Sunday, November 30, 2014

Where in the world is RJF?

You are a lost soul wondering through a world that can be all yours if you truly wanted it to be.   But for some reason you have chosen a road that I cannot fathom could be that great to travel.  To me, it seems like that road has had more bumps and troughs than highs and peaks.  Of course highs is probably the wrong word because I'm pretty sure it has had plenty of highs.

You are my brother, not so much by blood, but by a promise I made to you over twenty years ago.  That vow was that I would never step away and I would always be there.  Obviously I can't be right where you are, but I've always been here for calls, texts, emails, and letters.  I've always been right here.  All you have to do is step up and say help.

I am not sure if you realize that anyone that's been in your life in a positive way would do the same as I would.  And some of them have in so many ways.  But you always slide back.  But honestly, none of our help is going to change who you are unless you want to change yourself.

For those of us that have been with you from the beginning of this rocky adventure, we have watched with great hope that you are taking the right path.  You were going to change.  And for awhile you are the person we used to know.  That caring, funny, and sincere friend we all went to school with.  And then something happens.  A little switch?  Walking into the wrong room with the wrong people?  Something happens and you run back down that dirty road.

I was there when you found the Lord Jesus Christ.  Of course I'm probably one of the only person that knows really why you found the Lord Jesus Christ, but I will keep that part a secret.  That was during high school when the rocky road started to get paved.  Of those that were standing on the side of the road thought that possibly this would be a change in the right direction for you.  And for a while it was.  Off to college you a 'church' college at that...but one night something happened and the world came screaming back to the dirty road.

When I could I would come see you and we would talk about the good life.  When times slid to the downside, I would write or try to make a connection with you.  And then you would eventually disappear for a while.  Where you would go not many of us know.  All I know is that you would go back down that drug induced hole and hide out for a while.  And then something scary would happen to you and you would come crawling back to friends and family.  And they would welcome you back with open arms because this was going to be the time you could become the person we know.

Of course that would only last for a short time before you would start those addictive tendencies and disappear on us again.  You recently came back in full force and we all thought once again that you were back for good.  You were going to be with us, become our friends again, laugh with us, cry with us, celebrate our birthdays, new babies, and everything else in the real world.  You gave us photos from the old days and made us laugh.

And then again....gone.  

I do not think you realize how many people care about you.  Over these last months of your disappearance, I've received text and facebook messages asking me where you were.  And all I could say is "I unfortunately have no idea".  And that hurts.  You don't know how much it hurts to not know where a brother and a friend is?

And I am so scared that one day I'm going to have to tell our are GONE forever.

When you find the time, please make contact with us.  We love you RJF.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I survived the River

I had been on rivers before.  I've done some daily trips down the Colorado River out of Moab.  My first overnight trip was in Costa Rica.  We rafted down and stayed at a lodge with running water and flush toilets.  I told Murray he had ruined me for ever using the groover (explained later if you don't know what it is).  My second trip was down the Colorado through Cataract Canyon from Moab to Lake Powell.  It was a two night three day trip and I used the groover just fine.  And my last river trip before this one was 6 days, 5 nights.  On that one I came close to ringing someone's neck.  So considering I was going to embark on a 21 day trip with 12 people I did not know, I was a little nervous.  

My nervousness had to do with not only the 12 people I did not know, but being a Hilton girl, I was not sure if I would survive the camping for 21 days.  Twenty-one days without a proper toilet, shower, bath, or bed was going to be the test of my wills.  But once we pushed off from Lee's Ferry there would be no turning back.  And so we pushed off.

Prior to going on the trip, someone had told me to lose all my inhibitions during the trip.  And so I went on this trip with that in my mind.  I was going to have to get naked in front of people, crap in a can sometimes in front of people, and bath along a river where other people not on my trip were going to be floating by.  That advice was the best I had received for the trip.  I lost inhibitions for sure.

Was the trip lift altering?  Oh hell yea!  I keep saying I don't ever have to camp again.  :)  I told Murray I would never have to do another trip down the canyon again, but give me a while and I will probably say hell yes.  I was 21 days without technology and it was awesome.  

This was a private trip so we cooked, cleaned, packed/unpacked, set up, etc. by ourselves.  There were five rafts with tons of gear from cooking to tents to chairs to cots.  Every thing went in the same place every time we packed and believe me we packed a ton.  And then unpacked.  There were four cook/clean groups, two people who handled the groover, and one person who handled the food.  We had hired a company to shop and plan our meals, but we cooked those meals and kind of went shopping in the coolers and storage containers.  So the four groups were A, B, C, D.  The first day Group A cooked dinner, breakfast, and lunch.  Group B cleaned up dinner and breakfast.  Then Group B would do dinner, breakfast, and lunch.  And so on.  It worked really well.  Every couple of days, I would have a couple days off.  Murray was in Group C so we would also have a day off of chores together.  

Our days were pretty much the same every day.  Get up, pack up, eat breakfast, load the boats, raft down the river, hike some, get to camp, unload, eat dinner, go to sleep.  Again and again and again.  We had three days where we laid over at a particular camp for a second night.  The packing and unpacking is what really tended to wear on me.  

During the day on the river, we might stop to hike or check out some rock art.  Usually there were a couple of stops if there were big rapids for the boatpeople (boatmen) to scout the rapid to see what was the safest way to go.  But again, it was the same, but different every day.  

I was the only one to get somewhat sick during the trip.  The tamales that we ate that night did not agree with my inners and starting at 2am starting removing themselves from my body.  And it continued into the next day.  This is where losing all inhibitions comes to full tilt.  We were heading down the river, when I realized I was going to have to use the day groover.  So let me explain the day take this box and head into the bushes, that is if you have bushes to head to.  I did not.  You open the box, take out a brown paper lunch bag and open it completely up, then make a nest with some toilet paper, crap, fold up the corners, and place that inside another brown bag.  So where we pulled over, I had to scramble up the rocks and was in full view of everyone.  That day it wasn't just us on that particular section of the river, but also a commercial group.  And so I got to squat right in front of them.  After stopping at the Doll House and going through the rapid there, I was pretty sure I was going to puke in front of the commercial group as well.  But no need to worry because the next day while I was bathing in the mucky muddy water, they floated by again.  

I believe it was a couple of days later when I would get my first (and last) chance to row the boat.  You would think that having a husband who is all about rafting that I would have put my hands on the oars before this moment, but nope.  I have paddled an inflatable kayak before, but never a raft.  The day before when I was riding on another boat, the boatperson said well you should know a few strokes in case your boatman goes out of the boat.  Unfortunately, it wasn't a good day for her to teach me those few strokes.  But fear not, I got my chance the next day and remarkably kept the raft upright and off the wall.  We scouted Crystal and were the fourth boat to go through I believe.  We entered the rapid and as the big wave was coming, Murray yelled "HOLD ON" so I did.  We, well I guess now I, went through it and I caught something out of the corner of my eye.  When I looked over I saw Murray floating by.  I did not hesitate and immediately jumped on the oars.  Not because I knew what the fuck to do, but I thought it was the right thing to do.  And somehow I pulled or pushed and struggled through keeping the raft upright and off the wall.  A kayaker finally came, climbed aboard, and stroked three times to an eddy.  

There were many highlights of the trip but I think the photos will describe those the best.  I can't explain the river or what it did to me.  I survived it and loved it and hated it and embraced it and cursed it.  But it was all worth it.  One day you might get your chance and if you do, I suggest you take it, but most importantly lose all your inhibitions.  

I said I would explain the groover for those of you that don't know it....the reason it has the name groover is before the toilet seat went on it, you would just sit on the boat and get grooves on your legs.  But today things are more sophisticated.  First there is a bucket to pee in, and then the box to crap in, and then the hand washing station.  And 99% of the time the groover has an awesome view.  

The groover  
                                      The groover view                                         

Friday, February 07, 2014

I'm going to tell you a story....

For some of you, this will be a shock.  Some of you will respond with "I had no idea about your mom".  Some of you will truly question my non-belief in the Lord, Jesus Christ.   And for some chills will run up your spine and tingle your toes.  And some won't give a damn, but I don't care because it is my story.  So there are three parts of the story...the beginning, the middle, and the foreverness.

Are you aware that when I was three years old my mother died of complications due to a hysterectomy?  No?  Doesn't surprise me actually because I know a lot of my high school now facebook friends had no idea.  Yes, a sad event.  I was only three but I have memories of my mom. And I know my dad and my siblings and my surrogate mothers and society did a pretty damn good job raising me.

From the earliest time that I can remember, three years old I guess, when I was laying down to go to sleep and the lights had been turned off, I would hear footsteps outside my room.  They were pacing back and forth.  When I was old enough to remember, those footsteps scared the shit out of me.  When I was in junior high and they would pace the hall at the condo, I came to accept it as my imagination.  When I was 24, I still heard those footsteps.  Years later, I would realize what those footsteps were.

Flash forward to college.  I went to NAU.  The first couple of years I had roommates that I went to high school with, but as I grew sick of them, I put a notice on the bulletin board and got a great one.  Her name was Jennifer and she was studying some theater crap or something like that.  (Jen-do you even use your degree because I know I don't).  We were roommates, hung out occasionally, but mostly were roommates.  I met her mom once or twice.  Today, Jennifer, her mom, and I are still friends and pretty damn close ones if I had to say.  We both moved to Phoenix after college, ended up in the same apartment complex (Lynwood Place), started hanging out more and developing our friendship to what it is today.  Jen's mom, Dani...she became one of those surrogate moms, but it wasn't until 1997.

Flash forward to 1997.  Many of you on facebook from LHC's graduating class of 1992, will remember the year.   Matter of fact, I used the same phone at work to receive the news of that tragedy and my enlightenment.   But 1997 wasn't just shadowed with the death of a family friend, Nikki, it was darkened by at least 6 other people who died within my large grasping circle.  Only one other year has been as tragic and that was 2007.  Kind of scary that those years are 10 years apart.  I'm a little nervous what 2017 has in store for me.  Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked, but it is all part of the story.

I am working for a private investigation firm when the administrative assistance (secretary is what we called her) told me I had a telephone call.  I was in the boss's office at the time and I stepped into the hall to take it.  The caller was Dani.  She said "Jen gave me your number and I hope you don't mind me calling at work".  Again, Dani and I were only acquainted because of Jen.  ACQUAINTED.  Not acquaintances, but acquainted.

I probably said something like "um, ok" thinking in my head if Jen isn't dead what the fuck do you want.  So Dani continues "I have something to tell you.  Are you open minded?"  In head-well if I'm not are you not going to tell me?  I said SURE.  And then she started to speak and by the end chills were running up my spine and tingling my toes.  And Dani and I are no longer acquainted, but we are the greatest of friends and she is one of my surrogate moms.

This is where some of you will get skeptical.  Some of you will relate.  Some of you will once again wonder how I do NOT believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ.  And some of you will think what you have always thought about me...I'm screwed in the head.  And you know what...this is my story so I don't give a shit what you think honestly.

So Dani continues....I was waiting for Jen to finish her eye surgery (lasik) and I was walking through this strip mall when I noticed a psychic.  Now I usually go to one once a year and usually the same one. But I saw this one and felt the need to go in.

Now let me sidestep here and say I've never been a believer in psychics.  But I do believe there are mediums and after reading the book The Eagle and the Rose by Rosemary Altea, I believe in them even more.

And Dani I was inquiring about a career change when the lady stops mid-sentence and says "Do you know someone named Sara" (again, remember Dani and I are acquaintances at this point).  Dani answers "yes".  The psychic then continues "and her mom died when she was real young?"  Dani answers "yes".

Now I don't know what Dani was thinking right then, but as she was telling me the hairs on the back of my neck were standing straight up.

The psychic continues...I have a message from Sara's mom for you to give to Sara.  (And yes I shit my pants at this point.  Ok not really, but mentally).  "When Sara can't grasp the feeling she is having or what's going on around her, that is just the presence of her mom.  And Sara should always know her mom is there with her".  Most likely I was speechless at this time.  I probably mumbled a thank you and hung up the phone.

As I laid down to sleep that night, I strained to hear those footsteps walking the hallway.  I have never heard those footsteps again, but I know that my mom is sitting right next to me as I type my story.

 My Mom