• You want to do what to my what??

    Oh hey look at that, it’s 2017. If you are reading this, than you made it. Congrats. I could prattle on and on about how 2016 was a Trumpster Fire and all the horrible shit that has happened, but what would be the point? If you want to read about that, go on facebook, I’m sure you can find an article or two. My patience for this has waned in recent months. It turns out when you lose an internal organ it gives you some time to reflect on a few things in your life.

    Some people are aware of what has gone on with me the last couple months, but most probably don’t. So saddle up kids its story time.

    Several years ago, while I was still in college, I went the Emergency Room with stomach pain. It turned out to be a minor GI problem (most likely due to poor life choices regarding unlimited pizza and fries in the cafeteria). But while they were trying to figure that out, they discovered some weirdness with my Kidneys. There was stuff… and it was all over them. When I returned home for summer break the doctors visits and testing began. I was never given a diagnosis disease, they eventually concluded that I have angiomyolipoma’s,  these are tumors that consist of fatty tissue, muscular tissue and blood vessels. They tested to make sure I didn’t have these tumors hanging out anywhere else in my body. I was told to keep an eye on them and if they grew too big to have them taken care of. This is something that is most often seen in women over 40.. so basically I am an over achiever.

    So we kept an eye on them, and for the most part they just hung out and we agreed to ignore each other. Until about Christmas two years ago. When a couple of the tumors decided it was time to become assholes. They had grown large enough that intervention was needed. So I scheduled a surgery to have the doctor go in and embolize them. This basically means he shoved a tube into my Kidney and blocked off a bunch of blood vessels feeding the tumors. The point of this procedure was to shrink the little bastards back down.

    I should mention the problem with this type of tumor and the makeup of mine specifically is that, they are very vascular (read bloody sacks of ass) so if one were to sustain injury or get a wild hair, it could burst and randomly start to hemorrhage and potentially put me in a life threatening internal bleeding situation.

    So I get the operation… it went ok. I somehow managed to get high blood pressure out of the deal due to a complication involving a vessel that may not have gotten totally blocked off. I learned to live with this and given some pills. I am also told to just continue to monitor the tumors.

    Fast forward the weekend before Thanksgiving of this year. Friday night, I had some mild discomfort in the kidney area that I was REALLY hoping was just gas. That lasted until Saturday morning, when I went from “hmm this feels not great…” to “Oh my fucking god I am dying! an alien is going to pop out of my stomach and tap dance across the floor “.  So off to the ER we went.

    Pro tip: Writhing in pain in a wheel chair at ER registration desk will get you seen pretty quickly. I tell them about my little kidney decorations and explain I am worried there is a bleed. So they take some blood tests and send me to get a CT scan. I may have forgotten to warn the tech about the freak show kidney before the CT scan so it was awesome watching the look of panic and seeing someone get sent sprinting to the doctor. By this point I am high as a kite on pain-killer. They got the blood tests back and everyone agreed, “yup, your shit is broke and bleeding all up inside you”(not a direct quote)

    Off to surgery I go. This is the same surgery I had 2 years ago, but this time they are going in with the goal of stopping the vessel from pumping blood into my abdomen. I get to be awake-ish for this process. The team of gentlemen were very nice. Luckily I had recently shaved my bikini line, so I was able to avoid that bit of unnecessary bonding with the dude who was my nurse. (They shove the tube through a hole they make in your groin area to access your femoral artery to reach your kidney. So you get shaved if you’re furry). The team did their thing and blocked stuff off and sent me to recover.

    They give me a room and admit me for a night of poor pain management and lots of crying. By mid morning I am not feeling right and have a sudden pop and excruciating pain in the same area, so they start the testing all over again. It’s another tumor bleeding. So I go back down stairs to the same team and they go in a do it all over again. this time they block of 4 vessels, the day before they blocked 2. The team of doctors I have collected at this point are all twisting their hands and telling me this should do it. Except one : the interventionalist, the one who actually blocked the vessels is saying the kidney is shit and it should get tossed. The Urologist and nephrologist over rule him. So I get released, and I go home to recover.

    Except, I didn’t seem to be getting better like last time. I was still weak, I didn’t feel right. I returned to work, I over exerted myself enough to scare me into going back to the ER to check if their was another bleed. (there wasn’t). At this point I now know nurses on site and they welcome me by name. I go back home, still feeling pretty crappy. I schedule an appointment with my general doctor to ask her why I feel so crappy. She does a blood test and sends me for an ultrasound. These come with poor results and she sends me back to the ER. She tells me that my body doesn’t have enough blood. This usually indicates a bleed. She reminds me it’s faster to go the ER to get the test done rather than try to schedule appointments that could take weeks.

    There is something very disconcerting about hearing your primary care physician tell you to go directly to the ER. So off I was swept to the ER by my wonderful coworkers. After a short wait, I am taken in back and assigned an ER doctor. She actually took the time to talk with me about this whole shenanigans and I explained what has happened. She runs more tests and tells me going in for a 4th CT scan is probably not a  healthy idea given all the radiation I’ve been exposed to lately. She brings the Nephrologist, Urologist and Interventionalist into the mix again… the urologist rolls in and lets me know that it’s never good to come to the ER and be considered an interesting patient and I am a very interesting patient. my general response to this was “well…. shit.” This team of doctors is arguing about how functional it is to send me for a CT scan and try to block off (embolize again) the likely slow bleed that is stealing my blood away. One thinks it’s a waste because the kidney is shit, the other two think maybe the kidney is helping a little and we should try to leave it in there.

    Fortunately, I have my family of medical professionals that are breathing fire into my cell phone telling me what to ask for and what they should do. Protip number 2: Always listen to and trust the nurses who are much smarter. On the advice of my mother who has 40 years of nursing experience, I asked the doctors, why they don’t just test the kidneys to see how functional each one is, that way they know if it’s worth keeping or should be tossed in the bin.

    It was amazing to watch the light bulb go off in his head. It turns out, that between the three of them arguing about what should be done, it didn’t occur to them to actually check on the function even though it was the simple solution and would settle the argument 100%. So they send me to nuclear testing the coolest sounding department in the hospital that is totally anticlimactic .

    Before I went it they told me we are hoping for at least 20% or more functionality on the right kidney so I can keep it for a bit longer and potentially delay the need for dialysis later in life.

    I was able to watch the testing, they shot me full of stuff that can be seen on the scan and the left side is lit up like a Christmas tree, the right…. is basically a couple of dots and a weak shadow. It doesn’t look good. The stuff also makes you need to pee like crazy and you get to watch a clock that counts down when you can go to the bathroom. This is about 1000x worse than just waiting without knowing.

    They read the results and tell me that the right side is functioning at a whooping 6% meaning the interventionalist wins and doesn’t have to do any more work on me and the fleshy bag of shit that’s stealing my blood. They had me stay the night for observation and are now arguing about when they are cutting this bitch out of me. I am on very explicit instructions that they will not be taking ANYTHING out of my body without my mother there first. They complied to this demand request They scheduled me for the surgery a few days later with a doctor who is familiar with the procedures and does this frequently. This is a better choice than getting stuck with the on-call doctor who is winging it because this got put on his schedule last min.

    I get sent home, mom and dad show up to help. The hospital mails me a bunch of gross sticky wipes and tells me how to shower and clean myself with said wipes. Sitting in the waiting room is a weird experience, because you don’t know what to do with yourself. One of my amazing coworkers stopped by for moral support. It was wonderful and touching and a needed distraction from thinking about all the ways I could die on the table.

    I go in they prep me and take blood samples. Eventually they knock me out I wake up and I have 5 glued shut holes in my abdomen. Turns out the tumors were so big they had to scrape them off of other organs to get it out. I asked to keep it and they said no, I was a little upset, they wouldn’t even take a picture. I spend another night in the hospital, and get sent home to heal. This went well for about 12 hours until we realized I have a bowel obstruction (meaning my bowels are shut down and refuse to work) and I get to go spend two more days in the hospital on an all liquid diet. I was finally released to go home Christmas eve, this is the best present I could have asked for. Since then, I have hung out at home doing the healing thing, while trying to walk a little longer everyday. My parents left shortly after I was released and my father in law came to stay for a week. I don’t think I would be in as good a spot as I am now, if I didn’t have this support system to help out. My husband has had to take care of everything and everyone since all of this started. He has done all of this without complaint and constant encouragement and love. I couldn’t be more thankful to be married to him.

    So for about 2 months I have been in and out of the hospital dealing with this bullshit. It has changed the things I care about in life and what I worry about for the future. For 2017 I just want to love my family and friends and be thankful for the time I have with them.

  • Puppy Problems


    A few months ago we adopted a puppy. A really big, really goofy puppy. Brutus is just over 100 lbs. and a little more than a year and a half old. As far as we can tell he has never had any real training on how not to be an idiot. We are working on this.

    The first time I saw Brutus he was cowering in the corner of his kennel at the city shelter that I happened to be visiting for work. I specifically told my boss NOT to take me to the shelter because I prefer dogs to humans and I have self control issues. So a week later, while at a food truck festival I lured the Bear into a bacon induced coma and asked if we could visit the shelter. He grunted in a way that I chose to interpret as a consent. We were informed that the particular dog, who’s paperwork I just so happened to have taken a picture of last time, was across town at a pet store adoption center. It was ONLY 15 min away… and we REALLY didn’t have anything else to do that day, so if we wanted.. we could just stop over and meet him.

    They put us in a small back room where the Bear now is roused to full consciousness is grumbling about me, life, dogs, and the narcotic effects of bacon.  The volunteer strolls in with a very large, timid and skeletal puppy. She explained that he is part Great Dane and other stuff. At this point I have already melted to the floor and am trying to let him get use to me. The Bear has stopped grumbling but does seem to be repeating something about this being a huge freaking dog. He joins us on the floor. As if on cue Brutus puts his head in his lap and earned himself a family. It turns out, that it is incredibly difficult to say no to providing a home to a dog who has laid their giant head in your lap.

    Now, according to the volunteer, this dog doesn’t bark, doesn’t pull on his leash, is completely apathetic of other animals and just wants some humans to love. We came to find out that only one of these things were correct.

    When he arrived home he quickly learned some important lessons of our household.

    1. You are not the boss. Mommy is the boss.
    2. Leave the little fluffy one alone. He is old, senile and will cut you.(R.I.P. Mango we miss you)
    3. The fat short one thinks all the toys belong to her.
    4. The Vacuum is scary.
    5. There is a household budget line for dog toys.
    6. You are only allowed on the furniture if the humans aren’t home.

    We also learned a few things from Brutus

    1. The Vacuum can only be defeated by peeing on it first.
    2. The deliciousness level of a shoe is directly proportional to it’s value
    3. The best time to play “lets wrestle with my teeth” is between 1 and 3 am
    4. When mommy leaves for work, the world is fucking ending.
    5. Anything can be accomplished with the liberal application of hot dogs.
    6. Tall dogs can open doors when they want.
    7. Other dogs are the scariest thing on the planet and must be killed.

    It was that last one that resulted in us paying a professional to train us on how not to be idiot dog owners. Fortunately we have been successful in teaching him some better habits and in training ourselves that when he does something stupid is 100% our fault.

    He has been a fantastic addition to our little furry family. Coco seems to enjoy his boundless energy up until the point she no longer wants to deal with his shit. They with each other and have established some good boundaries without conflict. This is a real change from when Mango was still alive and we had to break up bloody dog fights almost weekly. Mango was a broken soul and we loved his angry little ass.



  • new things and feminism

    hmm last time I wrote anything in this blog I was in an RV with my husband and two dogs. Good news we made it home alive and I succumbed to my usual bout of distractions and apathy towards this blog.  Since that time, I have changed jobs, moved to a house in Sacramento, started working on a very large tattoo, adopted a very large very stubborn puppy, lost one of my dogs to old age, started refinishing some furniture (it’s going terribly) and am attempting to re-learn how to roller skate. so there.. you are updated on my life and you don’t even need to stalk my facebook to know this.

    But that’s not why I’m updating today. I am updating today because I think I found a place I feel comfortable and it came from a podcast and facebook group of strangers. I recently (today) started listening to The Guilty Feminist and was moved to join their facebook group. This is relatively unusual because I tend to get very irritated with the triviality and nattering of most facebook groups and they quickly get unliked or muted. In this case I am interested in the diverse commentary and ability to make fun of the silly things that we as women do that contradict our feminist ideals. It’s refreshing to see other women who are willing to acknowledge and discuss issues of inequality.

    Every intro to a new episode starts with “I am a feminist but,..” I feel this really helps open up discussion of various topics because it exemplifies that everyone is human and no one is coming from a place of judgement. We all do things that are contradictory at times or that make us internally say “No.. oh goddammit why did you do that?”

    For example: I am a feminist but, I feel guilty that when I come home from my full time job and make dinner, that the house is not tidy.


    I am a feminist but if I am expecting anyone to step foot into my house even for a moment, I will spend two days furiously cleaning and then act as though it’s always like this and apologize for the dust even though I know there isn’t any.

    EVERY TIME I think this my rational brain reminds me that this is insane and that no one expects this of me except my mother.  (even she admits this would be difficult) My husband is an unapologetic feminist and I am a very lucky woman, his only expectations of me are that I love him with as much ferocity as he loves me.  I can do that.

    I have a theory that my diagnosis of ADHD and the lack of treatment I got is part of the reason I am as empowered as I am. I simply didn’t pay enough attention to what other people were saying or thought of me. It’s hard to tell someone they aren’t allowed to be included if they aren’t listening to you in the first place.


  • A note on showering.

    We made it to Voodoo Doughnut, I have already had my Capitan Crunch doughnut so all is right in the world. The Bear has been baptized in the confectionary goodness of the Voodoo church. He has seen the light and is a complete convert.

    The day has ended on a much higher note than it started. Not in small part due to the RV camp facility having working showers. You learn something about yourself when you go camping. And no I don’t really consider RVing “real camping” it’s “Glamping” at best, and you know what? That is just fine with me. I have been real “go shit in the woods and bring your own paper” camping. That was a lot of fun. I got to sleep on the ground, bathe in a lake, get woken up by my mother screaming about bears and my father mumbling about raccoons. It was awesome.

    After minimal reflection I can say I have noticed something about myself on these excursions. For starters on the average day,  I hate using public facilities to shower, you always worry about foot rot and stepping on weird hairballs from unknown sources. I’m not even a huge fan of publish restrooms for a host of other reasons. While camping in the wilderness, I would have sacrificed an unnecessary appendage to have any amount of hot running water. The RV shower would have been a gracious gift from god… all six gallons of hot water in it.

    While RVing the shower becomes something of a dreadful situation to be dealt with. You have to turn the pump on, turn the water heater on, wait for it to heat, find all of your soaps and conditioners. Next comes the performance of varying feats from Cirque Du Soleil to wash all of your parts, but quickly because there isn’t much hot water and it’s cold as hell in here. Then you clean it all up, dry it all down and hope the condensation buildup isn’t too horrible. Oh and you have to watch your gray water levels because the tanks must be dumped appropriately. Based on this, you can see how a camp site shower suddenly looks like a spa day.

    The bear found out the hard way that not all RV sites maintain their public showers properly. After the debacle that was last night, he figured getting out of the RV for a bit might be a good idea. So he gathered his shower pack and headed up the hill to the facility. After turning the water on, he noticed that the handles felt like they were buzzing. Initially he assumed maybe it was a vibration from the pipes, turns out.. nope. The water lines were electrified somewhere and it zap him when he touched them while turned on. Logically, he Noped right the fuck out of there. Needless to say, I skipped that option as well.

    After dinner tonight I took a stroll up to the shower at our new site, they were spotless clean, the water was just the right level of scalding hot and it felt like I was being showered with angle kisses. On an average day if you asked me to get naked and shower in that bathroom I would still opt to just wait till I got home, today it was heaven.

    So what did I observe? Your willingness to do things that are outside of your normal comfort level can be drastically changed given the circumstance.

  • Day 5 and 6ish..

    Yesterday we drove out to Thor’s Well and Devils Churn just outside of Florence Oregon. It was really beautiful even with the wind blowing and rain. We hiked around for a couple miles on the nicely paved trails. The bear and I were laughing at our complementary differences. I force him out of his comfort zone by taking him on adventures and doing things he is reasonable certain are going to get us killed. He forces me out of my comfort zone by making me act responsibly and saying No to anything especially crazy or expensive. It works forsean us. This is well exemplified in these pictures. The picture on the left was taken by the bear from three levels up the hiking trail over view. This was a very safe location with limited to no chance of a sneaker wave blasting in and washing him away.


    The picture to the right was taken near the mouth of Devils Churn on the rocks. This isn’t one of those things were you see tourists acting like idiots going into areas they shouldn’t. They have stairs and signs saying that it’s ok to go down there to fish and check out the tide pools. In my mind this means it’s a comfortable level of safe.

    The dogs were not interested in hanging out in the rain so they got to nap in the warmth of the RV.

    When we got back from the hike and started the RV some alarms went off for the CO and Propane monitor. We figured this was due to idling in one spot for a few min. We reset it, aired out the cabin and headed back to town for lunch.

    I’m a firm believer that being on the coast means you should stuff your face with as much local seafood as you can manage. That is exactly what I did at lunch. 6 raw Washington Oysters, 6 BBQ oysters to start, a very nice bottle of wine we didn’t finish and ended up taking the rest back with us, I had a really well done cioppino with all kinds of sea creatures in it, the Bear had some bread with garlic, pesto and garlic butter, fish and chips sampler basket he said was very good and we finished the meal with a Marion Berry cobbler that was very good but not actually a cobbler. By the time we finished gorging ourselves we could barely walk. This is why there wasn’t a post yesterday. I was too full to type.

    Hiking no longer sounded like an awesome plan and naps moved their way to the top of the list. It was pouring down rain which really made it an easy choice. By the time we got parked, plugged in, situated and in ready for a nap we were exhausted. It only took about an hour to realize that the sheets seemed a little more damp than was reasonable to expect in such a humid climate. About 20 min after that we realized they were totally soaked and the back wall of the camper was streaming down water. There wasn’t much we could do so we grabbed towels to help protect the sheets, (this was useless by the way). We did’t bring a tarp or anything to throw over the top and it doesn’t have a ladder. It was a moist evening in the least fun sense of the word. We skipped dinner. At 10pm I was still full but no longer wanted to die. The alarm went off a couple more times so we turned the propane off aired out and assumed that it was the result of fart build up in the cabin. obviously from the dogs…. yes.. clearly the dog farts. Some time around 4 a.m that propane CO alarm went off, causing the bear to jump about 2 feet off the bed from the prone position while screaming something in what had to be his mother tongue of a past life. My heart just stopped beating for a couple of seconds while I assumed we were all going to die of carbon monoxide poisoning in our sleep. We called the service people, turns out sensors will go off if you stand to close to them and were extremely laid back about the whole alarms that make sure you don’t die in your sleep acting up. They told us they would get us a appointment at a repair shop in Eugene in the morning. We did manage to fall back asleep after all of the alarms. It wasn’t the early start we had planned. And of course the black water tank was reading full even after getting flushed multiple times. So we busted out the renters manual for the 10000 time this trips and tried to trouble shoot that little conundrum. download

    So we headed over to Eugene this morning on some little two lane back country road you can barely see on google maps. We are actually at the RV repair place as I write this and the amazing repair guy, (no joke his name is Kevin Smith) just pulled the sensor out and replaced it with a new one. The old one was completely full of water. We have no idea how that is even possible. He also found the source of the leaks, some huge ass crack in the roof of the RV. He just hit the roof and yelled bad monkey. He’s kind of amazing. If we ever get out of here, we are going to check out the city and get some Voodoo Doughnuts.


  • Day 4 Walmart and Driving

    Today started with an impressive display of lazy ass Elk hanging out at next to the Little Red School house at the RV site. On our way out one of the regulars at the RV park engaged us in conversation and I witnesses something I’ve never seen before, Coco barking at a stranger. Based on this response we are convinced he was probably an axe murderer.  We packed up and headed into one of the larger towns for a mediocre breakfast.

    We needed to stop at the super Walmart because it turns out that the sewage tanks fill up quickly and need to have special poo dissolving chemicals added to them every time you empty the tank. I am not involved in this process, if you want to know more about it ask the Bear. I’ve always heard the best time to go to Walmart for people watching was late at night. It was midday on a Tuesday and this place was like an episode of national geographic. Sleep pants, fully visible bras, and shoeless children were the order of the day. They all seemed nice enough but you could supply the People Of Walmart website for a month at this location alone in a single day. We collected our goods and an unhealthy amount of impulse snacks and hit the road. (I’ll let you know my thoughts on the Lays Biscuits and Gravy chips after I gather enough courage to try them.)

    We drove through the rest of California and into the middle of coastal Oregon today. We saw more Elk along the way, as well as some deer and spoiled cows. The beaches changed a little at first from open coves with sandy beaches to sheer rock faces that drop off directly into the ocean from dense forrest. There are a ton of little logging towns and some have cranberry bogs. It took us a while to figure out what the hell those were along the way. We didn’t stop for lunch or go on any hikes, but we did stop along the side of the road to take pictures of some of the coast. It was freezing cold, windy, and rainy. We love it.

    The driving can get stressful because the roads here have a lot of rock slide areas and rough spots. I’m much more comfortable driving the RV then when we started but it’s still an unfamiliar vehicle that is basically a giant blind spot that doesn’t break real well and depending on the grade of the road will not accelerate past 60 mph because the pedal is on the floor. If you are not aware of this, I am the only driver on this trip. It takes a lot of concentration and energy to spend a day driving a weird vehicle that handles awkwardly and has the turning radius of a freaking ship. By the time we arrived at our next lodging location I was very tired and getting hangry. I don’t have much patience for shit when I’m hungry. And of course I have to back this big bitch into the camp site, at night in the rain. I am fortunate that my husband knows the drill when I turn into a food harpy. I ended up making hamburgers on the stove because the rain cancelled our steak cooking plans. Turns out we didn’t bring any condiments. We don’t even had catsup. The Bear failed to see why eating only meat on bread was a problem. This is how he eats all of his hamburgers. I still hadn’t eaten and my crazy was ratcheting up to 11. To clarify, I don’t yell, I don’t even raise my voice, but I do get Forrest Whitaker eye and my blood starts to boil. Luckily it all turned out lovely and we ate food and the demon within went away.

    Not very exciting I know, but tomorrow we see the Dunes and Thor’s Well which will be amazing.

  • Day 3. Enormous Flora and angry Fauna

    Today felt like vacation. We slept in, Coco only woke us up twice in the middle of the night to be let out. I moseyed on over to the fence line to check out the Elk that hang out in the back meadow. They were all kinds of elegant just sitting around chewing and head butting each other. 20160201_084631I’m pretty sure the two males were just play fighting. Or they really weren’t feeling the violence today because they were just going through the motions. Who knew Elk could get the Mondays?

    I managed my first RV shower. Fun fact, the water heater only holds 6 gallons of water and takes 30 min to heat up. I have learned the importance of turning the water off during any lathering process. My head actually hits the ceiling so it made hair washing a unique and bendy challenge. But I got clean and that was the only goal so therefore it was a success.

    At some point, I realized that we never really stopped to get groceries in the last two days and the food we did bring is running low. I consider this a badge of honor. Normally I would prepare more food than a football team could consume in a week. Bacon, Hawaiian rolls and some protein bars make for a very filling breakfast.

    We tried to find a grocery store in the Town of Orick (human population 650, Cow populations 1000) to stock up on some supplies. We ended up with Oreo’s, french toast sticks, cheese and firewood. It was more of a general store / cess pool of questionable breeding practices. I decided to forgo their offerings of ground meat products. You would need to prove to me it was cow and not ground tourist.

    We headed over to Stone Lagoon Beach and let the idiots frolic in the sand and surf. It was delightful and remarkable that we were alone on most of that beach.12670128_10103608828580485_6815378197488691941_n It is really lovely to travel on the off season. You get to see so many things and share that moment with your loved one without the 9 members of the Clampett family swilling beer and getting into domestic disputes while spoiling your view. It’s weird coming from such a tourist driven state that fills every beach and beach town to the brim with t-shirt shops and sketchy tattoo parlors, to see miles and miles of breath taking coast line that is populated by a herd of very smug milk cows.

    We cut the beach trip short after Mango got too excited and his hind legs kinda gave out a little. He’s pushing 13 and we think he has some nerve damage so this isn’t completely unexpected. I had to carry his fat ass all the way back to the RV. He seemed to enjoy that portion of the walk almost as much.

    We decided to take the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway through the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. We kept expecting Little Foot to step out from behind a tree and ask if we have seen the Star Leaf. The Redwoods could only be described as august. I was only slightly disappointed to not find any Ewok tree houses in the canopy. We did get to see the Big Tree and it was. It seems it isn’t actually the largest nor the oldest tree in the park. 20160201_151841It’s just the only one that they will tell you the location of. It makes me sad that my fellow humans are such shit balls that the parks have to keep these beautiful giants a secret to keep them safe. How can anyone look at one of these behemoths and do anything but stare in awe and silent wonder at their eminence? This tree is estimated to be over 1500 years old it has endured more than we can conceive and some asshat will probably try an kill it some day.

    On our drive back we stopped at a turn off that is a well know Elk hangout. When we stopped the first time, there were maybe 15 just hanging out at the far edge of the field eating grass and waiting to be photographed. This time there were probably 50 and they were almost standing in the parking lot. I guess when your smallest female is over 500 lbs you don’t have a lot to fear. They mostly looked annoyed that we were only using camera phones to document their splendor. I felt the need to apologize and explain that the RV was a rental and we are in fact poor. They weren’t impressed.

    20160201_161824We came back to the camp site early so we could relax before we spend much of tomorrow driving up to Oregon. In my infinite wisdom I decided to build a camp fire. I was convinced this was going to be some next level romantic shit. Turns out.. that even with a fire starter mini log and some firewood, you really only get a single smoldering flame and a lot of smoke. It was easily the saddest camp fire in the history of camp fires. The Bear was a good sport and lovingly froze his ass off to humor me while I made hot chocolate and then dinner. I took pity on him when his lips started to turn blue and brought him his winter coat to replace the insufficient hoodie he had on. We gave up once it got dark, so I dumped a gallon of water on the fire and retreated inside admitting defeat against the frosty air.

    I am considering a second attempt at sleeping in the bigger bed above the driver’s seat. Now that we have the heater fixed I’m not nearly as likely to freeze to death. The only reason for 20160201_152950the change is that any time the bear gets up to take out the dogs or do anything I have to pull myself into a tight fetal position to avoid having him drop kick my legs on his way out of bed. This is not an ideal way to wake up in the middle of the night. The only other drawback about this move, other than the loss of my in bed human powered heating system, is that in order for me to make one of my many midnight bathroom trips, I would need to climb down onto a bench and then to the floor and back to the bathroom. I am not well coordinated in the middle of the day fully awake, caffeinated and alert. I am down right bumbling when I am half asleep. I also get the added obstacle of sleeping dogs laying in the middle of the walk way. I will let you know how it goes tomorrow if my next post is written from the ER.

  • Day 2 and some pictures.

    We had a couple entertaining disasters last night after I finished my post. To start, we found out at a very inopportune time that one of the fuses was blown and of course that fuse was connected to the heater. The low temperature last night was 30 degrees.  It only took about 20 min for me to abandon my spacious bunk bed of solitude for the warmth of the bear den. I was smart enough to bring my down comforter with me. Ladies, have you ever tried to go pee in the middle of the night while wearing a onesie when the room is hovering dangerously close to freezing your tits off? Pro tip: wear a sweater UNDER the onesie, that way when you have to take off the top part to access your bottom parts you aren’t forced to expose your lovely lady lumps to frigid cold. Also… check your fuses before you leave the rental place. The dogs were convinced this whole experience was bullshit and way too damn cold but figured out very quickly how to get us to take them outside in the middle of the night. This seemed to make us all even.

    This morning was lovely. I woke up early and took the idiots out for a walk so they could sniff things and then pee on them. We saw some cows on the hill behind the camp ground. We also saw some suspiciously huge bunny rabbits. Well, I saw the bunny rabbits. The hunting dog saw nothing and tried to eat a rock…. she’s really pretty…

    After dragging them back to the RV I decided to start breakfast only to watch Mango slide on the laminate flooring, down the steps and fall out the door and onto the ground outside. It scared the hell out of all species involved. He was fine but I think his pride took a hit. He curled up in his bed and has been extra snappy at Coco all day.

    We eventually packed up and headed out to Fort Bragg to see the Glass Beaches. If you haven’t had the honor of driving on 20, I suggest you do so while driving something sporty that hugs the road. Not something hulking that looks like a shoebox. The whole route is curves and hairpin turns looking over hundred foot drop offs. It was awesome and more than a little terrifying. I have a  lot of love for the people who invented and built turn-outs on that road. If they weren’t so frequent we wScreenshot_2016-01-31-10-20-16ould have been murdered by a mod of angry drivers stuck behind our slow ass.


    We finally made it into Fort Bragg and over to the beach which happens to be very dog friendly. The views were spectacular.20160131_123103 If you  are unfamiliar with glass beach, it used to be a dump. They would shove trash over the cliffs and into the ocean. All of the old glass from apothecary bottles, old car windshields and tail lights was broken up and ground smooth by time, sand and water. They eventually started to show up on the beaches. Turns out people like to find interesting things on the beach. They have since stopped dumping old cars and trash into the ocean, so the glass isn’t as abundant as it once was. 20160131_121718People also tend to take it with them as a souvenir even though there are signs all over telling you to leave that shit on the beach so people will keep visiting them. You can’t tell from the pictures we took but the wind was insanely cold. Low tide is the best time to see the glass and tide pools. The dogs were stoked to smell new rocks and mango found out that running in sand is his new favorite hobby.


    We opted to save money and just eat bologna sandwiches in the RV before heading out after a quick stop at the part store to buy a replacement fuse to avoid freezing to death tonight. We took Ca State route 1 up to Eureka, this was also full of bullshit twists and turns but it has to be one of the most beautiful drives in the US. You see everything from breathtaking views of waves crashing on cliffs, to enormous Redwood trees that are hundreds of years old, to beautiful mountains with sparkling rivers. And of course there are tacky road side attractions like Confusion Hill, which looks like something that will be featured in next season American Horror stories and the One Log Cabin home.


    You are also very likely to witness the various local wildlife in their natural and undisturbed environment. We drove around one corner and noticed two huge Elk on a hill eating some grass minding their own business. It took me a minute to realize these were not Elk that some farmer is keeping at a pet, these were wild Elk and they wanted to know why we stopped in the middle of the road to stare at them and take pictures.

    20160131_143207(1)They were freaking majestic. Both had enormous antlers. It really only made us more excited to get to the RV resort place we are staying at tonight. It’s known for the huge Elk population that visits their meadows daily. They have signs all over the place telling you not to act like an idiot around the 700 pound animal with spears attached to its head. They have a tendency to charge. I’m pretty freaking excited about waking up tomorrow, I hope we don’t miss them.


    That’s about all I can say about day two of this awesome adventure trip. It was a lot of driving through some very scary beautiful areas. The heater is working, the dogs are asleep, there are about 100 noisy frogs outside trying to lull me asleep so it’s time for bed. Tomorrow we venture into some of the state and national parks for more 20160131_134928communing with nature. Fingers crossed Coco doesn’t try to make friends with a bear, and Mango doesn’t try to hump an Elk.

  • Day 1

    A few months ago the Bear and I decided to plan an elaborate RV trip up the coast of Northern California and into Oregon. We had visions of seeing Crater Lake and Thor’s Well with a stop over to Portland before heading home. Fortunately reality provided us with a healthy knock up the head. Crater Lake is wisely closed this time of year, with all the snow and what not. I’m 100% sure that I do not want to drive an RV through anything worse than a light drizzle. The other reality of life that came into play is that we have been insanely busy never got around to really making any plans beyond asking for the time off from work and renting the RV. This is probably a good thing; it means that we don’t actually have to be anywhere or do anything unless it sounds good at that moment. Most vacations that involve a lot of time frames and reservations can be stressful. There are all of these expectations to do things so you are constantly rushing to the next activity. We focus on trying to squeeze as much fun as possible from every excursion that we tend not to appreciate the experience and ambiance in the moment. (this is a really nice way of saying we are slackers and are ok with it). I started packing a few days in advance to make sure we had anything we might need (and to prevent me from stressing out, losing my mind and dissolving into tears the night before our trip).

    We were fortunate to have found a site (https://www.campanda.com/)  that rents out all the left over RV’s from Cruise America and other places for really cheap. I  think we are paying $30ish a night plus milage. The whole rental will end up costing us less than what it costs to board our two idiot dogs for 5 nights.

    We picked up our 25 ft RV this afternoon, she has been dubbed Eagle 5 in honor of the Spaceballs Winnebago. I’m pretty sure that makes me Lone Star and the S is now Barf. I’m ok with this. He is less enthused. My original plan was to drive all the way up to Redwood National Forrest in one day. Sooo that didn’t happen. We didn’t leave until 4pm. The Bear (Barf) made reservations last night for us to stay at a KOA an hour outside of Fort Bragg. This is why he is the copilot, he thinks ahead. We managed to get all of our crap put away into the various cubby holes and weirdly sized storage spaces. We made the beds (yes plural, there is no way in hell our two huge asses are going to fit into that bed comfortably) and finally we grabbed the dogs, threw them in the RV and hit the road. I have never been more grateful that my father taught me how to drive on an E class van. This thing is a beast to drive.

    I learned something interesting about humanity while driving this monstrosity. There are some people who see an RV that is covered in Cruise America stickers and think “fuck that slow person, I’m going to cut them off because I am an asshole.”

    The other type, the smarter breed.. see an RV covered in Cruise america sticker and think “Holy fucking shit, they gave some idiot the keys to that enormous vehicle…. and they have absolutely no fucking clue what they are doing..” These are wise people. They give you a wide berth, they don’t crowd you. They know that there isn’t a drivers test to rent this thing. They know the rental company only requires you to sign the insurance and then hands you the keys.

    The dogs are 100% convinced we are going to die in the magical moving box of death. If you don’t know this already, our dogs hate each other. We breakup fights at couple times a month. They aren’t affectionate with each other, they don’t really play together and they certainly do not snuggle. that is.. until today. We set up one of the dog beds in between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat. The bed was perfectly sized for mango to curl up on the floor. It turns out it was also perfectly sized for Coco to back her ass right into him forcing him to spoon her. Amazingly the evil little beast let her do it. That is how we knew they were a bit stressed by the experience. They have since calmed down and realized that everything is not horrible forever. They are extremely excited about all the new things to smell and pee on.

    We eventually made it to the KAO at about 8pm, we found our spot and parked. Fun fact if you ever decide to rent an RV, get a freaking pull thru stop if you can. Backing this bitch into a spot at night is not enjoyable. Fortunately the spots are REALLY wide and I’m kind of amazing at driving this thing (by amazing I mean we are still alive and nothing was hit). S got everything hooked up using lots of cords and stuff.  I made dinner in the smallest kitchen on the planet (Yay pesto tortellini in vodka sauce!). We also figured out how to block out all the widows with the nifty privacy blinds, this is a nice feature because no one needs to see what I look like when I wake up in the morning.

    Tomorrow we are thinking of heading over to the glass beaches near Fort Bragg and then up to Redwood National Forrest.

  • but that’s none of my business.

    Everything on the interwebs is always in extremes. You must hate this, we must stop that, we have to stand up for/against this. The problem with being moderate is that I disagree with all or part of almost everything. My parents are Very conservative, my husband is VERY liberal. I am just very argumentative.
    For example: I am a gun owner, I enjoy guns. I have no interest in giving them up or taking them away from people who are stable, responsible and trained on the proper handling. I also think we need better methods for making sure that guns do not get into the hands of the mentally ill. I also believe that mental illness should not be stigmatized and that everyone should have  access quality care when it’s needed. Active Military and Veterans in particular are getting the shaft when it comes to treatment.

    Since we are talking about guns, I am a hunter. I enjoy hunting but not for the killing part. I hunt deer occasionally. Deer are a fast breeding, high population animal that can over populate an area and cause considerable damage in areas that have depleted predator populations. Areas like my uncle’s farm in upstate NY for example. You know what we do with those deer we hunt? We eat them. We share any extra meat with people in the neighborhood who need it. Hunting permits are given out as conservation efforts in the U.S., not to decimate a population.  I think big game trophy hunting is fucking pointless. Congrats, you shot something somewhere with someone and spent a shitpot full of money to do it.  You wasted the meat and the animal to take the skin and paid someone else to re-imagine what it looked like so you can put it on your wall. All so you can sit in your den and mentally jerk off about that one time you looked a (insert endangered animal here) in the eye before you killed it.  People that do this shit should be punched in the head.

    Since we are talking about New York, I think people who work 40 hours a week at any job should make a living wage. By that I do not mean they should barely scrap by with government assistance. I mean they should be able to live dignified lives. New York recently passed a law that has fast food workers eventually earning $15 an hour. Many people were angry about this, I found that understandable. The direction of their anger is what I don’t understand. Many people were miffed that a group of fast food workers DARED to stand up to their collective companies, and demand to be paid higher wages. And they won. “Many nurses, LPN’s, paramedics, police officers and other hard working people are barely making that amount, who do these burger flippers think they are, asking to make so much money? ” That is the exactly wrong question. Why aren’t you asking “Hey, I work double shifts at the hospital taking care of sick people and wiping asses and I have to bust ass to make ends meet… I had to get training and schooling to do it,  why aren’t I paid appropriately for the training and skills that I have?” Why not stand up and fight the same way? If they can do it, why can’t you? They forced the change, the door is open, organize and make it happen. Don’t stand there yelling at your neighbor because they had the audacity to asked for soup instead of shit.. and they got it.

    Since we are talking about inequality, yes all lives matter, but you know what? Right now there is an issue with the lives and experiences of black people in our country and we need to put some focus on that. Black Lives Matter and we need to fix the horrible issues they are dealing with. Racism is alive and well in this country and if you don’t see that you are probably part of the issue. There is nothing wrong with focusing efforts towards working on some resolutions for this. White privilege exists, the best description I have seen of this was actually from a web comic I like to read Least I Could Do it depicts the main character (a white male in a nice car) getting pulled over. He points out how he now understands white privilege, because he knew exactly how the entire exchange would go, he at no time was afraid for his life or nervous about his actions. He was completely comfortable and trusting of the officer. That is not the feeling most young black men have when they get pulled over. That is a problem. Black people and people of color should feel just as comfortable interacting with law enforcement as white people. But they don’t. We need to fix that. Black people are not the enemy.

    Since we are talking about Law Enforcement,  I love law enforcement officers. My father is in law enforcement, I wanted to be a police officer most of my life. It didn’t work out for me. The VAST VAST VAST majority of police officers out there are great people with loving families who go to work everyday to help people. They get paid peanuts and are shit on everyday by the public. They work long hours and they are constantly exposed to the worst our society has to offer. They see dead bodies, abused children, rape victims and mentally ill drug addicts, every single day. They get yelled at, spit on, cursed out and attacked. They are very under appreciated and extremely over worked. There are here to protect lives and they do it everyday. We should respect that and respect them. They are not the enemy.

    Since we are talking about life, I believe that as a female I have the right to decide what goes into and comes out of my body. No one has the right to tell me what to do with it. I think contraceptive pills should be over the counter or at least easily accessible to any woman and that she should be educated on the proper use of it. I think people are grossly uninformed about how Planned Parenthood works because certain news channels enjoy smear campaigns about anything that confuses them or will work to enrage the public. OH BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BABIES!?!! Calm your tits, the abortion business isn’t exactly booming. In fact its at record lows. If you taught a proper sex education class and provided prophylactics and birth control this would be even LESS of an issue. But that probably won’t happen right? So lets talk about abortions. I’m not going to go through different scenarios that a female could result in them needing/wanting an abortion. You know why? Because it doesn’t matter. The same people that go postal about abortions are the same people who harp on welfare and government assistance. Basically saying “Don’t get an abortion you murderer!” but also “all these sluts on WIC are just leeches on society” So you want to force her to birth the child but not give her any help taking care of it? “But what about adoption?” Adoption is my favorite thing, but it isn’t something you should force another person to go through with.

    Since we are talking about rights, lets talk about flags. I was born and raised in South Florida, I went to college in Tennessee. Rebel flags have been a daily sight my entire life, but I don’t believe that it is necessary or appropriate for it to fly over a government building in the United States. Why? because it’s a building in the United States and we are all in this together. This does not mean start ripping down state flags with similar designs or defacing confederate monuments. As far as personal use and sale, go on about your business. You have the right to wear, fly and sell whatever flags you want. That is your right as a citizen of this country. If a company no longer wishes to sell that flag, it’s their company and they can change their inventory in whatever way they want. If you want one on your car, your belt, buckle, your bathing suit and your coffee mug go right on and do what you want to do. For the people who don’t like the Rebel flag, this will be big red stars and bars symbol of someone they probably won’t fundamentally agree with. Now this also means if you choose to fly that flag you are accepting responsibility for the fact that a large portion of society will think that you are an ignorant trash ball redneck who may or may not have frequent relations with a family member. But that’s your right.

    Look at that! I talked about seven different hot button issues in one blog! I was thoughtful about each and every one. I feel very strongly about them and my opinions can (and possibly will) change with new facts and experience because that’s how learning works. Crazy right? So maybe people should stop comparing different things that people are upset about. You can have strong feelings about more than one topic at a time. It is possible. One of things that annoys me about topical discussions is the habit of at least one dickwit to say “Why are we talking about (blah) when (blah) in country (blah) has it so much worse?! #FirstWorldProblems #I’mAMassiveTool” people are talking about it because that’s what the article is about. Just because someone or somewhere else has it worse it does not mean that whatever we are talking about isn’t also bad. This isn’t a dick measuring contest about Current Events.