on christmas day in the morning

So I was fortunate enough to combine hanging out with a friend and a hike into the same morning. We picked my favorite place, the Holy Jim Trail near Trabuco Canyon, CA. I used to hike it every other weekend when I lived here and really missed it a lot after I left. They (sorta) named it after a man called Jim Smith who went by the nickname "Cussin Jim". He lived there in the late 1800's and was a beekeeper. The trail was officially named "Holy Jim" instead of "Cussin Jim" when it came time to list the place on a map. I guess they did that so it wouldn't offend anyone. I'm also guessing that Jim's original nickname was presumably because he did just that whenever he was stung by the bees he kept. That's my educated guess since the history on it is scarce. I digress.

This was just what we all needed given how much we were eating over this last week. My schedule has been a continuous parade of work, spending time with family, spending time with friends, and sharing meals with them all. Funny how things change while you're away because I saw minor improvements and tweaks along the way in. In summation, it was a beautiful day lined with good company and conversation. And now it's picture time ...

Leader of the Lewis and Bark Expedition

This took hours to cross.
Mostly because it was scary to me.
Strangers in a strange land.
We were frightened, very frightened. No really!
In the end, this is what we chased.


catching up

I'm a bit late addressing some of these items but wanted to touch on each of them still. I'm spending this Xmas with my family in California and even though I'm still working (remotely) I've got more time to get a lot of these loose ends tied up.

[Happy Anniversary]
I created the blog in Oct 2010. Unfortunately it took me about a month to figure out and get to posting the opener. If you happen to go back and read it .... Yeah I know, I can't believe that took me a whole month to come up with that. Good thing I've been able to come up with slightly more interesting posts since then and even be kind of funny in writing. Friends say I'm much more entertaining in person.

[The Great Purge of 2010]
It was this time last year when I finally got around to reducing 16 moving boxes of stuff down to 3 (that will go into storage when I hit the road). I'd thought that there was going to be another great purge in 2011 but am happy to report that (over the last year) I have done a great job in not adding a single item. The only things I did find that needed to go were some clothes. 

[Significant Other]
I really wrestled with this one last year. I think the thing that made it so hard is that I was kind of missing the things a relationship can bring you. It'd already been about 4 years past a pretty bad breakup I'd gone through. I avoided it during that period and thought I was ready again with everything else in my life getting back on track last year. I examined things and decided against pursuing anything with anyone. That was until I met a girl a little into the new year. Even though parts of me (guess which ones - tee hee) were willing to pursue her my heart wasn't into it and we only ever remained friends. That tested my resolve but I'm glad to say that that, and time have shown me that I'd made the right decision. It's not that I don't ever want a relationship again. I really do. I reevaluated my decision about not dating at all when I hit the road and decided to open myself to the possibility at that time. To Mrs right, I really hope you're out there and will be ready then. I'm a little bit tired of waking up to find myself spooning beagle. Don't get me wrong because I love her to death and she me. It's just not the same.


why are you doing this - leftovers

What's the matter, cat got your tongue?

When I wrote about this last June I thought I covered things fairly well. I didn't. I realized I left out a sub-group of friends whom I've nicknamed "The Silence". These are the people who listen quietly and say nothing. When pressed, more often than not, their opinion is not a favorable one. At other times they simply don't have an opinion, but this is the exception rather than the rule. The unfavorable opinion spectrum runs from general concern to an immediate and condescending change of opinion about you and the lifestyle change. I have a handful of friends who fell into this category. I understand the wisdom of saying nothing when you have nothing good to say. This makes sense if you don't know the person and it's none of your business but it's absolute rubbish when it comes to friends. Positive or negative, something you say might be a missing piece of info they'll need.

Why wouldn't you where a friend is concerned?

Ok this part was added after the fact. I felt I had a bit more to say when I read what I'd written this morning. I realize this is just a me thing, but it irks me so I'm getting it off my chest. I've had a few occasions where the mere mention (direct or indirect) about my plans results in "the silence". I guess this is one of those times in life where I'm learning who my real friends are versus the fairweather friends.


the slabs

On my way to see family for Xmas in CA I had an opportunity to visit a friend this weekend. I've been anxious to see the place ever since I'd first read about it. There's plenty of material about the place so I'm covering just what I saw and experienced there. The drive in takes you through the sleepy farming town of Niland. The place looks like the great depression arrived eighty years ago and never left. There's a two lane mile long stretch of desert road which separates the town from it. The first thing telling you you're going the right way is an old decoratively painted concrete guard shack. A little after that you see Salvation Mountain, and then you finally see the Slabs. Parts of it was kind of like being in a third world slum or shanty town. It's one thing to see pictures or video but nothing comes close to experiencing it in person. I arrived about an hour before the sun set so I didn't get to see much until the next day. My friend and I spent the time getting caught up over dinner, and then had freaky nasty sex to marching band music. I'm kidding and just making sure you're still with me. After dinner she took me to "The Range" where there was live music and the best mix of people from all walks of life having a good time. It's located at the slabs and is an open air stage where anyone can go up and perform. Even stray dogs are allowed up there. I meant to take more pictures but kind of forgot to on account of the great time I had that night. Even despite an allergy attack. In the morning I toured the place while my friend gave me the low down on the place and it's politics. We went to the Oasis where most of the camp was having breakfast already. It's basically a donation only restaurant from what I'm told. This is how they get around having to get a business license and have to deal with the health department. I got to talking with a few people about what brought them there and how they manage. All I'm going to say is that there are some who have great pensions and others who have brilliantly worked the system to their advantage. It really is such a unique and complex place that defies any conventional definition. I realize that description is kind of a cop out, but I'm pretty sure anyone whose been there would agree with me. I spent one night and half a day there, but it is a place I plan to go back to and stay a while.


a new career path?

This has been a subject that's been on my mind since I moved away from CA almost 4 years ago. It took me a little over a year for me to figure out what I wanted to do. I simply haven't figured how I want to make a living at it yet. The what is working with or helping animals. When this was first realized I toyed with the idea of becoming a vet tech, but was dismissed a year later. Since then I've been in a bit of a quandary as to how. The reason being is that the work traditionally anchors you someplace. Yes there are mobile alternatives but the work often dictates where you go. I'm hoping to find something where I can retain the freedom of choice to go where I want to when I want to while still finding employment there. Within reason of course. Since I still haven't figured it out I've decided that I when I start this life I will then volunteer at animal sanctuaries in my travel paths. This should help me see my way clear.

I hope.