How to Have a Camping Mis-Adventure in 20 Simple Steps

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1. Overpack, because you love food and that’s what you do.
2. Bring along an extra kid and an extra dog. Because that’s what you do.
3. Feel slight panic set in as you pull into the camp spot just this side of nowhere because your oil light (the bad, scary one) starts flashing right as you get there.
4. Check the oil. Curse inwardly or outwardly, doesn’t matter, because the dipstick is DRY.
5. Curse some more because you had your oil changed exactly one week ago.
6. Pray for cell phone signal and call your personal rescue team because you’ve now reached the limits of your mechanic skills, cuss words and all.
7. Make arrangements for rescue the next day. Because it’s late and you were already planning on camping. And you’re an Alaskan girl.
8. Set up camp, complete with a half-baked tarp cover and a very sad little fire. Because you’re not the *perfect* Alaskan girl.

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9. Enjoy campfire-cooked dinner and dessert. Realize that you did not over- pack because, contrary to popular belief, teenage girls eat just as much as teenage boys.
10. Realize your crew is the bear bait of the little campground because you’re the only ones tent-camping. Review bear spray usage with kids.
11. Relax lake side, watch the changing light and reflections, take pictures, write a bit. Breathe. Because all of this – God and nature and beauty – is bigger than broken vehicles.
12. Sleep in a tent full of three people, three dogs, and stuff. Because that’s clearly what they meant when they diabolically slapped a label on it that said “3-Man Tent.”
13. Wake up every time the dogs growl. Because now you’ve given yourself bear-anoia. And a small-caliber pistol doesn’t phase a bear.
14. Wake up at an ungodly hour, because  apparently teens don’t sleep in when you actually want them to, and discover your bra strap mysteriously broke while you were not wearing it and while you were sleeping. Laugh. Because life.
15. Make breakfast, periodically pulling at your broken bra, wishing you had Irish cream for your coffee. Because camping.
16. Kayak for a bit while waiting to be rescued. Because kayaking. Also, see #11 above.
17. Experience a somewhat tricky rescue, including multiple trips for the rescuer and barely getting the vehicle (topped by a kayak) on the trailer. Because life. And because family rocks.
18. Return to town and call on parts to discover the one you need has to be ordered from out of state. Because Alaska.
19. Rescuer fixes car with substition. Because he’s determined, might have witnessed a frustrated tear or two, and because Alaskans make things work.
20. After many prayers and almost as many cuss words, return home, run a bath, write a ridiculously long post, and find that Irish cream. BECAUSE.
-KJ Roe

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Frankly, My Dear…

People say they don’t like drama. But they love the Scarlet O’Haras of the world.

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Olivia de Havilland as Melanie & Vivien Leigh as Scarlet in Gone With the Wind; image via charmofthecarolines.com

“You’re a very sweet person, but…”

It’s never a good thing when someone starts out a conversation like this. Like they’re trying to soften the blow of whatever it is they’re going to say next by building me up, by acknowledging one of my better traits. But what they’re really doing is discounting it. Saying, You’re a very sweet person, but it doesn’t matter. You’re a very sweet person, but it’s not good enough. Not exciting enough. What they are saying, in essence, is that the best of me is just not “enough” for them.

Really?

People say they don’t like drama. All the time. But they are attracted to it. They love the Scarlet O’Haras of the world. People like the one who draws attention in a crowd, who draws the eye and the ear. They like the one who argues and slams doors and expresses their opinions – loudly. They think that a person who doesn’t do these things is weak and uninteresting. Those ones – the Melanies – are too sweet, too quiet, too – boring.

But the Melanies of the world are tough.They have been hurt and suffered more losses than many people know. They don’t expect other people to carry these burdens for them. They carry their weight. Melanies hold their own cards in this game of life, and they work with whatever hand is dealt them. They keep their poker face, playing each round without throwing in or throwing down their cards. What good would it do? They’d just have to pick them back up again.

Melanies take care of themselves and their families and their homes. They are the ones who give quiet strength and direction to the Scarlets when the Scarlets can’t find their way. They bring presence, observation, and sometimes wisdom to a situation. They have depth and perspective born of experience and introspection. Where a Scarlet brings excitement, Melanies bring peace. Scarlet may be fire, but Melanie is the mesmerizing glow of the coals.

Given the option daily, I choose to be Melanie.

So I don’t drive the drama train. I don’t command the room’s attention. I have opinions, and I will share them, but I will not shout them or demand that others agree. I will not expect that everyone drop what they are doing and focus on me. Why? Because it’s not all about me. I choose to be considerate, to stay positive, and to take the path of kindness. I will be the coals, lambent with the heat of heart and soul.

People don’t have to like it. Heck, people don’t have to like me. If my being “sweet” doesn’t work for some people, that’s fine.

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Bring in the Zebras

We have presidential elections coming up. Bring in the circus animals. Elephants, donkeys -why would we need anything else?

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Black & white photo of original artwork ©Dickson

I know I can’t be the only one who sees it. For one thing, I’m not the brightest crayon in the box (humanity should be thanking God for that). For another, I’ve had multiple conversations and heard snippets of other people’s. So you see, I’m not the only one. It’s fairly plain and simple. Rather black and white.

There are rules. Laws. If it is illegal, it shouldn’t be done. If it is uncouth, it should be avoided. If frowned upon, we should walk away.

How fortunate that much has been decided for us.

This includes the political and economic issues that are becoming more critical every day. Possible war with yet another country is hardly newsworthy. After all, we have presidential elections coming up. Bring in the circus animals. Elephants, donkeys -why would we need anything else?

Debates are occurring as I write. The future of the nation may very well be at stake. Those who do not want Trump to win must be ready ro vote for Hillary; if you don’t want Hillary, you’d better be ready to vote for Trump.

Wait – What? Are we saying that there are truly only two ways of looking at the political, economic, and international future of the United States? That there are only two parties? And if there are, that these two humans are the best the U.S. has to offer?

Remember, several years ago, the British royal family was the butt of a lot of jokes. They were practically treated like the laughingstock of Western political conversation.

Well, thank goodness the U.S. didn’t let them stay on top for that one.

And thank goodness the media provides us with such unbiased, well-rounded coverage of the electoral candidates. I mean, really, there are only two political parties in the U.S., and only two ways of looking at things, right? Democrat or Republican – all of those other parties, the ones the media barely mentions, they don’t really count. Right? They “only” make up 42% of the voting public. More than either the Democrats or Republicans – but who’s counting? (Certainly not the electoral college, which often has tended to vote for politics and not the will of the people.)

Speaking of not counting, I thoroughly enjoy hearing how important the Iowa, New York, and California primaries and votes are. I mean, there are only 50 states. Four or five – ten percent of the nation – should certainly decide the final options for the presidential ballot, and then decide who ultimately wins the election. States like Alaska and Hawaii – do their votes even matter? (If indeed anyone’s does – you cheeky electoral college, you.) Think about it – the polls of all other states are closed and counted before Alaskan or Hawaiian votes can even be tallied. Good thing New York and California know what’s best.

It’s refreshing. No decision-making power,  no input to what happens in the nation we are a part of. Why worry about it? Why waste our time at all? Let other people make the decisions. Let them appoint “leaders” over us and enact laws we must follow. They know what is best for us. They know what’s right. And they know what’s wrong. After all, it’s all black and white.

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror

I’m thinking of breaking all the mirrors in my house. Maybe all the screens, too. Heck, maybe I’ll just leave the house, and the town, and society. I’ll never measure up anyway.

At least, that’s what they tell me. Tell us. Because it’s the same message they’re giving you. Giving everyone. Probably even themselves. Possibly mostly themselves.

No matter what, we will never be “enough.” Not smart enough, pretty enough, fun enough, serious enough. For years, women have been told to worry about whether their butt was too big, and men, whether their belly was too round. That they had to pick clothes that emphasized a shapely-but-not-too-wide-at-the-hips figure. Now, thanks to idiotic media focus on things like the Kardashians’ anatomy, we’re supposed to worry that our butts aren’t big enough.

Don’t even mention breasts. There’s still plenty of film – digital, video, or still – dedicated to cleavage, and I have had to resign myself to the fact that no amount of padded-ultra-push-up-underwire-lift is ever going to make me look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Now, however, there is Continue reading “Mirror, Mirror”