August 26
Pia she threw one of them claw hammers too hard today at a specially big spider hanging on the window in a saggy old web and a-bundlin' up something that looked like a bat, and that hammer it broke right through the window and it landed BONK on top of Mr. Smeltz the Swimming Instructor's on top of his head!

Sunday, August 27
Hot dogs and beans again!!! Pia says hot dogs and beans are BEAT.

I agree!

Monday, August 28
Ben, he is back from New York City also Washington D.C! He showed up while we were playing tennis! He said he was interviewed by somebody named David Litter Man on account of he discovered The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald!

Ben, he also got this nice letter from some Canadian guy who sings! This Canadian guy who sings he is writing a really, really long song about Ben discovering the Edmund Fitzgerald! Ben he gets to sing this one part of the song all by himself when they make the record!

I can't wait to hear that nice song!

Tuesday, August 29
Hot dogs and beans again!!!!!

Hot dogs and beans are BEAT! I want to eat another snake!

Wednesday, August 30
Me and Pia we sneaked out at dusk last night and we kilt another snake! This snake it was big and angry and it tried to scare us by shaking his dumb tail!

It was delicious!

Thursday, August 31
Welp here it is the last day of Summer Camp! I can't believe it the time it went so fast now I gotta go pack I have some pine cones and things I want to take home.

Also now I have a pet hop toad! His name is Bufo Woodhouse.


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