Happy New Year. Since I closed 2021 swooning about a tv show from my past, I will start 2022 swooning about a current favorite.

It took us two cancelled trips to get out to California to visit our son. This past December as the pandemic resurfaced we considered cancelling again, but in the end decided to go for it, to push forward. Double vaccinated and boosted, quarantined from seeing others a few days before our flight, K95 and surgical masked, we arrived in California five hours delayed surviving 18 hours of little to no food or drink, tons of sanitizer, and masks that felt like suction cups protecting us from the unseen dangers around us. Kind of surreal but worth every crazy minute. Survivors.

Survivor. I have watched every episode. Since I am not a legit writer and my swoons come from my soul the moment I feel them I have no idea if I am repeating myself. Am I that auntie that tells the nieces and nephews the same story over and over? No clue. I love the show Survivor. Politics, interpersonal relationships, balance skills, and thinking out of the box. Awesomeness. I have always said I would be first off or in the final five. I am not a middle of the pack kind of gal…maybe a Jan Brady in my family…but not in life.

This past week we survived the unthinkable…well, according to every Californian we came in contact with…we survived…sit down…we survived a week of…rain. Evidently it NEVER rains in California. They plan weddings without contingency plans for rain or weather, they get amusement park tickets without checking the weather, they tell people to pack for a week of sun. It rained for all or part of 4 out of 7 days and we…survived!

New Years Eve we awoke to a jam packed day, it was going to be sunny and warm, a California miracle. It was a typical Nemec vacation day. Drive to Eaton Canyon for the waterfall hike, get vegan fast food, clean up, go to The Getty, then to The Grove, visit with friends from NY now living in CA, and celebrate NYE. Hugging friends we have not seen in years…amazing. Experiencing The Getty and The Grove…delicious. Eating Ella’s delicious veggie pasta dish and watching the ball drop in NY with one eye closed in a blinking crown of flowers…my kind of NYE celebration. Playing Survivor on our hike…EVERYTHING.

Our trip to California has been wonderful for many reasons. It has been a treat to see where our kid lives, I love knowing that when we chat on his drive home from work I will be able to picture the 110 and know that when he turns off 33rd he will be seconds from home. This is a huge gift for a visual person. Friends have said that visiting one’s “kids” in their space is difficult, causing lots of arguments on who is in charge. We left all the planning to the kids…they bought the tickets, they planned the itinerary, they gave directions. I found it beyond liberating to just…let…go. We took turns treating for dinner and yummies, every one of us paying for one thing or another. We were equals and only had a few slips back into nutty family dynamics.

Back to Survivor. Jacob was beyond excited to take us on his favorite hike. Prepping us for its difficulty (hello young man, I walked for miles with your 25 inch body and huge head dangling off my 60 inch body in a baby Bjorn, I think I got this)…explaining the trip was through a desert-like setting, into a forest of trees, then ending at… a waterfall. The grand prize in the land of dryness, where it never rains.

We walked through the sand/dirt…past cacti and low greens, then I heard a sound, the sound of a running creek, the sound of…water. The kids heard it at the same time. They stopped in their tracks, then ran to the stream. The stream that according to them…was not there. They were in shock. We moved on, the path we were supposed to take was closed, there was a river there now, a gushing, white water river. Always the Boy Scout looking for an adventure Jacob decided we could “go around” the river. We followed. We walked through brush of blackened trees from previous fires, past cacti with prickly pears, over rocks that looked much sturdier than they were, walking and looking for a place to cross the river.

New Yorkers tend to give off the vibe that they know what they are doing…even if they don’t. At the La Brea Tar Pits Jacob had so much knowledge…people starting asking him questions. On our hike there was a line of tourists following us, little ants following the leader. Finally we found a bridge…when I say bridge I mean a fallen tree. Hiking at 5 feet has its perks, low to the ground is generally good, short legs are not so helpful when trying to hop on a tree while crossing a stream. As Jacob reached out a hand to help me across, I realized even with his hand, Olivia and I were going to end up wet. So, I grabbed some big rocks and threw them in the water, making a stepping stone for us littles…problem solving at its best, then with my boy’s hand helping me to the tree…I crossed…step by step, four points of contact, over the water. My Survivor moment.

We did not make it all the way to the waterfall, at one point the path was completely underwater. We were a little disappointed but soon realized it would be fun to come back and do the hike the dry way…no obstacle courses, no drama, no water. We hear California has fires because it’s so dry, it never rains…we shall see.

Surviving… family vacations, pandemic flying, rainy California, washed out paths on our hike…we did it. Who needs a tv show when you can live it.

Happy 2022…it’s going to be ok, we don’t need any more than that.

The most unflattering picture of all time, but I still LOVE it…and that is called growth!

Published by Kat

A mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a graphic designer. I am flawed... but I try.

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