Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Grocery Store Pick Up Lines!?!

Is something along the lines of "Do you come here often?" still considered a pick-up line if you're at the grocery store!?! 

Clueless. Doesn't everyone go to the grocery store often?

I think he actually said, "You come here a lot, don't you?" I'm not sure if I should be embarrassed or creeped out that he notices how much I grocery shop!?! Lol?

I was just like..."ha...yaaahh..."

Awkward. Don't make eye contact. Stare into the misty glass doors of the frozen foods.

Then he opened and closed all the frozen food glass doors and said, "It's hard to see when they're all fogged up isn't it?"

Again, me with the, "Ha...yah..."

Original. Sigh.

"I've worked here six years."

"...Oh yah, that makes sense," I think I said. 

What? What makes sense? Return to searching for frozen vegetables through fogged glass doors.

Lucky for me, or him, he finally walked away. 

I wanted to go grocery shopping today but didn't want to look like I was trying to be there on purpose, when I'm feeling cute in my new favorite outfit and *same* sweater, ya know? So now, I'm out of blueberries!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

EVERYTHING You Need to Know Before You Hike Bridge To Nowhere

The infamous Bridge!
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
  • $5 Adventure (parking) Pass required
  • Hike length about 10 miles round trip.
  • Hydrate the day before.
  • Bring MORE water than you think you need-I brought 1/2 gallon and felt it was NOT enough. 
  • Vault toilet at the parking lot and trailhead.
  • You WILL get wet-water levels vary by season but there will be multiple river crossings.
  • NOT for newbies or beginners.
  • NOT stroller friendly.
  • Bring plenty of high protein/energy foods.
  • Wear sunscreen and reapply along the trail--here are a few suggestion markers to remember:
  1. before hitting the trail
  2. at the river crossing that has the ruins of a wall on each side
  3. at the bridge where the Sheep Mountain sign is.
  4. after swimming at the  destination Bridge.




    1. ALL these pictures are in opposite trail order,
      from the end to the start.
This was my fourth time taking this hike. A friend who had never taken it before joined me. It felt more challenging than previous times but also more rewarding. The great thing about this hike is that even though it is primarily full sun, you can hear and see the river most of the way. It adds a refreshing and soothing element to be near the water.

Right now, the river is flowing nicely. Expect to get wet. Dress and prepare appropriately.  River crossings were at about ankle depth for me (5'6) and I could mostly keep my feet dry by rock hopping across but I did get my shoes a bit wet on the way up and fully submerged on the way down because I wanted to move faster and stepped right in. Do whatever you feel most comfortable doing. The depth can be unpredictable and the rocky bottom slippery and unstable. If you don't mind sandy feet on the trail, water shoes might be good. You could always stop and change shoes at every water crossing but that will add time and may begin to feel like a nuisance.

The watery views are gorgeous right now. Last time I was here the water had more of a grey look to it and the water under the bridge was a chocolately brown--think Willy Wonka's chocolate river. Seriously. This time around, the water holes were sparkling blue and clear!

Waterfall and swimming hole below the bridge.
Most of this hike is FULL sun. Dehydration and heat exhaustion/stroke/sun stroke is a real concern. Please familiarize yourself with the signs and be honest with yourself if you or anyone in your party begins to exhibit them. The trail will always be there and waiting for you. Always choose safety over risk. I strongly suggest hydrating the day before and bringing more water than you think you will need.

I saw one suggestion of bringing 1 liter which is 33 ounces. I brought 1/2 a gallon which is 64 ounces, twice as much. I still felt like it was NOT enough. Remember you need to have enough water for the trip up AND enough for the hike down! If you run out of water before you have reached your destination-TURN AROUND immediately. I am not joking. Actually, if you drink HALF the water you brought--TURN AROUND--regardless if you have reached the bridge or not! If you have or use a filter system, well then, you're obviously at a river.

Of course sunscreen is a MUST! As well as sun protective gear like spf clothing, long sleeves and a hat. Not everyone likes to cover up so at the very least, wear a hat and sunscreen. Don't forget to reapply. This hike is HOURS long. I offered a few reapply location suggestions above to help you have visual cues to remember.

Calm shallow water well past and beyond the bridge.
There are gold panners along the river. They won't be hiking on the trail but will be hanging out along the river digging or panning, or at their camps. The regulars may look rugged and give off a friendly or stay away vibe. I respect the sense I get and give a friendly acknowledgement of 'Find anything today?' or 'Good luck' as we pass if they seem inviting, or just eye contact with a nod if they are busy and continue on our way. Always use wisdom and caution. I have never ran into trouble but be aware of your surroundings at all times. You may also come across weekend adventurers attempting their luck at striking it rich!

Away from the river, the trail is dry and dusty with native drought tolerant plants. I noticed some Poison Oak. Again be aware! Try to avoid contact with any plant you don't have definitive recognition of. If you come in contact with any Poison Oak, Tecnu is a good product and they have a variety for before and after exposure. Signs of exposure may not be immediate and reactions can be delayed up to 2 weeks.

Same waterfall pictured above from farther back.Graffiti sux!
The trail itself can be tricky at times. Often what appears to be the trail, is just common worn ground from people hanging at the river. The trail does stay along the river a little but often strays away and above the river. It feels counter-intuitive. The first time we hiked here we did not make it to the Bridge because we missed a turn along the trail and stayed along the river. The good thing is if you begin to feel disorientated or lose the trail, you CAN follow the river OUT and back as long as you are going in the right direction.

Don't be afraid to ask other hikers you see for directions whether you are heading up or down. No room for pride on the trail. That includes HOW you hike. This trail has climbs over boulders, up rocky steps, including steep and narrow, gravel/slippery spots. Take your time. Sit, slide, scoot, hold hands, whatever is necessary to always stay SAFE. Be prepared for unexpected emergencies (that goes for any hike!). Have an escape plan in place and make sure all hikers in your party are familiar with it. Know what you will do if you or someone in your party is injured and must move slower or can not walk at all. You will NOT have phone reception btw. This is also why it is a good idea to bring extra supplies, a first aid kit and food/water. Again, I have NEVER had an issue but I always keep these things in mind. You can respond better if you have a plan before hand than in the chaos and stress of the moment. Normally, I am also hiking with numerous kids of varied ages, even though I was kid free this time. (my youngest did this same hike the first time when he was 5 years old!)

Because of the nature and length of the trail, it is best to start as early as possible. We got out there *late* on this trip, starting about 10:40am. We did ok but we were headed up at the hottest time of the day and headed down as the sun was setting. It's a canyon so the mountains block out a lot of light as the sun sets. The tree cover also limits light and visibility. Keep that in mind with your timing and how long you want to hang out at the bridge.

Sparkling river as the sun sets.
 This time we actually hiked beyond the Bridge. There are many small rocky waterfalls to see and enjoy. Most people stop right under the Bridge before turning around and heading back. If you have time, it's still worth it to explore farther. It feels like a a bit of paradise. My pictures definitely do NOT do it justice. I felt like I could stay there all day and did not want to leave.You will probably enjoy a little more privacy and solitude beyond the bridge as well.

The area of the Bridge and beyond is *private property*. Please be respectful and follow all posted rules. There is no fishing, gold panning or camping there (around the Bridge) but there is camping and fishing before the bridge on the public land. The gold panning is debatable.

The water was not cold at all. Depths in the swimming holes were unpredictable and the water rush at the falls is powerful. There are very shallow spots and deep areas. In one waterfall pool, the depth went from my ankles to my neck due to underwater ledges, boulders and rocks. Many of the rocks can be unpredictably slippery too.






The following pix are examples of the environment and trail conditions along this hike. Most of it is full sun, dry and dusty. We saw a ton of lizards--more than I've ever seen before. We did not and never have encountered a rattle snake but others HAVE. Be aware and know snake protocol.  Depending on the time of day, you may also encounter many other types of animals. There will also be bees, and other flying insects as well as creepy crawlies, large ants, beetles, spiders and possibly infestations of fly larvae along rocks and logs in the water (they look like tiny black worms). It was not bad enough for us to need bug repellent on this day but that is your call.

Pets/dogs ARE allowed on this trail. It will be hot. Protect your dogs paws. It is not uncommon for a dog to have to be carried out due to fatigue/heat exhaustion/burned paws. If you are unsure, leave your pet safely at home.






This is a very narrow spot.
Take heed for rattle snakes. Stay near the center
and make noise warning of your presence.

If the river is low (it is in some areas) you can walk right
down the middle of it. This was only an option at one spot.

Those spiky looking plants HURT.
Try to avoid them.

A few cool spots near the river offer
respite from the blazing sun with a definitive
temperature drop.

This is a very narrow section leading down under the bridge.
There is one potentially major fear inducing step.
Go slow and use caution.

Expect dry dirt, gravel and dust.

This part of the trail was wider today than it has been
in the past but is still narrow. It has small gravel which produces a slide risk.

The trail can disappear in the wide open areas.
Pay attention to foot prints left by others.
Bring a map.
Look for other hikers.
Ask for directions if possible.

This is an amazingly rewarding trail. I hope you enjoy it and stay safe! 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I Might be Addicted to *Theme Units*

  

Because I'm totally a nerd mom I had to take a picture of some of the packets, aka theme units I developed for K to work thru this last year-2nd grade (as I'm clearing out the clutter). I am such a sucker for theme units so I'd scour the internet for crafts, projects and printables and put it all together.

It never seems like much is accomplished in the moment and I always feel like we could or should be doing more, more, more.  Now that I look at these though...wow! Pretty cool. Some are missing for who knows what reason...lost, crumpled, left in the car and inevitably, tossed. Gasp! Which is where these are headed. In the recycling bin of course! 

Here are few of the themes we covered and shown in this pic: 
  • My Five Sense
  • Your Body
  • Diary of an Elf
  • My Reindeer Report
  • Winter/Christmas Around the World
  • Rain
  • Spring
  • Valentine's Day
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Tropical Rain Forest
  • The Arctic
  • Oceans
Of course I found a couple that were left more unfinished than finished to include in this picture. Haha! We'll finish them up this summer. Think I wouldn't!?!

I choose a theme, which usually matches the current weather, season, or holiday of the month. It's super easy to find printables (mostly free) for every subject on every topic. Hello Pinterest!?! I personally have a few fav sites that I use regularly Education.com (some printables are free but I have full access with a subscription from our charter school) and Readworks.org (for language arts passages). Those two links usually make up my base. From there I search for themed math worksheets. He has a math book so those would be supplementary and colorful! I use multi-media like youtube to find interesting videos to match the theme.

I can incorporate language arts, math, science, social studies and/or history and even fine art. Science is often my starting point or subject because language arts can be incorporated with anything. Occasionally I will create a packet that focuses solely on language arts skills using reading passages, graphic organizers, writing prompts and reading comprehension such as a Fairy Tale packet I created. Or one that had beautiful, full-color graphic organizers that was all about writing good sentences and solid paragraphs with a main idea and supporting sentences.  

I use science topics the most though because helllooo...experiments! When I shared in class that I prefer to use theme units, my professor responded that it is hard and takes years of experience to create theme units. I don't know if that is true or not since I DO have years (19 so far!) of experience. I certainly don't think it is hard though. If I may be honest, I love theme units because it feels so easy. Like the lazy mom's way to home-educate! Why not use one topic and hit all the subjects instead of having 6 separate subjects AND topics?

Over all, I can say, now that it's summer, that we had a great year. I was doubtful at times. Scared often. Home-educating is a huge responsibility. My darlings aren't always as excited about it as I am! I don't know why. ;-) We also did a lot of organic learning...while hiking, visiting nature centers and various outdoor environments in different seasons and all kinds of weather.

Theme units aren't just for lower and elementary grades either. I created my high schoolers fine arts syllabus month-to-month following the same idea: theme, youtube, printable, art project. Voila! (I can share more about that later...on my homeschool blog --I promise to catch up soon. I have lots of drafts to update from this past school year.)

There you have it folks...the lazy mom's guide too homeschool. Maybe that should have been the title? 


Sunday, April 9, 2017

I Watched 13 Reasons Why with My teens and I think You Should Too


I know, I know, some of you may be cringing or judging me as a mother right now. First, yes, the series contains mature content and subject matter. It also contains foul language, acts of bullying, graphic depictions of violence, assault, and rape, sexual situations and partial nudity. This may be upsetting or trigger inducing to some viewers.

It also contains a VERY realistic story-line about a highschool student who commits suicide. Via cassette tape, she outlines a series of events that led her to that point in her life.

So why would I recommend this? Because these horrific situations happen everyday and they are not isolated events. It's very eye-opening, especially in a digital age, how a seemingly minor incident can be twisted, blown out of proportion and shared, in a matter of seconds. This is serious and life altering for a teenager.

I especially implore you to watch the interview at the end, even skip the series and go straight to the interview if you want. We need to talk about these topics with each other, with our children. Sure, maybe you think you can talk about it without watching it (we fast-fwd through objectionable scenes, truth be told). However, even the parents depicted in this series are clueless. Not by choice. Everyone is trying but at the same time, they are trapped within the same 'system'. Looking out for themselves, hoping they don't become targets.

It clearly and accurately depicts the depth of pain that can occur over something that appears so trivial on the surface. The nature of relationships, hierarchy of survival and dynamics within teen (and even young adult) culture.

What is the redeeming factor of watching a series like this? Awareness. Having the hard conversations with your kids. Changing our own patterns of behavior toward each other. Pursuing real relationship with others and potentially the teens within our community or sphere of influence.
I think I have a good relationship with my kids but there are still things I don't know. I don't spend the 4 hours at the skate park with my son. I don't sit in their writing class with them. I am not at the dance studio. And I am considered a very involved parent. There is autonomy so it is impossible to know everything in one's heart, even those closest to us. But we can try.

I pursue relationship with my kids. But we have to be honest. We have to be safe and approachable. We HAVE to look beyond the surface of our children's lives and watch for the nuances of communication and BE there. We have to listen, even if we're tired. There aren't always signs of trauma but we need to pay attention when our children are trying.

We need to teach them that we can be trusted. Even with the hard stuff. Even with their dumb, or worse, choices.

Yes, we need Jesus. Guess what? Depression, despair, bullying, assault, violence and rape...all exists even with Jesus. They exist within our churches. In our youth groups. In our sanctuaries.
Lets start talking about it!




National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
24 Hour – Local Referrals
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
1-888-628-9454 (En Espanol)
1-800-799-4TTY (4889)
VETERANS PRESS “1"
Teen Line
800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336)
California Youth Crisis Line
1-800-843-5200
24 Hours Bilingual



Friday, February 24, 2017

Parenting WITH Fear Today

I have intentionally worked on parenting *without* fear. Not making decisions influenced by fear-based-outcomes but focusing on the positive. For the first time ever, I had a discussion with my ktbunch, giving advice, based strictly on *fear*.

Because yesterday, a grown man grabbed a 13yo against his will, refused to let him go and eventually pulled out a gun that fired. I watched a few of the original eye-witness videos last night before they were grabbed by local news media, edited, altered and chopped to pieces. I watched with fear in my own heart thinking I was about to witness a 13yo get killed. I watched as a human but probably more, without trying to, as a mother.

 I've heard and read the commentary on the incident. About how horrible the 13yo was for "being disrespectful" & that he "deserved" it. Somehow justifying the use of physical force and an armed weapon to accomplish what? Control? Prove a point?
We teach our children stranger danger, if there was ever an attempt by someone to grab them they must fight, kick and scream, do whatever needs to be done to get away...yet this 13yo, being grabbed & dragged by a stranger, who is bigger and stronger, is being called disrespectful? His entire generation is being called disrespectful. His mother is being accused of being a horrible parent.

So I tell my kids, from now on...yes, be respectful BUT...But what? Be *perfect*? You have no rights? You won't be protected? You can't make a mistake? You can't trust adults? What!?! What DO I tell them? That there are CRAZY people out there who obviously have NO problem with the idea of pulling out an armed weapon if you walk on their lawn or speak back at them when they curse you, or are surrounded by other teens walking home from school, or you're wearing a hoodie at night...

Do I tell them they can expect to be viewed as guilty until proven innocent? So walk with your eyes down and your nose clean. Mind your business son...just keep on walking. Do I tell them they are not allowed to make mistakes? That the strongest guy will win. The lightest color guy will win? YES, I know other mothers have lived with this fear for decades. I know. I'm sorry.

Of course, being disrespectful is never appropriate. But is the correct response to a mouthy teen to pull out a gun!?! Since when it is ok to put your hands on and grab a 13 year old, you don't even know!?! If a parent reacted the way the man in this incident did, they'd be charged with child abuse! So how is it ok for this guy? Why did the teen get immediately cuffed, arrested and charged and the man got a calm, 'talking to' and then given 72 hour 'administrative leave'. No charges have been filed against him. Apparently he is entitled to an investigation. What was the teen entitled to?

It's true we do not know what happened before the video. We have only heard the teen's side of the story so far. From what I saw, the teen was acting like a punk, sure. However, I don't see where that justifies the grown adult, reacting physically, trying to force his will upon the teen and then pulling out a weapon. That is an abuse of authority, intimidation, bullying, etc.

I have questions. I don't have answers. My heart is heavy.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

What Our Advent *might* Look Like This Year.

Things have been challenging the past year and even more so the past few months. I really looked forward to Advent as a time of focused devotion to the scriptures of Christmas, the intentional time to gather with my ktbunch and breathe. It's not all faith and Bible verses but it mostly is. I added a new Advent book/devotional/calendar on a whim last month and could barely wait to bring it out. We are not organized, we are not uptight and we may go strong for a few days a week, for a few weeks. It's something though. A time set apart for meditation, prayer, and being together. It's effort and right now, that's about all I've got to give: good intentions.

All the Colors of Christmas
First, here are the books we pull from: 

I bought this Advent activity Calendar new this year. It has a daily devotional, an advent calendar tree to assemble, and activities to go along with each devo. The main part of this book though, is the brilliant illustrations to color. The pages are large and I expect it could take us years of advent celebrations, to finish each page.

The ktbunch is free to color while they listen if they wish. There is no pressure to participate but the option is there.



Christ in Christmas


I also have a few favorites I have collected through the years and continue to use to enrich our time together. My first book was this classic pictured on the left.

This book contains guided scripture readings, devotional content, classic faith based Christmas carols to sing, an activity and prayer for each Sunday of advent.

We sing the Christmas carol together and it offers another option to enrich our time together.







The next little book is not an Advent book at all. It's a book of prayers I found at the grocery store a few years ago but the prayers are Christmas themed and each one includes a Bible verse.

Each passage is short enough that my seven year old can read it with ease, without becoming over whelmed.


Touching Wonder

This next book I own digitally on Kindle. This one is also an absolute favorite of mine! It is such an honest, raw account of Christmas, as told through each of the characters and players of the scriptural story we know so well. It's not a dreamy version or account but an awe inspiring, gritty and fresh perspective that moved my heart and soul.

The book also includes pencil drawings/illustrations and a hand written letter commentary image for each chapter from the author.






We are reading our scriptures from this Bible I purchased a few months ago. The bible itself is beautiful. It features illustrations to color and wide, lined margins for your own personal journaling and creative expression.










And one more book...that I can only HOPE to use this year...not an Advent or devotional at all but still Christmas themed...it's a COOK BOOK!

A gorgeous book filled with spiritual comfort and recipes to meet your physical and emotional needs. Haha. I also found this one at the grocery store, last year I think.

It features gorgeous full color pictures and scriptures.

Now along with these primarily faith based books and reading selections, I also pull from a variety of Christmas themed books on my Kindle. Most were freebies; novels, a few classics and a couple collections that feature passages from various Christmas books, poems and traditional readings.

Here is a list of some of the books i have acquired for FREE via Kindle.

The Gift  of the Magi
A Christmas Carol
Christmas Stories and Legends
A Little Book of Christmas
The Night Before Christmas and Other Popular Stories for Children
The Children's Book of Christmas Stories

Here's what our modern-use-what-you-have-and-do-what-you-can-Advent looks like:

I don't aim to do *everything* on my Advent wish-it-looked-like-list, but whatever. We gather on my bed, the only common meeting place we have right now. And we take turns reading scriptures, passages, prayers and stories from the variety of resources we have. We may snuggle afterward and watch a Christmas movie if there is one. We will color if anyone wants to in the new advent coloring book. We'll sing a Christmas carol. Maybe we'll do the recommended activity for the evening and maybe we won't. It strictly depends on what we have available, to be honest.

If I'm feeling ambitious, maybe I will have something fresh baked...ok, let's be real! A cup of hot chocolate or tea seems more realistic. We'll see how it goes. Haha. My whole life is in storage and that means all my Christmas decorations. I am trying to keep Christmas in my heart, and maybe that is the point over all. Maybe the forced simplicity can produce peace in the midst of the unrest that is our current lives. Attitude of gratitude, right!?! Got it! 

















Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Hike Day: El Dorado Nature Center, Long Beach


This local nature center is a real gem, located  in suburbia. It's more of a walk then a hike and is great for younger kids especially. There are restrooms and water fountains located at the nature center and another about half way along the trail. The trail features a 1 or 2 mile option. Also, there is a 1/4 mile paved trail that makes this stroller and wheel chair friendly.

There is a parking fee as follows:
$5 Monday-Thursday
$6 Friday
$7 Saturday & Sunday
$8 on Holidays


We met some very friendly bird-watching photographers along our walk today. They let us use their binoculars to observe an osprey enjoying a fresh fish lunch over the lake. 


You will most likely see turtles along the bridge from the nature center and ducks, lizards, squirrels and possibly rabbits or even a snake along the way. Though this trail is nestled away in suburbia, there are beautiful views to be had, if you are looking for them. 


This is a fairly easy hike for us. Pretty flat, partial shade and sun. There are viewing and sitting areas along the path. This is a popular trail for bird watchers.

I usually head for the mountains but some days...you just gotta stay local and still get your outdoor fix.

Start the day outside! 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Friday Hike Day: Switzer Falls, Angeles National Forest


We've visited this trail before and it's still a fav. There is a parking lot along the side of the mountain road and there is a restroom located there. However, the trail starts at the bottom of that pull out road, if you follow it down. You will find 2 more parking locations and more restrooms. The trail features picnic areas and barBqs near the parking lot. Adventure Parking Pass required.

I can't get enough of the brilliant yellow and orange leaves of fall.
The trail offers shade with tree cover and full sun in spots. While we were hiking we saw two wood peckers going at it along the top of two trees. Depending on the season, your hike may be accompanied by a flowing or shallow creek. 


I've seen this falls flowing more at different seasons but it was still flowing a bit today. What many don't know however, is that there is another, even taller falls behind this one. It's beautiful when it is flowing and the hike to get there is only about 10 minutes beyond and behind Switzer. 


You must cross over this charming bridge to begin the hike. It's a great photo opp when the timer is on correctly. haha. We usually always stop and take a pic here.


Today we encountered this animal bone. Possibly a hip bone, maybe from a coyote? It was fun to examine and imagine what animal it may have originated from.

I recommend this hike as family friendly though there are a few narrow pathways at times. Definitely not stroller friendly beyond the first creek corssing. On a hot day, the full sun may get to you too. Always plan ahead and bring plenty of water and wear sun protective gear and clothing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Day After...

No, I'm not referring to some zombie apocalypse movie. I'm referring to what some believe is Trumpocalypse!  The dude isn't officially in office yet but he will be, as elected. Social media hasn't calmed down one bit. It's just as volatile today as it has been the last six months of campaigning. Apparently people are in shock, over come with grief, afraid...so much that university classes were being cancelled, students felt they couldn't attend...I heard from one elementary student, she was so distraught she couldn't stop crying and called her mother to take her home from school. Elementary school! Acts and threats of gun violence have been all over. Strangers threatening others about 'that wall.'

It's sorrowful. My heart is overwhelmed and now it's the end of the day, literally, call me selfish, but I'm not crying over the presidency or the future of America.

Today, I'm crying over the same sorrows I had yesterday. And last week. My family is still hurting, not more or less then yesterday. I still have to figure out how to live MY life, right now. Not three months from now. Not next year but now.

I have to figure out how to cope with the challenges I am facing every day. Every freaking day. Tonight, while praying with my seven year old, I finally broke down, right in front him. HE was wiping tears from my eyes and I felt like even more of a failure.

I'm crying because I feel like I will never be free. I will never get ahead, much less catch up. I'm crying because I've had to start my life over except with less energy, resources, tight skin and youth than the first time and way more responsibility. I'm crying because I'm worn out, tired of fighting not even for dreams anymore, but a basic human standard of decent living. I'm crying cause I feel like all the energy, love and hope of my youth was stolen from me.

Mr. T, Mrs. C, third parties, celebrities, global leaders, mega church pastors, all of you, I don't care! I don't care who won. I don't think God cares. I don't think He's up there pointing fingers at everyone who voted different from you or I. I'm praying tonight...that He cares about ME. That He moves in MY life.

I already said, sure, call me selfish. I am not going to suddenly give advice or condemn or act like we can all be peace and love and do hippie macrame together. No. Never. I don't want to jump on that bandwagon. I don't have great words of wisdom, a pithy piece of scripture or other condescending phrases.

I know people legitimately feel hurt and scared. I feel it too. Probably for different reasons but it doesn't matter. Fear is fear.

I'd like to be able to write some profound, 'let's all get along' statement that would go viral. But alas...I don't have that either. Mr. T isn't going to fix even one of my problems! The Hill wasn't going to either.

I do know, that people will feel what they are going to feel. Let them. Let them vent. Let them disagree with you, so what. Let them rejoice. Let them cry. It could be...it has nothing to do with you or me or the president. I'm exhausted, same as yesterday.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Hike Day: Sycamore Canyon, Dark Canyon Trail, Whittier


We decided to take a different turn from the Sycamore Canyon trail we usually take. Keeping with the Halloween Spirit, we took the 'Dark Canyon' trail. Same small (free) parking lot and initial trail head as Sycamore Canyon.

When you reach the trail, you can turn right to continue on Sycamore Canyon Trail or continue straight to follow the Dark Trail. 


The trail is not long and eventually sort of ends or disappears when you come upon a small sign indicating you are now entering private property. It appears that going further could lead you to Rose Hills. 


It is not very high on the adventure scale. Depending on time of day could include a creepy vibe, lending itself to the perfect environment for a ghost story. Haha.

Temple at Rose Hills.

This is not a very challenging trail. While Sycamore Canyon Trail offers hills and switch backs that can be challenging, especially for beginners, Dark Canyon is fairly flat.



Great hike for newbies/beginners and when you want to be outdoors but not drive or hike very far or are limited in time.

Not stroller friendly unless you are super adventurous but safe for a child carrier or back pack.
No water when we went but depending on the season, the creek may have some water.

Enjoy!