Look I'm all in when it comes to saving the environment: I keep cloth bags in the car and use them every time I shop, I keep my showers to two minutes, I don't run the dishwasher until it's full, I car pool whenever possible, turn off the lights and unplug electronics when I leave the room all of that. I do it because I care about doing my part to respect and protect this planet our planet.

And because my sister-in-law/BFF/resident family environmentalist Angelou, a frequent star of this blog, threatens me.

Okay, okay maybe I'm exaggerating (a little). She doesn't exactly threaten fam into environmental submission. But girlfriend can toss a mean side-eye, er I mean she can be quite persuasive when it comes to going hard for Team Green. She's got good reason: In addition to being passionate about the environment, she's the founder and executive director of her own foundation, created to teach children how to be stewards of the earth. Her program, Greening Youth Foundation, goes directly into public schools, where her instructors both teach third graders all the ways they can help save our planet and rally fourth and fifth graders to set up and run the school's recycling program.

I stan hard for GYF, especially for all the good it's doing with the babies enough, even, for me to be on the foundation's board. You know I'm always down to do whatever for the kids.

Anything, that is, except what my sister-in-law has in mind for an upcoming family trip.

Get this: Angelou, my girl Jenny, and their husbands James and Anthony were standing in my driveway this past weekend, watching their kids and mine dive belly first onto the Slip ˜N Slide at my Lila's 7th birthday party, when the four of them announced that their families and mine were going camping.

In the woods.


With no running water or electricity.

Just camp fires, tents, open air and God’s land.

Now you know I love God's land. But er, um, yeah Denene doesn't do the outdoors. My house sits on just over an acre, and I don't go past the deck. There's bugs out there. And little animals. And slithery things. Mosquitoes and no-sees that love all this dark chocolate. I'm quite content to sit in the kitchen next to the big picture window and watch my kids swing on their swing set and jump on the trampoline and kick around the soccer ball, and fix their dinner on a stove, then run their baths in a bath tub, and then tuck them in their beds before I slip into my own super comfortable, super-sized bed.

Roughing it in the great outdoors ain't exactly my idea of a good doggone time, let's just go on ahead and put that on out there. (I know my girl Rue at Outdoor Afro, who's beautiful blog actively encourages black folk to embrace nature, wants to reach through her computer screen and just shake me right about now sorry girl!) I don't want to sleep on the ground. I don't want to catch fish, gut them, and cook them on an open fire. I don't want to sing campground songs. Or go canoing. Or sleep in complete darkness where the wild things are. How will I blog and facebook and twitter, dammit?

But Angelou and Jenny got all gangsta on me: They whipped out their cute little Blackberries and scheduled the trip right in my face, and then, get this, announced it to my kids. And now their little behinds are all excited about sleeping in tents and living off the land and whatnot, and won’t stop begging me to just go on ahead and say “yes” already. And James sealed the deal by cold calling my husband and plotting and planning and scheduling with him, despite my insistence that I didn't want any parts of anybody's camping trip. And no matter how many times I say, “Y’all can go on ahead and go camping I’ll be at the spa,” they just talk over me and stuff, like no matter what I say, this trip is a go.

And so yeah I guess I'm going camping, y'all.


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  1. T.Allen-Mercado

    Have…fun? I'm right along with you. In fact, I started to itch a bit at the thought. Part of the winning symbiosis that is Joe and I is, he loves to play Nature Man with the children and, I love that they love it-from the comforts of home!

  2. Hahahaha. Yes, Rue might just cyber choke you for this one, and then she'd tell you how you don't have to do bare-bones camping. She'd tell you all about how you didn't have to sleep on the ground or miss out of the net or catch and cook your own food… but it don't sound like the fam is planning that kind of camping, lol.

    If you mysteriously come up missing around the planned date, I swear I wont let anybody know where you are =)

  3. mommaof4wife2r

    oh honey…i am soooo feeling for you right now. there is nothing more i dread than camping…no showers or toilets. aaarrggh! well, take along those bb's and use them to get google maps to locate the closest hotel! have fun!

  4. Jewelry Rockstar

    Have fun, don't forget the marshmallows and bug spray. Hehehe. Hey maybe you can make them to pitch in for an RV to take instead of tents.

  5. Lynn from For Love or Funny

    Oh, Denene, I feel your pain. But I can't help laughing either. Think of all the great blog posts your camping trip will produce!!

  6. Juliet Grossman

    You have my sympathies! Camping…..oh, well. I had a chance to camp-camp (real "pitch-a-tent" style camping) early summer with my older daughter's Brownie troop. Luckily the leader knows there is a "fake camping" trip coming up later where it's more like bunking at a summer camp. It's still more rough than I'm used to but it's not pitching a tent either. So I'm holding out for that!

    But have fun. Yup, bug spray…flashlight…lots of wipes….

  7. Have FUN!! And don't forget the earplugs; you'll need to block out the night owls, frogs, bats,crickets and the various nocturnals on our good earth. LOL. No, but seriously, I can't wait to read about the trip.

  8. Uh…I feel for ya, girl!

    Unless there is a luxury RV and five-star resort involved, I'm not camping!

    I swear, the things mommas have to do for their babies. LOL

  9. My husband says we have to camp on Father's Day, which obligates me? When I suggested than I didn't want to use an outdoor toilet where someone would see, he said I wouldn't have to…'We'll backpack a few miles in!'. Hmmm. I bet you'll probably have a great time, and I can't wait to read about your trip too!
    (If you're family is up for it, you want to raft the hiawasee with us?)

  10. My, my, my. Have a wonderful time!

  11. Rue - Outdoor Afro

    Oh HONEY!

    I am CRACKING up over here! Barb B. is so right — there are all kind of ways to camp and at my age and lifestyle, I don't "rough it" as much anymore either. Take heart! I will be your sister-blog support and can recommend some things to take with you to make the experience less awkward. You'll do fine, just promise me you'll guest blog the the whole scene WITH pictures — still LOLing!

  12. GYF Executive Director

    Denene I just heard that we need lots of JUNGLE JUICE!!!!


  13. I feel for you! Camping is not my sign. But I'm with the previous commenter. Jungle Juice just might save the day!

  14. Perhaps it's all an elaborate decoy, and they're actually taking you "glamping". That's the hybrid word for Glamorous Camping. I heard a Disney rep use it when referring to the new treehouse lodges. Yep, that's it, Denene. You'll have all kinds of fabulosity on your glamping trip, so don't forget your Jackie Onassis shades and the like, b/c it'll be darling, daahling! Rrriiiight!

  15. Jennae @ Green Your Decor

    You know I'm a tree hugger if there ever was one, but I have to say…I'm with you on the not-sleeping-outdoors-where-there-are-bugs-and-animals thing. Especially not in Georgia. I like to keep my experience with nature to a few hours in the afternoon with my daughter in the front yard or on walks through our neighborhood or the nearest nature trail. But the idea of actually spending nights out there in the dark with who knows how many of God's other creatures? I've got your back on this one Denene!

  16. Arlice Nichole

    I had to come back and find out how that camping trip went LOL!

  17. Hahaha. Waiting… baby crib

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