Stupid, Wonderful LIFE

No matter how drunk I have ever been, no matter how many times I’ve thrown up in that state, I never missed the toilet with my urine. Why is that?

I like the idea that I am actually a free-agent at work. Since the new reality in the USA is for low-to-mid level retail workers such as myself, part time work is the new reality , no matter how great you may be, I enjoy pretending that my 3-4 days off per week are my choice.

I enjoy perusing Craigslist for jobs that I am not qualified for. My overactive imagination allows me to picture myself doing the job, then the entire length of the career, and the interesting conclusion, without even ever applying!

I usually feel as though I don’t have any skills that are really vital or appreciated in society. This is the result of low confidence combined with feeling mostly ignored at large. According to “The Secret”, I am attracting being ignored, and any lack of talent and skill is simply a result of poor thinking. The law of the universe…I have been focusing on what I want- recognition and fat stacks. I am still focusing. Somebody help me out.

I feel young and old at the same time. I just turned 45. My sex drive is voracious, but my gray hairs are multiplying. Isn’t that strange? I guess my body is trying to maximize my few fertile remaining years to best production. But science tells me that my eggs are few and puny at this point. Plus, my tubes have been tied since age 26. So, the body isn’t all knowing after all.

I still have dreams, but sometimes I feel a large part of me is still 19, waiting for my life to begin, and not knowing where to start. I’ve never really had a HUGE dream that I clung to, that carried me all throughout my life. As things arose, I embraced them. Things I have always loved- dreaming, music, and feeling. Reading was my salvation as a child. I spent so much time in fiction, I guess I never came down to Earth much. When I finally did, I feel like everything had passed me by.

I was lost until age 19. Like most, I didn’t know I was lost until my life hit rock bottom. I asked a God I didn’t know to save my soul. Since then, I am still a sinner, still a crazy fool. Thank God for grace and forgiveness. I need it every day.

A look inside my head: If you didn’t know me, and if you didn’t think of me as the low carb blogger…

Mold me, shape me. I take on my environment and the people around me. I learned early to adapt to survive. It doesn’t mean I am not real. It just means that I only show you what I think you will approve of if I care about and respect you. If I don’t respect you, I feel free to show you all of what I am. For better or worse.

I should have been an actress. I used to think that becoming something I was not would be impossible. Now I realize that is how I operate my entire life.

I dream of things that cannot be as though they already are. I wonder if I am insane. I love my body and hate it , too. I embrace the light but play too much in the dark junk yard of my mind.

I am standing in a junk yard at night. You have a flashlight, but I don’t really need it. I don’t notice details that you do, and you don’t notice the poignant details that I do. You look for parts, I look for the stories behind the deployed air bag, the angle of the rear-view mirror and the tiny shards of stained glass that splatter the front seat. I see people, feel the resignation, feel the pain.

I was ten. I found a mattress in the dumpster. It was stained with many shades of blood and plasma. I felt the anguish, the sick, deep, dark hopelessness. I felt Hell and heaven and all the weight of the entire world upon my being. It soaked into my soul-my deepest perceptive senses were suddenly very acquainted with grief. In the instant that I stared, I absorbed a feeling that was not mine, but became mine. I owned this, but knew it not. Later, I was told that the mattress belonged to our upstairs neighbor. She shot herself in that bed.

I don’t know. What is it? I saw a photograph in the Time magazine when I was sixteen that showed the ovens where Jews were cooked. I saw the death camps. I didn’t actually SEE the photos as though they were a piece of history. My analytic mind was silenced. All I did was soak it in. I was revolted and horrified. Tears sprung to my eyes. I cannot tell you now that this was not just compassion and shock. But I KNOW it was much different than that. I was there. I FELT it. I can’t live in those places very long. I have to leave. I spend so much time trying to make a mark on the world, but I can never undo the mark it has left on me. I remember the day I learned about the potential of the nuclear bomb, the JFK assassination, and the 9-11 disaster. All I could do was hide in music, cry, and pray. I can tell you that I am not strong enough for the evil of this world. I can only call on Jesus. I can’t do it alone. The evil finger that occasionally reaches out to freeze and terrorize my heart can only be stopped by Him.

Life. The best things- love, selfless sacrifice, innocence of mind- the purity of music…the beauty of a smile. These things I cling to, but I never have felt, and never will feel, as though I fit into this world. I am a stranger here. As much as I am a part of this ancient Earth, and my body will return to it, I don’t really belong here. I have no real friends. I have family. I have people who love me. But, I never seem to get too close to many.

I inhaled the beautiful aroma I doused myself in. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, and perfume. I spent time carefully concealing dark spots on my face, red nose and chin, dark circles under my eyes. I spent more time scrunching my curls,plucking the grays, applying cellulite reduction cream, but the truth is never far from my mind, None of this matters. Not at all. This is just a shell. But this shell is perfectly designed to have me survive this planet. I have to keep it healthy. I fart. This ruins it all and makes reality even more important. I am really stinky inside. Gross.

On to more important things. The mind. What I think, I am . So I practice thinking beauty, health, love, and peace. These are among the most important things. I always believe that I am safe and secure. And so I am. Nothing threatens me.

Daily chores begin. I wash and fold. I sort and hang. I scrub and organize. But deep inside this productive feeling is a small child who doesn’t get any of it, the importance of it. That girl wants to spin, skip, and dance, and forget every ugly thing of this world. Then I go to work. I treat every person as if they are the most important person in the world. Sometimes I don’t feel they really are. I do it anyway.

I fear that everyone’s love is false. I don’t believe in flattery. Nobody is my age. I am older or younger than everyone. Nobody knows my age. Nobody knows ME.

I love smooth river rocks. I love dry river beds, and roaring white water. I love deep pools of clean, clear water. I love eyes that are full of light. I love proficiency and speed. I love brown, and blue, and green. I love deep red, the sunny blue sky, and ice cream.

I love my children. No matter how old they become, they are my children.

I love all that is right, good, and awesome. I hate my restless spirit.

I will write the great American novel…eventually. I know that the people I love also love me. That is enough Most all the time. I still am just a drifter, a dreamer, a wanderer, and schemer. Yet, I never want more for you than a sweet lullaby, or less than to feel the beauty of the sunrise, the warmth of the sun on your skin , and that you know- deep in your soul- that all the sweetness and love you find in others is just reflecting off your own magnificent and large heart.

I get depressed. Easily. I am an addictive personality. Pain makes me apologize. I love cats. I rely too much on feeling. I am an empath. I can be apathetic, but I hate living that way.

I will write more fiction and poetry soon. Hope to see you there.

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Let’s Get Real

I started this low-carb blog with several purposes in mind. First, I wanted to flex my typing fingers and actually write. I never intended to post strictly about low-carb eating, despite my blog’s title. Next, it’s good to be in a like-minded group of other low-carbers, to offer up strategies, recipes, and most importantly, support.  Finally, it feels good to write again. I would love to tell you how I am such a great writer, that I’ve been discovered and asked to write for magazines. That hasn’t happened. It’s a sobering ego-check to realize that you’re probably not that great. Then again, I usually just sit down and bang these blog posts out with very little planning or editing. You get back what you put out, to a large degree. I have not wanted to post anything here that might be good enough to plagiarize. That’s my excuse, and I like it.

As to low-carb weight loss! I am now maintaining my weight at about 132. That’s up from my all time low, as you may recall, of 122. I am certainly not depressed over being 132. I was at 147, even an all time high of 155 at one point, and I have no plans to return there. However, I would like to examine why it is that my weight has crept up.

1) I’m not holding myself to a strict 20-25 grams per day. I could not realistically continue to maintain that low carb count for two straight years. Maybe I could have, I take that back, but I didn’t.

2) In addition to playing fast and loose with the numbers, I have allowed more cheat days to creep in. There’s a bad habit our bakery department has at work of leaving mistakenly made or not-picked-up items in the break room for the employees to devour. After about the third or fourth time of walking by it, sitting next to it, and smelling it- after seeing so many other employees of all weights and sizes partake, I am only human. I cave. Incidents like these have happened more frequently as summer has come to a close. Is it just me, or does it get harder to eat right at this time of year? Every brother and their mother is bringing baked goods to work, and I even bought some canned pumpkin, which I have not opened yet. Then, my birthday is coming up, and I am already planning my splurge day.

3) Running.” You’ll get smaller,” they said. “It’s all muscle weight”, they said. I don’t know about all of that, but it seems the more I run, the more I gain. “Run more”, they said. “I’ve had enough this week!”, I said. Truth be told, I feel quite accomplished to run at ALL. I don’t know that I want to up the ante and get to 15-20 miles a week. I’ve been good at my 2-3k, 2-3 times per week. Sorry if that’s not good enough, all you hard-core runners. In fact, sometimes it’s even less. My neck and shoulders have been aching due to some sort of bone/muscle issue I’ve had off and on for years, and I haven’t run since 10-14. I did four miles that day.

4) I make the mistake of eating sugar free treats because I miss sweetness. I  have always had a huge sweet tooth, and sometimes it’s actually a fang. I eat the stuff, and I have lots of gas and frequent trips to the bathroom for hours or a day when I do. Sorry to be so graphic, but that’s why I called this post, “Let’s Get Real”. It’s not like it’s all sunshine and roses over here. I struggle to stay on low-carb, and sometimes I really run off the path and get lost in the Black Forest (cake).

So, what am I doing right? Why haven’t I gained all the weight back? Why haven’t I just given up completely?

What I am doing right: I exercise for health and heart strength, strong bones and muscles above weight loss concerns. Though I need to be more consistent, I have not given up. I keep getting back on that treadmill and doing those crunches and planks.

I still eat the majority of time in low-carb mode, including snacks. String cheese, nuts, raw veggies and ranch were yesterday’s snacks. Dinner was kielbasa and green beans with a light alfredo sauce. I was satisfied. I buy no-carb bagels online that are mostly soy protein. I drink almond milk. I enjoy eggs, bacon, and plenty of salad regularly.

I don’t throw in the towel and give up just because I splurged one day, or even on two occasions in a week, for example. I start all over the next day, attempting to balance things out.

I resign myself to the knowledge that if I really want to lose about eight pounds fairly rapidly, I will go back to eating only 20 grams of carbs per day, until I reach that goal. Turns out I am not feeling like I have to right now.

Finally, I remember that cravings for certain foods are not just physical. They are psychological and even spiritual for me. My natural desires can either be directed toward healthy habits and hobbies, or destructive ones. For example, if I am off of work, sitting here on the couch, contemplating what to do with my day, I have choices. I can involve myself in housework, work on my blog, chat with friends on Facebook, or go outside and play with my play-deprived dog. That would be constructive behavior.  OR, I can dump some food in her bowl, get in the car and do some mindless shopping for things I don’t need and can’t afford. I might throw beer or wine into my cart, with plans to enjoy it later. I might buy more sugar free foods, or another makeup item i don’t need. This is destructive behavior. Even worse, I might just never get off the sofa, watching TV all day- a huge creativity and productivity killer, with plans to work out on this gorgeous, sunny fall day, that never actually materialize.

I don’t always make the right choices. Do you? Are you the super-motivator? Are you so regularly spectacular that you are a motivational speaker now and have a couple of books published? Does Tony Robbins consult YOU? If so, congratulations. Enjoy every  moment of the fame, success, and all that life has to offer.  Wow, am I bitter?

🙂 Anyway, there’s more to life that feeding our faces or our desires. My mom is probably sitting on her sofa, wishing she could even leave her home and do anything other than suck on that oxygen tube. There are a lot of people not too far from us who could use something we have to give. I have to give. TIme, love, friendship.

Take care!

All About the Want

Doesn’t it seem that we are trained from the very beginning that it is almost wrong to want? Why is that? I understand that there are people in China who are starving. I understand that children in Africa struggle to survive and are denied even the basics of health, education, and  human rights. It would seem that these things are taught to us when we are children to give us perspective; teach us to know gratitude. But the unbalanced interpretation of this teaching can make us feel that all of  our wants are petty and vain. We are taught that we should be grateful for what we have, and not worry about what we do not have. Children should not be spoiled, but we also need to instill a healthy belief that dreams are good, goals are vital, and that it is O.K. to have desire. Nothing is truly accomplished by those who have no passion, no ‘want to’ in life. Besides, who is going to help the people in Africa if nobody gets and education and dares to move?

Gratitude for what we have and who we are is very important. But I think we get it twisted when we deny ourselves the healthy side of want. But that is what we do. “I would love a new car, but …some people don’t have any transportation at all, I should just be happy with what I have”. It’s actually a combination of a self-imposed guilt trip mixed with a built-in excuse to not ever try. And, if we allow ourselves to want, and we fail to get, why- that might be painful. Worse, do we truly believe we ‘deserve’ to have anything?

Phrases like, “Who does she think she is?”, “What makes YOU so special?”, “Why should HE have that when I don’t?”, and on and on teach us that good things come haphazardly, randomly. It’s easy to have bitterness and resentment of others, because we refuse to do what we need to do to have the same thing! It is not true, despite urban legend, that life’s goodness just falls on certain people like lottery winnings. This kind of thinking also seems to set- up a belief system that life just isn’t fair, good fortune is all about luck, and that is why sometimes  the just are not rewarded, while the wicked flourish.

Turns out a lot of that is just a bunch of crap. The people who get what they want allow themselves to want it, know what they want very clearly, and let nothing stop them. The wicked people of the world aren’t usually the ones hung up on how their evil ways make them undeserving, and yet the generally decent but misguided self-flagellate and refuse to allow themselves to succeed. We stand in our own way, through lack of faith, lack of vision, lack of desire, and somehow feeling that to have what we want is wrong.

I am no fan of excess , luxury, greed, and wanton pursuit of pleasure. There is a difference between hedonism , however, and success.

Poverty mindsets get handed down through generations. It takes a lot of insight and sometimes a complete, deep reworking of our belief system to get beyond them. A poverty mindset is a self-limiting and destructive force that will run our lives for us, if we let it. It’s that ugly voice that guards the wall between where we are, and where we haven’t dared to even dream we could be.

Many never see that wall for what it is, much less question it. Some of us attempt to scale it, but it works with our fears, magnifies them, and we give up. We lie to ourselves and come up with convoluted plans on how to take that wall down…one day. Tomorrow. After we get more tools. Maybe after we take a class on Wall breaking. Next month, after this stress subsides….on and on. So,  we let it win. Some of us will see it for what it is, and just completely bulldoze it. If we can’t get ahold of a bullldozer, we can get a ladder and scale the wall. We will not use any excuses. It just comes down.  That’s when we can truly begin to live.

When the wall comes down, we finally see all the dreams and possibilities that were always there. We also see that while many people live lives in abject poverty, we were born with opportunities and freedom. Why would  we deny the sacrifices of our forefathers to allow us to have what we have, and dishonor our blessing by throwing it away? Does it help starving children in Africa if I drive a beat- up car, or refuse to work on my talents? Does it honor sick, uneducated people if I also don’t take advantage of educational opportunities, or other means to improve myself? No!

Do I deserve “it”?  What I deserve in this life is what I believe I deserve, first and foremost. My actions will bring me what I have given out – but it may be now or later. I don’t believe that I deserve sickness or illness, but rather health That extends to my emotional , and even financial health as well. As long as I let mistakes that I have made be my judge, and punish myself through denial, I will remain behind the wall.

What if, instead, we treated ourselves with the same grace and forgiveness we give our friends? WOW! I never judge my friend’s mistakes and decide what they ‘should ‘ deserve or ‘should not”! Why do I do that to myself? Can you just imagine this conversation?

Friend Joy calls me up on the phone. “Hey, Lee, this is Joy. I have been racking my brain for an answer to this problem I have been having, and I think I have a great idea. Here’s what I want to do, and it will allow my family to stop worrying about bills, go on vacation, pay off debt, save for retirement and get new hairstyles!” Joy is very excited and tells me she is writing a book, or recording a song. I know that Joy has tried this before, and did not reach the goals she had set previously. Also, I really love Joy and and she has always been a great friend. So, would I be a jerk and say to her, ” Well, Joy… I am not sure about this plan. I mean, you tried this before, and it didn’t work out. Maybe it’s because you just don’t deserve it. What you really deserve is to work your ass off for the rest of your life. I mean, C’mon, Joy. Dreams? Why should YOU have  that when I don’t, anyway? Why don’t you get your head out of the clouds, girlfriend?”

Can you imagine?! Most of us would never treat a friend like that, never say or feel things like that. Yet ,we do it to ourselves. Can we not even muster up enough appreciation and love to treat ourselves with love? Kindness? Encouragement? Can’t we see how vital these things are for the person we spend the most time with, the one we rely on most? Nobody can do this for us. Even for the fictitious example, “Joy”, anytime we speak our minds or hearts to our friends, whether we encourage or discourage, ultimately the choice to truly live or simply exist comes down to the individual. So, going to person after person to bolster our dreams and encourage us is wonderful to an extent. Finally, though, we have to decide to act.

Faith and belief in ourselves need NOT come from looking back on our previous experiences to gauge our likelihood of success. We can learn from our mistakes, but we should not use those mistakes as a reason to give up. If everyone did that, Thomas Edison would not have come up with the light bulb. He flopped on that one over, and over, and over again. Most people would have given up. Those who don’t- will succeed, one way, or another.

So, first- allow yourself to have a dream.

Determine what you really want, but allow for a surprise.

Weigh the cost. Understand the sacrifices. Anything worth going after will require hard work, time, and a focus of energy , possibly bordering obsession. Do you REALLY want it? Why? Have a clear why.

In addition to sacrifice, are you willing to continue when things get hard? Take it day by day.

Finally, Are you afraid to have what you want , based on an unhealthy poverty mindset? Remember, you share your wealth of experience and resources with others. If you are not being greedy and selfish, why feel guilty for having? You should not.

Again, remember to treat yourself with the same grace, kindness, and encouragement that you would a very good friend. Be honest and truthful with yourself. Ok, maybe the truth is that you are NOT good at singing despite much love and hard work, but you are a good songwriter, or promoter, or talent scout. That’s ok, too. It doesn’t mean you failed- look for another outlet for your love of singing and music, or just enjoy it in the car or shower. 🙂 A dream diverted does not mean a dream denied. Dreams should fit , to a possible degree, with who we are.

So, know yourself. Don’t get stuck on this step, though. Some people never find themselves…

The Sea of Me

Learning to float was the greatest accomplishment of my young life.

Everything important about life- well, most of it- was encompassed by the letting go, and finally stopping the fight; and yet, not letting go so much that you lost the will to rise.

A perfect balance, a perfect peace enveloped me. Birds chirped happily, the sun shone more intensely in the Florida gulf, and I learned to float.

Everything important about treading life’s waters is encapsulated in this moment. Rising above the weights of life that drag us down can best be illustrated by either flying, or floating. Since I have never achieved flight, let’s look at floating.

Balance. It’s all in the balance. Once achieved, you can put your arms behind your head, cross your feet, and almost take a nap. How? It’s harder to describe than to do. It is a balance between tension and relaxation. You come to a crossroads between focus, and absent-mindedly just doing it.

Life is like that. I ran today. It was tough. Once a week is NOT enough to maintain conditioning, and on the back 1.75 miles, I slowed tremendously. I thought I would quit, but I didn’t. I even had the energy to surge to pass pedestrians, and to go up hills. During my run I witnessed a person wrecked, taken to the hospital, and life-flighted away, and I saw all manner of birds, shadows and sunshine, rain and clouds. I didn’t quit and I didn’t walk. I knew that I had everything within me to finish the race against myself, even if it wasn’t that fast.

That’s life. You find your balance, and you never, ever, ever give up.

Love,

Lee

Blog Bits- Snippet-Style Blog Posts on Everything

Lower-carb foods to just SKIP: Pillsbury Sugar Free cake mix and frosting. Barely palatable, weird texture, plastic and oil flavored icing, and makes your stomach churn. It gives a very fake sense of dessert satisfaction, and keeps you farting some exceptionally foul gases through hours of whatever you’re doing in life, like watching a movie with your husband at a crowded theater…

Better options: First, I ‘d like to say that having no dessert at all would have been preferable to the cake. I would recommend the sugar free Oreos, just three of them, instead. Tastier, more satisfying, and in a small dose, easier on the internal balance. But real goods are even better. My daughter was here and I created a low-carb tortilla ‘sopapilla’ . I fried it gently in a little butter, added cinnamon, sprinkled stevia, and served it with 1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt and a hot fruit/stevia syrup. FAR superior to any ‘sugar free’ case of bowel blow-out. Just being candid. 

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The next installment of Run, Nicky Run is all in my head right now, and just needs to make it onto the screen. We’re going to find out that Nicky has a past, and someone who wants her dead. Nicky moved on in life and would like to forget her past,  but someone hasn’t forgotten, and five years won’t keep revenge from coming…

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I’m at 128 pounds today. I haven’t run in four days due to a brand new job that starts at four in the morning, and a head cold. However, tomorrow I go back to a workout. Not running tomorrow, though. I’m going to do the Kathy Smith workout. A lot of squats and core work. 

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A few stats: Regardless of exercise- over 30 grams, and up to about 45 grams of carbs, will maintain my weight, or cause a slow gain. 27 grams or lower, average per day, causes a slow loss. Good to know. I am 5’4″, fairly petite frame, pear-shaped. Hope that helps. I have a very active job and try to exercise for strength, toning, and health. Besides, I like to feel strong!

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Dinner tonight: chicken sausage stir-fry with olive oil, mixed veggies, and mozzarella, and Parmesan. Dessert: The disgusting sugar-free “devil’s food cake”. Yeah, Devilish indeed. 

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Life is interesting lived as an experiment, but much more fun to be lived as an adventure.

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Time spent worrying about anything is a complete waste of the gift of life. I keep reminding my over-active imagination of this fact, and I have to keep fighting it. One thing for sure, I sure feel happier when I am not being all worked up and stressed out over things.

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My two teenage daughters amaze me with their self-reliance and increasing spirituality, compassionate hearts, and great work ethic. I expect great things from them both, because they are great people!

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I am thinking about an ankle/foot tattoo. I want it sparkly, though… vines and heart-shaped leaves, green and hot pink sparkle. Can they do that?

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I want to be a store director where I work. I want to run a race and do decently, I want to write books, I want to live more consciously, cleanly.

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Trust and Love

This week it has been a struggle to believe that the people in my life who always act and behave as though they love me really do. I get this little voice in my head. It’s paranoid, insecure, and distrustful. I hate it. It’s the part of me that comes out to play during PMS week, under stress, and when I feel scared. No true evidence exists, and never does. Paranoia never needs evidence. Such is it’s nature. This passes, my mood will elevate, then something will set it off again. It compounds and escalates. If I am already brewing on some imaginary evils aimed toward me, believing ‘supporting’ ‘facts’ only deepens my conviction that there is indeed secret thoughts and feelings toward me which are negative. I start believing that I am not loved, wanted or needed. I hate this. It’s not about strangers and governmental conspiracy theories. It’s always about those closest to me. I don’t know why this happens, and I don’t know what to do about it, other than to continually fight these wrong, negative lies that my own insecure mind shoots up like stinking, thorny weeds. In my heart, you see, I know that I am loved. But the more I let these negative thoughts intrude, the more that could truly become more real. How comfortable can it be to live with me if I continually question the feelings and intentions of those who do truly love me and who I love? It must be hurtful. Combined with these feelings are the inherent traits of Scorpio jealousy and possessiveness- more insecure and unbecoming qualities. So I suffer with these things, and try not to make anyone else suffer. Meanwhile, I am lonely. I’ve never felt so ‘not a mom’ anymore. My kids have grown, and I miss them so much. Does anyone else relate to any of this? What do you think?

Took me Five Days to Recover from our Vacation!

Ah, the great American pastime of camping. The persistent smell of campfire smoke in your hair and clothes for weeks, the bodily injuries that linger, the true test of a family’s ability to get along and work together without killing each other. 

Our camping adventure began well enough. We were all raring to go, and pulled out with my brother-in-law’s pick-up truck, fully loaded 196? camper trailer behind. Yep, each year that thing becomes more priceless- to be still fully functional at its age, with no maintenance whatsoever on it, year after year. You catching my drift? 

So, almost 80 miles into the trip, it’s still early morning. We’re all having fun in the car. The kids are reading magazines and playing on the latest techno-gadgets to pass time. I am chatting and reading. The sun is coming up over The Gorge, and it’s going to be a beautiful day. Away now from the misty mountains of the coastal range, it’s starting to feel like a real summer day. The temperature is about 80 now, and it’s still only 8:30-9. 

We start climbing. A chime in the cockpit sounds-  the “CHECK GAUGES” light has come on. Our temperature reading is sky-high. We pulled over, checked everything out, could not readily determine a problem, and just sat and waited for the truck to cool. This began the pattern for whole trip, but my husband also very good-heartedly managed to change/remove the thermostat, change out the water pump, and ultimately the radiator, all during this trip. This involved many stops along the highway, many ‘cooling breaks” as my stepdaughter described them, and turned an 8 hour trip into a 15. The radiator didn’t get fixed until the first day at camp, but that’s a separate story. So, before we finally gave up on getting to camp that night, we were driving through an amazing electrical storm in eastern Oregon. The area is high and dry , and a lot of times these lightning strikes cause brush and wildfires. The show was spectacular and a little scary, but not as scary as the “Whack- thump, thump,swerve, whack thump” of a trailer tire blowing. So, on the side of the highway, my amazing husband and mother-in-law jacked up the trailer and put the spare tire on the camper trailer. 

We were all exhausted by the time they had finished. It was nearing 10:30, and we had left home at 5:30 a.m. We stayed at a decent Holiday Inn Express, all taking turns getting showered. 

The next day, we left early, to travel most when the temperature outside was still at its coolest, and despite getting hot, we didn’t have to stop too often, and when we did, we made the best of it. We pulled the camp chairs and coolers out – and had snacks and drinks on the side of the road. We had great views and quite a few nice people offered to help. We told them thanks, but we just had to wait to cool down. Our last stop was near a really nice flowing creek. We all played in it a bit and cooled off. The dog loved it, too. I actually shaved my legs with lotion, creek water, and a towel on the side of the road, ignoring the taunts of “wow, how redneck can you get”, that were aimed my way. ‘Hey- I am making lemonade out of lemons, just like YOU SAID, so never mind!”. 

The next few days of camping were a mixture of great fun and torture combined. I am still waiting for my knee canyon to heal- I took quite the spill on my bike race through the marina parking lot, hit a curb too hard, and splatted. The lump on my head is gone, but the road rash from Hell and knee gouge remain. 

Everyone was tested to keep their stamina and sanity throughout the trip, but nobody killed anybody else. I have to say that it took me a good 4-5 days of work to rest up from vacation…

Next year, I am thinking Spa Retreat…