Trail Fails

Historically, I have never been the one who is known for her athletic ability, nor have I ever been loved for my adventurous outdoorsmen spirit. Because I do not possess either of those. Never in my life have I been asked, “Hey, want to snowshoe across Siberia with me this winter?” (Who fucking does that anyway?)

Despite this, I have really been wanting to get into walking local trails for exercise. Well, if we are being completely honest, I just really want to marvel at the beauty of nature while I sit my fat ass on a comfortable rock. Doing this while eating something, like a dripping slice of watermelon heaven would really just be the cherry on top.

Because getting anyone I know to just sit in nature with me, without sounding like a total lazy loser, is a hard sell, I have been trying to be adventurous by engaging in hiking.

Well, I can most assuredly say that hiking don’t want my fat ass. Hiking wants me to just stay at home with my Halo Top ice cream and Netflix. Hiking does not play.

I’m going to detail three times I failed on the trails recently. Really, this could also qualify as a “This Is Why I’m Fat” post, because almost anyone would have given up after the first failed attempt. So, I hope the Trail Gods are listening. Ya’ll have some work to do…

A week or so ago (I’m a teacher on summer break, so I have no idea what day it is), a friend and I went on a much-needed girl getaway to the Point Reyes Seashore in California.

I stand or crouch behind all of my friends in pictures to appear smaller!
It was gorgeous, but strenuous. We did a lot of walking, trailing, and huffing and puffing.

1. The Stair Climb of Doom

Our first order of business was almost dying on the stairs to and from the Point Reyes Lighthouse. The climb is equivalent to 30.flights.of.stairs.

30 flights, ya’ll. 

I just thought I’d reiterate in case you missed it the first time.

It’s like the freaking Wall of China!
I’m 1000% sure my friend didn’t let on to that fact beforehand, because she knew for certain that it’d be a hard pass from me.

Despite the fact that an elderly man passed me on the hike up the stairs (do you see him in the picture?), and I had to stop at every rest point, it was actually totally worth the sweat-drenched pits and rat’s nest hair (it was so windy, that my phone almost blew away several times).

Fat Pro Tip: Stop to take a picture of literally anything every five minutes or so in order to catch your breath. They’ll have *no* idea!

2. Cataract Fall-Down-The-Hill-Trail

The day after almost needing to be airlifted from the lighthouse steps, we did some more adventurous trailing. I figured, “Why not? Might as well work on another bunion!”

The first few trails were quite easy, as there was no elevation or climb whatsoever. It was absolutely grand. Because we didn’t have to expend energy on moving our bodies up a steep hill, we had energy to climb trees and crawl into reproductions of Native American dwellings. I felt like an obese kid again (I was actually not obese as a child, strangely enough).

My legs were so sore from the previous day’s adventures, I almost didn’t make it out of that squat.
How I got up in that tree…I still don’t know!
 

It wasn’t until we thought it would be a good idea to try to find the Cataract Falls did we have problems. This is also the part in my story where I’m going to be putting All Trails on blast.

Not only was the following hike not “easy” as it was mistakenly rated, one of the lengths of the “loop” was not a trail at all. It was a grassy hill, and we almost broke our asses more times than I’d like to admit as we stepped/slid at a snail’s pace the whole entire way down. 

(I was also insanely afraid a mountain lion was going to come up behind me. Do you think that was irrational?)

Does this look like a trail to you??
This was a steep mother-effer!
When we made it to the bottom of the hill and the actual trail, we found that our pants, socks, and shoes were positively filled with foxtails and these terrible poky stickers that were absolute bitches to get off of our clothes and shoelaces.

We sat on the ground for a good 20 minutes, plucking shit out of everywhere!
If this wasn’t bad enough, when we got to our first trail marker, nowhere did it say “This way to the waterfall”, and the names of the available trails had nothing to do with the trail we thought we were on. We went the wrong way for 30 minutes before we got service on our phones and could see where we were on the trail.

When we finally found the waterfall, after a huge descent into what looked like middle earth, it was stunning and worth the trials we went through to get there. Well, it was a beautiful experience until I realized that’d I’d have to climb back to the car at some point.

Honestly, at one point during the hot, sweaty, and ugly hike back, I questioned how much it would cost for Search and Rescue to retrieve me from the trail.

It was so bad. And hard. 

The waterfall was a pretty anticlimactic affair, but the surrounding area was beautiful in an otherworldly-way.
3. Jones Creek Loop Trail AKA Call For Help

After being back home for a week or so, I decided that I would try hiking again (Why? Maybe I am a masochist, or I feel I deserve punishment for past transgressions?). So, the boyfriend and I looked up easy trails in the trees. Shade FTW!

We settled on the Jones Creek Loop Trail because it was rated as easy and only 1.5 miles.

We used the All Trails’ directions app, and it took us right to the trail head.

After a little trek that was almost all uphill, we came upon a sign. It said, “Jones Creek Loop”, and it had two arrows pointing to the right and to the left. Considering it was a loop, we figured it didn’t matter which way we went, as it would just bring us right back to where we started.

We seemed to be hiking quite awhile when the boyfriend remarked, “I think 1.5 miles seems longer when we are on a trail, because it’s not just a straight stretch?”

At least the scenery was gorgeous!

At this point, we were getting a little apprehensive. We also realized that our “loop” did not seem to be looping back to where we started whatsoever-we just kept heading further and further away.

We saw a man coming off of another trail (I will get to the myriad off shoots of unmarked trails in a minute…) and we asked him how to get back to the parking lot. He said we needed to go in the direction we were headed in, but for three or four more miles.

HOLD UP.

Somehow we got onto the wrong trail, but we had not taken any of the unmarked trails that veered off of the main trail.

At this point, my stress began causing my asthma to flare up, and I saw images of us, emaciated and half-eaten by mountain lions, in front of my eyes, like a mirage.

We decided to just keep walking and hope the guy didn’t know what he was talking about.

Ten minutes and almost all of our water later, we saw another guy coming off some other trail. I tried to stay calm when I asked him how we could get back to our car. While I was asking him, the boyfriend was off admiring some bark, pretending he didn’t belong to the sweaty girl who was in a near panic.

The guy said he was headed to the parking lot, and we could follow him.

A half mile later, we saw what looked like civilization and our spirits rose. We came upon a parking lot, but we quickly realized, stomachs sinking, it was not our parking lot.

As we were looking at the posted map and trying to look cool, like, “We meant that”, the guy waved us over.

He realized that he had led us to the wrong parking lot. He offered us a ride back to our car, three miles away.

We had somehow ended up on the 9 mile trail called the same damn thing as the 1.5 mile trail.

So, we ended that trail fail crammed into the cab of a tiny truck belonging to a very kind man. The whole way back to our car, I was trying not to reek of sweat and defeat.

We massively failed on the trails again only yesterday, and I was going to write about that fail too, but I have already gone on long enough.

The clouds were epic!

I will say, though, that the most recent fail is not entirely our fault. What in the actual eff is up with All Trails and their “easy” loop trails? Not only are they not easy, whoever is creating trails that feed off of the loop ought to be taken out back and given a stern talking to. In my mind, a loop is just that, A LOOP. Yet, every single trail we have tried is not really a loop, but a maze of deviating trails that go off in every fucking direction.

Really, it is no small miracle that more people do not get horribly lost in the woods on “easy” trails.

Or.

We are just utter idiots, and we need to take a “Trails For Dummies” course.

Tell me: Have you ever gotten lost on trails? Is it just me who can’t seem to find my way on “easy” trails? Help a fatty out! Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

The Mattole River Resort

You might remember that before we started this crazy little road trip down memory lane I suggested you bring along a spare tire, a life vest and rat poison. 

Have you been wondering where rat poison* was going to come in? No? You didn’t read that part? You just skimmed. OK. Well, we’re going to need it today. I guess you will just be eaten alive by monster rats. Sorry not sorry. 

(Actually, I am sorry, because I love you all, and I wouldn’t want to lose anyone of you in such a terrifying way.)

So, as we have all learned, my mom was an ace at finding great motel deals. 

These budget hovels saved money so that we were able to afford the expensive treatment for scabies that we’d need when we got home.

One of the absolute best, or rather, most memorable trips we took was to the Mattole River Resort.

Straight out of the California Chainsaw Massacre, this “resort” is situated along the Mattole River in Nothern California.

For those of you not familiar with Northern California, it’s good to be aware that it’s absolutely filled to the brim with hippie hill people. 

I don’t want to offend any potential hippie readers I might have. I’m a huge supporter of the notion, “You do you, boo”. So, I’m not hating on hippies, per se.

I’m just accurately painting the scene, people. I’m just setting the stage.

So, after a long day of winding roads, weird little backroad towns, and uncomfortable back seat living, we finally made it to our “resort”.

(I have to mention that before we made it to the resort, we stopped at a convenience store. The whole drive there it got foggier and foggier every mile we drove. If that wasn’t creepy enough, my mom said there were two men sitting out in the front of the store who were straight out of Deliverance. She said we don’t remember this part of the trip, because they wouldn’t let us get out of the car!)

Mind you, when one hears “resort”, especially one who watched their Dirty Dancing VHS on repeat, they think rustic, but posh, nicely furnished and expertly appointed “glamping” cabins. 

We all should have known better, for it was my mom (and aunt-I can’t leave her contribution out of this) who booked the place using her discount travel bible.

Again, Grandma is not having any of our shit.

The Mattole River Resort was far from being a resort. 

I remember little snippets from our stay at the Mattole Cult Compound. I think that I blanked out some of the memories to save myself from developing multiple personalities. 

I recall that, as we were bringing our belongings in from the car, doubt set in. The cabins were filthy. Positively disgusting. 

The woman running the place had promised enough beds, because there was a hide-a-bed in the couch. 

When we pulled it out, one of the necessary legs was missing, and instead of a mint on the pillow, there were mouse turds. 

Mouse turds, ya’ll.

In the bed.

When my mom and grandma were looking for another set of sheets, a blanket, hell, even a tarp at this point, they opened a closet to find an unexpected surprise. 

They had no clue what it was, but it was behemoth and a nest of some sort. My mom said they just shut the door and didn’t open it again the rest of the stay. 

I don’t even remember sleeping at this place. As in, I don’t recall being in a bed, covered with a blanket, nothing. I probably slept standing up or in the car. I don’t know how I didn’t just straight run away from my family at this point. 

Apparently, we stayed two or three nights. The first night we arrived it was late, so it’s understandable why we stayed. I’m not quite sure why my mom and aunt subjected us to this horror-story-waiting-to-happen for more nights than were necessary. 

My mom said it was because there was nowhere else to stay for a bajillion miles in all directions. We’d booked our stay, driven hundreds of miles, and it was going to be fun, damnit. 

My mom said, as beautiful as the surrounding landscape was, the Mattole River Resort was, “…horrible in every way.”

Three people who didn’t quite mind the Mattole River Resort were my two cousins and brother.

The daughter of the owner (who, my mom swears, couldn’t have been more than ten years old) took them down to the river and introduced them to pot for the first time.

My brother and two cousins recall that trip being pretty groovy, man.

Every picture from this trip is blurry. Our minds were probably negatively affected by all of the mouse poop. Also, in looking at how young my brother was, I’m wondering if only my cousin was involved in the Mary Jane incident?

As for me, I’m fairly certain my weird neurosis about germs, vermin, and motels with anything less than a four star rating is directly related to our typical Smith** Family stay at the Mattole River Resort. 

I hope my Family Vacations From Hell series has been enjoyable and at least mildly amusing. I hope my stories bring back funny and warm memories from your own past. 

Because I’m a satire writer, everything I write has some sass and asshole to it. These posts were no different. 

It’s important for me to point out, however, that as much as these true accounts sound horrifyingly hilarious, they are some of my most beloved memories.

Had my parents been like every other Dick and June, my memories wouldn’t be nearly as wonderfully ridiculous. 

This series is dedicated to my parents, because thanks to their annoyingly thrifty ways, my brother and I were afforded a childhood filled with amazing trips and experiences. Not only did we go somewhere exciting (or slightly terrifying) every spring break, we spent every summer at our family’s lake cabin, AKA Heaven on Earth. On top of that, they sent us both to Washington, D.C. on a school trip our 8th grade year, and it was my parents who funded the most rewarding experience to date-my trip to the U.K. and Ireland. 

Mom and Dad, you do you, boo. You’re perfectly imperfect just the way you are, sleazebag motels and all. Love you both. 

*Apparently, the cabin was only infested with mice and not rats. That makes it so much better.

**Not our real family name.

My Brother’s “13th Birthday” 

When we turn 13 in our family, tradition dictates that you get to have a big birthday celebration- one you won’t ever forget. This momentous occasion may or may not include naked hippies.
The year my brother turned 13, my mom planned a trip to the bay. San Francisco is only 3.5 hours away from us, and we grew up visiting the eclectic Crazy Street People City quite a lot.

You must know that my mom is quite thrifty. Before Expedia or Trivago were even a wild idea, my mom obsessively scoured the discount travel brochures and books. Part of what made all of our travel adventures so memorable is due largely in part to my mom’s awesome motel finds in her travel books (I’m saving her best find for the last post in this series).

My mom rocked the early 90s so hard.

My mom swore she found the hidden gem of all hidden gems in the heart of the city.

So, Mom, Dad, Brother, Grandma, and I packed into the car and schlepped over the hill.

The motel was a gem, alright. It was not only located in the center of the city, but it was smack dab in the middle of the worst neighborhood, on the worst street and it was the worst motel on said street. 

Because we are budget travelers through and through, we all slept in the same room-Grams and me in one bed, Dad and Brother in the other. My mom ordered a cot from the front desk, and slept with it right up against the door, because she was concerned the homeless man peeing right outside our room might try to come in to use an actual toilet.  

Throughout the night, we were serenaded with the sounds of men moaning, shrill female laughter, and the sound of a cat dying… or mating. And, it all sounded like it was right outside our window. 

It was sketchy with a capital how-did-we-not-get-bed-bugs. 

In the morning, on our way to see Alcatraz, there was a woman going absolutely bat-shit-crazy on top of a guy’s car. Like, she was on all fours on the hood, screaming and pounding her fists into his windowshield. The poor guy looked like he had no idea what to do as he was just sitting in the driver’s seat with his mouth agape. 

I would have just turned on my windshield wipers to try to wipe her off. 

Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

My Grandma was thinking, “Who are these crazy fuckers, and why did they bring me along for the Worst Side of San Francisco Tour?”

That same trip, we almost met our demise at the rest stop on top of the summit. 

The entire weekend was stormy and rainy. As we headed back home, the rain was immense. We felt like Noah’s ark as we parted the waters on the highway home. 

As we crested the summit over Donner Pass, it began to snow. Tradition dictates that we always stop at the rest stop on the top of the mountain. 

Forget that it was dark, snowing, and the rest stop was seemingly empty, no, we had to stop-it was TRADITION (someone probably really had to go: MOM). 

The vibe at the rest stop was bad. In hindsight, we should have just driven the hour more until home. 

My mom walked my brother and me into the main area, out of the snow. From there, we went our separate ways to the restrooms.

As my mom was waiting, she noticed two shady-looking men in the shadows. What normal, pure of heart and mind kind of person just lurks around an empty, freezing rest stop in the middle of nowhere, late at night? 

She said later that a ferocious chill went down her spine. Something just wasn’t right.

At this point, another vehicle pulls up, and my dad gets out of the car to retrieve something from the trunk.

As the lights from the car pulling up shine into the rest stop doorway, my mom glances over at the two men. From across the room, they give each other a “Not-this-one” look and they subtly shake their heads. 

They then disappear. 

She’s still convinced to this day that those two men were waiting around to do something bad. She thinks that they noticed that there were two other people in our car and then, when the other car pulled up, they figured whatever they had planned would not work on us. 
We all majorly had the creepies the whole way home. The entire car was silent as we counted our blessings/reevaluated our direction in life/cursed whoever’s idea it was to stop at the rest stop (MOM’s).

That, kids, is why you don’t go into rest stops-especially at night! Shady people try to do shady things at rest stops. Always find yourself a Starbucks restroom. Or a tree. Anything is better than an “empty” rest stop in the dark of night.

When we finally arrived home, exhausted, but grateful to all be in one piece, my brother says, “Next year, on my 13th birthday, can we just stay at home and do our usual thing?”

MY MOM FORGOT HOW OLD HER ONLY SON WAS. 

My mom felt pretty ridiculous having to admit that she miscalculated and thought he was turning 13, and thus, why he got such a big, super special Birthday. 

I think the next year for his birthday we did just what he wanted, and we were all pretty grateful. 

Family Vacations: Road Trips

Sing it in an awfully-out-of-tune-voice with me now:

I’ve come back long ago

Long way down the Holiday Road

Holiday Road

Holiday Road

Holiday Road

Holiday Road…

I’ve been humming this song for days now, as I’ve been mentally preparing for this hum dinger of a post.

The National Lampoon Vacation movies have always been a staple in our family home, because somehow Chevy Chase and the gang got ahold of our vacation stories and made a movie about them.

Not really, and for legal purposes, I have to add that I’m joking.

But, for real, growing up, our family vacations were always very Vacation-esque ridiculous.

This is going to be a three-part series, because I’m attempting to not write novels every time I post. So, for the next three days, you will be positively inundated with family vacation stories straight from own personal National Lampoon series. 

So, care to take a ride? Make sure you pack a spare tire, some rat poison, and a life preserver, because it’s going to be a wild ride.

Literally Every Road Trip 

It didn’t matter where we were going-whether it was a trip up the Oregon coast or a day trip to some backwoods swimming hole, it was guaranteed that we would have car/boat trouble. I can’t count how many sketchy BFE car repair shops I’ve miserably waited at, while one of our hoopties was getting patched together. I’ve probably been to more car repair shops than to actual landmarks. 

Maybe we had trouble on road trips, because this was how we traveled?

I remember once, after days of packing and prepping for our 800-mile, two days of car hell up to our family’s lake cabin, we didn’t even make it five miles out of town before our vintage Winnebago pulled a big nope-I’m-not-going-fuck-you and we had to drive back home, defeated. I want to say we didn’t get to leave for real for almost a week.

One of my mom’s favorite family vacation horror stories is when she and my dad took my two cousins, my brother, and me to the Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park in Austin, Nevada in our ever-trusty Winnebago. She said we were coasting along, everything was going grand, and then, out of nowhere, the engine cover blew off. 

This all-important cover is what protects the engine and the inhabitants of the motorhome from the engine movements and the dust and debris from the road. 

My mom said that the second the cover flew off, everyone in the motorhome was covered in a thick layer of dirt. All she could see were the whites of our freaked-out eyes. 

For the entire rest of the drive to the park, she had to sit on the cover to keep it on. “It was only 80,000 million degrees hot. No big deal.” She said of her hot seat. 

Another Winnebago adventure happened after my mom thought it would be a great idea to take the behemoth beast camping without my dad. She wanted to meet my aunt and uncle at some campground in the middle of nowhere. All I remember is that she buckled my brother and I together in the front seat, and she kept saying over and over how everything was going to go great. 

Except, it was us and we were in the fucking Winnebago, so it didn’t go great. 

Somehow, we got a giant rock stuck between the rear tandem wheels and she had to call my dad to come rescue us. This was back in the early 90s, so I don’t know how she called him. Maybe they devised a bat signal, only it was a ‘bago signal, and was a giant “W” in the sky. 

My dad had to deflate a tire to get the rock out-all in the pitch black, in the middle of nowhere, in a freak torrential downpour. 

I would think they’d have just given up while they were ahead at this point, but no.

Back when I was about eight or nine, we went on a week-long trip up the Oregon coast. While we were inching along an especially harrowing stretch of the road along the coast, my dad’s axle broke off the driver’s side tire. He was in our old truck, and it was carrying the weight of our 70s-era camper shell and 8 tons of Shasta soda. That was actually pretty scary to watch from the trailing vehicle (we could never just bring one vehicle or one immediate family. No, it was the entire extended family and every moving vehicle we owned. It was straight-up carnival caravanning). 

Only a small fraction of our family. You would feel us coming long before we arrived.

What I remember most about that particular event was that while we were waiting for the axle to be repaired, I ate an entire can of pizza-flavored Pringles, and for the rest of the trip, I was shunned by the entire family for being such an unmannerly pig.

We made it to the Sea Lion Caves-a real feat! My brother was pitching a fit in this picture. My mom is probably threatening him with his life.

One summer, I think it might have been the same year as the Pringles Incident, we got majorly stranded out in our bay on Coeur d’Alene Lake in upstate Idaho.

Not only were we known for our hooptie cars, our boats weren’t much better. Actually, my Grandma’s Party Barge was brand new 30 years ago, and we’re still riding it, hoping the pontoons don’t fall off.

I think this was pre-Party Barge. But, look at those beauties!

So, this particular summer we had a speedboat at the lake. I can’t remember now if it was my grandpa’s old boat or my uncle’s. Either way, it wasn’t working for some time and after some extensive repairs, my uncle thought he had it up and running. So, the entire family piled in, other than Grams, because she was the only smart one of the lot.

We got precisely halfway across the bay and the engine just died. No sputtering, just gone and died dead.

One second we were cheering, the wind was whipping through our hair as the boat jumped the wakes left behind by other boats, and the next, we are at a dead stop and the entirety of the boat’s passengers are silent. No one said it, but we all were thinking it: “Typical!”

We spend the next 10 minutes trying to flag down Grandma, who is just a blob of a figure, sitting on the deck of the cabin, we can barely make out. She does not notice us sitting in the middle of the bay, and if she does, she probably really enjoyed her afternoon of silence.

My grandma next to her pride and joy. I’m surprised any of us crazies even got to see the inside of this thing!

We end up finding an old splintery oar to row, row, row the boat painfully, slowly to the closest shore, which happened to be the one opposite of the cabin. We tie up at a forgotten dock, and trek it, on foot, back to the cabin. We had to go all the way around the bay, on the tiny road that barely had room for two cars, taking turns carrying my brother who, despite being told multiple times by our mother to put on shoes, did not put on his effing shoes. I’m pretty sure he came into contact with poison ivy that trip. Kinda serves him right, the dweeb.

We call it the “*Smith Curse”. It started many decades ago. If more than five family members assemble for a trip, the trip will go to shit. But, those are the only ones worth remembering. 

The other night, as my mom and I were laugh-crying about these crazy memories, we hear my dad’s voice, from the TV room say, “Don’t mention that damn Winnebago!”

*Not our real family name 

Aerial Antics

This week’s #fbf post is one of my favorites. I wanted to post it this week as I’ve been considering getting back into aerial yoga. For those who’ve been following me long enough, you might know that I had to quit my aerial hijinks, because it messed up my equilibrium. It was terrible. Well, I’m now armed with Sea-Bands, non-drowsy Dramamine, and I know how to perform some head maneuvers that will hopefully help me regain equilibrium if I’m struck with vertigo again. Now all I need to do is get my arse off the couch…

“What’s the weight limit?”

This is the first, most important question when you’re a curvier-than-most kinda gal, and you’re about to suspend your glorious bod on a silk hammock hanging from the ceiling. 

I mean, right? That was the very first question that popped into my head when my friend first mentioned aerial yoga. 

Aerial yoga. 

I can’t even type that without chuckling. 

Yes, I did aerial yoga. Not once. Not even twice. Three times. I’ve done aerial yoga three times, and for the hesitant, I have yet to yank the silks from the ceiling. That’s winning. 

When I asked the instructor (who looked like she was freaking twelve and 100% for sure didn’t have a trace of cellulite any where on her body) what the weight limit was, this was how the exchange went:

Me (whispering): “Oh, um, hey. Uh, what’s, like, the, uh, (voice even lower) weight limit?”

Her: “Oh”

Freaking, “oh”? This chick is trying to give me heart palpitations before we even start doing hard stuff. Bitch.

Me: Just staring, sweating profusely.

If there is a weight limit and I’m over it, I’m just going to go drive my car into a vat of Rocky Road, because, fuck it. 

Her (finally): There’s a weight limit, but it’s like 600 pounds. You’re good. 

Could you have maybe led with that, so that I didn’t have to spend 20 excruciating seconds thinking I’d have to leave because I’m too fucking large for hammock yoga?! 

Some people’s kids…

So, I thought I’d, for ease of reading, write three sections, each devoted to my three attempts at aerial yoga. Not only would it be easier to just skip to the part that has the most swear words, thus the more humorous of tries, but each event has been so incredibly different. Each time I was spastic in such varying, unusually interesting (in a I-want-to-study-your-ineptness-because-I’ve-never-seen-someone-not-know-how-to-work-their-adult-body-so-profoundly) ways, it’s almost sad. Except it’s fucking hilarious because it wasn’t you. It was me.

Attempt 1: 

A friend from work first asked me to join her and her sister-in-law in aerial (every time I attempt to type “aerial”, my phone autocorrects it to “areola”. What the heck, phone?) three weeks ago. I was totally down, because, at the very least, I’d have great blog material. 

Good Lord Almighty. 

I thought my friend would be more like me. As in, ridiculously inept and inflexible. In fact, I’m fairly certain she said she wasn’t very good at being limber on a yoga hammock. Liar! 

For the umpteenth time, I was the fattest, most incapable person in the room. It was OK, though, because I just laughed through the whole thing, so I wasn’t seriously trying to be an agile acrobat. It was all just for the laughs. 

I laughed when the instructor modeled some impossible pose that involved wrapping yourself up like a 7 Layer burrito and then flipping yourself over like no big deal. 

Ha. Yeah, that’s not happening. 

I laughed when everyone was doing aerial planks, and I face planted. 

Ha. I meant to do that. 

I laughed (with relief) when it was finally time to lay in the hammock like an obese caterpillar in its too tight cocoon. 

Ha. I made it to the best part of class; the lay down part.

It was a fun class that was spent trying not to look like I was seriously trying to be a real aerial yoga-ist.

Attempt 2:

The second time, I went with another friend from work. This friend has the body of a gymnast and the ass of a Kardashian. She’s uber fit and moves her body like a ballerina. The bitch. I don’t know why I continually put myself in situations where I’m suffocating myself with my stomach fat while she’s glistening gold sweat from her abs. Oh, I know. Because she’s hilarious, and no matter what we do, I get a good ab workout from laughing. 

One of the first moves in this particular class involves falling gracefully sideways (while suspended with the silk, obviously), on your tippy toes, as you circle back around. 

UH. YEAH RIGHT. 

Little Miss-I-Can-Do-Anything-With-My-Body-and-Look-Fabulous and I both were circling around like drunks trying to look sexy on a stripper pole. It was ridiculous. 

We could not.stop.laughing. I’m fairly certain that I tinkled a tiny bit at one point. Oops.

The rest of the class was actually more success than failure. It was amazing. Some of the poses that I didn’t even attempt the first time, I could almost do. I attempted hanging from my fat this time because I realized halfway through that I was actually a tad bit better than the first go-round. It was at this point I realized that I’d continue, and that this was more than just a stunt to get some good writing material. 

My friend, of course, rocked the class like an expert. The bitch. 

Attempt 3:

This time, my friends and I made up the majority of the class. I went with the friend who originally invited me, Khloe Kardashian, and another teacher friend (another lithe, surprise yoga star).

This was the class where all sorts of hell broke loose. 

First, it was a different instructor. Right off the bat, that made me nervous. I had just begun moving past elephant-on-a-tightrope-graceful, into beginner stage. 

This new chick is gonna eff it all up. 

And she did. 

The new instructor was way harder. So.much.harder.

Who does she think we are, Cirque du Soleil performers? Come on! 

Not only were the moves she had us do harder, they required way more ab and arm strength than I have in my entire fucking body. 

Ridiculousness.

At one point, she had us bent over the silks, hanging from the spot right below the hips. For future reference, this is a tender area. It hurts to hang with all of your body from this area. Maybe I’ll build up some calluses, or something. That’ll be sexy. 

Well, it was at this point, I lost all control of my center, my body, my pride. 

I don’t know how it happened. Maybe it was because my giant head weighs so much, or what, but somehow I ended up feet over head, and I just started flipping over the silk, like you see young children do on the monkey bars. 

One flip that resulted in really no one noticing did not suffice. Two flips that I could have played off as on purpose was not enough. No, I flipped…I don’t even know how many times. 

There was a point at which I genuinely thought I would die. Or, at the very least end up seriously injuring myself. 

I kept picturing myself finally coming to rest flat on my face, breaking my nose and glasses into my stupid face. 

Eventually, I ended up flat on my fat ass, with a large thump. Or was it more a messy schlop? I don’t know. 

What I do know is my asshole friends were peeing their pants laughing. Everyone was. Even the instructor felt compelled to laugh before asking if I was OK. 

Assholes.

I was totally fine, so I started laughing too. If you can’t beat em, join em (while deviously planning your revenge). 

I bumbled through the rest of the class fairly competently until it came time to do assisted handstands. 

The last time I could actually do a handstand I was in the 4th grade. 

The last time I attempted a handstand was about a year ago when a friend and I accidentally attended an expert level yoga class. We laughed our way through the crane pose, the eight-angle pose, and all the other impossible yoga poses, not being able to do any of them. When it came time to do a handstand, we just flat-out refused and sat on our fat asses, watching the others stand on their hands with ease. The instructor took it as a personal affront and actually dragged our mats to the wall and pointed at them, like a pouty child. We half-heartedly made for the floor with our hands in position, chickened out, and just sat on our spreading asses again. That was my only adult handstand attempt. Until this class. 

Somehow I found myself suspended by the silks, my legs high in the air, and my forearms resting on the floor. This was a feat in itself. Then, the insane instructor told us to take it to a handstand. 

By pure miracle, I pushed myself up with my weak jelly arms, and I was in an assisted handstand.

Blood was rushing to my head. My arms were shaking impossibly, but I was doing it. 

Then.

We were told the way to get out of the pose was to let go of the ground and pull yourself up the silk. 

At this point I’m pouring buckets of sweat onto the floor. Even if I wanted to let go and pull myself up, my hands were far too sweaty and I simply did not have the core strength. 

Shaking like a leaf in the wind, I looked around and most of the asshole people in the room had pulled themselves up and they were out of their silks, standing. 

Me: “Um. Help?”

Instructor (still laughing at me): “Hun, you’ll just have to kind of fall out of it.”

Wow. Really? How does she fucking figure that? 

Me: “Uh. OK…”

So, with everyone’s eyes on me again, I somehow untangled my sausage legs from the silks, and my behemoth body just schlopped onto the floor for the second time that night.

Ta-da! 

And, there you have it, folks! Fatty McCupcakes does aerial yoga! 

Despite my utter ineptness, I’m going again. It’s fun. When you’re tired you get to make the silk into a hammock and lay in it. AND my arms and abs are getting stronger. 

#win

Straight outta any yoga

Source

WTF, Google?! 

Last week, my boyfriend and I went on a quickie road trip up through Portland and on to Mount Saint Helens (I almost typed “Mount Rushmore”, and that’s where I said we went when the gas station attendant asked us where we were off to the morning we left. It’s a wonder I can even function). 

Mount Saint Helens is an active stratovolcano located in Washington state, about 50 miles northeast of Portland (thanks, Wikipedia). It last erupted in 2008, but it’s most famous eruption was on May 18, 1980. Growing up, I heard stories of how the ash from the 1980 eruption found its way nearly 400 miles to the deck at my grandparent’s cabin on Coeur d’ Alene Lake in Idaho. My mother said the ash blocked out the sun and it looked like the end of days. 

Since I always heard the stories of the eruption growing up, and I teach my students every year about the cause and effect of volcanos, it was decided that it would be our summer destination. 

We left Reno around 7:30 AM, stopped in Klamath Falls for some Taco Time lunch and a Dutch Bros. coffee, and arrived in the Portland area around 5:30 PM. It was a long day of straight driving, but it was the start of our vacation, so there was no bloodshed yet. 

We stayed with my aunt, who was gracious enough to host us. She had her pool ready and raring to go, so we definitely took advantage of that luxury. Our TBs (tired butts) were very grateful. 


The next morning, we were up early and excited to see Mount Rush..Mount Saint Helens (See? There’s something wrong with my head). 

We stopped at Tom’s Pancake House to fill up, as we planned on doing some hiking (to be honest, I was really hoping there’d be less hiking and more sitting in a scenic spot, eating the “hiking” snacks we packed). When I saw that Tom’s had an option to top your waffle with Oregon marionberries, it was an easy choice! I’m not really sure what a marionberry is, but since we don’t usually see them in Nevada, I had to try them. 

Mmmm…this was so good! I can’t really describe the flavor of the marionberry. The flavor is just “berry”.

When we got back into the car, we used Google to get the directions to the mountain. 

Before we had left Reno, we did a small amount of research and knew that there was an observatory and plenty of hiking trails to choose from on and around the mountain (I liked the sound of the 1.5 mile one and the one that had no incline). 

So, back to Google. Via maps, we were given the directions to Cougar, WA. So, we merrily made our way to where we’d hoped to find a spunky grandma who’d take a picture by the town sign.

After we wound our way through a quaint rural community, the road became very twisty and turny (yes, that’s a word) underneath a thick blanket of trees. We were climbing a mountain, just not the mountain we had come to see. 

The landscape was not at all what I had expected. We also saw not one sign indicating we were headed toward the mountain, an information center, or the observatory. In fact, there were some signs, but they were stangely covered up. 

There was so much green- nothing like the pictures we saw online!

Eventually, we made our way to the first hiking spot. We were hoping there would be further information at the trail head that would help us glean where the heck we were. But, no such luck. 

Also, the hike was an eight-miler, so that was a no-go.

‘Thumbs up’ to not hiking eight miles!

We got back into the car and continued up the mountain. Not long after, we got sight of Mt. Saint Helens and it was glorious, but, worryingly, still pretty far away. 

While we were admiring the volcano with our 10x magnifying binoculars, a friendly German couple came up to talk to us. 

They remarked on the beauty of it all, and we asked them if they were headed to the observatory. The woman said the road to the observatory was closed due to a late winter. 

(The jury is still out on that).

We felt pretty defeated and downright lost, as we had zero service on our phones and no paper maps to help guide our way. 

We decided to get back into the car and continue further. Almost at the very end of the road was another spot to hike. We decided it would have to work.

I’m sure by now you’re realizing that we were lost or just completely mixed up. Well, right you are! 

It wasn’t until we headed back down the mountain and to Ape Cave did we come across an information kiosk/gift shop where people with factual information could be found. 

When I asked how we could get to the observatory, the young man working the gift shop said it was some three hours away, but we could still make it, as they didn’t close until six. 

Three hours away. 

We were on the complete opposite side of the mountain. 

We had spent our entire day, dedicated to seeing Mount Saint Helens, like total dopes on the wrong side of the mountain.

So, how did two college-educated individuals mess up so royally? 

It’s all Google’s fault. Yes, just like a tattletale seven-year-old, I’m blaming it on someone/something else.

When you Google, “Johnston Ridge Observatory”, Google has you go to Cougar, WA. 

Notice how, in the first website under the egregious misinformation, it says, “Toutle, WA”? Yeah, that’s (closer to) where the observatory is. 

Our trip wasn’t all in vain, however. The hike we took was through utterly stunning terrain (honestly, I think it was way prettier on the wrong side of the mountain). We also went in Ape Cave, and I crossed a suspension bride just like the one in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. It was just like that one (don’t listen to my boyfriend. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about). 

Paul Bunyan strength

This raging river, cutting through volcanic rock, had pools with beautiful Caribbean-blue water.
Huge volcanic rock formations
This was truly one of the scariest things I’ve ever done!
My boyfriend took this while he was crossing the bridge. I kept yelling for him to not drop my phone. I was totally concerned for his safety, too.

We didn’t have enough layers on to do the whole cave. It was FRIGID!

We decided against driving another three hours (one way) to see the observatory, so we drove back into downtown Portland for some sightseeing.

We hit up the world-renowned Voodoo Donut and the Deschutes Brewery. 

Donuts and beer totally made up for not getting to the observatory. 

It was 93 degrees out. The sun beat down on us as we stood next to a glittery brick wall that was radiating heat. It took 20 minutes to get to the front. TOTALLY WORTH IT.
Utterly, insanely gluttonous
My favorite was The Neapolitan.
I’d like to spend some more time in Portland when it’s not melt-your-face-off hot. I DID NOT get the true Portland experience.

So, kids, learn from Aunt Fatty. Do not rely on Google, it’s not all-knowing. Go to the actual website for the location/landmark/attraction you are going to visit. Do some damn research before you go, and don’t rely on your phone for everything-you might not have service where you’re going! 

Know before you go:

Johnston Ridge Observatory, last stop on HWY 504, 52 miles from Castle Rock. NOT in Cougar, WA. 


Source
References: 

Wikipedia

Monday Musings: What Are Your Blog Reading Requirements? 

I was just talking with a friend about the purpose of reading blogs. She’s a devoted reader of mine and, apparently, I’m the only blogger she reads. She was saying that unless she’s friends with or related to the blog writer, she’s probably not going to spend her time reading their personal stories. I can totally respect that some people have to know the blogger/writer to want to read about their embarrassing encounter with the Porta Potty or their personal preference when it comes to stand mixers. 

I totally get that. 

I’m pretty much the opposite of my friend when it comes to online reading preferences. 

I love reading about someone’s awesome vacation to some exotic locale or reading about how they make a mean enchilada casserole with a recipe they got from their crazy Aunt Marge. 

Maybe that’s totally weird? 

Maybe I’m entirely too interested in complete strangers’ fun family stories or how they studied abroad in Ireland (read about one of my favorite blogger’s experiences doing just that here)?

Whatever it may be, I can definitively say that I’m a devoted blog reader, and I appreciate my committed readers more than words can express.

Throughout the last two years and some odd months, I’ve connected with, gotten to know, and enjoyed reading so many bloggers. 

I love you all. I truly do. We are a tribe, and I’m so fortunate to be a part of it.

Just like my friend, however, I have some requirements that must be met in order for me to spend so much of my time reading blogs. 

These are some of them:

1. You’re a real person who responds to comments and engages with your readers. If you never respond to comments, or it takes you far too long to respond, and I’ve long since forgotten about your post, I will grow weary of dedicating time to read and comment. 

2. Posts are well-written and purposeful. We all make grammatical errors (like that one time I made a massive one in the title of a post *cringe*), but if the mistakes take away from the message, this teacher can’t even. 

3. The topic is one in which I can relate to in some way, shape, or form. This is a pretty straightforward one. If you write about something I can hardly come up with a comment for, then your topic is best left to those who can. There’s nothing wrong with that. I write about back fat, rogue chin hairs, and how I have a tendency to inhale baked goods. Those topics aren’t for everyone, either. 

And, that’s it, really. If you respond to comments I spend time crafting, you don’t have grammatical errors every line, and your posts keep me wanting more, I’m hooked. 

So, I’m curious-what are your blog reading preferences and requirements? Let me know in the comments. 

Camping Capers 

I went camping for the 4th of July weekend. As with everything that I get myself into, it was definitely not uneventful. Oh, no. 

I’m going to surprise you all by saying I’m not a real tough-cowgirl-up kind of chick.

Shocking, I know. 

First, I really hate to be dirty. Especially my feet. OMG. My feet. During the summer, when flip flops and sandals are standard, I soak, scrub, pumice, and moisturize my feet to the point of obsession. 

I can’t get in bed knowing my feet have God-knows-what on them, and so help me if even the tiniest speck of dry skin catches on the sheets. 

Ya’ll might as well commit me now. 

I couldn’t even. It took everything in me to pretend this wasn’t bothersome!

Next, I positively hate being hot and sweaty. If I can avoid ever being overheated during the summer, I’ll do whatever needs to be done. If that means blasting my AC and having a fan directed at me 24/7, so be it. I’ll pay an exorbitant electric bill for the sake of comfort any day.

Eventually, though, I do have to venture outside and away from my comfortable 68 degrees. When this happens, swamp ass and underboob sweat is just inevitable. At some point during the summer, I just resign myself to the reality that I’m going to sweat from every crack and orifice, and I just have to deal. 

Also, if I know getting to the bathroom is going to be a pain (i.e. needing to get dressed first, finding shoes in the dark, walking half a mile to the campsite toilet, etc.), I’ll have to go the bathroom precisely eight times in the night. 

Lastly, I’m a germaphobe. If there isn’t running water wherever I find myself to wash my hands precisely every hour on the hour, forget it.

As I mentioned before, this past weekend we went camping. It was at a gorgeous campsite in California. 


While there, the worst.possible.thing that could happen to a germaphobe happened. 

My darling, one-of-kind, beloved boyfriend put the roll of toilet paper-the very roll he took into the Sani-Hut (and don’t even get me started on Porta Poops), and almost certainly set on the pee-soaked floor*- in my clothes bag. 

JUST BURN IT ALL. 

So, if you just ignore all of the above paranoias, I’m a real joy to be with out in the good ol’ outdoors. 

Really. 

I’m being serious. 

Once I procure/figure out a way to wash my hands with actual soap, and if I just accept the fact that my face will be so greasy the bright sun will reflect off it all day long, I’m actually a real camping star. 

I’m of the belief that if something unsavory (like cleaning toilets or setting up camp in 90-degree weather) needs to be done, it’s better to just do it right away and as quickly and efficiently as possible. I can set up a tent, cot, and camp stove in record time if it means I get to sit in the shade during the rest of the camping experience. 

Also, I don’t complain too much. As long as I have s’mores and a summer beer to look forward to later, you will only hear me complain about the heat and my dirty feet a minimal amount of times. 

Mmm. There ain’t anything better than a beer in the fresh mountain air!

This past weekend did not deviate from the norm. There was just a little bit of complaining, and a whole lot of loving-being-outside-of-the-city. 


The part of this camping adventure I was most looking forward to was a swim in the pond, because I bought a donut floaty, and I simply couldn’t wait to flail my gorgeous bod atop it. 


The float and swim was simply glorious. I’m a fat chick, but I also grew up going to a lake cabin every summer of my life. I can swim like a fucking majestic mermaid.

It wasn’t until exiting the water, that I questioned our decision to take a dip in a pretty questionable pond. 

The great debate is still on going, because my boyfriend positively swears that what was all over my legs were little worm things. 

No, I don’t care that he dual majored in biology and microbiology, those little effers were leeches.

After positively freaking out and making him run back over the rocks in his bare feet to inspect and remove the vile creatures that were sucking my life blood straight out of my pudgy, translucent legs, my first thought was, “Where else are they?”

Me: “Are these like ticks?”

Him: “Uh, no. These worms aren’t anything like ticks.”

Me: “No, like, would they possibly be elsewhere on my body?”

Him: “OMG. You had one worm on your leg. The other thing was a twig or some dirt!”

Me: “Are you blind?! They were all over my legs!” 

Him: *rolls eyes clear back into his skull* “OK. Sure. They were all over your legs…”

Me: “OK. So, could they possibly have found their way to other parts?”

Him: “No, babe. I highly doubt it.”

Me: “Are you sure? Because if water can go through my bathing suit, maybe tiny water monsters can go through my suit, too?”

Him: “OMFG.”

So, after I was reassured that the worms (leeches) almost certainly didn’t find themselves in my more delicate regions, I felt mentally stronger and more ready for the next camping obstacle I’d likely face (this time it was being eaten alive by mosquitos and the TP incident). 

No more worms (leeches)!

The struggle is real for an outdoors-loving germaphobe freak. 

*After making it clear my disgust with his dirty deed, he swore up and down that he nestled the TP roll in his underwear and that he most certainly did not put it on the poop-caked floor. I feel just a tiny bit better. 

The Cupcake Incident: Flasback Friday

For Flashback Friday, I thought I’d share one of the first posts I wrote when I first started this blog. I think it got a measly two likes. It’s pretty much terrible, but it’s so incredibly accurate when it comes to my best friend, Cupcake and I. 

The back story behind this little exchange is that I was attempting to diet, and I was in the I’m-so-starving-I’d-lick-the-remnants-from-a-chocolate-wrapper-found-in-the-garbage-yeah-I’m-serious-so-fuck-you-and-your-judgy-eyes stage. 

I’d asked my teacher friend and classroom neighbor to help me resist the myriad treat situations that occur constantly at our school (really, any school, anywhere)

She was also “dieting”. 

Two weakling, enablers trying to help each other diet. 

It was comical. 

Also, she had no idea the extent of my gluttony, or that I could sniff out a cupcake from three miles away. 

Without further ado: The Cupcake Incident

Sitting at desk. The whiff of cupcake starts wafting in from room next door.

Phone call is urgent, sweaty palms.

Child: “This is Ms. S’s room. How may I help you?”

Me: “Well, aren’t you just the most professional-sounding 3rd grader I’ve ever heard. May I speak with Ms. S?”

No response. Phone is dropped on table. 

Ms. S: “This is Ms. S…”

Me: (whisper voice, barely audible) “Cupcake? I smell.”

Ms. Silver: “Uh, this is Ms. S. Hello?”

Me: (slightly more audible) “Birthday cupcake? Cupcake?”

Ms. S: “I don’t know who this is. I don’t have cupcakes. You are mistaken. Good day.”

Me: (yelling voice) “You know who this is, and I want CUPCAKE!”

Click 

Running for the door just as a darling child delivers very roughed-up cupcake. 

Cupcake nonetheless. 

Drool is now escaping. 

Ms. S appears at door, tries to intercept, unsuccessfully. 

Cupcake frosting already entering mouth. 

Ms. S (the bitch) tries to swat frosting out of mouth. 

Instead of cupcake, the smell of revenge is now pungent. 

Ms. S is more elderly, thus, escape successful. 

Entire cupcake is lodged in mouth.

Delicious. 

Exchange ends with both Ms. S and culprit crouching over frosting remnants on tray, greedily licking fingers. Animals. 
*It is necessary to note that no child was injured in cupcake incident. Nor were children present during bloody exchange. They were outside getting exercise, like civilized human beings.

Flashback Friday: Fat Clap

What the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I be like normal people? Why can’t I be a calm, cool, collected individual? The anxiety, the rash decisions, the guilt. It’s all too much.

I’m useless, mental, insane, compulsively-driven at the very sight of…of cupcakes. I know. What the fuck is wrong with me?

The other day we had a staff meeting where cupcakes were present. They were brought out at the very start of the meeting. They were for a birthday, so tradition dictates that you don’t partake until ‘Happy Birthday’ is sung. Um. Why you people gotta play with me like that?

The.whole.time I sneaked peeks over at those beautiful confections of sugar goodness. It was mean, really.

They were taunting me.

How can you expect anyone, particularly one with an unhealthy relationship to cake, to actually pay attention to the matters at hand when there are cupcakes RIGHT OVER THERE? 

I think I know what we discussed at the staff meeting, but really, all I was concerned with was whether or not I would have time to eat my cupcake before the school day started.

During the height of my anxiety, when I was contemplating how bad it would look if I just snatched one and ran out, I began to notice everyone else.

They were all just casually drinking their coffee and jotting down notes.

I’m having the sweats and I’m feeling like an animal in heat and these people are cool as fucking cucumbers. Really.

It’s moments like these, during staff meetings where I have to abstain, with temptation taunting me, when I wonder how I’m not 400 pounds.

The fact that a fucking cupcake can mentally control me to such a degree is embarrassing. Normal people want one, but they don’t salivate like a starving dog begging for scraps.

My many, fervent, stolen glances over at the rainbow cake bombs, did the trick and it was finally time to get one! *Fat clap*

I basically mowed everyone down to get to them first. I’m that person.

I was instantly ashamed, but my regret didn’t stop me from checking the teacher’s lounge, at lunch, to see if there were any left.