Monday, July 23, 2012

pictures and lies: big sur

This is going to be a very random post. You've been warned. It's full of jumbled thoughts I've been tossing around today and I guess I'll let them tumble out here in this safe little corner of mine.

Last week my love and I went to camp on the Big Sur coast. We've been there a few times and had our eye on one particular campground: Kirk Creek.  This campground is small but it is right on a bluff overlooking the ocean. I've never seen another place like it and I wonder if I ever will. It appears to be heaven on earth for campers. Appearance is the theme of my messy mind... 

So we arrived early at the campground and it was full of course. We waited and drove around and finally nabbed a spot that was mislabeled as reserved. Campsite #10 looked perfect. Without trees but lots of lush brush around and a nice soft spot for the tent. The view was astounding and the restroom was close but not too close. Appearances...

People spend a lot of time online these days. A lot. I'm obviously one of them. Facebook has taken over our social lives and is causing them harm in my opinion. People's "wall" is how you perceive their lives. You may see them happily laying in the park with their family or at an awesome concert or show and see them post updates about fabulous things they are thinking and doing or even just witty notes on life. What you don't see is the dirty stuff. You don't see that they are depressed most of the day and struggle to get to the park at all. You don't see that they have a serious addiction to alcohol or drugs or porn or that they have other disorders of the mind or body. No, you see you're "friend" that you keep lightly in touch with and assume they have the best life and never know how much they need more than just the obligatory happy birthday post or that you "like" their newest picture or quote. 

It's the same for blogs and mine is no exception. 

Back to my Big Sur trip. Yes it was gorgeous and I had so many moments of awe and wonder at mother nature and that these places still exist.  So, normally I'd just post these pictures and let you think that I had yet another perfect camping trip with my husband...
hiking the bluffs

limekiln state park beach

striking what i call my "senior class picture" pose

we love big sur!

nature taking back the forest in limekiln state park

our own pocket of heaven

heck yes nature!
Okay so you see we had a couple days of hiking on bluffs overlooking pristine coastline and talking and joking and we had a few serious gut busting laughter outbursts that were much needed. But what these pictures won't show you is the bathroom at the campground was basically not functioning and we weren't near any other toilets or even big trees to hide behind. The campground was so isolated that there was actually not much to do right there so we ended up driving up and down the coast a lot...searching for bathrooms most of the time. This led to bickering and anxiety and stomach pain on my part. We had at least 4-8 squirrels attacking our campsite at all times. They were merciless. It was almost worse than bear camping because at least bears aren't all up in your business nonstop. All of our hikes were made difficult by copious amounts of poison oak which looks so much like tons of other plants (to me) that I had to be reminded constantly which ones were and weren't poisonous so I was mostly gingerly sidestepping everything on every trail and not able to look around me to soak in all the views.

It sounds like I'm complaining but i'm not. I'm saying we had a great trip that we ended a day early because I couldn't do it anymore. I admit I gave up and decided I wanted my bathroom and my bed and we left. I'm telling you the little ugly parts because EVERYBODY has them. Nothing is ever perfect. No trip will ever be completely without new challenges. Life isn't wonderful all the time! The trick is remembering that it's not just you with the issues and with the daily struggles that sometimes render you devastated and feeling alone.

I gave myself a break from Facebook a while ago figuring that it would only be a matter of time before I went back. So far I don't miss it and sometimes forget it's even there.  In no way AT ALL am I saying anyone should leave Facebook, I'm just asking that you remember that what you see when you click on your friend, sister, brother, co-worker is just a Wall. Walls are not people.

And i'll be back to Big Sur many MANY times. I'll just be bringing my own portable toilet and hiking pants so I can tromp through the poison underbrush.

I have no solution yet for the squirrels but sometimes you have to just pull up your tent stakes and call it a day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

urban bag bag

urban outfitters reusable shopping bag
cut off handle

cut in half 

hem leaving small opening to thread elastic through.  sew up open side.

i cut an opening and stitched the edges so it wouldn't tear.

use cut off portion for hook

done. problem is it only holds about 20 of my gazillion plastic bags.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

a day

some days will stand out in the library of my mind like splashes of red on snow. monday was a day... so full of emotion that i still don't know how to file it away. i may never know. it began with the decision to climb a mountain. mt. san antonio or more widely recognized as "mt. baldy".  rob and i packed our daypacks and made a quick trader joes stop before making the hour drive into the san bernardino mountains. usually i read emails or play a game on my phone when rob is driving. usually i try to pass the time on the freeway by distracting myself. i didn't on monday. on monday my eyes were fully on the road ahead. when we came on the scene of the accident my first thought was that we'd now be stuck in traffic because someone had blown a tire. my second thought was that it must have just happened because no police officers were there yet. my third thought was look away look away look away o fuck o fuck no.  my hand over my face and barely able to breathe. no more thoughts only a picture. silence. rob and myself in complete horrified shock. silence. park at the trail. we talked it out for a while and i cried and then we knew that all we could do was continue on and climb. the nearly 4,000 foot climb in a short four miles was perhaps one of the most difficult hikes i've been on. and yet, i had only one picture in my mind and i'd do anything to erase it or at least climb a mountain because i could. because i was alive. sunburned and sweaty, we found the top and celebrated the view. the mood finally was lifting and i felt so proud of myself for making it and not giving up or even threatening to give up as i often do. i looked in all directions and noticed a helicopter getting closer. military bird of some sort. they circled low and rob gave a friendly wave. they circled again, slower.  my first thought was wow this is so cool to see up close on the top of a mountain. my second thought was i can't believe they are getting so close and landing just a short distance away from us. my third thought was o fuck there is gravel shooting at my body and i have nowhere to take cover. i ducked and grabbed my shirt in an attempt to cover my face at least so i could breathe. the chopper was so loud and gravel was hitting me from every direction. i can't explain the feeling of helplessness and fear that drenched me in those few minutes. finally they lifted off and left us shaken and abused and pissed off. every pore was full of sand and small rocks.  they were coming back. rob and i started back down as quickly as we could with this sense of being under attack by boys who are supposed to protect and serve. they circled low a few times as if teasing us but we were out of the way by then. the hike down the mountain was equally as strenuous as the trek up so when we reached the car i was shaky but again just thrilled i'd done it.

i climbed my first mountain. it started out as a goal for myself but in the end i did it for him. it was the only way i could find to honor a stranger who gave me the gift of valuing my life as he lost his own.