Friday, March 28, 2014

Burney Falls - 129 ft. Waterfall

For years, I've wanted to take a trip to McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park in California. A friend had told me about the gorgeous waterfalls and the opportunities to hike. This weekend for Spring Break, the weather was nice and so we loaded up to make the short trek. The Park is approximately 140 miles from Klamath Falls (perfect for a day trip). We packed a lunch and headed out in the morning. 

On the way, we pass the Veteran's Living Memorial Sculpture Garden. I've been here before but decided to take the boys through. Being 10- and 17-year old boys, I wasn't sure they'd find it interesting. I was pleased when they both took an interest and insisted on walking around to each monument. The memorial features large metal, welded humanoid type sculptures. It's sort of remote with Mt. Shasta looming in the background. It's awe-inspiring, moving, and worth the stop!
A tribute outside the POW/MIA sculpture

This sculpture is title "Coming Home"

The entrance of the memorial
Continuing on, you come to the silly little town of Weed, California. They've embraced the "Weed" name and you can buy shirts that say I love Weed, Weed makes me happy, etc. We didn't explore but we did buy a souvenier. 

Traveling on down the road, listening to some rap and rock from my days (Tone Loc, Dr. Dre, Guns N Roses), we rocked out. The kids began to get hungry. My plan was to wait until we got to the falls but we saw a turnoff for a "vista" and pulled over. It was worth it - we found bonus falls that I didn't even know existed. 

We turned into the Lower Falls Picnic Area. It was well-maintained, nice roads, and clean bathrooms/picnic tables. We ate our lunches and walked down to the falls (a very easy, very short walk). 
Marc stands near the falls
 The rocks to climb over have been worn smooth and holes have been created from the water.
One of the holes was big enough for Marc to stand in.

Love them!

Nate found a relaxing rock
After the short hike and our bellies full, we headed out to Burney. According to the website, the centerpiece of the Memorial State Park is the falls themselves. The falls drop 129 feet. The weather was drop dead gorgeous, I even took off the jacket and hiked in my tank top. We took the Falls loop trail to begin with. It's a 1.4 mile hike. Pretty easy. Some uphill but not enough to complain about. 

The boys pose at the entrance
The Falls! GORGEOUS!

Marc posing for the camera

He asked for this photo - pretty sure it was to send to a girl

squirrels everywhere. 
 After hiking and playing, we began the trek back home. On the way down, I'd seen a sign for historical McCloud. I took the exit while the boys slept and drove through a cute little town that I want to revisit. Victorian looking homes, quaint shops -nothing to interest the boys but it'll be on my list. How can you resist neat architecture against bright blue skies and quiet streets with no cars?

The boys slept (they take after me) as we trekked back to Klamath. Driving through a short little detour to view Mt. Shasta City added another "next time" destination to my list. I'm excited to drive down and explore this seemingly "hippy-dippy" new-age-y town that boasts psychics, stores with crystals that heal, and the best drinking water anywhere! I suggest making the drive to Burney Falls - it's worth it! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Took a Deep Breath and I'm Back

It's easy to get so focused on the negative that we forget all the positive. For example, I beat myself up a lot for the things I think I've done "wrong" - you want examples?

  • divorced....twice
  • my oldest son's rocky relationship with his dad
  • my oldest son's absent bio dad
  • the fact I don't have a lot of money and sometimes have to tell my kids no
We'll just stop there. 

As my regular readers will know, life threw me a curveball when Roy (aka bio dad, aka first husband) appeared after more than a decade's hiatus. I retreated, took many many many deep breaths, prayed, and allowed myself to feel every stupid emotion that came with it. And I'm coming out on the other end feeling pretty good about me.

Here's my realizations:

My divorces weren't all my fault - it takes two. My life would be very different had I stayed married and not in a good way.

Marc's relationship with his dad is not my fault. As a matter of fact, I've encouraged him to try. I've tried to give his dad some help. I've done what I can and will continue as appropriate.

Roy giving Marc up for adoption was a good thing, the right thing, and Roy had more than enough opportunities to be in his life.

It's okay for kids to hear no to requests for money and material things once in a while.

I'm not the same person I was 18 years ago when Roy and I married and I'm thankful for that!

Oh I could go on and on but I won't. I will say it's very weird to reconnect after more than a decade with someone you were intimate with. On one hand, your head knows they'll have changed (for better or worse) but with a decade's absence, you still think of them the way they were x number of years ago. It's surreal. It's also interesting the way memories have changed. I remember something he's forgotten and vice versa.

Anyway, enough of that. Life's good!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Retreat and Focus

I'm a dyed in the wool people pleaser.  I will work my behind off to make everyone around me happy and then I'll crash, retreat, recuperate, and refocus. It's my modus operandi.

I'm working hard to change it. I want to make people happy...I've come to understand that it might be one of my gifts. It might be my purpose. It brings me joy.

But I need to learn when to draw the line. Need to identify when enough is enough. And I need to learn when it's okay to have a voice rather than keeping my mouth shut. I need to rid myself of the guilt that comes from making a decision for me.

To my friends, you've probably noticed a retreat for a time being. It's only temporary while I focus and evaluate. If you've known me very long, you'll know this too shall pass.

It's a cycle:

I think I'm superwoman. I believe I'm the woman that can make myself happy and make all of you happy at the same time. I think I have superhero abilities that will allow me to juggle it all and prove it can be done. I work at it, plug away at it, and succeed. . . for a while.

I thrive under the pressure of everyone expecting something from me. Work, school, kids, friends, family, loved ones. . .

And pretty soon there's a conflict. Too many people, too many things, and it's too much. I feel overwhelmed so I try harder.

And then I "fail" at something. Maybe I forget the kiddo has a science expirement due and we do it at the last minute and I don't think it's worthy. Or I forget a birthday. A deadline at work. Or I stay up late doing homework because I didn't plan accordingly.

And pretty soon, I'm lost inside my head, trying to figure out how to make it all work. I start getting irritated and I know it's not your's I keep my mouth shut because I'm not ready to make decisions yet or say how I feel.

I'm waiting until my mind has worked through all the emotions before I speak. If I speak now, I might yell and ask what's in it for me? I might make you mad. I might say no to something that's important to me. I'm working through it all and evaluating . . . evaluating. . . evaluating.

And then I start communicating. I start sharing. I focus on the things important to me. I'll give those things my attention, my energy, my heart and soul....

Unfortunately for some of you, it might be frustrating. It's just me.

Right now, I'm feeling overwhelmed and trying to get a handle on everything so I can go back to feeling like me.

Between trying to complete school (it's important to me for so many many reasons);
keep my oldest son out of trouble and on track to graduate (he's such a good kid but so much like me),
spend quality time with my youngest son and give him the attention he needs,
watch my oldest son to make sure he's okay with the emergence of bio-dad,
make major changes at work and make them successful,
deal with some crazy emotions myself from the emergency of the ex,
stay on track with my diet,
focus on some health things,
deal with my crazy emotions over my son turning 18,
fix my finances,
make a difference,
be a friend,
be a lover,
be me,
stay sane,
conquer the world (okay, just kidding). . .

I'm overwhelmed.

Ok, back to work. . .

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Thirteen Year Reunion

Three words to make my stomach roll....

"This is Roy."

And an instant to recognize the voice. Thirteen years come rushing back, bringing with them a slew of emotions I thought I'd buried, memories I thought I'd forgotten, and anger I didn't expect.

It's been thirteen years since I spoke to my first husband, Marc's dad. I haven't seen him or spoken with him. At first, I wondered what he was doing or how his life was but thirteen years later and I rarely think of him. He only crosses my mind when Marc makes a face that he'd make or says something he'd say.

As you might remember, Marc asked me a few months ago to find him. I did some internet research, called a buddy at the Police Department there, and found him still mostly in and out of jail for petty things. I was disappointed at that time that his life hadn't turned out better. In my fairy tale, he'd cleaned up, made great decisions, re-married with wonderful kids, and was the great guy he had the potential to be.

I have prepared myself for years for this day and here it was.

It's been an emotional roller coaster since Friday.

I sat down for the ride as I recognized his voice. Fell to the floor in tears to be exact. Unable to breathe. Catching my breath.

As he explained that he only wanted to see Marc if I thought timing was okay, I felt some optimism. I was excited for Marc. Marc has such great memories of him and maybe this is what Marc needs. He told me about his life in a nutshell. He says he's been clean two years and has a great job. He sent me photos. He looks older but much the same. He'd say the same about me, I'm sure.

I won't lie...I held my breath as the photos came through. I loved Roy, something I don't admit readily. I'd prefer people to think it was pure lust and stupid decisions. I don't want to admit I'm capable of falling in love with someone like him. Truth be told, I've never given my heart like I gave it to him. He broke it and it's just never been the same. Oh I've loved, I love still, but not like that. It happens to each of us...our first heartbreak changes us. But that's another story for another time.

I decided to let him and Marc talk. Truth be told, I wasn't sure he wouldn't try to reach Marc on facebook and I figured letting them talk allowed me a bit of control.

So on the way to Portland, while Marc was stuck in the car with me, I broke the news. Marc cried and my heart broke just a bit more. I gave Marc the number and they quickly began texting. It KILLED me not knowing what was being said. Thankfully, Marc shared the conversation with me. I was feeling pretty good at this point.

I was embarrassed as I found myself wondering if he'd missed me or thought about me. Or were his thoughts reserved for Marc? It doesn't even matter and now I was mad at myself for caring.

By Saturday, I was getting irritated, again something I don't want to admit to Marc.

Why is he worthy of being called dad? He hasn't cleaned up puke, had to ground Marc when he misbehaves, argued with Marc over doing homework, been there when he broke a bone, or held him while he cried.

He told Marc he misses him. He doesn't even know him. He didn't want to pay child support so signed away his rights. He hasn't had to figure out how to help Marc buy a truck. Or what about those times I ate ramen noodles so that Marc could eat healthy meals because I didn't have enough money to feed us both. Of course he misses him. His parenting experience amounts to taking a cute little 1, 2 or three year old fishing, to Chuck E. Cheese, or to the park to feed ducks. I miss that too.

And then I get irritated they're on the phone. My brain reminds me that they've got thirteen years of catching up to do but my heart is a little jealous that Marc's not talking to me during that time (yes, I acknowledge that he'd probably be playing video games and not talking to me either). It boils down to a certain amount of insecurity. I'm second fiddle right now and I'm not liking it.

And dammit, I'm not in this for recognition but c'mon....who's been by your side kid since the moment you were born? Who's never left? Who's provided? Who's pinched pennies, scraped change, and made sure you have everything you need? I can tell you it wasn't Roy.

So by Sunday I was just a little angry.

And this morning, I'm angry, irritated, happy.....and insecure about my looks. Really?? WTF? It started last night as he made plans to come visit and all of a sudden I was thinking of the times he cheated and told me I'd let myself go. Now I'm going to worry about how much I weigh and my gray hair and now I'm doubly irritated. All that really matters is I raised an amazing son but I'm worried I'm not attractive.

So, now I'm torn between feeling justified in my feelings and feeling a little selfish (I've managed to make this all about me now haven't I??). I'm hopeful that this is the right thing to do but I also worry about Marc's heart. I'm just praying that this works out. In the meantime, I'll retreat inside my head and work through all these emotions and most importantly, support Marc during this time.