Wednesday, July 18, 2012


On our last night camping at Hyatt Reservoir Lake, this family of geese returned to our campsite, followed by approximately 10 more family groups. In the moonlight we counted about 40-50 geese waddling around on the shore. Very magical.

Hiouchi, CA. Smith River

A few pictures from Hyatt Lake, OR and Hiouchi, CA. 

Still in Oregon, cancelled flight to Hawaii in favor of staying with Derek's ailing father, decided to scrap Derek's Starbucks career for the time being, and head to Europe instead for an extended backpacking excursion. By utilizing Couchsurfing,, family and friends, hostels, etc I think we might just make it over there without starving or having to be deported back home. It may still be pretty tight though. Pennies will be pinched. Bars will be skipped. And museums will have to be rationed. 

The itinerary looks roughly like this:
Aug 7th - Fly to Vancouver, Canada out of San Francisco
Aug 9th - Vancouver to London
Aug 13th - Take ferry from London to Amsterdam
Aug 24th - Train from Amsterdam to Berlin

Sept 17th - Derek's 23rd birthday in Paris!
Spend end of September in South of France, living/working with an English couple

October - Working on small farm in Northern Italy for 1-2 weeks
Leave EU by Nov 7th for Turkey where we will either stay here or at a small horse ranch in the same town. 

Visiting Morocco is also high on my priority list... The length of our stay in Turkey is unknown, but I imagine Morocco will be the next stop. Right now it's finding a balance out of things the things we'd like to do, how much we can just wing while we're over there, and which routes are more cost-effective to book ahead of time. 

As far as our quick stint back in San Francisco is concerned, being called back only hours from boarding our flight to Hawaii--and choosing to return to Medford, Oregon to watch a man die, certainly wasn't one of my favorite calls to make. 
Doubt. Resentment. Guilt. Fear. Despair. Anger. Loss of control. Obligation. Love. 
Being here in this house, going through the toils of terminal caregiving, being faced with each ugly fact of our collective imminent mortality; it was all necessary. I was in no way prepared for the situation that I was stepping into, but as my truly short stay here comes to a close, it's easier to look at the beneficial lessons that it's taught me. 

I felt like my time in Hawaii helped me reach this state of being like I'd never known before. That I was now, in fact, "Happy". That I knew how to harness the Power of Now in a way that others didn't, and I could teach them, that I now knew some secret to truly controlling my own happiness and encouraging the happiness of anyone that I met. If I hadn't ran off to Hawaii and felt the changes that whatever all that happened over there took on me, how would I have handled being faced with this decision? 
To stay or to run?
Something that's been one of my downfalls on numerous occasions in past... 

After the first few days of my Nursing 101 crash course edition lessons, I was not feeling quite so optimistic as far as my assumptions on how far the Power of Positivity theory would get me through this. I mean, my "Happy Hawaii" phase was such a minor blip of time in the big scheme of things. 
Courage is strength in the face of adversity, not acknowledging the fact that things are good at a certain moment in time.
I wanted to let Derek leave when he told me what was happening. I did not want to go to Medford. I did not want to see his father die. That wasn't happy stuff. So if it wasn't positive and great, I shouldn't have to have it in my life, right? 
That's the problem with loving people. Their problems become your problems. I couldn't in good conscience let him take care of everything that would be required of him back at home, alone. Where does the conscience come from? Learned cultural behavioral standard, upheld by general public.
Were my motives in agreeing to come out of genuine love and concern, or because of the remorse I'd be made to feel by the collective "conscience" of acquaintances?
And that's where I stop. Both. One or the other? Everything. All of it. Just because. You have to.
If this was going to be hard for me, imagine how it is for Derek. For his family at home, dealing with his father's disease every single day. This is not easy and I marvel at Derek Jr and Robin every single day with the way they care for that man. Derek and I may have our differences, but if anything, I know that I need to cut the boy some slack because he has been absolutely incredible throughout this process. I can now look at my time here as a privilege and blessing, something that provided me with a real test of my own humanity. This was a once in a lifetime experience, one that my own words will never properly reconvey. 

I am humbled. I am small. We are all finite.

It is so hard. It is so incredibly hard to be faced with a true blue example of what is to come. Death effects every single person it touches differently, so we have to try and not judge each other too harshly, because there is no real right or wrong way to handle it. It just is. And it is hard.
Being here has bonded me fiercely to Derek's family, his father, his stepmother. I feel as if I can walk away from this with a Clean Conscience, knowing that I really did do the best that I could, that I made the right decision, and that I helped even just the tiniest bit to carry the burden that a dying family member brings. Derek Sr. continues to be his own force of nature, someone who is loved by so many, and who has taught me so much about humility, perseverance, strength, and acceptance. He is a miracle. I know it will be hard to leave him, that there will be feelings of guilt and wrong-doing... 
Waiting for the other shoe to drop is a waking horror unto its own. 
We must progress. We must move forward. And we must not be judged cruelly for feeling the need to do so. 
And for those who cannot yet, my most sincere, heartfelt thoughts are with you. 

I want to be honest. I want pure, unadulterated, self-examination. 
Lots of love, and respect, and appreciation, and gratitude. 
Death, man, it's heavy... 
Meanwhile the neighbors just brought home a new baby. The cycle continues before my very eyes. 
I hope that everybody knows they are loved, and has someone to love, are doing good things, and not spending too much time being angry at someone else.

So, here you go.

We love our nature shoots.


  1. Good stuff. Life and Death... the circle of life. Unconditional love. Life lessons. May you continue to grow and share what you learn.