Author: Amy Barr

I Loved My Dog, But Do I Really Miss Having a Pet?

A couple of years ago, my friend Susie and I were strolling along the Riverside Park promenade with our elderly dogs, Lucy and Daisy. “So,” Susie whispered, as if she were afraid the dogs might overhear, “when Lucy dies, will you get another dog?” After a moment of self-reflection, I whispered back, “I love Lucy. But when she’s gone, I’m done.” “Thank god!” said Susie. “I thought I was the only one.” Apparently, we both felt some degree of shame over our willingness to relinquish our status as dog people. After all, we’d both taken great pleasure in our dogs over the years and showered them with love in kind. So could a true dog lover really turn her back on all the wonderful things dogs bring to our lives? Perhaps she could. [pullquote]Lucy died a year ago, and I miss her every day. But she was also a pain in the neck –nippy, ornery and expensive.[/pullquote] Lucy and Daisy had entered our respective households more than a dozen years earlier when we both had …

Ditching Multitasking to Be More Mindful

I’m sitting at my desk with my phone on speaker mode. This allows me to participate in this conference call but leaves my hands free to type away on my keyboard. That, in turn, enables me to take care of all manner of business from booking Christmas flights to Miami to checking stats on my football pool to ordering a new coffeemaker. I am a master multitasker! Or, not so much. Turns out I missed half of what each person had to say on the call and added no comments of my own since I was only partially listening. I ordered the wrong carafe for the coffeemaker because I wasn’t paying full attention to that chore either. As for the tickets? Hopefully, I’ll end up in Miami, not Minsk. What’s behind this drive to tackle multiple tasks simultaneously? The obvious answer is that it feels good to get stuff done. But it turns out that a sense of accomplishment isn’t the true driver of this borderline manic behavior. The culprit is actually the rush we …

I’m Not Religious, But I Believe in Pat

Had I posted a classified ad when I was searching for a nanny for my kids, the copy might’ve read something like this: Wanted: Delightful woman to impart kindness, manners and respect to my children. Infectious giggle a real plus. And wouldn’t you know it? That very person knocked on my door, arriving a few months before my second son was born. She stayed for 20 years. Pat’s few shortcomings as a nanny (she could be a dangerous laundress and a mystifying cook) were far outweighed by her loveliness. I remember calling my house from my office to hear her answer the phone with her charming Guyanese lilt and perfect enunciation: “Hello, good afternoon, may I help you?” she’d trill. It was all I could do not to hang up and call back just to hear her say it again. Pat had endless patience for rambunctious boys and a true appreciation for games. She actually enjoyed playing Chutes and Ladders, while I only pretended to do so. She declared my children both geniuses and gifted …

tuenight do over amy barr

You’re Never Too Young to Trust Your Gut (Lessons Learned from Making a Terrible Decision)

At age 17, my life was unraveling. My mother was dying, and my father was undone by the seemingly endless slog of her illness. He did his best to take care of my brother and me, and, in terms of creature comforts, we were fine. But crushed as he was, my father could offer no emotional or logistical support about the decisions I faced as I contemplated college. There were no discussions of which schools might suit me and no campus tours. Whatever research was to be done, I was on my own. I was a good student, and my options were undoubtedly greater than I thought, but I cast a narrow net, applying to only two places: Barnard College in New York City (about 15 miles from my suburban home) and a large state school several hours north, which was only on my radar because a neighbor went there. On the day of my Barnard interview, I loved the feel of the compact campus, the mix of old red bricks and modern glass walls. …

tuenight judgy amy barr

Judging Amy, By Amy

Yesterday, I saw of picture of myself in a sleeveless outfit and realized that my triceps are a disappointment to me. My upper arms look like hotdog buns. As for the outfit – a silky black jumpsuit – I liked it in the store. The saleswoman, fresh out of college, assured me I looked fabulous. But here’s the thing: If you are in your fifties and want to feel chic and slim, do not hang around with women in their twenties. Because no matter how great that jumpsuit looked in the dressing room, it’s no match for an impeccable midriff or the fashion fearlessness that comes with knowing you can throw on a mini dress with a pair of white Adidas and look effortlessly sexy. This was apparent when we hosted a 25th birthday weekend for my son’s girlfriend. Over the course of a day, she and her pals moved through duffel bags full of cute clothes, from clingy yoga pants at breakfast to teeny bikinis at lunch to wispy slip dresses by cocktail time. …

tuenight sleep yellow couch amy barr

Ode to the Yellow Couch and Other Thoughts on Napping

I’m thinking about buying a new couch. The one we have has served us well for a decade or so, but the fabric is faded and the stuffing is mostly dead. Here’s the problem: When I mentioned my plan to my family, they pitched a collective fit. “Noooo,” they whined. “We love the yellow couch. It’s the nap spot.” This couch is not particularly long or deep. Napping on it requires bending your knees or propping your feet up on an arm. Yet, when I brought up the possibility of replacing it, you would’ve thought I suggested murdering Grandma. As far as nap spots go, the yellow couch isn’t my top choice. It’s in a high traffic, sometimes noisy location. You’re on display to anyone traveling from kitchen to bathroom, and, depending on which end you rest your head, your ears could be next to a giant speaker. But my husband and sons love it, so for now I’ve capitulated. The yellow couch stays. Apparently people are pretty idiosyncratic about nap preferences. Some need silence …

Why I’ve Aged out of Embarrassment

Lately, I’ve grown increasingly pissy about this aging thing. Frankly, I can’t find much to like about getting older. My back aches, my hips are tight, I sleep too little and eat too much. My skin is dry, my hair is gray and I can’t see a thing without a pair of reading glasses, which I can never find. But there’s one aspect of aging that I’ve happily embraced: Almost nothing embarrasses me anymore. For most of my life, I’ve been hyper-conscious of drawing unwanted attention to myself by performing poorly. I cringed over every perceived shortcoming, constantly comparing myself to others. Somebody was always better at something. Well, that will always be true, but the difference now is I care a lot less. At this point, my heroes aren’t necessarily the best or brightest. My role model is Popeye who proudly proclaimed, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.” This doesn’t mean I no longer give a hoot about trying to be a better me; I’ve simply become more accepting …

tuenight 1996 jon benet ramsey amy barr

20 Years Later: Reflections on JonBenét

On Christmas Day 1996, a little girl named JonBenét Ramsey was murdered in Boulder, Colorado. Any murder is horrific, especially that of a child, but this crime was particularly shocking, generating massive attention from the media and the public. The nation was mesmerized by the case with its unending supply of lurid plot lines. There was the angelic yet weirdly sexualized victim, whose beauty pageant photos featured teased hair, a full face of makeup and a flirty smile. There was duct tape and a knotted nylon cord and whiffs of jealousy, incest and revenge. And there were more theories on whodunit than an Agatha Christie mystery. I love puzzles and this one was a killer. It had solid leads and red herrings and just enough clues to implicate and exonerate every potential suspect. Just one of countless such clues: Before JonBenét’s body was found, her mother contacted the police, saying her daughter was missing and she had found a ransom note in the house demanding $118,000 – the very same amount that JonBenét’s father, John, …

Random Acts of Cancer

I went to a memorial service today for my friend, Jeanne, who died two days before Christmas from brain cancer at the age of 58. Her sister spoke, as did her closest friends and her children, but it was something her husband said that stayed with me: “I used to think things happen for a reason. Now, I believe things just happen.” To me, those words underscore the randomness of cancer. With the exception of people who practice risky behaviors that increase their chances of getting cancer, the rest of us can only hope that luck is on our side. Cancer strikes with ferocious democracy — it doesn’t care how young we are or whether we’re complete innocents or evil to the core. I’m not the only one who thinks so. Many scientists believe in the randomness of cancer, too. Last year, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine used a statistical model to determine that random mutations may account for two-thirds of the risk for getting many types of cancer, leaving heredity and …

tuenight grace amy barr lightness giraffe

The Story of the Rescued Giraffe

As I headed down Broadway toward the gym, I passed a woman pushing a stroller. Its occupant, a boy of about two, was pitching a fit, crying, straining at the straps and attempting a jailbreak with all his might. His mother cooed at him, but he was not to be comforted. I smiled to myself; I’d been in her shoes. As the mother of two sons myself, I know that sometimes nothing can soothe a savage little beast in the midst of a howl fest. But a block later, I spied the actual cause of the boy’s conniption. There, in the middle of the sidewalk, lay a small stuffed giraffe. I scooped him up and turned to call after the mother, but she was gone. I trotted back to the corner and looked around. No sign of them. But something pointed me eastward, and I jogged across Broadway and up 93rd Street. There! A block ahead, I spied them. My jog became a sprint as I took off, my big gym bag bouncing against my …

The Daily Uniform: Is Anything Wrong With a Stylistic Default?

When I was in my 20s, I worked for a woman who wore the same outfit every single day. No matter the season, no matter her mood, Marian arrived each morning in black pants, a black turtleneck and a pixie haircut. Was she making a fashion statement or rather, a statement that she cared not a whit about fashion? My guess is that Marian, a wealthy art collector who, with her husband, ran a multi-million dollar business that employed hundreds of people, adopted her signature style by default. She simply went for the easiest option. As I think about Marian some 30 years later, I consider my own signature look of blue jeans and a black top (t-shirt in summer, sweater come autumn). I wonder: Do I wear some variation of this combination most days because it truly reflects my personal style or have I, like Marian, opted for brainless dressing? Perhaps a bit of both is true. On the one hand, I’ve got a foolproof formula: No chance of colors clashing, appearing passé or …

To Boob Job or Not? That Was the Question

I stood obediently still in the bridal shop as the seamstress fussed with my wedding dress. A saleswoman watched from across the room. “Give her a little shape up top,” she called out, loud enough for every customer in the store to hear (and possibly those in the shop across the street). “I’m trying,” the seamstress yelled back, “but she’s got nothing. Nothing!” Like every small-breasted woman, I’ve got tons of stories like this one, tales of humiliation, longing and finally, resignation that the boobs I was born with were not going to get any bigger on their own. Angst over my boob-less-ness started early. At age 12, the one girl in my summer camp bunk with sizable breasts — Jodi S. — was a celebrity. She wasn’t particularly pretty or charming, but her boobs made her a star. My prepubescent friends and I were fascinated with the way those puppies looked encased in a plain white bra, on display in a pink bikini, taut under a tee shirt, or swinging loose in a flannel …

Charting My Life History Through Best-Loved Shoes

For many women, our teenage years mark the birth of our personal sense of style. At that age, we’re striving to fit in with our peers even as we’re working hard to establish our individuality. What we choose to wear helps us navigate both gauntlets. Teens also focus on differentiating themselves from their parents, and God knows fashion is a powerful way to do that. In every generation, adolescents opt for clothes and shoes (and hairstyles, tattoos and piercings) that intentionally shock their elders in a not-so-subtle attempt to deliver this message: “I’m not you, I’m me. I make my own decisions now, and here’s what I think is cool.” As I began to emotionally separate from my very fashionable mother, I started choosing styles that she would never wear nor pick for me. To her credit, she supported me all the way even when my choices were, in retrospect, hideous. (Anyone else remember Earth shoes?) When I think back on my best-loved shoes from that time in my life, it’s clear that the choices …

City Dog, Country Dog

Owning a city dog is very different from owning a country dog. For one thing, city dogs must be walked. A lot. My terrier, Lucy, gets three or four walks a day (the extra walk depends on my mood and the weather,) whereas country dogs head out unaccompanied through any open door and do their business where they please. No schedule. No leash. No poop bag. I know this because Lucy is both a city dog and a country dog. Along with her human family, she spends weekends at our upstate house, morphing from urban pup to rural pup as soon as we pull in the driveway. One sniff of the piney air and she becomes practically lupine. All fifteen pounds of her turn into an amped-up mini-wolf — hunting, chasing, digging, swimming, and occasionally disappearing into the forest. Lucy is not alone in leading a double life. I know plenty of people who wedge their pooches between kids, coolers and duffle bags as they head out on the Long Island Expressway or wind their way …

My Plea for the Pledge

The year is 1966. I am a first-grader at the H.B. Milnes School in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Every morning, my classmates and I stand beside our little desks, hands over little hearts, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Our teacher then bangs out the chords to one of a dozen patriotic songs we know by heart. My personal favorites: “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean.” Though a few youngsters mangle some of the lyrics, there’s no doubt that one tenet has already been deeply inculcated: America — and the flag that stands in the corner of every classroom — is to be respected and cherished, for we are the greatest and freest nation in the world. As a kid, I embraced this fully. It had to be true since my teacher said so, as did my parents and President Johnson. For not only was the United States strong, it was generous. If another country’s citizens were hungry, we sent food. If they were attacked, we sent help. America …

(Not) Born To Run: Why I Finally Stopped Running

I always wanted to be a runner. That’s why I invested in good running shoes and a heart monitor and an iPod Nano. I read Born to Run, the bestselling book about the greatest distance runners in the world. I bought summer-weight leggings and cold-weather pants, lightweight gloves and a thick pair for winter mornings. I even got a runner’s beanie. I’m not sure why or when this notion of being a runner got lodged in my head, but my yearning to be athletic dates back to childhood. When I think about the girls I admired in grade school and at summer camp, they were athletes. They were the girls who could dive into the lake like a dolphin or do back handsprings across the gym floor. I wasn’t completely uncoordinated or chosen last for teams, and I had other strengths, especially in the classroom. But there was something about their natural athleticism, physical confidence and innate competence that made me feel inadequate and envious. It’s easy to tell who’s good at sports just by looking. …

Why I Kind of Hate Disney World

If you asked me to describe my worst vacation scenario, it would go something like this: The destination is perpetually crowded, it’s hot and noisy, the accommodations are bland at best, the food is unhealthy and unappetizing, I must wait in line to do anything, and I have to pay a sizable sum of money to have the crap scared out of me several times a day. Sound like fun to you? Then you must be a fan of Disney World. As you might have guessed, I am not. But it’s not Disney’s fault. On the contrary, I believe that for those who are so inclined, the place is top-notch. I don’t get the appeal, but I know that even grown-ups without children visit the park regularly. Some couples even honeymoon with Goofy. And for those people, Disney definitely hits the spot. You might assume I have shunned The Mouse’s kingdom, refusing to set foot near a single spinning teacup. But you would be wrong. For not only have I stomped my boots at the Country …

My Kids Don’t Need Me Anymore and That’s Just Fine

I celebrated my first official Mother’s Day 24 years ago. When I think back on what I loved most about those early days of parenting, what floats to the surface seems both obvious and surprising. It wasn’t how cute my son Nick was, though both he and Peter, the brother who followed two years later, were ridiculously adorable. It wasn’t how delicious their downy heads smelled or how gummy their smiles were or even how incredible it felt to hold their little bodies in my arms. What moved me most about being a mother was how much my children needed me. The fact is that as infants they needed me for everything, and without me, they would not survive. What a sense of power I felt. I had not only given life to these miraculous creatures, I was singlehandedly sustaining them with my nourishment and nurturance. No one has needed me like that before or since. Lots of new moms complain about the infant days, which consist almost exclusively of feedings and diaper changes, carried …

Why I Spend Hours Watching an Eagle’s Nest

I would hate having a camera pointed at me around the clock, no more so than when I was pregnant. There were some decidedly sweaty, puffy and crabby moments that no one needed to witness save for my unfortunate husband. But lately, I’ve been transfixed by one mama-to-be who is blissfully oblivious to my spying eyes. Along with thousands of other online peeping Toms, I’m addicted to watching live streaming video — broadcast 24/7 — from an eagle camera in northwestern Pennsylvania. Mounted high beside the nest in a scraggly tree, the camera captures the comings and goings (but mostly sitting) of a pair of bald eagles. Mom is larger and more powerful than her much younger mate (you go, girl!). The two take turns protecting and warming the pair of eggs she laid back in February, which are scheduled to hatch as I type. That momentous occurrence will no doubt herald season two of this hit reality show, and I suspect even more viewers will tune in once the eaglets arrive. [Editor’s note: They’re …

A Green Thumb: Tips From a Gardening Virgin

Did you ever plant radish seeds in Dixie cups back in grade school? Then set the cups on a sunny windowsill until the seedlings emerged? Oh, the excitement of seeing the sprouts push their tiny green heads up through the soil followed by the disappointment of watching those scraggly stems wither and die a few days later. That pretty much summed up my experience with vegetable gardening until just a few summers ago, when my husband and I decided to take a hoe to a patch of grass at our upstate house and try our hands at growing our own. Gardening seems so simple: You plant, you tend, you harvest. But my early experience as a grade-schooler taught me at least one thing about raising veggies: It’s not as easy as it looks. There are endless considerations that can make or break a garden, such as soil composition, weather, irrigation and critters. Just as influential and potentially defeating are human factors, like one spouse haranguing the other to weed, weed, weed! Or said spouse’s insistence …

Silencing Your Screaming Mimi: 4 Ways to Quiet Your Inner Critic

Recently, I had a massage with a therapist I’d never met before. After I arranged myself facedown on her table, Denise (who is thankfully a petite woman) climbed aboard, sitting atop my backside with her knees digging into my glutes. Denise read my reaction, which was silence, as permission to push deeper, shifting her weight from side to side to accentuate the pressure on each cheek. “Wow,” she said. “You have a high pain threshold. Most people scream when I do this.” Later, she worked on my neck, shoulders and spine, then pressed her fingers into the top of my skull. It was then that she apparently determined that I was screaming…on the inside. “Hmmm,” she murmured thoughtfully. “You might want to think about stopping all the yelling you’ve got going on inside your body.” Did Denise possess some sort of X-ray hearing? Because while her assessment might seem nutty, she was exactly right: Denise had run smack into my inner banshee who was, as usual, roaring at the top of her lungs. [pullquote]Mimi is …

Who’s on a First Date? 6 Ways You Can Tell

There’s a café up the block from my apartment that my husband and I frequent. Buceo 95 is a cozy, lively place with decent wine and tasty tapas. We eat there a couple of times of month, usually parking ourselves at the bar. From that perch, we have a bird’s-eye view of our fellow patrons, most of whom range in age from about 30 to 60. On almost every visit, I lean over to my husband and whisper, “See that couple? They’re on a date.” How can I tell which twosomes are new and which are more like the left-and-right mates of a pair of old shoes? Here are six signs I rely on. 1. Daters Consume More Alcohol than Food Since alcohol is the ultimate conversation lubricant, the wine is copiously flowing from the get-go on a first date. Women typically have white or sparkling; men tend to order red or beer. Even when the duo consists of two men or two women, I rarely spot hard liquor, as neither party wants to seem …

Why Do We Love The Things We Love?

As a boy, my son Peter collected seashells — most were found during morning walks along a variety of shorelines from Maine to Florida to Kauai; a few were purchased in souvenir shops; a very special few were ordered from seashell suppliers. Peter spent hours arranging his shells, sorting and displaying them with intense concentration and pride. These days (Peter is now a college senior), the bulk of his collection sits in a dusty box on the top shelf of his closet. But even though this hobby may have lost its appeal, I suspect Peter might always name his seashell collection among his prized possessions. Why do we love the things we love? For most people, the appeal of an object has little to do with its monetary value. Typically, we prize certain possessions because of some intangible quality that’s supremely personal. When a team of researchers from Arizona State University examined the motivation behind human attachment to possessions, they found that people form attachments when objects help narrate their life story. These lifeless “things” …

TueNight Amy Barr Labels

Retiring the “R” Word

Once upon a time in a mid-sized accounting firm in suburban New Jersey, a teenage girl sat in a windowless conference room performing a mind-numbing task. This task entailed removing outdated pages from a massive set of tax code binders (about 40 volumes, each weighing five pounds) and replacing those pages with updated versions. The sheets were tissue-thin, impossible to separate without tearing and capable of inflicting the wickedest of paper cuts. That was my first paying job and the first time I could officially be labeled a “working person.” Now, nearly four decades and a few career changes later, a new label might better describe my status as a working person: Retired. [pullquote]If I’m not between projects and I’m not retired, what am I? [/pullquote] Ugh. I don’t like that word and I’m not the only one I know struggling with it. Several contemporaries have recently bid goodbye to long-term careers on their way to the unknown next chapter in their working life. They seem as confused as I am as to how to …

Letters TueNight Amy Barr

Note Never Sent: To the Mother Whose Son Assaulted Mine

On a rainy Friday night not so long ago, my son Nick was assaulted by a fellow student in a bar near the college they both attended. They were strangers at the time. It seems that in a drunken state, the young man mistook Nick for someone else, someone who triggered an outburst of violence. The incident lasted about three seconds. No words were exchanged and only one punch was thrown, but it was enough to put my son in the hospital with a concussion and a broken eye socket. That weekend was awful. Nick looked terrible and felt worse. But just as disturbing as the worry and pain associated with the assault were the events that followed, which sent our family reeling. We were profoundly disappointed by the school’s disciplinary process, which let the assailant off the hook and left Nick feeling victimized all over again. It also taught us some harsh lessons about justice. As for me, I went from feeling anxious to being outraged, not only at the University but also at …

Thirty Years of Thank You

Q: What do you do if you miss your mother-in-law? A: Reload and try again. That’s one of my favorite mother-in-law jokes, which I tell with impunity here because I actually love my mother-in-law. In fact, as I sat down to ponder the subject of gratitude and who I am grateful to have in my life, hers was the first face that popped into my head. Truth be told, I also thought of my dog, which led me to consider what my MIL and my terrier have in common, besides a passion for dark meat turkey. I reckoned they both come whenever I call them and they both let me know how much they love me all the time. The fact I “got” Barbara simply by marrying her son is a total bonus. For three decades, she has spoiled me with kindness, not to mention skillets full of crispy brown rice and wheat berries (my fave) and buckets of hot fudge sauce (my other fave). Without preaching, she’s taught me much about being a good …

What My Sons Taught Me About Jeans, Dirt and Patience

I had never heard of A.P.C. jeans before my sons, Nick and Peter — who were 18 and 20 at the time, each requested a pair. The fact that I was unfamiliar with this hip brand is no surprise since I don’t follow fashion and I don’t love to shop. For the similarly uninformed, the mystique of A.P.C. is all about raw denim — in this case, Japanese-woven fabric that has not been washed or distressed in any way. The material is super-stiff, kind of shiny and deeply blue. Most important: Raw denim allows the wearer to personalize his pants to his unique shape, complete with idiosyncratic crotch creases and under-the-butt fade marks. Off we went to the A.P.C. store in Soho, a bare-bones affair that aptly reflects the simplicity of its wares. Nick and Peter each selected a few pairs to try on, at which point hilarity ensued: Imagine two nearly six-foot-tall men trying to squeeze their lower halves into the top of a toothpaste tube. There was major wriggling and tugging and huffing …

Why I’m Thinking of Trashing My To-Do List

I’ve always got a to-do list going. Occasionally that list is in the “Fresh” stage, when most of the items have been recently added. Sometimes, roughly half of the items are checked off, with the rest awaiting completion – I call that the “In Progress” stage. But most often, my list is in the “Can’t-Stand-to-Look-at-It” stage, where the tasks that remain glaringly undone remind me of failings both large and small. One such task that lives on every list I’ve compiled over the past six months is “Get Direct TV.” It’s a concise and seemingly benign line item, yet its simplicity belies the pain-in-the-ass job that it actually is. [pullquote]Because of the smart phone, no place is sacred or safe from the tyranny of the list. Sitting on the toilet, I type “Almond Butter” into the subject line so I remember that we’re out of it.[/pullquote] Instead of “Get Direct TV,” the phrase should really read: “Do a competitive analysis of all TV/internet/phone service providers in my area by calling each company; spend 23 minutes …

Hello, It’s Me. The Writer’s Voice

A friend called last week to shoot the breeze. After we caught up, the conversation turned to our respective writing projects and he confided that he wished he were more literary.  This man is the author of several books and currently writes a thought-provoking column for a national newspaper. Yet with all his success, here he was expressing dissatisfaction with his writing voice at a fundamental level. I thought about his statement for a moment and tried it on to see how it felt. Did I wish my writing were more literary? In a word: nope. I’m no stranger to self-criticism. But when it comes to my writing voice, I feel solid. I felt even better after reading Delia Ephron’s mini-memoir, Sister Husband Mother Dog: (etc.) It was the first time I’d read anything by her and from the first paragraph, I was hooked. This wasn’t because her writing was particularly beautiful. In fact, her voice is similar to mine, only ten times more experienced and assured. Like Ephron, I often write one word sentences. …

The Microcosm of Bunk Life

In many ways, life inside a summer camp bunk is a microcosm of the adult social world, especially for females. The atmosphere can be simultaneously congenial and competitive, intimate and exclusionary. In a space the size of typical two-car garage, a variety of personality types are thrust together, forced to navigate an often-complicated jumble of events and emotions. And, if you were like I was some 40 years ago, you loved it. For me, camp was a place to both be myself and test myself, to slip into my beloved pair of broken-in Tretorns even as I tried out new skills. Those dusty, musty cabins provided us temporary inhabitants with stability and solace even as we pushed boundaries during the day. At camp, there are no parents around to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, or catch you when you fall. It’s a place to figure out stuff on your own, be that how to soothe yourself to sleep on a homesick night or stand up to a snooty bitch. But it’s also …