Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Off the grid

One of my favorite things to do in life is to go camping. I have done it since I was a girl. Although versions of camping change over the years, it is still so amazing to be in the primitive outdoors and enjoy nature in its own element.

When I was a girl my dad took us camping in the deep woods. He was a logger in Oregon so he knew all the places to go. We rarely if ever went to actual campgrounds, we just went out into the Oregon forest. He dug a hole in the ground to poop in and we made a make shift "cooler" by making a pool in the cold stream with rocks, there we kept a gallon of milk and a couple of other cold drinks. We sometimes used a tent or sometimes just slept under the stars. Went fishing for food and ate granola. This folks, is camping.

Over the years camping has changed. We use a real cooler now, a tent for years and now an RV (although we really just use it to haul stuff for 6 people and sleep for a few hours). I enjoy spending my days and evenings outside in nature and I still know how to build a raging campfire. The things you can see and do outside by far trump any lazy day at home watching the "boob-tube" or chipping away at a never ending to-do list. The quality time spent with family talking, laughing, using imagination and talking about how amazing life cycles and our eco system really is in its own natural form untouched my human inventions is irreplaceable.

Since we are new to California we really have no idea where this kind of primitive camping is found. What have found is that nothing compares to Oregon wilderness and there really is not much in the way of primitive, but this weekend we found a place (although a campground) that offered so much of what we love. Nestled at 6000 ft up in the Sierras we camped at Sugar Pine campground on Bear River Reservoir.

We found crawdads, LOTS of crawdads. My kids had never caught any before and certainly had never eaten any. After the campers before us gifted us with a trap full before they headed out, my kids were hooked. They fished for them with a kitchen strainer and a red solo cup. We cooked them over the open fire in a large pot and added them to our Happy Hour feast (a traditional Roybal pre-dinner snack that usually involves my homemade guacamole). The birds, fat squirrels and local scavengers reaped the benefit of a clumsy two year old who constantly dropped food and crumbs around. Even the geese at the water were brave enough to come to shore for some spilled Cheetos.


Although it rained all day Sunday, Monday gave way to the bright sun. We spent the day climbing the large granite rocks, swimming in the warm reservoir, and cooked all of our meals over an open fire. The boys built a make shift Ninja Warrior course complete with a "Spider climb" and "Quintuple steps". It was heaven. Our super smart phones were obsolete for the weekend with no service for miles and any fire we had meant we had to scavenge for firewood. 

We came home from the weekend refreshed with a new found love for California nature, one more step in making California feel like home.

Check out more pics from our trip!!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Surviving and Thriving

I am a survivor of domestic violence. There I said it. Here I am, a survivor, on the other side. A place some never get to.

This last week in Oregon I came face to face with the man who hurt me and put my son in the presence of death. The man I once called my husband. He laughed at me, he was angry at me and now so is his family. Why? Because he can't see Daniel, because he has been in hiding for 12 years, because now he is in jail, because a judge shamed him in front of his new girlfriend. Because he finally got caught after YEARS of running, because they blame me.

If you have recently met me then all of this is a surprise. If you have known me for years, you may know some, maybe most.....but not everything. I have never told everything and I will not. I will not keep reliving the past, I get to move on.

Oddly enough, for everything I went through the only thing that he could be charged and convicted on was felony non payment of child support and failure to appear charges. Which has earned him 3 extraditions, multiple court dates and now finally a jail sentence, a settlement and fines. But hey, I'll take what I can get.

12 years ago I escaped. 12 years ago I moved on. God gave me the strength to leave.

10 years ago Daniel and I met Steve, he showed us what true love is. It doesn't hurt. It doesn't harm those you love. It doesn't make excuses. It doesn't run away from the truth.

My life is good now, its safe, and I am thriving, I am not a victim. I stood before my biggest fear shaking like a leave in the wind, but I did not run. I stood and I spoke and I said it out loud.

Now I move on, a little stronger and a lot wiser. Don't feel sad for me, I am fine. I have often been told that I seem so happy, my life seems perfect, but once upon a time it was a scary place. I don't live there anymore.

So never judge a book by its cover, you don't know from the outside what's written on the pages within.