15 August 1992

 

I am keeping this journal to preserve a record of unique culinary experiences, if for no other reason.  Cooking for 12 people with limited supplies has brought bizarre results.  On the 13th , we started with a breakfast of non-fat condensed milk and granola - I failed to rinse out my cup before eating so I also got assorted twigs and gravel.  For lunch, we had scrambled eggs (totally unseasoned) and celery.  For dinner, we had hot chili beans, frijoles negros, a large eggplant, and a little cheese.  This meal was prepared and eaten sitting outside Cameron Stadium.  On the 14th, the breakfast was the same, yet seemed more disgusting.  After an interminable bus ride where I met some really cool people, we arrived at the Fish Hatchery and settled down to a light lunch of an apple, two pieces of Wasa bread, and a piece of cheese.  Dinner was the best, although it was pitch dark when we prepared it.  In oil and soy sauce, we cooked a squash, two potatoes, a red pepper, and a green pepper, and our remaining celery.  We called this stir fry and added a rather large pinch of cayenne.  It still turned out to be really good.  Breakfast today should be hot and unhurried since we only have to hike a mile.

 

In between lunch and dinner yesterday, we started out from the Hatchery and hiked on the highway for a while.  We then crossed the river in an unlikely place, took an entirely wrong but extremely beautiful trail, turned around and had a tough hike up a mountain, and sort of arrived at Stony Knob.  All the hiking is pretty tough; however, I don't know why my pack weighs and hurts so much, but it does.  Last night I dreamed I went to Melissa's house while her Mom was on the phone.  I put on her bathing suit -

 

the one like this only it had pockets    and, before that, there was a weird soccer game in which Jeff and Julie participated; and after that I was arguing with Satish because I said I had gotten a camouflage back pack because Angie DuBoise had one, and he said he had set the trend by getting his - and I just remembered it was Stephanie Stone who had one freshman year.  It's early in the morning (I don't know the time because they took my watch away) and I'm about to go to the bathroom in the wilderness for the first time. 

 

When I said Jeff and Julie were in my dream playing soccer, I meant 6'1" Jeff from Penn, who looks like the A&M Drill Sergeant and 6'1" Julie who reminds me of Betsy but is a lot nicer, does not have flaming red hair, comes from Memphis, and is a strong Baptist.  All the people in my crew seem cool enough.  It was Julie's birthday yesterday.  There's Katie, Craig, Jim, Kate, Jo, Ahmad, Stephanie, and Mary & Jake, "our leaders".  Yesterday, I thought about the people at home as I walked - especially Julie who always seems to be doing something relaxing like lying by a pool, while I am working hard.  And this morning, just now, I thought of my Mom.  I wonder if Frank and Vishaal really did dip my dog today.

 

Now as I get up, I have a choice of wet hiking boots or wet tennis shoes thanks to crossing the river yesterday and the torrential rains the day before.

 

I did it, I'm afraid I didn't bury it well enough - I'll do better next time.  While I was up there, I heard all this yelling , and when I came down, there was a group of people running by.  But then I looked at our camp and the people were mostly still in their sleeping bags.  I wonder if one of these nights, a Daddy Long-Legs crawls into my mouth and I eat it and get sick or die because it's poisonous.  They do seem to crawl just about everywhere.  I wish I'd told Todd and Alex and that counselor guy and maybe Cherry about them. 

 

On Thursday when we had finished the ropes course which was incredible, we got our Duke Cards - the picture is on a par with my driver's license.  * I hope Kate didn't go to the bathroom around the same place I did.*  

 

Then we looked at Hanes where Katie and Jeff will be; then we walked through the Medical Center to a bus stop at which the bus disdained to stop.  We actually fell asleep waiting for the bus, and when they woke me up, I didn't know where I was.  [editor Mom says:THIS WAS AFTER 3 DAYS OF NON-STOP PARTYING WITH GRADUATED FRIENDS - THE LAST GUEST LEFT ABOUT 3:00 AM, SO MARIA HAD TIME TO SHOWER AND DRESS BEFORE A 4:00 AM DEPARTURE FOR THE AIRPLANE, AND DUKE, AND PROJECT WILD - I'M SURE SHE REALLY WAS ASLEEP ON HER FEET.  I'M NOT SURE HOW SHE REMEMBERED ANYTHING THAT HAPPENED THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF HER ADVENTURE!]  Then the bus driver was a real b - - - - - -   who said there was no Southgate on campus. So, we went to Southgate, also with Jo.  We ran into Jim, Julie and Steph on the bus.  We couldn't get in to see our rooms, but the halls were enormous and there was a really cool, friendly maid named Betty at the door who told me I had a beautiful room and could request a wardrobe. 

 

I'm ready for breakfast now, but the other people are sleeping so I guess I'll comb my nasty,  oily, stinky hair.

 

16 AUGUST 1992

 

I just got back from going to the bathroom in the woods a second time. *My hair is practically dripping with oil.*    * Something - probably a chigger - bit me under the arm, so now I can scratch my underarm like a monkey.  * Going to the bathroom is a hateful experience so I try to do it only once a day.   That was very hard yesterday, though.  We had oatmeal, apples, and cinnamon, and then some very hard uphill hiking.  We finally got to Cat's Gap (our destination before dark) , but we couldn't camp on the trail so we hiked downhill on the trail we'll have to take today.  It rained a lot yesterday and nothing is funnier than to see a load of people with their ponchos over their packs, looking like that deformed monk in The Name of the Rose.  Somewhere uphill, we stopped and had Trail Mix, and right at Cat's Gap we each had half a bagel, apple butter, cheese and we split up the remaining 8 Wasa crackers.  And we had some SLAB. 

 

I had the strangest dream. Tresa Barksdale was in it and said she loved me and missed me, Whitney Folds was in it, and some good looking adult black woman was trying to brainwash one of my friends into destroying the world by using coded food.  I had dinner with George Bush twice.  I had a fight on something similar to the main porch of the dining hall (Greystone),  My mother and my brother were doing stupid things like sticking bags full of candy into the sink at the Marble Slab to wash them.  Then I drove to some bizarre place with a lot of threatening black people standing on the steps. It looked kind of like the Alley. * I smell urine, but I don't know why * and one guy took me inside. No problem, so I kissed him on the cheek, then I talked to the people who seemed to be making a TV show, and I couldn't use their telephone so I wrote a letter to President Bush on some sort of engraved invitation.

 

Supper yesterday was awesome!  First, we boiled water for hot drinks, then we made too much rice.  Almost everyone had seconds, but while we were eating our firsts, it started pouring down rain, and we all ran under the big tarp which, thank the Lord, had been set up.  At any rate, it was pitch black and pouring rain so there was no way I was going out "trowelling", although Imad did.  * He just snored really loud. *  So, as you can see, I had a fitful night.  My hair, right now, may be too nappy to comb, and I may end up looking like Mrs. Crawford/Booker, but I have to try.  * We interviewed Imad last night and it was hilarious because Katie kept coming up with off base questions involving Victoria's Secrets, the Love Connection, and Rubber Duckies (both types).

 

18 AUGUST 1992

 

Yesterday, I didn't write, but we went rock climbing.  Our supper Sunday night was mushroom soup with broccoli and a potato(e).  It was good, but thin and not filling,  but we were near base camp, and late that night Nikki and Liza brought us a watermelon.  For lunch that day, we had Ritz (one roll), an apple each, and SLAB.  When we got to the Butter Gap A-Frame shelter, there was horse shit all over, and finally, Jake, Mary and Craig shoveled most of it .  We walked through a cloud that day.  I got out that thread from Julie B. and made some bracelets.  I gave one to Julie J. and started one for Steph.  That night we interviewed Craig and were up a long time, but Mary said there were mice running on my pack in the A-Frame, so I closed it and went to sleep in the Tarp.  It started pouring rain in the middle of the night and everyone rushed under the tarp.  In the morning when I woke up, I felt a tremendous weight pushing on me. It was a puddle of water that had collected in the tarp.  Jim got it even worse than me. 

 

Yesterday, we had Nutty Nuggets and condensed milk for breakfast, and I'm almost positive there were mouse droppings in my bowl.  Lunch wasn't much better since I ate mine last and got the broken half of an onion bagel with apple butter, although the half of an orange wasn't bad, but it also wasn't seedless and I almost spat the seeds out before I remembered, and ate them.  Supper was our worst yet - the lentils had been soaking since the morning of the day before, and had absorbed al the water, and were really hard to open, but filled the pot over half way.  We put in an onion, a green pepper, and a can of whole tomatoes.  When I opened the can, I got tomato juice on my hand and yelled, "I'm bleeding!"  Jo and Ahmad fell for it .  Anyway, it was our most terrible meal day, but it was great otherwise.

 

We went rock climbing and I couldn't make it up in my hiking boots at all, but Nikki gave me her Tevas [SANDALS] and  I got right up.  Then I belayed Kate and enjoyed it, but almost got pulled off the mountain in my mind.  Rappeling was great, too.  I must buy a pair of Tevas - when I had hers, Nikki fell down a rock on the steep bottom (she was barefooted).

 

I can't really remember last night's dream, at least not enough to write it down.  But the night before (that day, we had stopped at a waterfall)  I dreamt that my brother in his Mustang was driving me (shotgun), Jim, Mrs. Sachs, and Ahmad.  When we drove through a waterfall, my brother disappeared for a split second and when I asked him about it, he produced a PB Max and offered it to Imad, who made a face and offended my brother so, I took it and Imad and Jim got a Kit Kat.  I gave Imad a lecture on manners, and Jim backed me up, then Mrs. Sachs told me my grandmothers were obnoxious and I told her (stumbling over my words) that I found her offensive.  Then we got to a stadium kind of place and Mr. Wilson, and other old men I know, were there and I talked to them.  Then there was a murder and a lot of them disappeared.

 

When we were climbing the rock, Julie really got stuck, but afterward, when we had left the campsite, Nikki and Lisa passed kisses around the circle, then passed Hershey's kisses.  It was wonderful.  Then we got into the van and Jeff actually saw the clock. (It was 7:00pm)  Then we had a long drive, then ate in the clearing on pavement.  It took us forever to get up the tarp.  But today the sun is out and everything will be great.

 

19 AUGUST 1992

 

Yesterday was an awesome day.  We had molded bagels with jelly on them (1/2), but we had an easy hike (downhill and level), and got to the Hendersonville Reservoir, and actually went swimming and had tuna. (We drank off the juice) ( 3 cans).  The mayonnaise and the last green pepper and a carrot made it the best tuna fish salad, and we each had a whole pita and cheese  * Maybe the reason Mrs. Sachs is in my dreams is because of all my run on sentences. * 

 

Last night we had carrots and rice but no butter and not enough soy sauce - we're now out.  Yesterday's meals were the best.  Yesterday afternoon I taught everybody how to make friendship bracelets.  * Craig will be in Hanes Annex *  It was fun, but Craig is hopeless.  Last night we interviewed Jo and Jeff who has a really cool girlfriend.  Jo is a theatre girl who broke off with a boyfriend who is still in high school.  These past few days I keep on picturing me coming into the kitchen and Mom making me a fried egg.  I'll be really happy to see her.

 

Today we had a really hard, uphill hike and we have a really bizarre tarp set up.  We had oatmeal with apples for breakfast, then Trail Mix, then we had 1/2 a pita, cheese, and sardines (which weren't 1/2 bad.)  After lunch we ran into another crew with Alex - coming downhill.  We crossed a lot of streams today.  I miss everybody.  Tonight we're having potatoes and beans - everybody's laughing and having fun.   The other day, Craig told a really funny joke about an Italian, a Jew, and a Pole in heaven.  By the way, It's been a week.

 

20 AUGUST 1992

 

6 days to Orientation.  We finished the SLAB.  Today we stopped along a really beautiful *solos may be canceled *  trail called Pilot Rock.  It was really nice and easy going, and we stopped by a stream and had Trail Mix, but then we got to the road (almost to Pink Beds, where we are to do our solos), and it started to rain, and it poured.  So, we stopped and set up the tarp and ate lunch of Wasa crackers, cheese, and SLAB.  It stopped raining and we moved the tarp.  * My face has totally broken out - I have no mirror, but I can feel it, and yesterday I asked Katie if it had and she tried to be nice, but she didn't lie about it - something along the lines of "Yes, it has, but I'm sure everyone else's has too." *  The other morning we played stick ball  * Jeff lives in Hanes 304 *  now everything is screwed up because of the rain, and no one knows if we will or won't do solos, and if we will or won't fast, and even if we will or won't eat supper, or where we will go tomorrow.  It continues to rain.

 

Last night I got interviewed, and now everyone knows I'm weird (as opposed to thinking I'm weird.)

It's pretty cool right now because we are all in the tarp and most of us are writing in our journals, and everyone is totally silent.  Last night right as we were going to bed, Mary pulled out a bag of M & M's (plain !!!) It was wonderful, but I almost lost my retainer and that was a "low", because I don't even know if Mom knows I have it, and I'd like to prove that I'm responsible enough to keep up with it for two weeks. 

Last night I had a terrible dream where Mom and Dad divorced and Mom turned into a cross-dresser (Mr. Conway Winkler) with pink tinted hair and slacks and a red sequined sweater; and John took us to a casino, and I lost all his money, and a dyke-ish lady came in a trolley car to repossess his six cars, and Julie was in the back with someone else, and John was driving and me, shotgun, giving us all the wrong directions back from Galveston so we went over a railroad track, and when the lady came to repossess John's cars, he talked her out of it, but his jacket was one that seemed silkish with black and white paisley with bright turquoise highlights  * Joe and Jeff are missing their parents *  and then two people (main villains) from The Game of Death were there, but the bald doctor was in a wheelchair and was advising that other guy and giving books to him from a set, and the first ones were common enough, but I couldn't see the titles to the last ones, but if that guy got all of them he would know some terrible secrets...  Then I woke up.

 

I really miss everybody.  Yesterday, going up the trail, I was thinking about making a cake with Carmen.  Today, thundering and thumping down through the brush, I saw myself as a Blunderbuss  -  which may not exist,  or may be a large musical instrument like a tuba - but I pictured :

                                    

a Colonel looking man with a big pipe who was a Boor.  His picture was on a yellowed page in a small, hard but not leather covered book.  Mrs. Sachs might also be a blunderbuss, if she were jogging.  I asked Jo if she'd ever heard the word before and she said ,"No."   Actually, she said, "A what?"

 

This morning we had thinly chopped potatoes, onions, and grease.  * We are all filthy*   I miss everybody a lot.  We're talking about C.H.I.P.S (Craig's favorite show)  He knows more about it than Vishaal.  *Both Craig and Jeff have the Zeppelin box set. *   A blunderbuss is an old Colonial turkey gun.  I now know all the words to the Lumberjack song. 

 

 

[ed.  HERE THE JOURNAL STOPS< AND THE NEXT PAGES ARE IN THE FORM OF A LETTER TO HER FRIENDS AT UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS]

 

Dear UT People - Melissa, Vishaal, Jeff, Gabe, Jimmy, Dipak ...

Well, I finished the trip - I totally survived.  The wilderness run was 8.5 miles, but I only ran about two, then I had a leisurely walk.  I just got out of Wendy's.  Oh GAWD!  Picture mass quantities of food.  First, a double cheese burger, a medium Frostee, and a small fries - eaten so fast that I could barely taste it.  Then I mooched off Craig's Super Bar - nacho cheese, nachos sour cream, Katie's bread, then (actually before) raw generic cookie dough.  Then, Julie and Jo came in with the Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.  Oh yeah, a tortilla from the Superbar, some Pepperidge Farms cookies while I was in line, lots of different ice cream, frozen yogurt and cookies from people I don't know that well, red licorice.  Of course I took a handful of complimentary Brach's/Wendy's peppermints on the way out.  For a while, I was really eating at an alarming rate and I couldn't slow down. Just like when I was rolling down a hill yesterday!

 

I think I may send y'all my whole journal which got soaked the night of my solo, and was consequently not written.

 

To update those pages, we ate a wonderful dinner of macaroni and chez (sic) Friday night. (Did I mention the pancakes Friday morning?  There was generic syrup which was not too good, and much too much oil to cook them in - in the beginning.)   * And yet I still can't stop thinking about food,  I want to drink my coke through my cherry licorice. *

 

 [ed: now the SOLO story]  Anyway, Friday afternoon, it kind of stopped raining and we dropped everybody off, one by one.  First Katie, then Kate, then Imad, then Jake, and Mary took Jo into the brush and all of a sudden, we all heard Imad say, " Isn't this rather close?"  I guess you'd have to be there...  Anyhow, I got dropped off,  I draped my poncho over the laurels and decided to take a nap - after putting on my new clothes (clean shirt and long pants)  and putting some other clothes out to dry.  Of course I woke to a light rain and determined that my tarp was not covering me adequately.  * Stephanie Long from Austin,  where y'all most likely are at this very moment,  who is seated next to me on the bus, says,"HI!" *  I scrunched up and went back to sleep (after I took off my contact lenses)

 

I awoke to the longest night of my life.  I was rapidly becoming soaked to the skin.  It sucked.  I got on my knees and prayed for a really long time.  Saturday morning when they came and took us off solos (they were supposed to last 2 days and 2 nights without food), I was huddled under my poncho thinking, " I'm not coming out until the sun does."  It didn't,  but I did. 

 

We had falafel balls and hot chocolate and talked and stayed under the tarp. Sunday, we made our way out of the pink beds into a state park, with plumbing and picnic tables, which seemed like the Promised Land.  It was about this time that we discovered we had more than enough food left for the entire trip, and the meals got really heavy.  For instance, pasta with nine cans of tomato paste and a can of whole tomatoes - I couldn't finish it.  That was Sunday night, which we spent at the fish hatchery.

 

Again Monday morning, we had the world's lumpiest cream of wheat into which we poured hot cocoa powder and later, Jeff added currants and Tang.  We did a day hike to Looking Glass Rock, which is even more beautiful,  and the weather pretty much cleared up.  Then we got back, were looking at the map to start for Cove Creek, and discovered that on our scale:

                                   1 m_______0______1 m

                                   [_]_]_]_]_]_]_]_]

                                   {--------this distance----------}

is two miles, not one!  How ironic - the whole trip we were hiking twice as far as we thought we were.  Craig averages that we hiked about four or five miles on hiking days and about forty miles in all.  * We finished the O BOISES, and Lisa is opening the Whoppers. ' Candy, junk food everywhere and not a drop to drink' * 

 

On Tuesday, we hung out all day, went down Sliding Rock, dried our things and ourselves  in the sun, and greeted the other crews as they came in.  We also ate - cous cous for brunch (and for super the night before), grits for breakfast, fried potatoes for a snack, mashed potatoes from potato flakes for supper, and a can of refried beans and sixteen tortillas for supper.  When we couldn't finish the Cous cous, we took it to another crew who dug into the pot with their hands and then mixed in their frijoles negros.  Even so, it took them less than five minutes to clean the pot.  Lots of crews had run out of food.  One guy saw a bear cub on his solo.  That's just about it.  Last night just about everybody was in my dream - Mindy and I got in a fight and I had to vaporize her with a laser gun in self defense.  We all went to a funny mall where I bought shoes from a computer that was a shoe salesman.  I also had a dream that Tante Gladys was dead, but then she was sort of still around to counsel me, and in my dream my brother got sort of a haircut and looked better.

 

Yesterday I heard that Larry Bird retired and today I heard about Woody Allen  and about the hurricane Andrew and how it may hit New Iberia and Vermilion Parish and I'm worried about Tante Gladys and Mr. Gerard and her parents, Miss Dez and Papa George, who live in New Iberia.  * I just had some Whoppers - did I mention the Magic Middles?  For a long time I've thought I wanted my mom to take me out to eat after this, but I think I'll just be drinking a lot of water.  However, Katie and I intend to make a butterscotch pie soon.  Maybe I can make one for y'all some time.

 

That's all for now -     LOVE,

                                                                        MARIA

P.S.  did I mention the mint Brussels?