Pismo Beach, California

Just south of San Luis Obispo, there is a stretch of beach for the family who likes to rough it and ride ATVs.

This Labor Day weekend. Friends and I took off to Pismo for family camping. It’s become a bit of a tradition. We load up our trucks and SUVs and head for the Oceano Dunes SVRA.

We arrived Friday night in the dark. This made it hard to find our campsite buddies because every inch of the beach was roped off into campsites and the mile markers weren’t visible. And this first thing I did was manage to be looking for our campsite and get my little Rav4 stuck in the sand. Luckily, I had lodge myself in the sand less than 1/10 of a mile from my campsite. I was rescued by my group and towed into the campsite. (The joys of shifting sand.)

img_3412I was thankful for my instant tent because it literally only took 3 minutes to set up with the expert assistance of my 10 year old niece. It allowed me to get my double cot up in a jiffy and set up my latrine in mere minutes.  I was able to get out and enjoy pizza with my family friends.

img_3413The first night ended peacefully despite the bumpy start. Around noon Saturday, the excitement started. A wind storm begun that gusted for about a five hours. After fighting the good fight, a sand and wind facial, I sought refuge in my car and had a nice nap. My tent became a victim of the winds. The elbow broke and the tent collapsed. Not to mention, my personal camp toilet turned over. Thankfully the contents of the toilet was only the wet stuff.

That evening, the men had packed duck tape. They patched up the elbow so I could make it through the weekend.


You will end up with half the beach in your car!

The weekend ended in happiness though.  We were able to deep fry a turkey.  Have a Friendsgiving at the end of summer.  The kids got to ride an ATV in the safety of our roped off campsite. The dogs got to rome around and check out the sand.  We had nightly campfires.  Played music as loud as we wanted.  Watched fireworks courtesy of our neighbors. Made campfire S’mores (recipe coming soon).  And generally enjoyed ourselves.

About Oceano Dunes SVRA:

Primitive campsites: no assigned spots, no showers and port-a-potties.

Reservations are recommended.  Cost is approximately $10 a day.

ATV rentals are available and there is day time access passes available most of the time

Windstorms can be fierce. Parking your vehicle behind your tent can help.

RVs are allowed.  Check length restrictions.

4 wheel drive is recommended. It helps, but isn’t fool proof.  Remember to air down your tires for added traction.

Nights can be cold.  Remember your warm PJs.

Don’t expect to hear the waves at night! You’re more likely to hear the humming of ATVs.

Be kind to your neighbors.  People are pretty neighborly and helpful when you get stuck!  I learned that the hard way both times I’ve been in Pismo.







Middle-Aged Men, Stop Being So Boring!

I’m not an ageist! But I am going to need men over 40 to stop being so boring. Hitting 40 definitely changes things. You are comfortable in your skin but you deal with not being young and the aging process in front of you. You’re in the middle of your professional life. But everything about middle-aged men feels middle.

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Taxis vs Uber:  A War Turned Personal

Many years ago, when I started using ride share apps, I felt a twinge of guilt not calling a taxi.  There was two reasons at that time I didn’t want a taxi. The first is that they were never where I needed one when I needed one, and I didn’t want to talk to a dispatcher.  The second was they didn’t take credit cards.  By this time, I had relented and stopped carrying cash.  So a taxi just became inconvenient. So, the move to ride sharing was easy.

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Now Serving Side Dishes

My friend and I spent the weekend in Vegas.  During one of our conversations, she said she didn’t understand why people seem to be dating with contingencies or backups.  I told her she’d been married too long and didn’t know how savage the dating world really is. But the more I thought about it, I realized that side chicks, backups and contingencies are the dating norm now. I think there are several explanations for the trend.  Dating seems to be moving away from “traditional” courtships.

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So I Married a Narcissist

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: People with this condition are frequently described as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding. They may also concentrate on grandiose fantasies (e.g. their own success, beauty, brilliance) and may be convinced that they deserve special treatment. 

This past weekend I went to visit with a friend of mine who had not met my former husband.  Since we were in Socal near their place of residence, I had them meet my daughter and I at the hotel.

On the way out of the valley and into downtown LA I needed to go by my friend’s house to allow my daughter, myself and travel companion to say goodbye and thank them for the hospitality. We took the other parent (OP) with us.

When we arrived at the house, my friend was gracious and welcomed the OP into her home.  Of course OP turned on the signature charm with the line, “Very nice to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you.”  I couldn’t remember if it was true or not, but this was OP’s standard line when meeting new people.

My friend and her husband lead us  into the backyard where we sat down to chat for a while to allow the girls time to play before taking off.  Sitting at the table next to my former spouse is always awkward.  It’s not because of hate radiating from my being, but because I am not sure what to do with myself.

The standard issue questions were asked as the conversation went on. My friend asked OP about their family.  Delved into an issue OP has with their brother. But then, it was time for the OP show.  The part where tears start to fall from their eyes as the pledge their eternal love for me.  Which always makes me very uncomfortable because I don’t know that OP knows what love is. The follow up is an admission that they feel bad about how they talked to me.  Which, is a lie.  The same language and venom comes out from time to time.  On those days, I shut them out for a few weeks in order to get my point across. I know that I no longer have to tolerate the abuse that lead to my first bout of depression while I was pregnant.

I was very vocal this time about how I felt hearing the words love related to me from OP’s mouth with a long gagging sound. It’s immature, but it also allowed them to know I did not buy what they were selling.  As OP uttered the apologetic words about the way we talked to each other, I let everyone know I was not sorry for the words I had said.  I had spoken the truth. I had become enraged by OP’s selfish nature.  I may have called names and used foul language, but I do not believe that speaking quietly and with love could change the outcome of our marriage.  I am aware that to my friends I may have appeared harsh. I admitted to it sounding foul, but what I was saying didn’t come from a place of anger, but a place of recovery.

Narcissist are quite charming.  So charming, that other people believe their elegant words.  They believe that there is sincerity in every word they utter.  They have no idea how brilliant narcissist is at manipulation. Narcissist strive to put forward a socially exciting personality. They can not control the way people perceive their awesomeness if they aren’t socially acceptable.  The problem with the narcissistic personality is that when they are not in the lime light and being praised, they become despondent and often act out.

I have met very few narcissists in my life, two, in fact. One was my husband and the other was my former best friend.  The entanglement with these personalities can make breaking the bond difficult.  The narcissist does not recognize your suffering from their needs. Thier time is consumed by thoughts of the next thing to boost their ego which makes them far from sympathetic. The narcissist will often “call out” their spouse in front of people, whether or not the reason is valid. With all of that said, I will admit, had their not been the big lie that was a deal breaker, I probably would not have been able to leave the situation. Because the narcissist is charming and fun to be around.

Mostly I didn’t want to give up because I did not want to fail at marriage.  I wanted a life long commitment like OP’s parents had. My belief that children from an unbroken home were better at commitment and had better marriages was challenged. Just because you have role models doesn’t mean you will follow in their footsteps.

I saved myself to provide a new type of role model for my daughter. A happy role model who was unencumbered by people’s perception of her.  A role model who would only show her daughter relationships that enrich both of their lives.  A mother who could dedicate her attention to what was really important. This woman would not have existed had she not broken the bond of marriage with her husband.

After the Starbucks wrapper incident…

About a year ago, I wrote a story about a date in the sweltering heat that went awry at the end. Let’s call this dater, Joe.  After our date and telling me he wasn’t attracted to me once we met, Joe texted me out of the blue. It had been a few months and I had already deleted his contact information.  I remembered his number because of the unfamiliar area code.

Joe proceeded to tell me about the girl he had passed me over for and how she was nutty. She’d broken his heart a little. He had gone into wounded puppy mode with his tail between his legs to heal. It was his explanation for not talking to me sooner.  I gently reminded him he’d basically told me I was unattractive and I thought I’d never hear from him again.

And after a few weeks of my skepticism, I accepted him as a friend.  Why not? I mean, I was obviously willing to make some investment in him since I had gone out on a date with him.  Plus, guys are generally less maintenance as far as friendships go.  Bonus, they like to drink beer and scratch and so do I.  It is like a friendship that was meant to be.

We continued our friendship for months.  And then, he started sending me the pictures.  You know the ones we don’t understand why they think we want them.  He started being flirtatious and then taking it back the next day.  But this is a constant in our relationship. What I don’t understand is what happened that suddenly made me attractive. Also, how did we elevate things from friendship to this odd status? And finally, what the hell do I do with this information? I feel like that Starbucks wrapper whacked me upside the head again. Only this time, I’m a lot more stunned and confused.

The One with the Skateboard

There is always that one guy in your journey of online dating that turns out completely different than you expect. When I met him on the latest site I tried, conversation flowed like water. It was effortless and comfortable. He was an aspiring writer like I was. He was writing a mystery at the time. We talked about the difficulty of dropping breadcrumbs to make the mystery cohesive and interesting.

After just a few hours texting we decide to met at the artsy movie theater in Berkeley and watch an artsy movie with a lot of buzz. We decided to meet there. I got there before he did and purchased my ticket. He texted me about 20 minutes after I nervously Sat waiting for him in the theater lobby. He told me that he had lost his cash on the way to the theater. I thought about what to do. I mean I kind of wanted to see the movie but the point was to meet this guy. So I told him I was coming out so we could decide what to do.

When I came out of the theater, he greeted me with a giant grin. I drank in his look. It was not what I was expecting from a guy in his late 30s. He was clutching a skateboard wearing wide legged jeans and a newsie hat. It was cute but definitely made me feel old. But I hugged him. He was tall and lanky. Much better looking than his photo. Plus over minus I thought. We took a stroll Berkeley checking out a bookstore before heading to have a coffee at Starbucks.

It turns out we still got along without thought in person. After an hour of coffee and chat, I told him maybe we should call it a night. He said he’d walk me back to the car so I offered him a ride home. In the car, he told me he didn’t want to go home. He suggested we go park by the water.

We ended up parking by the water and watching a movie on my phone. So we had our own waterside drive in. I found out he wasn’t employed at the time. He had no car and his ideas of employment were gig jobs. He also didn’t believe monogomy. Which lead me to start to believe all online daters were non-monogous despite their “looking for” information on their profiles.

We had fun despite the mounting evidence we weren’t on the same page. I figured we’d still enjoy each other’s company from time to time. We could write together but he’d lost his place as a potential suitor.

We saw each other again. I think he want more than a few kisses because the next day he didn’t answer any of my texts. We eventually talked again a few weeks later on the site we met on. But it has since become just a date gone sour with a skater.