Why You Should Visit Humboldt County

Humboldt County is a wonderful place to visit because of its rich history, abundant wildlife, artists, cannabis industry, casinos, and community. After taking the 101 or 299 into Humboldt from San Francisco, or Reno, the drive during the day can relax the mind with picturesque rolling mountains, lakes, and deep forests. Don’t forget to stop by the Legend of Bigfoot to get the gist of the lore or Confusion Hill where things go up when they should go down. When coming from Oregon or Crescent City down the 101 you might find Humboldt a change of pace, an exciting city life, or maybe you decide to take the off-the-grid paths to Shelter Cove or King Range Wilderness to hike the PCT. You may pass by a giant statue of Paul Bunyan and the Blue Ox at the Mystery of Trees. And Eris, forbid, you took a flight in and you find your next flight weeks out or canceled due to bad weather, then you have plenty of time to view the amazing art displayed in the ACV (Arcata Aiport).

Humboldt Country is home to the Redwood trees, some of the oldest and tallest trees in the world. Hiking through the Emerald Triangle includes trails in Trinity, Avenue of the Giants, and Fern Canyon. These trails will bring you to the brink of the otherworld where magical creatures wander and you find the little lost forest, feeling in unity and in tune with nature. Fishing in the Eel River or the Mad may take some experience but they are frequently replenished with fish. Ocean fishing is also a sport that can be done by the daring. Don’t forget to get your California fishing license and read up on the laws. Hiking the Headwaters Reserve or Manila trails you will find an array of mushroom species and moss-hung trees. Make sure to not pick the mushrooms without identifying them first and only as many as you need. Canoe down the rivers and enjoy your time basking in the sun during the summer months. 

Eureka and Arcata are abundant in night light. Arts Alive fills the street with music, art, and vendors. Friday markets in Eureka and Saturday Markets in Arcata. Irish punk shows at the Shanty, and Fetish Nights at Sirens Song. The Jam hosts headliners like local DJ Ahee and the Arcata Theater Lounge recently featured Mike Love. There is endless music, art, and craft beer for those who know where to find it. Music Festivals like Northern Nights, Hog Farm, and Festival of Dreams bring the fairies and elves out of the woods. For a good laugh check out Savage Henry’s Comedy Club or for symphonies, opera and plays at the Eureka Theater. 

Cal Poly Humboldt has exceptional forestry, social work, nursing, basketball team, and ceramics programs for BA. While College of the Redwoods offers general ed, creative writing, volleyball, and an amazing art department. What you really want to take advantage of is the great classes and gatherings hosted at businesses like Erica Brook’s Paint Out at the Winery, High Body Pole Dance workouts, Joe’s veteran ceramic class at CR, Bella Vita Fire spinning, Belly Dancing by Zeta Fusion, The Thing’s Ecstatic Dance, and Life Drawing at the RAA.

Humboldt has a long history of outlawed cannabis growers and the infamous Murder Mountain. You can find your leafy greens at dispensaries and smoke lounges on many street corners. Hit the gravity bong at EcoCann or if you’re in a rush drive through Humboldt Premium. Maybe you are further south and want to check out Cookie’s Lounge or for a nightlife environment there is Crisp! in Eureka! Live rosin cartridges, edibles, bubble hash, and premium cannabis are on the shelves, calling all adults. For an overnight experience check out Riverbar Pharms for good food and cannabis-friendly rooms.

The casinos are popular stops for great music, drinks, food, card games, and slot machines. Bear River Casino is located in Loleta and is a Rohnerville Rancheria to the Mattole and Wiyot Tribes, as well as other surrounding tribes. Blue Lake Casino is a Rancheria to the Wiyot tribe and is notarized by the white house as the “Climate Action Champion.” To learn more about the native tribes visit Clarke Museum currently showcasing a history of the Wigi, also known as the Humboldt Bay. Or you can stop in at the NCIDC American Indian Art and Gift Shop to see the beautiful Native art displayed.

It is impossible for me to list all the amazing things to do in Humboldt County, but I welcome you to come visit and check out the festivities happening in my town!

Meal Giving

Throughout life, meal sharing (or giving) can be an excellent form of showing care for fellow humans. Often we can go through life and forget how to treat others with compassion and love. A big gift is not necessary to show gratitude or endearment. Instead, cooking a meal for the people we care about can go above and beyond expectations and make a person feel your appreciation for them or humanity.

Good times to offer meals to friends, families, and even strangers are after a child has been born, after a visit to the hospital or having surgery, when their funds are tight, after a traumatic event, during times of depression or grieving, or to replace for gift giving. When you offer someone hot food, you show them that you care about their well-being and want them to find comfort through this effort of love you have initiated. So pat your back for making the conscious decision to cook for someone else and help them in their time of need.

A friend posted on Facebook during the epidemic, “If you’re feeling bad for yourself, go buy all your favorite sandwich ingredients; the hoagie rolls, the deli ham, the Munster cheese, load it with your favorite vegetables, and if you like, some avocado. Make up a grip of sandwiches and give it to the houseless. It’ll make you feel loads better.”

Here are a few recipes that I have found incredibly healing. I apologize that I was not willing to share my personal recipes but found similar ones online!

Ghee Porridge (For a new mom): Shara, my doula, made me this amazing Ghee porridge the day after I gave birth! It was incredibly warming, soothing, and healing.

Curry Soup (to warm the heart): My husband made this dish for a woman and me when we shared an Airbnb. I spilled it all over the place but we enjoyed it non the less!

White Sauce lasagna (suitable for families!) : This dish I brought to my friend’s family while she was in the hospital after getting into a horrible accident that caused her to have an emergency c-section. The family was so busy with court documents and finding breast milk for the baby they forgot to eat!

Bacon Beer cheese soup (not for a sick person) : Maybe you might have guessed, I made this meal for a sick boyfriend of mind in my early twenties. I remember being so proud of the dish I made and he threw it up everywhere! Either way, it was a tasty dish and someone going through emotional trauma could benefit from the warm yet metal meal.

Chicken Alfredo (when on a budget): My mom, daughter, and I went to a friend’s house going through emotional baggage and financial difficulty and my mom cooked up this meal for her five kids and our family. It was super simple and delicious, she kept asking what was in the ingredients! She used store-bought Alfredo sauce. She used these six ingredients: noodles, chicken, sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper, and the kids loved it!

Quinoa vegetable mix (for a hot day): Whenever I meet friends at kids birthdays or outdoor events this is my go to.


Southwest Quinoa

Loaded Mash Potatoes (Comfort food to overcome trauma): When my girlfriend is having a bad day I will make her mashed potatoes put on dirty dancing and we will kick up our feet and enjoy.

Mama’s Chicken Noodle Soup (Sick Patient): Anytime I’m sick this is all that I want so I make it for the people I care about, rather surgery or COVID, this is my go to.

Somebody’s Giant

 A short story by Natascha Pearson

18 and up for mature content.

Water bubbles rose in a pot on the stove. It was tight in the kitchen, with just enough room for one adult and a little one. Hot dogs sizzled on the pan and basked in vegetable oil. Next door, the Airbnb renters hooted and hollered as they partied on the balcony. A harsh ocean breeze sent palm fronds throughout the eight-hundred-square-foot backyard. The song “True Colors” came from the television while little Bailey watched the movie, Trolls. She sang the love song, mimicking Poppy’s dance moves. I wouldn’t admit it, but the scene reminded me of her father, Lucas, my boyfriend. He could be so pessimistic at times that I would smother him with love, just as Poppy does to Branch.

            Bailey laughed uncontrollably. “He’s scared to sing, just like Dad!”

            Lucas and I used to eat spaghetti cooked in a teapot on the campfire or split a bag of chips for dinner. Now, Bailey’s request for tonight was mac and cheese with hotdogs. I shave broccoli into the cream. The wind howled in the house like the song in a seashell, filling up the space and pushing on through. Bailey and I sat at the edge of the bed on top of maroon sheets. Bailey stared mindlessly at the TV. I hated that Lucas was gone all day. If we did something else, I could let go of my tension—click. 

            “Dinner is almost ready. Let’s put on some music,” I said, grabbing the new CD player. I popped open The Change I’m Seeking by Mike Love, and the first song to play was “Permanent Holiday.” Bailey knew the words to the song and danced around on top of the flea-ridden casino carpet. I turned off the stove and ran to the restroom in the far corner of the house. The house had a living room/kitchen, that’s where we slept, and then a bedroom with a bathroom. Bailey got the bedroom. The bathroom was covered in graffiti tags that I needed more time to paint over. Bailey came to us overnight. One second we fought for her custody, and the next, she was with us full-time. In the mirror, I was no longer the same person I was a few months ago; my hair was healthier, and the bags under my eyes had faded.

            The two sister cats, Whiskers and Ashes, lay on Bailey’s bed, cuddling closely. Through the doorway, Bailey stood with scissors halfway through her shirt as she cut toward her face. “Fuck, Bailey, be careful! You’ve ruined your shirt!” The fright pulled through my skin, and my hair rose. Not only did I frighten her, which could have made it worse, but I’d also cursed, and now Bailey thought she was in trouble. I ignored the antagonizing itch to call Lucas.

            Bailey watched, confused, and began to cry. I took the scissors away and shouted, “Those are mine!”

            Did I say that? Fuck, I didn’t mean to say that. “I’m sorry.” I hugged her. “Thank you for letting me have them. You scared me. I have child-safe scissors over there that we can use after dinner.”

            I couldn’t believe I left out the sewing scissors. The consequence of hemming the skirt weighed heavily on my shoulders. That could have been the end of Bailey’s life, and it would have been all my fault. What would I have done if something had happened? I placed Bailey’s bowl in front of her. She took a bite and smiled with half-chewed noodles between her teeth after a few munches.

            “This is yummy. You make it the best,” Bailey shoveled bite after bite into her mouth. I’d used the recipe on the box.

             Where was Lucas? The wall clock read five forty-five. He wasn’t even off work. Bailey rubbed her eyes from above her bowl. “Let me put dinner away, and you can—”

            Bailey stood up and walked away. She went to the bathroom and brushed her teeth. It was nice to see that this was already in her routine, surly set by her grandmother during the year she was away from Lucas. I stood next to her and began brushing my teeth, too. We watched each other in the mirror, smiling. She was much shorter and had to stand on a wooden stool to see into the mirror. I spit into the hand basin, and the saliva was mixed with blood.

            “That’s gross,” Bailey said. “Ew!”

            So embarrassed, I nudged her arm. “Come on, that’s not nice. One day you’ll bleed from your gums.” It probably wasn’t true. She would always have perfect teeth. I chipped my nail at the graffitied paint on the wall with the toothbrush still in my mouth while she finished and washed up. “All done?”

            “All done!” She smiled.

            It began to rain, and the partygoers moved inside. A red plastic cup fell from the balcony and into the backyard. The windows were the best part of the living room. The windows covered the southbound wall, and the door had a windowed hexagon with light-colored glass. Zed, a terrier mix, nudged at the entrance until I opened the door, and he bolted inside. The rain came down hard, and the ocean’s musk and bone-chilling air filled the room. As I closed the door and looked behind me, Zed soaked the sheets with dark wet spots.

            “Let’s play a game!” Bailey loved playing with dolls, Uno, or Chutes and Ladders. She walked right past her baby doll and surprised me with Twister. Not my favorite.

            “Sounds great,” I played along. I kicked off my DCs and sat with her on the floor. She pulled the Velcro apart on her pink sneakers and placed them next to mine, hitting the floor hard to flash the lights. I was officially someone’s giant.

            I spun the arrow. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t playing. She placed her hand on the red. Then I spun again, this time her foot on green. Right hand on yellow. Bent on all fours, she fell when I called left on green.

            “You lasted much longer than I could have.” I spun again.

            “Please, play with me one time!” Bailey pulled at my sleeve. Her small hands had a good grip while she pulled me to the mat.

            I flicked the pointer. “Left-hand green.” We faced one another and placed our palms on the green. I spun again, “Right leg yellow.” And again, “right-hand red.” This time, I quickly took my hand off to turn the arm and put my hand back on red. “Left foot yellow” then “right-hand blue.” Our feet made a line of yellows, and our hands stretched to opposite sides of the board. “Left-hand red.” Our arms crossed, and her boney body leaned into my armpit. ” Right foot green.” I forgot why I disliked playing. This game was a form of yoga.  

            I held my weight on the balls of my toes in a squatted position. “What does it say, Bailey?” I spun the dial behind me, making sure not to shift my weight and fall.

            “Left foot red.” She wiggled her foot from underneath me. She was going for the closest, which left me with the red on the opposite side. With my left hand already down on red, I kicked my leg over Bailey. My foot didn’t catch the floor as my leg came down in a beautiful ballerina plie, and my back came crashing down.

            “You won!” I giggled at my loss. “Do you want to play again?”

            “It’s okay.” Bailey yawned. “I’m tired.”

She moved over to the bed and placed her head on Lucas’s pillow.

            “Okay. I’ll stay up till your dad comes home.” I put on Ancient Aliens because that’s what we used to watch when we were trying to sleep. The words of the paleontologist drowned out as I sank to the floor and rested my head against the mattress. Bailey’s and Zed’s snores became my own kind of counting sheep.

            I woke up, and it was dark in the room, illuminated by a light blue glow from the streetlights out front. Lucas was asleep. He must have put Bailey to bed when he came home. I couldn’t believe I fell asleep. We hardly got any time together. In front of the house, a high-pitched female’s laugh rang louder than the others. I tried to close my eyes and rest.

            I woke up again, this time to the words “Shit, shit, let’s go” from people traveling on foot across the empty lot on the north side of the house. It was unnerving. Something about the way the people were walking. It’s odd how a person can tell someone’s intentions by how they walk or run without seeing it, just by listening. I couldn’t go back to sleep.

            I shook Lucas awake. I was not one for sleepless nights or night terrors.

            “Did you hear that?”              

“It’s probably a trash panda,” Lucas said as he turned away.

            The whistle of the city whirled through my ear canal. I followed in my mind the cars from blocks away—their every stop, acceleration, or tight turn. Suddenly, a woman’s shrill scream broke the silence of the night. The walls were so thin I could hear her tears and the cry of sheer terror. She was in front of our house, the house that housed our child, which helped us gain custody. The place that was supposed to keep her safe no longer felt safe. Everything we’d worked toward seemed like it could all go away in the blink of an eye. 

            Bailey continued to sleep. I sat on her bed and watched her in the moonlight that seeped through the window while she slept through the sirens and the hysteria. Lucas stood outside and smoked an American Spirit for what seemed like hours as he kept an eye on the commotion.

            “Someone died,” he said when he finally came in. He was cold to the thought of death, which made me more unsettled than the chaos in front of the house. “In their car, parked in front of the house.”

            “Should I go out there and tell them what I heard?” my voice quivered.

            “No. You don’t want to associate yourself with this at all. If it were an overdose, there’s a good chance someone wanted him dead. You don’t want that person coming after us.” Lucas turned the lights off and went to sleep while I watched the shadows shift with the car lights that drained through the window. 

            The following day, the block was roped off with caution tape. A tow truck removed the small black Toyota Corolla from the street parking spot in front of the house. My Cherokee was stuck in our driveway with no way to move. Lucas had to walk to work early.

There were groups of people huddled together on the sidewalks. Some took shots from a tequila bottle while others bent over crying. Cops wove in and out of the blocked-off road, holding yellow tape and notebooks. The cops talked to a select few, but the cops didn’t speak to us. People continued to come until the road resembled a block party of lost souls, a chaotic gathering of mourners who couldn’t bring back their dead.

            “Maddie, what happened?” Bailey asked.

            I hesitated for a second. I reached Bailey’s eye level and placed my hand on her shoulder. “Somebody died in front of our house last night. I don’t know what happened. Your dad warned us not to talk to them, okay? Just let them mourn.”

            “That’s sad,” she said. We walked past the crowd, invisible to the men in chains, covered in tattoos, or the woman in skulls and fishnets. Bailey and I walked two miles to the coaster which would take forty minutes to get to the school. We’d kept her in the same daycare she was in before so the transition from grandma’s to our house would be easier for her, even though that meant we had to travel further. Some days I got the car, but more than not, we took the coaster. We brought an old Eeyore doll with us. It sat next to her in the blue train seats. I’d gotten Eeyore from Disneyland when I was six, only a little over a year older than Bailey was now. I passed her a banana, and she took a large bite out of it.

            “Smile,” I said as I got out my camera phone.

            After working a few hours on the house, I returned to the coaster to get Bailey. When I got home, the street was full of people and classic lowriders that had come to honor the man’s death.

            “Spider was a good man. Yolo, pour one out for the homie.” A large man in a Tupac shirt dumped the liquor onto the ground. The cops were gone, which left room for more visitors to arrive. They weren’t very social. We followed behind a woman with a low-cut shirt and a skirt walking in heels toward our house. She cautiously bent over the memorial of flowers, photos, and beer bottles and placed a red candle, which she lit, and a picture of herself on the lap of a large man. In the photo, they were both laughing. I closed the wooden gate behind us, blocking us from the sixty-plus people and the mariachi music.

            Through a hole in the wood, I could see some surfer guys approach a group of mourners. “Did someone die?” one of the neighbors asked, his friends close behind him. A man with a rosary turned his shoulder to the neighbor, closing the circle until the neighbor and his friends walked away.

Cars left, and new ones took their spots. People poured out of an SUV, and a new wave of strangers and tears took on the night, accompanied by music and candles.

            “Maddie, what happens when you die?” Bailey said as we sat on the porch, looking through the wooden gate.

            “You get a second chance, and all the good stuff you do determines where you end up,” I spoke without question.

            “This guy must have been really good if he had so many people that loved him. His second chance is going to be epic.”

            “Yeah, Bailey. I’m sure it is,” I said.

            I picked a book from my childhood off the small wooden bookshelf. I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch; my mother had given it to me, and I read it to Bailey. The words of the story always predicted I’d grow up but could never have prepared me for the love and commitment of being a mother. I held back tears as I finished and kissed her cheek. “Good night,” and I turned off the lights.

            Lucas came home from work. He was breathing heavily from the walk home. He sat on the bed and kicked off his shoes. “My coworker doesn’t do anything. He sits on the toilet and talks to girls on dating apps.”

            “I’m sorry, that must be rough.” I’d spent the day picking up cigarette butts and broken bottles from the backyard, and I painted the ceiling until my arm wanted to fall off. 

            “Yeah, it was.” He kissed my cheek and neck—the smell of freshly smoked cigarettes and a full day of sweat from lifting soil. My mind lingered on Spider and how his death had affected so many people. Whose kid looked at him as a father, or young kids that thought of him as a brother, or how many people would be without their dope? How many people had his dope killed? Lucas’s hands were soft on my skin. He slipped under my blouse and pulled it over my head. He kept kissing me harder until it came to my mind to kiss him back.

            “You don’t even seem like you’re into this,” he said while he got out of bed. He held his head in front of the lamp. I pulled his body closer to mine, frail like a flower but rooted. I kissed the stubble on his chin and pulled his pants to his knees. He entered me from under the blanket, and a moan escaped my lips. I wanted to relax, but my mind kept racing. In the corner of the room, I could see a shadow moving.

            “Bailey,” I whisper into the night. Lucas pushes off me, and I wave her over to us. We scramble to get our clothes on underneath the sheets. I kicked my legs deeper until my big toes found my pajama bottoms, and I pulled them up.

            “I can’t sleep,” she said. Of course, she can’t sleep. I was probably being loud.

            “There is a giant in my dreams who’s going to stomp me like the man outside,” she said. Through the thin wall, someone whistled out, breaking our conversation, followed by loud chunks of intoxicated dialogue.

            “That man wasn’t stomped,” but I couldn’t explain further. All we knew was that it was a drug overdose and he was a well-known dealer. If he was killed or if it was just an unlucky hit, we would never know. “Do you want to sleep in our bed?”

            She nodded her head and climbed into our bed. I remembered having bad dreams as a child and wanting to sleep in bed with my mother. I might not have been her mother, but I’d let her sleep with us.

            “Maddie?” Bailey said in a high-pitched four-year-old voice. “Can you sleep on the floor?”

            I grabbed a blanket and made a spot on the casino carpet. I let Bailey get all the cuddles from her father that I had stolen for the past year.

            The room was silent, except for Lucas’s piglet snores. I missed his touch. A fuzzy animal crawled under my blanket, and Zed cuddled against my belly, above where my legs cupped. He reminded me of having a baby in my belly, and I pet his back like a pregnant woman might her stomach. The room faded, and my body sank into dreamland. 

            In the morning, I made waffles with bananas and cinnamon. Lucas had already left to work by the time I woke up Bailey. “It’s a school day. Get ready.”

            She shuffled between the rooms, grabbing a bow for her hair and socks that matched the pink in her clothes. She liked her independence and being able to dress herself. We brushed our teeth, and I braided her hair. We moved quickly. We had already missed the coaster and would have to take the bus. Together we raced down the street of condos, past the shopping corridors, and behind the movie theater where the bus stop was.

            A man in holey black jeans and a shirt, holding a dirty blanket over ragged hair, was screaming in front of the bus. His eyes bulged, and he pointed at me, shaking, “Cunt, you stole my child, cunt! Fuck! Pedophile! Freak! You stole my child!”

            I took Bailey’s hand, and we walked past him. The bus driver took my money and waved us on. We sat in the middle of the bus, Bailey by the window. The man from outside got on the bus. Fear trickled over my skin as he pulled out a bus pass. The bus driver waved him on.

            “You can’t let him on here,” I said. “Did you not hear what he said outside to my daughter and I? Please don’t let him on.”

            “He has a pass,” the bus driver said, like there was nothing he could do but let the man on the bus.

            He sat up a few rows across us, staring at Bailey, slapping his lips together. His mouth formed the word C-U-N-T as he yacked his lips. He kept trying to get our attention, but I held Bailey close. “Don’t look,” I told her. In his hand was a small Mcdonald’s bag, and he took a condom out of it and tore it open with his teeth as he continued to make a long smacking gesture with his lips.

            The bus came to a stop, and I got off with Bailey even though it was only a few stops down. A kid with scraggly dirty blond hair approached us. “Can you buy me some vodka? Please? I’ll give you five dollars.” I shook my head, and we continued walking past a diner with an American flag advertising “Veteran Specials.” A fitness model passed quickly ahead of us in high-rise jeans, a crop top, and a large sun hat, gossiping on the phone. A skateboarder held a pizza box in one hand and a dog leash in the other as a bulldog hauled him under the beats of the palm frond’s shadows. A man in all black with a mohawk danced to heavy metal in his headphones while flying a sign for AT&T. Further down the street, after Baskin Robbins, was a hydro store with a spray-painted sign and exotic plants. Finally, somewhere familiar, closer to Lucas.

            “Downtown is busy today,” I told Curt behind the counter.

            “Is that Lucas’s daughter? Hi, Bailey.” Curt approached her from behind the counter and held out his hand. Curt’s shirt hung loosely, and his brown hair was slung over his left eye. She took his hand and shook it.

“It’s nice to meet you. Lucas’s in the back, unloading soil,” Curt said.

            Bailey was usually shy, but she took to Curt and talked to him about the plants on display. She quickly returned to my side as I headed to the back of the store. “Hey, Lucas,” I yelled into the back.

            I could hear him talking to some coworkers. He walked around the soil piles, towering over them like a tree. Bailey broke away from me, ran, and jumped into his arms. Lucas’s eyes squinted his lips in a smile. He loved being with his daughter.

            “This guy was harassing us at the bus station. The bus driver didn’t do anything about it,” I said.

            “I’m sorry to hear. You guys want to take the car the rest of the way?” he asked. Bailey nodded her head, and Lucas handed me the key.

            “Thank you for stopping by. I’m glad Bailey met Curt. He’s our newest employee,” Lucas said as a heavy-set man approached him and patted his shoulder. “And you remember Drake, don’t you?”

            Of course, the one who’s always on the toilet sexting. “Hi, Drake. It’s a pleasure to see you again.          

            “Hey, Maddie,” he said, shaking my hand before bending to Bailey’s level. “And this little stinker.”

            “Drake!” she smiled.

“Your daddy is always talking about you and Maddie,” he said, giving me a quick wink as he pulled a lollipop out of his back pocket. I wouldn’t have taken it.

            “Yum! Thanks.” Bailey unwrapped the candy and put it into her mouth.

            “Thanks, Curt,” I said, ready to leave. “Hey, did you hear about a Posole who died a few nights ago? I think his name was Spider.”

            “Never heard of him. What happened?” Curt said, concerned.

            “He overdosed in his car in front of our house. You know we live close to the underpass by the beach. He was probably meeting someone there. I woke up that night to some people talking. They said something like, “Oh shit, we got to go,” and afterward, there was just screaming when his girlfriend found the body.”

            “Sounds like something you all want to avoid getting involved with. Don’t worry too much about it, Maddie. Just keep a bat by the bed.”

            “Thank you, Curt,” I said while taking Bailey’s hand and walking away. It was nice to talk to someone about Spider and almost shocking to think there was someone who didn’t know him. I felt like Spider had been the center of the universe.

            These kinds of days went by quickly. Transporting Bailey to and from daycare three towns away was becoming a hassle. I needed to call her grandmother and tell her it would be easier if she went to school closer to us. I could get a job at the diner, and we wouldn’t have to take public transportation as much. The bad encounters were becoming more frequent. I spent the day spray painting the outdoor furniture, so it had a fresh layer of color that would surely chip after a prolonged rain. Bailey was excited when I picked her up, and we decided to return the car to Lucas so he could get home faster when he got off.

            “Are you sure? I can walk,” he offered.

            “No, it’s okay. It’s a beautiful day. We can walk the last fifteen minutes.” It was more like twenty-five at Bailey’s pace, but I preferred he have the car, so he would get home faster. I was desperate for quality time.

              We walked the rest of the way along the coast. The waves crashed close to the walkway, separated by large rocks where crabs and starfish hid in the cracks. There were fewer people along the boardwalk than on the busy city streets. A woman jogged by wearing headphones, and a man in band patches rode past on his bike. The waves played the beat of their drum, and it was nice to be close to the most natural element in the city.

             “I like it out here. Can we go to the playground?” Bailey asked. Opposite the eroding beach was a playground among a grass field. Children played on the swing, slides, and monkey bars. The playground was a good stop. Bailey ran ahead to join the kids going down the slides. Next to me was a tall blond with inescapably large breasts in a short tennis skirt.

            “How’s it going with Jimmy? Lucy?” she repeated to get the woman next to her to pay attention while petting her daughter’s head.

            “Oh, he’s still playing fantasy football every Thursday. Work trips on the weekend, man’s hardly home,” the woman, Lucy, responded, wearing brown pigtails and a puma jumper with a matching baby bag and sneakers.

            Bailey ran up the stairs with the other girls, nagging them to tag her and coaxing them to play. The kids weaved through the play structure. One girl tripped and started to cry hysterically. Her mom attended to her, and the cries turned to sniffles. The other moms called their kids over, and suddenly Bailey was alone on the playground. The other children and moms huddled in a circle with their blankets and strollers, an afternoon mom’s club.

            When it was time to go, Bailey started complaining, “This walk is so long. Are we almost there?”

            We were close, but I knew three blocks seemed far for a child. “We will be there in no time.”

            The house was between some condos and a dirt lot that led to a trailer park. Dirt and stones paved the driveway. The paint was chipping on the house, covered by two large bushes and some dahlias. The wood fence was tattered and weathered. The house had character. They told us when we moved in it was an old mailing house and wasn’t meant to be lived in. Before we moved in, it was a bachelor’s pad or a trap house.

            I had been painting it navy blue and a dark forest green in Bailey’s room, with gold highlights throughout the house, plus a maroon ceiling and dark purple walls for the living room. The porch had a gothic elegance, with wooden newel posts and rusted outdoor decor, the metal statue I spray painted gold, and the Venus fly traps hanging from the awning. Lucas and his friends had spray-painted the outside walls a year before I came around. Even with the spray-painted flowers and smiling sun, the house was deteriorating. Rats endlessly crawled through the attic, and nights were bone-chillingly cold. But the home made it possible for us to live together. I put the kettle on the stove, ripped two hot cocoa packets open, and poured them into mugs.

            “Let’s play a game!” Bailey shouted.

Tarot for Beginners and Deck Reviews

Original Art by Natascha Pearson

Tarot has been an impactful tool to explore my reflection and objections of self and a life path guide. Sometimes I will draw cards on my past, and the card will put things into perspective about how I channeled my energy at that time. Other times the cards will map out a future path and remind me of what I should avoid or be wary of or what I should accept and be open to. I interpret the cards, and part of that interpretation is an inside intuition, and that is the psychic within. 

(All links in this article are Affiliate links or lead you to my Etsy. Thank you for exploring and supporting my writing by purchasing through these links at no extra cost to you.) 

Tarot, the suit cards, 21 trump cards, and the matto card (aka “the fool”) were played as a game in the 1430s, originating in Italy and spreading throughout Europe. Roma gypsy people took this deck of cards and began the divination fortune-telling Tarot we know now. They believed Tarot was a tool for psychics to interpret symbols for divination, realization, and understanding. 

I started with tarot cards when I was in high school. I became interested in witchcraft and began with the traditional starter deck Rider-Waite Tarot. I liked this deck because the images represent the card’s meaning more evident than most. All tarot decks come with a book for reference. Studying the book wasn’t something I was drawn to at first. Instead, I would pull a card and read up on it as I went. I would sit with that card and see how it resonates with me and my life at that moment. At this point, I was not ready to read for other people, but I was prepared to pull a past, present, and future Tarot spread. After shuffling my deck, I choose to discard my first card or not to discard depending on what came naturally to me. There is no rule on what is right and what is wrong. It’s about flowing with you’re own practice. Thank yourself for showing up and putting forth effort. It is unimportant if you forget to discard the first card before putting out your spread, but it is an option. If the cards are reversed, it is your choice to take this as an opposite meaning or to think of it as upright. You should take into consideration the other cards surrounding it. Either way, go with what flows naturally to you. Don’t be disappointed to receive reversals; if it’s easier for you, flip it upright. 

Then at Lucidity in 2015, an artist I treasure, Gabriel Welch, let me read his cards using his deck. His deck resembled the Druid Animal Oracle Deck, and I remember pulling some prolific birds that predicted a vibrant ongoing career along with obstacles that could arise. I could have been a better tarot reader, but I remember this as a special moment. He took the cards very seriously, considering the images and meanings. 

Later I met my husband, and we traveled to Shasta, where we lived in the woods, this time for about three months. He had the Egyptian Tarot Deck, it was very worn, and I could tell it was full of his energy. I did not have a tarot deck at this point, and I used his for divination. This gave me a lot of hope and guidance as to what our futures looked like and what I could expect. It even foresaw a struggle we would endure that would change our life paths. I was forever thankful for this deck and my time with it. Even though it wasn’t the deck that called to me as my own, it resonated strongly with my husband. It’s a superstition that tarot decks must be gifted to their beholder, but the magic remains the same if it is bought or gifted as long as the deck resonates with the owner. As you can see, there are many different tarot cards, and the symbols may be completely different. The card’s symbols are meant to bring meaning to the card, but there can be different perceptions of cards, such as the King of Cups. Where someone might see the King of Cups as fulfilled and abundant emotions, they might use a deck with the image of a king with a crown and staff holding a cup full of water and his kingdom behind him, or it might be a man at the beach meditating with a singing bowl and starfish like this Light Seer’s Deck. The tarot reader must choose a deck that resonates most with them so they can get the most meaning from the images. This also helps the reader decipher the card’s meaning without looking at the book.

My current deck is the Mystic Manga deck. I got it for my birthday four years ago and enjoyed the imagery and the manuscript with the description of the cards facing forward and reversed. I made this tarot deck cloth; you can purchase it at my shop. I also really like this Past, Present, and Future spread cloth from Tamed Wild and their beautiful Moon phase deck

Whichever deck you use to explore your deviation ventures, be easy on yourself. I thank you for researching Tarot and spending the time to explore not just this psychic art but also this bridge to you and the otherworld.  

Here is a gift to you for 10% off of any Tamed Wild product

Sacred Love Circle

Is the “Sacred Love Circle” deemed mature content that needs to be monitored in a family-friendly art museum?

As a secretary for the Redwood Art Association, I see art come through our doors trying to convey a message. It may be the common theme of tranquility and nature or an abstract piece with bold lines dancing in splatters across the page. Art is to the eye of the beholder, but the message is conveyed by the artist. Nudity is a common theme in the gallery, and body appreciation art has always been encouraged. A picture has been displayed called “Sacred Love Circle” by Stella Molina. The idea of censoring this piece was brought up by members. This photograph depicts the bottom half of a woman on her blood cycle. This picture is important to me and should be displayed in the art museum for the following reasons.

The women’s cycle should be honored. This should be taught to our children that a girl getting her period is a rite of passage and shouldn’t be considered taboo. By censoring a vagina on its period, we are telling young women that this is something to be ashamed of and that there is no safe place to look at a vagina on its period. It must be condemned, hidden, and labeled mature content. When a girl begins her period, she is not yet old enough for mature content.We should encourage and educate girls to accept their blood cycle instead of treating it with fear. We evoke the fear and inappropriateness of the women’s cycle when we censor this theme in our museum. 

No age is too young to admit the women’s cycle is part of our everyday reality. When a woman reaches a certain age, the cycle will begin and later cease. When we can’t communicate these things to our children because we make it taboo, we teach them that the women’s cycle is something to be ashamed of, something we must not talk about, something that will get you shunned from society. When we begin to honor or cycle, young women can welcome their cycle, appreciate their bodies, and be prepared to honor and care for their bodies during the cycle.

This isn’t an issue about censoring nudity at the Redwood Art Association, I believe this is the censorship of the female rite of passage, and this enforced taboo on the menstrual cycle needs to be addressed. The more we talk about these concepts, the more we can educate our children on them, stop self-hate and change the idea of a “curse” of the body to a monthly celebration and rest period. If this piece of art brings up that conversation to the general public, then it should be kept up, and the conversation should be had.

What does “Sacred Love Circle” mean to you? Please comment below!

Healing Through Writing

A 10 Week Course by Francesca Lia Block

Francesca Lia Block

I just finished Healing Through Writing, a ten-week writing group hosted by Francesca Lia Block. Francesca has been my favorite writer since I was twelve and read I Was A Teenage Fairy, “a postmodern fairy tale, a teen model’s friendship with a fairy helps her overcome abuse,” (amazon.com) and the last book I finished was House of Hearts, her newest book with themes of mythology, death, and rebirth taken place at the Salton Sea. I always appreciated her work because she writes about taboo, abnormal, and traumatic topics accompanied (or disguised) by magical realism. Her language, details, and symbols will take you to another world, engulf you in its essence and bring you back into your existence more light-hearted. I always wanted to be a writer, and after reading Francesca’s books, I knew why; I had never felt more understood. 

I recommend this course. I finished my BA at Full Sail University in creative writing but struggled to publish. Since I graduated, I have taken a writing class at a community college. In this course, I read and analyzed plenty. I even started a new story, but I wanted more. I had yet to accomplish what I wanted. I came to Francesca with questions about getting a Master’s. If you read my blog post on my BA experience, you know I am overwhelmed with student loans and think college can be risky. She told me about her writing group. I’d known about it but needed the money for it. We worked out a payment plan, and I was ecstatic to dive in. 

We met on Sundays on Zoom and submitted ten pages a week, along with the answers to the questions she provided. She used the twelve questions from her book The Thorn Necklace and other questions for deeper thinking. These questions weren’t just about writing but about you, the writer. I am a brick wall regarding trauma, but even these questions helped me open up and reflect. As a writer, I learned that we are pushed to express our deepest desires, write about our childhood, admit our flaws, and appreciate our gifts. After all, without these things, good characters wouldn’t exist.

So, of course, I struggled. I struggled to open up, struggled to write ten pages, and struggled to give back good critiques, but I got better at these things. I continued writing a story idea I had when I took my first in-person class by Francesca Lia Block in 2016. The story I worked on was a high fantasy that could quickly go wrong since I was an inexperienced writer. I got so caught up in world-building that I lost concrete details that helped the reader relate or the characters come to life. She asked me to write a non-fiction piece for submission in week three. (I will post it on my blog in the upcoming weeks). It was called Somebody’s Giant, about a death in front of our home in downtown Oceanside. This piece was a great release for me, and it was nice to hear the feedback from my peers. Even though writing non-fiction doesn’t come naturally to me, getting support from my group was healing. 

We met every Sunday evening and worked in a group of four. These writers were very talented. For the price of the class and the amount of writing, the kind of people this class attracts are die-hards. Reading their stories changed me. Giving them feedback, getting their feedback, was more than someone close to me could offer. We are all striving for a common goal, all being vulnerable, and all there to support one another in the process. There was little time to chat, but Francesca allowed us as long as we needed to give each other our reports, talk about our work, and get her feedback. We had group exercises and even sat in a brief ceremony for the full moon. Reading their stories changed me more than I can say for my community college class because I was a part of their story. They took in my advice and comments, and it reflected in the upcoming submissions. They trusted me with their secrets, and the sisterhood bond was healing for me. 

In the tenth week, I didn’t submit my work. I’m not perfect, and I got stuck six pages into my chapter and was overwhelmed with work, illness, and stress. I didn’t move forward. Instead, I focused on my reviews and gave my group the best analysis I could for that week. I would recommend two hours a day put aside for this class, Monday through Friday, with a break on Saturday and a meeting on Sunday. I’m not saying it takes that long to write ten pages but you have to map out your chapter/ or short story, you have to answer the questions, review your classmates stories, take notes and execute the notes from the prior week and write your story. If I could do this class again, I would take the questions more seriously and put aside more time to focus.

I wrote 66 pages, 21952 words for my story Discordia, gained notes on an existing short story and a ten-page non-fiction called Somebody’s Giant. I received four notes (including Francesca’s professional notation) on each chapter. I learned how to become a better writer, how to plan and analyze my process, and I was pushed to write by taking this course. Because she allowed me a payment plan, I was able to manage the class fee, and I would 100% retake this class. 

If you are a reader, I recommend you pick up Francesca’s fiction books. If you want to become a writer, I recommend A Thorn Necklace. If you are a writer, take the course. There is nothing to lose and so much to gain. I am so proud of what I have accomplished in just ten weeks. 

Thank you for reading my blog! I am happy to be back. 

(Some links in this blog post are affiliate links.)

Happy New Year!

Thank you to my 50 followers. I appreciate your commitment.

This New Year has been a resting period for me. I apologize that the blog has been less active, and this can be expected for the next two months.

Opportunities have come up with my edible company, and I am currently trying to settle on a name that captures my brand and stands out from the crowd. Since we also offer salves.

We have sold out of products at Emerald Genetics/ Cal Sole, and our next harvest is in February. We will have on the shelves Gelato 25/ Dosido and OG. Sales and building client relationships have proven to be a challenge. I must constantly reevaluate why our product stands out and what we offer that no one else does. As I’ve been told, growing cannabis in Humboldt county isn’t enough. Even though we can’t hold onto product, I am still establishing myself as a sales face for Cal Sole. You can find Emerald Genetic Products at 101 M Street Dispensary inc. in Crescent City.

I am taking a writing course with my favorite writer Francesca Lia Block. This is the real secret my blog is being put on hold. I write ten pages a week, and I answer some questions that help me explore my characters and also myself as a writer. I then review my peer’s work and then meet on Sundays to review our pieces. It has been a dream of mine to take this course and I am very thankful to be under her guidance.

Little Lost Forest is working on getting its business license and signing up for upcoming fairs. Competing with the artists in Humboldt county takes work. All the talented people seem to come out of the woodwork to live here! So I am going strong with my Etsy and will update it soon.

My best friend, who you might be familiar with, Orion, moved in. He is going to Cal Poly and working on a social worker degree. He will be helping me with the edibles and also with the children.

My husband and I have talked about doing more things together, but we still need to do actually do them. We spent many years getting stable enough to have a child while raising our oldest. We don’t have a lot of time with each other… alone. For now, it is what it is, but since I talk about marriage and relationships in this blog, this is a genuine piece of my life. I miss having “fun” with my partner, like going on car rides along the coast or spending time together at the beach without the kids.

Please take a second to reflect on how you have come into the New Year. Reflect on all the progress you’ve made in the past fifteen days and the goals you have set in place for the rest of the year. Your goals are attainable.

I hope that you are going through the New Year with ease. Enjoy the rain Humboldt County.

Yule and the Shadow

Winter months can put us under observation by our consciousness. Spills of depression, slow creativity, cold, and indifferent feelings accompany the longer nights. Now is an excellent time to look to nature, challenge your creative endeavors, and meditate in darkness. 

Stillness, a winter attribute, has never been a restful concept. Usually the precursor to a horror film scene, stillness condenses all the subtleties of the present. Sitting in the now can be like watching a horror scene clip on repeat without a conclusion. Resting with your fears may not be comfortable, but furthering self reflection and “unpacking” can be a process that fits with the winter solstice. 

Here are five (plus a bonus) directional steps I took to find peace until Yule. 

  • Nature– The kids and I walked into the forest and collected fallen brush, pine cones, and sticks to bring home. We cut oranges with their points out and pierced them with whole cloves. The oranges we dehydrated for 4 hrs at 200F. We twined, tied, and woven, the orange slices with pine cones, rosemary, thyme, sage, and cinnamon sticks into a garland and a wreath with a stone and shell decor. We found the most beautiful Stropharia Ambigua on our walk, and Malakai pointed and “oohed.” We didn’t have a camera, so we can’t share it with you. It is a yellowish-white mushroom with a curtain of lace around its top. 
  • Candle Lighting– It’s essential for us to find closure for the people we lost during the year. Winter is a time for deep longing and mourning for those who have passed. Lighting a candle and saying words to those on the other side can help heal open wounds and quiet, frequently visiting thoughts. The luminaria, “little lantern,” is historically a Spanish tradition of decorated paper bags with a candle, while Laternelaufen is a German tradition of walking with lanterns. However you want to partake in lighting candles within your traditions, the candle continues to symbolize spirit. 
  • Shadow Work– “Unpacking” can be a process, but reflecting on your worst moments can lead to your best ones. Shadow work isn’t about blaming yourself but becoming self-aware by exploring the parts of “you” that are usually avoided. Getting a journal to conduct your reflections will help anchor your thoughts. Since the beginning of December, I’ve been using these prompts from Eight Benefits of Shadow Work and how to use it in your Journey to further explore my actions, reactions, and thoughts.
  • Planting seeds for spring– This action can symbolize hope, new beginnings, joy, and sacred connection. My daughter and I planted Passionflower, Zinnia, Morning Glory, and Delphinium in little starter pots inside a warm room by the window. I will tell you if they sprout, it’s cold. 
  • Tree cutting– having a live tree in your home can feel like murder, but the “Christmas” tree tradition is Germanic, Nordic, and pagan. Decorating the tree with objects symbolizes giving light into the new year. This year we were gifted with a permit to cut down a tree. We drove into the snow and found a perfect tree that I took down with a saw. Our friend’s husband helped me get the tree down the mountain and onto the car. Our tree is beautiful, and I enjoyed getting a real tree, even if it was just for this year. 
  • Card Making– Each card marks a reflection on your present period and the current period of the receiver. Well wishes into the new year, and sincere thoughts will guide your helpers, friends, and family. A card with a simple message can convey appreciation and love. 

Giving to others and participating in self-care will help you get through these winter months and bring light into your future. This world is a beautiful place if we can work with the darkness. I hope you enjoy Yule tomorrow the 21st, I know I will be with some spiked hot cider and friends. Blessings.

Zen Humboldt

Saturday, December 5, 2022- (Eureka, CA) Little Lost Forest put on its first art exhibition, Eris’ Apple, at Zen Humboldt dispensary, which will be on display throughout December. The opening occurred during Arts Alive Eureka from 6-9 pm, accompanied by other local artists. Landscapes, female characters, and meditative practices are themes in the acrylic and spray paint art by Natascha and Jeremy Pearson. The paintings are strung along with a story that will be developed into a book called Discordia, to be released in 2024. 

@original_cannabis_leaf_art– Dan, a Rio Del local, creates unique customized items using real marijuana leaves in his delicate approach. He showcased Christmas ornaments and “high Santa” and Halloween art like a framed pot leaf spider.

Ruthie Creates Art @ruthiecreates_4 (IG) & @Ruthiecreates (FB) from Arcata brought a whirlwind of fun, colorful, and comfortable goods such as crocheted animal-styled beanies, plushies, and shell chimes sourced from local beaches. These pieces are all unique, custom, and one-of-a-kind, perfect gifts. 

Alexis, a Eureka artist, and her partner Novak set up their booth Fern + Fire which can be found on Etsy under FernnFire. They displayed wood-burned wall pieces, runes, Christmas ornaments, and beanies. 

Loren with Primitive Roots brought his wooden goods! (info@primitiveroots.art and FB at Primitive Roots 707) displayed resin and wood bowls, cutting boards, some with transformer-burned wood designs with a resin coating, unique cribbage boards, and much more. You can find a video of Loren woodburning with a neon sign transformer here and his IG.

Jeremy and Natascha Little Lost Forest @littlelostforestart brought rolling trays, local photographs on metal plates (@emeraldtriangle.photos), and self-care boxes including rose salve, face scrub, and body scrub made from all-natural ingredients. 

Water and Tea were served, and as it rained, guests trickled in. They folded up their umbrellas and walked through the cannabis room to a large lounge room where the artists were set up. Guests had a chance to talk with the artist, and once again, our community came together for a beautiful event. If you find yourself in Eureka, please stop by Zen in December to see the Little Lost Forest paintings.


Thank you, Zen Humboldt, for allowing us in your space, and I look forward to January’s Arts Alive at Good Relations. See you there! 

Part 3 and Final Interview

Starbucks was cold and loud, so Dan, Lanie, and Natascha went over to the Shanty to continue their interview.

Natascha: We changed locations to the Shanty for warmer and quieter conditions. Hi Dan. Thank you for coming today!

Dan: Hi.

Natascha: How’s your day going?

Dan: It’s going great. It’s really cold.

Natascha: It is pretty cold day. At least it’s not raining yet.

Dan and Natascha: Yet… [laughs]

Natascha: Can you tell me your pronouns?

Dan: I use she and he. A lot of people get confused about that, so I’m here to talk about it today.

Natascha: Awesome. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Dan: I am a percussionist, and I like to paint. And I work with children on the spectrum. [Inaudible]

Natascha: You want to come a little bit closer?

Dan: I should and talk louder too.

Natascha: There we go. How has transitioning been like for you?

“Yes, the more we learn about this, the more people will have the ability to have language to advocate for themselves in a medical way.”


Dan: So, I am intersex. For those that don’t know what that term means. It’s an umbrella term that categorizes a difference in genitalia or chromosomes. It is something someone is born as. It is not an identity. It is a way someone is born, and it is not necessarily what someone identifies. An umbrella term to talk about someone who is born without traditional male or female characteristics.

Natascha: Thank you. Why is it important to use the proper pronouns?

Dan: It brings validation. It shows a sign of care and respect. It’s like learning somebodies name. You wouldn’t- It’s understandable if you don’t want to learn someone’s name, you don’t want to get to know them. But, if you are going to ask their name, you’re not going to call them a different name [second of inaudible.] It’s a sign of respect and acceptance.

Why do you think it might be hard for some cis-gendered folks, or why they would be bothered by the use of they/ them pronouns?

Dan: Learning is hard, and it can be embarrassing if- and seeing somebody upset and sometimes in order to make yourself feel better, they’d say, ‘You have no reason to be upset.’ versus maybe I need to reflect on what I can do differently to accommodate and respect you as a human being.


Natascha: Thank you. Why is it important to introduce children into the LGBTQ community?

Dan: There are LGBTQ children, and without that community, it can make someone feel isolated and alone.

Natascha: Do you feel that transition has changed you in any way?

Dan: So, particularly with my case, I’ve always felt the need to appear as Afact or a cis-female. If that means altering certain characteristics, which I’m not going to go into detail about, or hormone supplements, at this point of my life, finding a community where we are genderqueer, and I have the ability to accept myself, who I am, and all the lovely characteristics that make who I am and not needing to edit this. So, the act of transitioning for me is essentially me being myself, whatever that looks like- letting myself exist for once, as I am- as I wake up in the morning, as I. Yes.

Natascha: Thank you so much for coming onto Little Lost Forest and talking to me. Also, sharing with our community here in Eureka and everyone else who comes to the blog why it is important to use proper pronouns and why (cis) people shouldn’t take offense when asked what their pronouns are because we’re in this community together and to show respect to one another and the people in the community need to change the way we think and respect and appreciate members of the LGBTQ community within our society these include people with religious degrees and people that assist disabled children. When disrespecting someones announced pronouns, you don’t know who you’re talking to, their background, and what they had to endure. By not respecting someone’s pronouns, they are not respecting our community as a whole. Thank you, folxs, for coming on today. Is there anything that you want to add?

Dan: Yes, the more we learn about this, the more people will have the ability to have language to advocate for themselves in a medical way. I can’t tell you how much that has changed in my ability to talk about the things that my body needs, and that’s not something that necessarily a woman who is cis might need. And even though the doctor might see that’s what I am assigned from my birth, it isn’t necessarily what my body needs. So just those terms, the education behind those terms, just having doctors that are educated on what that is because I have come across a lot of medical professionals that don’t know. It’s healthy. At the very least, I can go to the doctor and get care.

Natascha: That is so important. Alright, thank you.