Stinky Man and Campfire

michelleNow.

I think that the sexiest scent out there is dirty man.

You know what I’m talking about ladies. . .

. . . that smell a man gets when he’s been working and his deodorant has been stretched to it’s limit?

Yeah, that’s the smell I’m talking about.

Man, pure and simple.

Well, I’ve discovered another scent which I find ALMOST as attractive.

Bonfire.

Yes, that smell your clothes get when you’ve been sitting around the campfire chatting with your family and friends.

You don’t really smell it at the time but when you go to wash your clothes later and you catch a whiff of that burned wood and smoke scent, you have to bury your face in your dirty sweatshirt and BREATHE DEEPLY.

That’s what I’m talking about.

CAMPFIRE!

And now, according to Etsy, I can buy campfire scented candles and wax tarts to scent my bedroom JUST LIKE A CAMPFIRE.

Now all I need is the borderline stinky man to enjoy the campfire with, eh?

I survived my survival course

I knew within 5 minutes of arriving at the Boy Scouts Reservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains that my survival course was going to be a challenge.

Because I was cold.

Yes, I came to a survival course unprepared for cold weather in December (shocking, I know)!

I forgot my hat and gloves.

And while I was wearing a waterproof jacket, I had only a long sleeved shirt on under it and thus I found myself shivering pretty good.

It was going to be a long 5 hours, I could just tell.

I used the “luxury” bathroom before trekking to the campsite. This, is the “luxury” loo, fyi.

Our instructor Jack talked to us about the priorities of survival in the wild:

  1. Shelter
  2. Water
  3. Fire
  4. Food

He impressed upon us the importance of creating a native shelter when you’re survival is at hand, so we spent a lot of time checking out a “sample” native shelter he called a debris shelter.

I call it an above ground coffin made from shit you find on the ground.

It was awful. But at least if I’m ever lost in the wilderness, I’ll know how to build one.

I teamed up with several classmates and we built out own native debris shelter.

Ta da!

 

 

Cozy, eh?

Two of my teammates slipped into it.

 

Our next activity was learning how to build a fire with pieces of wood and a shoe string bow aka the bow drill method.

Ugh. Can I even tell you how badly I sucked at this?

I burned a dimple into my wood, but that was about it. No fire.

Good to know I’d freeze to death in the wilderness with no fire to warm me, purify my water, or feed me.

Here are the tools I was given to start a fire.

But first I had to whittle my wood into a spindle.

Lastly, we learned about purifying water with rocks from the fire and we learned about how nutritionally sound bug are – though they may be a bit crunchy going down. Pretty gross, but if you need food, I imagine you’ll eat anything.

I can personally vouch that ants are pretty damn tasty. Taste like peppery caviar.

And thus my day ended, with me huddled around the heater in my car, desperate to warm up and feeling like I knew for certain…

…I would never be warm again.

FIRE!

My birth family lives in the North Bay.

Specifically the Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor areas of the North Bay.

And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the North Bay is ON FIRE right now.

It has officially become the WORST FIRE in the history of California fires, surpassing the 1991 Oakland Hills fire.

I knew there was a fire when I left to go to work, some 90 miles away from the devastation.

I could smell it in the air.

I assumed there had been a fire locally until my friend Barbara texted me, “I hope your family is safe.”

What?!

I called her immediately for an explanation.

“Santa Rosa is on fire,” she told me.

I immediately hung up and began texting and calling my relatives.

It took a while but everyone was safe. . . except my birth mom, who I couldn’t reach.

Finally my sister got in touch with me.

It didn’t look promising that our mother’s house was still standing.

She texted me a photo later.

Charred remains of a building.

I immediately started crying.

Mom’s house!

Oh no! All the memories! All the gatherings! The golden nuggets of life that intersected at that home!

10 minutes later my sister told me it was a picture of her school and MOM’S HOUSE IS STIL STANDING.

I went from the depths of despair to the wings of angels in a moment, only tempered by the fact that so many people in the North Bay have lost their home and belongings.

I texted my mom that I loved her and she texted me back.

Coverage is spotty but for the time being, EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY IS DOING FINE.

Hug your loved ones extra close today.

They are our biggest blessings.

Santa Rosa Fires

I have two lovely sisters. One I grew up with and is my best friend, the other I met when I was 22.

One lives in Reno, the other lives in Santa Rosa.

I was desperate to get in touch with my birth family while fires were raging in Santa Rosa, Napa and Sonoma.

My sister was the first person to respond.

She told me that our mother’s house was likely burned to the ground.

I was heartbroken and yet I didn’t cry. . .

. . until she sent me a photo of a gutted building.

I burst into tears.

All I could think of were lost memories. The history that house contained. How special it was to me because it was where I reunited with my birth mother’s family and met my stepfather and his enormous family.

I cried and cried.

I forwarded the photo to my boys and my family.

I sent it to everyone who mattered to me to let them know that the house was gone.

10 minutes later I got a message from my sister.

It was a picture of her school and MOM’S HOUSE IS STILL STANDING.

From the depths of despair to the wings of angels, I was lifted up out of sorrow and so thankful for this miracle.

How blessed are we?

The house survived. All my family survived. Their pets survived.

What more could we ask for other than to mitigate the suffering of those who did lose everything in the fire?

I could KILL my sister for letting me think Mom’s house had burned, but I’m just too happy that my family is intact to stay mad about anything.

Really at times like this you realize that we all have each other and that’s all you really need to be happy.

God bless the families who lost property or loved ones in the fires.

I Survived My Survival Course, barely

I knew within 5 minutes of arriving at the Boy Scouts Reservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains that my survival course was going to be a challenge.

Because I was cold.

Yes, I came to a survival course unprepared for cold weather in December (shocking, I know)!

I forgot my hat and gloves.

And while I was wearing a waterproof jacket, I had only a long sleeved shirt on under it and thus I found myself shivering pretty good.

It was going to be a long 5 hours, I could just tell.

I used the “luxury” bathroom before trekking to the campsite. This, is the “luxury” loo, fyi.

Our instructor Jack talked to us about the priorities of survival in the wild:

  1. Shelter
  2. Water
  3. Fire
  4. Food

He impressed upon us the importance of creating a native shelter when you’re survival is at hand, so we spent a lot of time checking out a “sample” native shelter he called a debris shelter.

I call it an above ground coffin made from shit you find on the ground.

It was awful. But at least if I’m ever lost in the wilderness, I’ll know how to build one.

I teamed up with several classmates and we built out own native debris shelter.

Ta da!

 

 

Cozy, eh?

Two of my teammates slipped into it.

 

Our next activity was learning how to build a fire with pieces of wood and a shoe string bow aka the bow drill method.

Ugh. Can I even tell you how badly I sucked at this?

I burned a dimple into my wood, but that was about it. No fire.

Good to know I’d freeze to death in the wilderness with no fire to warm me, purify my water, or feed me.

Here are the tools I was given to start a fire.

But first I had to whittle my wood into a spindle.

Lastly, we learned about purifying water with rocks from the fire and we learned about how nutritionally sound bug are – though they may be a bit crunchy going down. Pretty gross, but if you need food, I imagine you’ll eat anything.

I can personally vouch that ants are pretty damn tasty. Taste like peppery caviar.

And thus my day ended, with me huddled around the heater in my car, desperate to warm up and feeling like I knew for certain…

…I would never be warm again.