Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened at the Prison

About a week prior to the X's birthday, I figured out that his big day fell on a Saturday... visiting day at the prison. Back in June, I had decided not to take the girls to see their father for Father's Day as he had requested due to the fact that I was busy helping my own dad with his house addition, and felt that I should spend Father's Day weekend helping the man who has been there for me through thick and thin and has sacrificed so much for his own children rather than taking my girls to see the man who abused me and neglected them and sold us all down the river for his own hedonistic desires. Now that his birthday was approaching, I thought that I would be nice and take the girls to visit him as a surprise.

I dreaded the visit the entire week. We drove the hour and a half to the prison and then entered... the Karma Zone.

The guard at the front desk looked up X's rap sheet. She said to me, "He was convicted of violation of a protective order." "Was that against you?"

I answered yes.

She said, "You're a victim."

Now this is where I would normally vehemently deny that I was a "victim". I would proudly state that I was a "survivor". But I wasn't in the mood to argue symantics with this tough looking female guard. I knew what she meant. I HAD BEEN a victim of X.

I told her that when I had filled out the request to be on X's visiting list, I had marked "YES" on the question that asked if I was a victim of this inmate.

She said that if she had been the one to intially approve me as his visitor, then she deserved to be kicked. She got on the phone and had someone pull X's file. The form I had sent did indeed have a check mark beside "YES" on the victim question. However, she hadn't approved me... someone else had. She then proceeded to inform me that I should never have been approved as X's visitor, and she would remove me from his list.

Then she said, "He was also convicted of domestic violence in the presence of children." "Are these the children?"

I again answered yes.

She then informed me that she would also be taking them off his visiting list. I think she thought I would be disappointed or try to talk her into leaving us on the list. I think she thought this would be bad news. I told her that this was great. Now I wouldn't have to take them to see him... and I couldn't even let his mother or other member of his family take them to see him. They COULDN'T visit him. And best of all... I wasn't going to be the "bad guy" in this. The system would be.

She walked me out to my car and apologized for breaking the girls' hearts. I looked in the back seat of the car, and they didn't look the least bit brokenhearted. They were playing and laughing. I think it was a relief for them also.

She and I had a smoke together and discussed domestic violence and our experiences with it. I gave her the URL for Our Place and told her that it is a great resource to pass on to victims of abuse.

The girls and I had a pleasant drive home, and I felt very relieved. I only had a tinge of regret that we didn't get to see him because, after all, it was his birthday. But it wasn't MY doing. Yay! I get to let someone else take the blame.

Karma is sweet!

More Thoughts on Moving Home

There are so many things I love about my hometown. I had forgotten a lot of the individual things over the last nine years I had been living elsewhere, but I needed only to sit on my back porch my first night there to remember many of them. It was dark; darker than the city I had been living in; and I could see so many more stars in the sky. I could actually find more constellations than just the Big Dipper and Orion. The semi-rural smell of the air. The lack of traffic noise. And the grand finale... the sound of a train running along the nearby tracks!

I've missed you, my old friend. There truly is no place like home.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

There's No Place Like Home - July Highlights

The big event in July for our family wasn't the Stadium of Fire (yes, I did pay for and endure the torture that is the combination of the right-wing schtick of Glenn Beck and the whiney, breathy, pre-pubescent, bubblegum-pop stylings of the Jonas Brothers for my little girls -- I AM a good mom, damn it!)

No, the really big event in July was a move back to my hometown... not just my hometown, but my childhood neighborhood. It's a three-bedroom with a huge utility/laundry room and a cellar for storing all my sentimental crap. It's huge compared to the place where we had been living the past 18 months. It's just blocks away from my parents and older two children. And the landlord completely gutted and remodeled it just before we moved in. Beautiful!

We are no longer forced to hide our cats from a landlord. This is a cat-friendly home. We no longer have to hide the fact that we are smokers. The landlord is a smoker too, and has no qualms about our smoking on the patio. In other words, the place is about as close to perfect as it gets. Except for the spiders... lots of creepy spiders... ewwww.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vegas Baby! / June Highlights

My sister and I made the journey to Sin City the first weekend in June for a retreat. The retreat was for people involved in several abuse-related websites. I first became a member of a certain verbal abuse website forum back in April 2003, and have gotten to know these people over the past six years. One of the amazing members of that website created her own forum a few years ago ( Thanks, Carly! Then last fall there were some strange happenings on the original forum (that I won't name here) and the wonderful and wise administrators created their own website and forum and many of us jumped ship and made our way to Our Place (the link is at the top left corner of my blog just under the header).

Photobucket Emily, Ken and I at Harrah's

The retreat was held at the Imperial Palace and arranged by Carly... Thanks again, Carly!

Photobucket Carly winning "big"

There were a total of ten of us there. Two from the Southern California area, three from the Las Vegas area, one from Louisianna, one from Maryland, one from New York (via England via Australia), and my sister and I from Utah. It was so great to get to meet these amazing people in person after "knowing" them from the forum for so long. We rode to the top of the Eifel Tower,


went to the karaoke bar at the Imperial Palace,

Photobucket At the Karaoke Bar

watched the fountain show at The Bellagio and toured the Bellagio gardens. We went to Fremont Street and enjoyed a free concert and the light shows.


Rode the monorail and best of all, had a private brunch where we were able to all sit around and talk.

Photobucket Brunch in the Koko Room

Everyone there was so warm, kind, intelligent, and fun. And everyone there was a survivor of domestic abuse. These beautiful people are a testament that there IS life after abuse and it's a GOOD LIFE.

It was a wonderful trip. I enjoyed driving down with and sharing a room with my sister. We haven't been to Vegas together since 1998.

Photobucket Ken and his Harley

Photobucket LOVE his license plate!

I ended up gambling very little. I won about $10 on a Kenny Rogers slot machine, and then lost $20 in one quick swoop on the roulette table. All in all it was a great retreat.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thunder Cats and Black Eyes / May Highlights

"You Want a Cat?"

That's what my dad said to me as soon as I got out of my car at his house Memorial Day weekend. My dad's outdoor cat had another litter of kittens. They really need to fork out the $30 and have the cat spayed. Anyhoo, he had been so busy with the house addition that he didn't even know Midnight had had kittens until they were about four weeks old and he found them in the shed while he was in there searching for something... the man keeps EVERYTHING. You never know when you may need this... But I digress.

He informed me that there were four or maybe five kittens out in the shed. I should have known better than to even look. I have such an affinity for cats... especially kittens with their big bobble heads and short spikey tails. Of course I HAD to save one of them. The rest would end up feral strays. The only one I managed to coax out of hiding and grab was a little solid black one who looked just like his mother. Luckily he was a male because that's what I wanted. We named him Lucky, but we usually call him "The Little Guy".


This picture was taken just a week or so ago. I'll have to find my other data card from the camera and post some pics of when he was tiny. He and Timmy are buddies. They clean each other and nap together and best of all wrestle and chase each other around the house. They're so loud we started calling them "Thunder Cats" (HO!).

Don't Mess with The TABLE!

I was getting my brother's trailer ready for him to take camping for Memorial Day weekend. It had been parked in my driveway for a month or so and the girls had been camping out in it on the weekends. I had the table upside down on the bed and was attempting to fold down the legs of the table. I was pushing the locking mechanism and pulling on the leg... and nothing was happening... so I hit the leg in the direction it was supposed to go and it CLOSED... and hit my eye on its way down.

I immediately thought I'd put my eye out because I couldn't see out of it and all I could feel was blinding pain. But I just ended up with a deep bruised cheekbone that STILL hurts now at the end of July! For a couple weeks, I had this sore, puffed up, "black" eye going on. It was a uncomfortable, but not unbearably painful. It wasn't my first shiner, and it probably won't be my last.


and a close-up


Here's the thing though... it's the first black eye I've had in over four years.... the four years since I left X. That first morning with the black eye, I actually thought about trying to cover it up somehow with makeup... or trying to get away with wearing my sunglasses all day without anyone getting suspicious... WTF? I figured out it was just the old memories of having a black eye and all that entailed back then. The same kind of feelings come up when I get bruises on my upper arms. I think about wearing longer sleeve shirts to hide them... like I did back then.

I really had to fight those feelings that first week... especially the first day because Maya had her school program that morning and I was there with all the other parents... hoping that they didn't think I was in an abusive relationship... feeling that same SHAME that I used to feel going out in public with a black eye or bruised cheekbone. I shouldn't have felt shame back then, and I certainly shouldn't have felt it because of a completely accidental table-folding incident. Ah, the joys of PTSD. The gift that keeps on giving.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

April Highlights

Since I've been missing from the blog world for awhile, and there's no way to really catch up, I'll have to do a quick run-down on the highlights and/or lowlights of the past few months in a couple quick and possibly concise posts.

We headed to The Middle of Nowhere, Utah, so the girls could visit their father in prison. yay... The drive was only about an hour and a half and the visit actually went very well. The dude is still living in his own version of reality though. Still says he's hoping that I'll eventually take him back. I almost bit through my tongue to keep from laughing hysterically. Yep, dude, you can beat me down for SIX YEARS until I'm nothing but a shell of my former self... until I'm scared of my own shadow... until I have lost EVERYTHING... until I'm plagued by PTSD and a moderate form of agoraphobia... and you still think I'm going to "get over it" and give you the opportunity to do it to me AGAIN?!!! I practice forgiveness daily with this one. I practice taking responsibility for my own choices daily for the mess I allowed my life to become. I practice doing things outside my current comfort zone daily. And, most importantly, I practice NOT ENGAGING with a lunatic. I let him say whatever he wants and believe whatever he wants... he's not my concern anymore. Personally, I think he's brain damaged.

After the visit, we drove another hour and a half to another part of The Middle of Nowhere, Utah, to a cute little campground I found online, and stayed in a cute little cabin.


Thank goodness we didn't tent it, becase it was SNOWING. We did, however, cook hot dogs and s'mores in the fire pit. The girls did their native "Snow Go Away" dance around the fire... and sure enough, the snow stopped. We played Clue and Uno to pass the time without the beloved television. :)

The next morning we headed through Capitol Reef and stopped along the way several times to hike and take photos.


We then drove another hour and a half to yet another part of The Middle of Nowhere, Utah (most of Utah is The Middle of Nowhere). We hiked around Goblin Valley and had a lot of fun. It was the first time the girls had been there. They loved posing under...


next to...


and on top of...



...the "goblins".

We drove out to Little Wild Horse Canyon and just when we got to the entrance, it started raining, so we bagged it and headed home.



All in all, it was a nice mini-cation.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Control Vs. Equality



The Cycle of Abuse


Accentuate The Positive

Power Peace

...You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium's
Liable to walk upon the scene...

Gotta love the '40's big band music... and slogans!

Closure is sad for us all, but it is also very exciting. When one door closes, another opens to new experiences, new opportunities and new possibilities.

As a woman empowered by awareness of her rights and with her boundaries in place, you are no longer vulnerable to needy, controlling relationships.

You can practice letting go of the old identity of being an abuse victim. It is a thing of the past, and now you can move on... as a SURVIVOR.

The temptation is always present to step back into the habits of the past. Remember that one step back and two steps forward are to be expected. D not be angry at yourself when you step back, but dare to wait expectantly for a sense of direction from WITHIN YOURSELF to take the next steps forward.

Confront, don't avoid, temptation. Know yourself and recognize that the temptation of old habits is always an assault on your real identity.

The path to freedom from the past is motivation, forgiveness and LOVE OF YOURSELF, clearly defined goals, decisions made, actions taken, and EMPOWERMENT.

Healthy Relationships

Healthy Relationship

You need and deserve at least a few people in your life with which you have healthy relationships; people whom:

~ You like, respect, and trust, and who like, respect and trust you.

~ Make you feel good about yourself.

~ Listen to you without sharing personal information about you with others.

~ You can tell anything.

~ Allow you to talk freely and express your feelings and emotions without judging you, criticizing you, teasing you, or putting you down.

~ Give you good advice when you want and ask for it, and who will work with you to figure out what to do next in difficult situations.

~ Allow you the space to change, grow, make decisions, and make mistakes.

~ Accept you as you.

Personal Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights

This is a wonderful list that I suggest be printed off and posted on your bathroom mirror, fridge, car dashboard, anywhere you will see it frequently.


~ You have the right to be you.

~ You have the right to put yourself first.

~ You have the right to be safe.

~ You have the right to love and be loved.

~ You have the right to be treated with respect.

~ You have the right to be human - NOT PERFECT.

~ You have the right to be angry and protest if you are treated unfairly or abusively by anyone.

~ You have the right to your own privacy.

~ You have the right to your own opinions, to express them, and to be taken seriously.

~ You have the right to earn and control your own money.

~ You have the right to ask questions about anything that affects your life.

~ You have the right to make decisions that affect you.

~ You have the right to grow and change, and that includes changing your mind.

~ You have the right to say NO.

~ You have the right to make mistakes.

~ You have the right to NOT be responsible for other adults' problems.

~ You have the right to not be liked by everyone.


Blame Vs. Acceptance



Women who have been abused often blame themselves for the bad things that have happened to them... things that are not their fault. In addition, others may have blamed them for being abused. In this society, women are often blamed and made to feel guilty for bad things that have happened to them. This lowers their self-esteem and can get in the way of healing and recovery. The following are some of the situations in which women feel they are to blame for the abuse:

~ I was my fault because I was wearing that dress or those shoes, and because I put on makeup.

~ It was my fault because I didn't keep quiet.

~ It was my fault because I cried too much.

~ It was my fault because I didn't keep the house clean enough.

~ It was my fault because I went out with my friends.

AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON.... like hamsters running in wheels in your brain until you drive yourself nutso. You get the picture.



Sometimes you may feel as though you are stuck... you can't do the things that you want to with your life because of memories, symptoms, thoughts, feeling, and life circumstances that are either a direct or indirect result of the abuse. You may feel as though you are losing your whole life to the abuse. The following are acceptance statements that you can keep to help you through difficult times:

~ I accept the abuse as part of my life story. My journey in working to get over the effects of this abuse has made me strong. Now I am in charge of my own life. I am going to do whatever I need to do to make my life the way I want it to be.

~ The things that happened to me were terrible and should never have happened to me. But they did. Now it is time to get my life back... to be the kind of person I want to be and do the things I want to do.

~ The abuse happened in the past. I am no longer being abused. I am in charge of my life and I am doing the things I want to do. I never have to live that way again.

~ The abuse was then. This is now. I am doing good work in getting over the effects of the abuse. I am ready to move on with my life.

Old Thinking and New Thinking


Most women who are in abusive relationships get stuck in some thinking errors. These thinking errors are to me like computer glitches or viruses. Once they become part of the programming, they infiltrate the hardware and it is very difficult to clean it up and get your computer (read: brain) working in a healthy way.

One way to reprogram my thinking that I found to be the most helpful, was self talk. Yes, you read that correctly. I talked to myself... out loud... and A LOT. Still do sometimes. Did I look crazy? Probably. Did it help me form new ways of thinking? Definitely! Here are some examples of "old" thinking and "new" thinking that may help someone out there.

OLD: I LOVE him!
NEW: I may love him, but that doesn't mean it's in my best interests to stay with him.

OLD: I can't stay away from this person - he is my family after all!
NEW: I can stay away from anyone I want to. I don't have to spend time with people or be where they are just because I am related to them.

OLD: It is best to forgive and forget.
NEW: I need to heal from the bad things that have happened to me. I don't need to forgive anyone I don't wish to, and forgetting is impossible.

OLD: I can't survive without him.
NEW: I can do anything I need to do to take care of myself and support myself.

OLD: I just want the whole family to be together.
NEW: Keeping the whole family together may be a very bad idea. The children are being harmed by witnessing the abuse. One healthy parent is better than two unhealthy ones.

OLD: I must not hurt his feelings.
NEW: I need to take good care of MYSELF. If that means I have to hurt someone else's feelings, I may need to do that.

OLD: If my husband abuses me, I just have to put up with it because if I told someone, it might hurt the feelings of other people in the family and/or those people might be angry with me.
NEW: I can tell anyone I want, including the police, and family members have no right to get angry with me about this. If they are not supportive of me, I need to stay away from them and spend time with people who are supportive.

Marriage/Couples Counseling WON'T Stop the Violence!


Your partner may try to get you to go to couples counseling, telling you that you and he need to work on this together. He may encourage you to go to pastoral counseling with him. He may tell you that you have a "communication" problem. If he has done this, then he is refusing to take full responsibility for his abusive behavior. He may be manipulating you into staying with him by taking this approach. His abusive behavior is not likely to stop unless he acknowledges that you are in no way responsible and that he has a problem that he needs to seek help for regardless of whether you stay with him or not.

I tried couples counseling with the EX. Here are some of the things that I encountered:

~ If I kept quiet, then the counselor had NO CLUE that I was being abused by my husband, and took what he said at face value. My husband would use these sessions as his own personal soapbox... a place in which to vent all his frustrations and anger about me and my shortcomings.

~ If I spoke up and spilled my guts in the counseling session, then my husband would remain calm and I would look as if I were the crazy person in the room... and THEN when we left the counselor's office, there was HELL for me to pay for telling the truth. In fact, some of the worst fights we had were immediately following a counseling session.

~ If the counselor picked up on the fact that my husband was abusive, and stated that fact to him... the counselor was labeled a "quack" and we never saw that counselor again.

~ I ended up spending so much time and energy doing "homework" the various counselors assigned to my husband and me. And whatever I wrote down and later shared of these homework assignments would later come back to haunt me in the form of my husband's ability to twist my words and true intentions into something from a horror movie.

Don't waste your time and money going to marriage/couples counseling! Get yourself a good individual therapist who is WELL VERSED in domestic violence issues and get yourself emotionally healthy.

Finding Safety & Support



Domestic violence is a serious problem that has been happening for centuries. In the U.S. each year it affects millions of people, most often women. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of employment or educational level, race or ethnic background, religion, marital status, physical ability, age, or sexual orientation.


If you are being abused by your partner, you may feel confused, afraid, angry and/or trapped. All of these emotions are normal responses to abuse. You may also blame yourself for what is happening. But no matter what others might say, you are never responsible for your partner's abusive actions. Batterers choose to be abusive. No one deserves to be abused.


Developing a support network can be very helpful to you as you plan for safety. There are many places to turn for assistance.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Friends, family, women's and community groups, churches, and service providers (such as legal, health, counseling centers) can provide a variety of resources, support, and assistance.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES: In man communities there are organizations that provide free and confidential help to individuals who are being battered.


CRIMINAL CHARGES: If you or other loved ones have been physically injured, threatened, raped, harassed or stalked, you can report these crimes to the police. Criminal charges may lead to your abuser being arrested and possibly imprisoned.

RESTRAINING/PROTECTIVE ORDERS: Even if you don't want to press criminal charges, you can file for a civil court order that directs your partner to stay away from you. In many states restraining/ protective orders can also evict your partner from your home, grant support or child custody, or ban him/her from having weapons.


Without help, domestic violence often continues to get more severe over time. It can sometimes become deadly.

To increase your safety:

~ Tell others you trust such as friends, family, neighbors and co-workers, what is happening and talk about ways they might be able to help.
~ Memorize emergency numbers for the local police (such as 911), support persons and crisis hotlines.
~ Identify escape routes and places to go if you need to flee from an unsafe situation quickly.
~ Talk with your children about what they should do if a violent incident occurs or if the are afraid.
~ Put together an emergency bag with money/ checkbooks, extra car keys, medicine, and important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards, immigration documents, and medical cards. Keep it somewhere safe and accessible, such as with a trusted friend.
~ Trust your instincts. If you think you are in immediate danger, you probably are. Get to a safe place as soon as you can.

Safety Planning

Safety First Sticker

An abused woman attempts to leave her abuser an average of SEVEN TIMES before finally leaving for good. I attempted to leave several times... can't remember how many... but I ended up going back every time (except the last obviously) because I was unprepared. I didn't have necessities. When I finally DID get out, it was after literally MONTHS of plotting and planning and getting organized for the escape. There are times, though, when one simply cannot wait to escape. It pays to be prepared for the possibility that you may NEED to flee at the spur of the moment. Following is a very informative article on safety planning that I copied from the American Bar Association's webpage. It's very thorough.

Safety Tips For You And Your Family

IF YOU ARE IN DANGER, CALL 911 or your local police emergency number

To find out about help in your area, call:
National Domestic Violence Hotline:
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Whether or not you feel able to leave an abuser,there are things you can do to make yourself and your family safer.


If you are at home & you are being threatened or attacked:

~ Stay away from the kitchen (the abuser can find weapons, like knives, there)
~ Stay away from bathrooms, closets or small spaces where the abuser can trap you
~ Get to a room with a door or window to escape
~ Get to a room with a phone to call for help; lock the abuser outside if you can
~ Call 911 (or your local emergency number) right away for help; get the dispatcher's name
~ Think about a neighbor or friend you can run to for help
~ If a police officer comes, tell him/her what happened; get his/her name & badge number
~ Get medical help if you are hurt
~ Take pictures of bruises or injuries
~ Call a domestic violence program or shelter (some are listed here); ask them to help you make a safety plan


~ Learn where to get help; memorize emergency phone numbers
~ Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside; if you can, get a cellular phone that you keep with you at all times
~ If the abuser has moved out, change the locks on your door; get locks on the windows
~ Plan an escape route out of your home; teach it to your children
~ Think about where you would go if you need to escape
~ Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the abuser at your house; make a signal for them to call the police, for example, if the phone rings twice, a shade is pulled down or a light is on
~ Pack a bag with important things you'd need if you had to leave quickly; put it in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust
~ Include cash, car keys & important information such as: court papers, passport or birth certificates, medical records & medicines, immigration papers
~ Get an unlisted phone number
~ Block caller ID
~ Use an answering machine; screen the calls
~ Take a good self-defense course


~ Teach them not to get in the middle of a fight, even if they want to help
~ Teach them how to get to safety, to call 911, to give your address & phone number to the police
~ Teach them who to call for help
~ Tell them to stay out of the kitchen
~ Give the principal at school or the daycare center a copy of your court order; tell them not to release your children to anyone without talking to you first; use a password so they can be sure it is you on the phone; give them a photo of the abuser
~ Make sure the children know who to tell at school if they see the abuser
~ Make sure that the school knows not to give your address or phone number to ANYONE


~ Change your regular travel habits
~ Try to get rides with different people
~ Shop and bank in a different place
~ Cancel any bank accounts or credit cards you shared; open new accounts at a different bank
~ Keep your court order and emergency numbers with you at all times
~ Keep a cell phone & program it to 911 (or other emergency number)


~ Keep a copy of your court order at work
~ Give a picture of the abuser to security and friends at work
~ Tell your supervisors - see if they can make it harder for the abuser to find you
~ Don't go to lunch alone
~ Ask a security guard to walk you to your car or to the bus
~ If the abuser calls you at work, save voice mail and save e-mail
~ Your employer may be able to help you find community resources


Protection or Restraining Orders

~ Ask your local domestic violence program who can help you get a civil protection order and who can help you with criminal prosecution
~ Ask for help in finding a lawyer
~ In most places, the judge can:

*Order the abuser to stay away from you or your children
*Order the abuser to leave your home
*Give you temporary custody of your children & order the abuser to pay you temporary child support
*Order the police to come to your home while the abuser picks up personal belongings
*Give you possession of the car, furniture and other belongings
*Order the abuser to go to a batterers intervention program
*Order the abuser not to call you at work
*Order the abuser to give guns to the police

If you are worried about any of the following, make sure you:

~ Show the judge any pictures of your injuries
~ Tell the judge that you do not feel safe if the abuser comes to your home to pick up the children to visit with them
~Ask the judge to order the abuser to pick up and return the children at the police station or some other safe place
~ Ask that any visits the abuser is permitted are at very specific times so the police will know by reading the court order if the abuser is there at the wrong time
~ Tell the judge if the abuser has harmed or threatened the children; ask that visits be supervised; think about who could do that for you
~ Get a certified copy of the court order
~ Keep the court order with you at all times


~ Show the prosecutor your court orders
~ Show the prosecutor medical records about your injuries or pictures if you have them
~ Tell the prosecutor the name of anyone who is helping you (a victim advocate or a lawyer)
~ Tell the prosecutor about any witnesses to injuries or abuse
~ Ask the prosecutor to notify you ahead of time if the abuser is getting out of jail


~ Sit as far away from the abuser as you can; you don't have to look at or talk to the abuser; you don't have to talk to the abuser's family or friends if they are there
~ Bring a friend or relative with you to wait until your case is heard
~ Tell a bailiff or sheriff that you are afraid of the abuser and ask him/her to look out for you
~ Make sure you have your court order before you leave
~ Ask the judge or the sheriff to keep the abuser there for a while when court is over; leave quickly
~ If you think the abuser is following you when you leave, call the police immediately
~ If you have to travel to another state for work or to get away from the abuser, take your protection order with you; it is valid everywhere

Where the *^#@ Have I Been???!!!

I haven't posted for awhile. I was planning on posting each weekday of April concerning domestic violence... I got a little sidetracked.

I'm going to try to make it up now, so beware... I'm going to be a blogging maniac for a day or so.


Friday, April 10, 2009

If You Know Someone Who Is Being Abused...


If you know someone who is being abused, you CAN help.

Don't be afraid to let her know that you are concerned for her safety. Help her recognize the abuse. Tell her you see what is going on and that you want to help. Help her recognize that what is happening is not normal and that she deserves a healthy, non-violent relationship.

Acknowledge that she is in a very difficult and scary situation. Let her know that the abuse is NOT HER FAULT. Reassure her that she is not alone and that there is help and support out there.

Be supportive. Listen to her. Remember that is may be difficult for her to talk about the abuse. Let her know that you are available to help whenever she may need it. What she needs most is someone who will believe and listen to her.

Be non-judgmental. Respect her decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. She may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not criticize her decisions or try to guilt her. She will need your support even more during those times.

Encourage her to participate in activities outside of the relationship with friends and family.

If she ends the relationship, continue to be supportive of her. Even though the relationship was abusive, she may still feel sad and lonely once it is over. She will need time to mourn the loss of the relationship and will especially need your support at that time.

Help her develop a safety plan. There will be a following post specifically on safety plans.

Encourage her to talk to people who can provide help and guidance. Find a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. Offer to go with her or babysit her children while she goes. Offer to help her talk to family and friends. If she has to go to the police, court or a lawyer, offer to go along for moral support.

Remember that you CANNOT "rescue" her. Although it is difficult to see someone you care about get hurt, ultimately the person getting hurt must be the one to decide that she wants to do something about it. It is important for you to support her and help her find a way to safety and peace.

I also found and have "borrowed" this short list from Turning Point.

What to do...

*Do not confront the abuser

*When speaking to the victim, assure her that she is not the cause of the violence

*Be prepared for her to minimize or deny the abuse

*Help her identify her own strengths and possible resources

*Is she is living with her abuser and chooses to leave, discuss a safety plan if there is advanced time

There is a bounty of information out there in books, on the internet, etc. On the sidebar of my blog there is a list of links concerning domestic abuse. An especially good one that has a forum full of amazing people is Our Place (the link is just below my blog header). There is also a list of very helpful books on the sidebar.

Knowledge is POWER.

Common Myths About Abuse


There is a definite lack of understanding about the dynamics of domestic abuse/violence in society. This lack of understanding can often be the GREATEST OBSTACLE a victim (I really hate that word... I know I've said it before) faces. Many people believe the following myths about domestic abuse.

1) "I shouldn't get involved in a private family matter"

Domestic violence is not just a family problem. It is a CRIME that involves serious repercussions for the victim, her children and the community.

2) "The violence can't really be that serious."

Domestic violence is RARELY a one-time occurrence. It usually escalates in frequency and severity over time.

3) "If it's so bad, why doesn't she just leave?"

Oh MAN, I could write a whole BOOK on this one alone! I got this from police officers (who, by the way, are SUPPOSED to be TRAINED to understand and deal with domestic violence... GRRRRR), from my own THERAPIST (C'MON NOW, REALLY?... where did she get her degree fer cryin' out loud?!), and from various family members, friends, acquaintances and coworkers. For most victims (there's that word again), the decision to end a relationship... EVEN an ABUSIVE one... is not an easy one.

*A victim's emotional ties to her partner may still be strong, supporting her HOPE that the violence will end.

*If she has been financially dependent on her partner, she will likely face severe economic hardship, especially if she leaves with children.

*She may not know about available resources.

*The social and justice systems may have been unresponsive or ineffective to her needs in the past.

*Religious, cultural or family pressures may make her believe it's her duty to keep the marriage together at all costs.

*If she has tried to leave in the past, her partner may have used threats or violence to coerce her to return.

4) "Doesn't she care about what's happening to her children?"

She is probably doing the best she can to protect her children from the violence. She may feel that the abuse is only directed at her, and does not yet realize its effects on the children. She may also feel that she can protect the children, themselves, better from their father if she is THERE with them opposed to the very real fear that he will abuse the children... or abuse his next victim in the presence of the children during his COURT ORDERED visitations with them.

5) "She's not being beaten... just emotionally/verbally abused."

First of all, there is no "just" when it comes to emotional/verbal abuse. For me, the emotional and verbal abuse was WORSE than the physical abuse. It was covert and made me think I was crazy. The CONTROL of it, the constant feeling of walking on eggshells, the TENSION of never knowing what he was going to do or say next, and trying to get ANY authorities to pay ANY attention to that kind of abuse is nearly impossible. And second, there's this fact: PHYSICAL abuse is ALWAYS preceded by EMOTIONAL abuse. Always. No abuser would EVER be able to just smack around a woman on the first or second date and expect her to stick around. An abuser chips away at his victim bit by bit and piece by piece, slowly and insidiously, until the victim is under his control enough that he feels he CAN physically abuse her. If someone is being emotionally/verbally abused... chances are good she will eventually be physically abused also.

6) "If she wants my help, she would ask for it."

She may not yet feel comfortable confiding in others, feeling that others will not understand her situation. She may also be so conditioned to PROTECT her abuser that she cannot bring herself to bring up the subject with others. Try talking to her about the problem of abuse in a general way.


Yep. I missed a day of blogging yesterday. I was just a wee bit exhausted. So I'm going to post twice today. I know you're all just so excited ::dripping with sarcasm::

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

If You Think Someone You Know Is Being Abused...


You may have a friend, family member, coworker or acquaintance that you suspect is being abused. Most likely, she won't come out and tell you if she is. There is so much shame, fear and embarrassment involved that most women do not speak about their being abused. Many even cover up for their abusers.

Following are some signs that you can look for if you suspect someone you know is being abused:

*Does she have visible injuries, such as black eyes, bruises or broken bones/ Do you tend not to press further about frequent "accidents" or "illnesses" that cause absences from work?

*Does her partner exert an unusual amount of control over her activities? Are you reluctant to discuss the partner's control over family finances, the way she dresses, and her contact, or lack thereof, with friends and family?

*Does her partner ridicule her publicly? Do you and others ignore this behavior? Do you already sense the volatile nature of these comments?

*Have you noticed changes in her or her children's behavior? Do they appear frightened, exhausted, or on edge? Do the children seem to be easily upset? Are they experiencing problems in school, work or other activities?

Your support and validation can be of tremendous value to her. You can ease the isolation and loss of control she may feel by listening, providing information and helping to explore options.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Has He Changed? Can He Change?


When you're involved in an abusive relationship, you get trapped by HOPE... HOPE that he will change; HOPE that you can keep the family together; HOPE that this problem can be fixed. Unfortunately, in all likelihood, nothing's going to change unless YOU change it. And that most likely means ending the relationship in order to save yourself from further abuse. Most abusers do not change. Let me repeat that. MOST ABUSERS DO NOT CHANGE.

In order to change, an abuser must FIRST realize and then admit he has a problem. Most won't ever even do this, unless it's just to appease you and manipulate you into staying. If an abuser really believes he has a problem, and truly seeks help, and works his ass off, then maybe, just maybe he'll make some changes. From everything I've read on this subject the changing process takes YEARS of hard work on the abuser's part. Most aren't willing to put in that kind of work on themselves. Why would they? Their controlling behavior gets them exactly what they want. Changing, to them, seems like giving up all control, and that's just not anything they want to do.

So here we are... the abused... hoping against hope each and every time they abuse us... that they'll "see the light" and change their ways... keeping us forever trapped by hope.

Here are a couple lists I've "borrowed" from Turning Point Services that give examples of TRUE CHANGE and examples of MANIPULATION MASKED AS CHANGE.

Positive Signs of Real Change

*He has stopped being violent or threatening to you or others
*He acknowledges that his abusive behavior is wrong
*He understands that he does not have the right to control and dominate you
*You don't feel afraid when you are with him
*He does not coerce or fore you into having sex when you don't want to
*You can express anger toward him without feeling intimidated
*He does not make you feel responsible for his anger or frustration
*He respects your opinion even if he doesn't agree with it
*He respects your right to say "no"
*You can negotiate without being humiliated and belittled by him
*You don't have to ask permission to go out, go to school, get a job, or take other independent actions
*He listens to you and respects what you have to say
*He recognizes that he is not "cured" and that changing his behavior, attitudes, and beliefs is a lifelong process
*He no longer does __________________ (fill in the blank with any behavior that used to precede his violence, manipulation, or emotional abuse)

Signs of Manipulation:

*He tries to invoke sympathy from you or your family and friends
*He is overly charming; reminds you of all the good times you've had together
*He tries to buy you back with romantic gifts, dinners, flowers, etc.
*He tries to seduce you when you're vulnerable
*He uses veiled threats - to take the kids away; to cut off financial support; to quit attending a batterer's program
*His promises to change do not match his behavior


Don't pay attention to the words he's saying. Talk is cheap. Pay attention to his actions, and listen to your gut.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Warning Signs You're Dating An Abuser


Abusers really AREN'T too sneaky. They WILL tell you and show you who they really are very early in the relationship, but only if you are aware of the warning signs and are paying close attention. If you're one of the millions of women (or men) out there who are in the dating world, here's a short list of some warning signs (better known as RED FLAGS) that you may be getting involved with an abusive person.

*Constantly asks you where you are going, who you are with, etc.

*Insists that you spend all or most of your time with him, isolating you from friends and family

*Accuses you of flirting with others or having sexual relationships with others

*Monitors your clothing and make-up

*Displays anger when things don't go his way

*Attempts to make all your decisions

*Is secretive about past relationships

*Speaks of his exes in a derogatory way

*Makes negative remarks about women

*Was abused by a parent

*Was raised in a home where domestic abuse was present

*Gets very serious with you very quickly. Says "I love you" very early in the relationship

*Wants to move in together or get engaged after only a few months

*Pressures you for a serious commitment after only a short time dating

*Comes on very strong, is extremely charming and an overly smooth talker

*Isolates you from your support systems; wants you all to himself; tries to keep you from friends, family and outside activities

*Attempts to control what you wear, what you do, who you see, etc.

*Is abusive toward other people, especially his mother or sisters

*Blames others for his own bad behavior and failures

*Has unrealistic expectations, such as expecting partner to meet all of his needs and be perfect

*Is overly sensitive; acts "hurt" when he doesn't get his way; takes offense when others have a differing opinion

*Gets very upset over small inconveniences that are just a part of normal life

*Has EVER been cruel to animals

*Has EVER abused children

*Has EVER hit a girlfriend in the past

*Has EVER threatened violence to anyone, even if it wasn't a serious threat

*Calls you names, puts you down or curses at you

*Has extreme mood swings; switching quickly from being very nice to raging

*Believes women are inferior to men and should obey them

*Uses physical intimidation such as threatening body language, punching walls or breaking objects

*Holds you against your will to keep you from walking away or leaving the room


If you pick up on some of these RED FLAGS, save yourself years of pain and anguish and END the relationship NOW.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Are You Being Emotionally Abused?


Here's a little checklist. If you can answer "Yes" or more appropriately, "Hell, Yes!" to even a couple of these, more than likely you're being emotionally abused. Remember, abuse is NOT about anger management, or short temper, or being beaten... it's about CONTROL... plain and simple.

Emotional Abuse Checklist

*Are you required to get permission to see or go out with your friends/family?

*Are there certain topics you fear discussing with him unless he's in a "good mood"?

*Does he tell you that no one except him would ever want you or put up with you?

*Does he accuse you of cheating on him when you are gone to run errands, work, etc.?

*Does he make threats to harm himself if you leave him?

*Does he open your mail, go through your purse, or rifle through your things?

*Does he control the finances and monitor your spending?

*Does he sabotage your efforts to be involved in family or other social events?

*Does he make disparaging comments about the way you dress or look?

*Does he use things you've confided in him against you?

*Are you fearful of returning home later than scheduled?

*Does he negatively compare you to other women?

*Are you nervous about talking on the phone when he's present?

*Does he use kindness or gifts to manipulate you?

*Does he regard your interests and activities trivial or unimportant?

*Do you feel more like you have a "father" than a partner?

*Do you receive the "silent treatment" from him when you want to talk or work things out?

*Does he attempt to turn the children against you?

*Do you feel obligated to have sex with your partner regardless of your desires?

*Are your outside commitments and schedule sabotaged by him?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Types of Abuse


The terms "verbal abuse" and "physical abuse" are pretty self-explanatory. I noticed that when I told someone that I was being verbally abused or physically abused, they seemed to understand what I was talking about, even if only in a rudimentary way. Emotional abuse was nearly IMPOSSIBLE for me to describe to friends and family. It's such an insidious and covert form of abuse. People usually looked at me like I was CRAZY (I felt crazy). I had police officers show up during some of our many "fights" and assume I was using drugs because I was so hysterical.

Also, I can't count the number of times I've read or heard something to the effect of "he's not physically abusive" followed by something like "he won't let me leave the room" or "he throws things", etc. I, too, was a minimizer of my ex's physical abuse. He never put me in the hospital with his physical abuse, but he DID physically abuse me a great deal.

I also did not consider myself a victim of sexual abuse. I minimized that too. On a couple forums I've belonged to for quite a few years, I've read stories of outright RAPE being downplayed or even denied because the abuser was a "husband" or "boyfriend".

Some of the following information was found on a pamphlet that was given to me by the local victims' advocate many years ago. I remember what an eye-opener it was to me when I first read the original list. I've added a lot of things to the original list because I felt it was somewhat brief and lacking. It describes very succinctly the different forms of abuse.

Physical Abuse
*Being pushed, hit, slapped, shoved, kicked, pinched or choked
*Being kept from leaving
*Being physically restrained
*Being restrained from using the phone to get help
*Having objects thrown at you
*Being locked out of the house
*Being abandoned
*Having weapons used to threaten or hurt you
*Being forced to eat
*Being prevented from eating
*Having hair pulled
*Being burned
*Being beaten
*Being a passenger in a vehicle being recklessly driven by him/her
*Being forced to stay awake
*Being denied medical/dental care
*Being denied hygienic products, showers, use of restroom

Sexual Abuse
*Being forced into any sexual contact
*Being forced into prostitution
*Being subjected to unwarranted accusations of you having sex with other people
*Having unwanted pain inflicted during sex
*Being called sexually derogatory names
*Being criticised sexually
*Being forced to strip, or being forcefully stripped
*Being subjected to unwanted sadistic sexual acts
*Having sex withheld
*Having sex made conditional on your behaviour or agreement to include practices you are not happy about, such as the use of porn or sex toys
*Having your feelings about sex or sexual preferences minimized or denied
*Being forced to have sex after a physical assault
*Being coerced into sex
*Having unwanted sexual photos taken; having sexual photos shared with other people/internet without consent
*Being forced to have sex while ill or tired

Emotional Abuse
*Having approval, appreciation or affection withheld as punishment
*Being isolated from friends and/or family
*Being humiliated in front of others or in private
*Being prevented from using the car, or being told when to leave and return
*Being threatened to have the children taken away if you don't obey
*Being threatened with weapons
*Being threatened with physical violence against you, your family, or himself/herself
*Witnessing him/her hitting walls, doors, etc.
*Being intentionally intimidated by him/her
*Being checked up on
*Being forced to move to an isolated area
*Being left with lack of transportation or a telephone
*Having your friends/family be made to feel uncomfortable when visiting so that they cease
*Being punished for being late home by his/her complaining, bad moods, criticism or physical abuse
*Not being allowed to leave the house on your own
*Being required to report on your actions and conversations
*Being prevented from working and/or causing termination of employment
*Not being allowed any activity which excludes him/her
*Having your friends/family criticised
*Being forced to be dropped off and picked up from work, etc., by him/her
*Having your pets and/or children abused to punish you
*Having important possessions taken away or intentionally destroyed
*Being "gaslighted" or made to feel crazy/unstable/off balance

Financial Abuse
*Having secrecy maintained regarding household finances
*Not being allowed to make or be included in decisions about finances
*Being prevented fair access to family funds/resources/accounts/checkbook
*Being prevented from getting or keeping a job
*Being denied sufficient housekeeping finances
*Being forced to account for every penny spent
*Having all bills put in your name
*Being forced to give him/her your paychecks
*Having money allocated to bills/groceries spent on himself/herself
*Being forced to beg or commit crimes for money
*Not being permitted to spend available funds on yourself or children

Verbal Abuse
*Being yelled or shouted at
*Having threats made against you
*Being insulted and/or having your family insulted
*Being mocked or criticised about your interests, opinions or beliefs
*Being sneered at or growled at
*Being called derogatory names
*Being refused discussion of issues which are important to you
*Being laughed at or made fun of inappropriately
*Having nasty messages left for you
*Being accused of not trying hard enough or purposely doing something to annoy him/her
*Being blamed for his/her failures
*Being blamed for his/her abusive behavior


Today, I spoke to one of the counselors at my local women's shelter and asked her specifically what they could really use in the care packages, so I've got a better idea of what to put on my homework list for anyone that wants to do this project with me. Keep checking the sidebar list and do whatever you feel you can. Thanks again!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!


Since April is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I'm planning on posting domestic violence statistics and articles throughout this month. Chances are very good that someone you are close to has been, is currently, or will at some time be involved in an abusive relationship. These are just the facts. Domestic abuse happens within all races and ethnicities; all religions; all economic classes; either sex; and either hetero- or homosexual relationships... One can NOT define someone as being "low class", "uneducated", "poor" or ANY other stereotype because they are or have been in an abusive relationship.

Today, I'm going to focus on information I found on the Utah Domestic Violence Annual Report that was published in January 2005 by the Governor's Violence Against Women and Families Cabinet Council. I made sure prior to reproducing and distributing this information here that I could do so without permission (wouldn't want to get in trouble with the law or anything). I'm starting with Utah because it's where I've lived my entire life.

Domestic violence is one of the fastest growing and most serious violent crimes in Utah today. Over the past few years the frequency and intensity of this abuse has increased. Countless victims and survivors of domestic violence are enduring more severe beatings and life threatening situations than those in years past. In Utah, domestic violence is becoming more aggressive and brutal.

Domestic violence encompasses all races, ethnic groups, educational levels, social and economic classes, sexual orientations, religions, gender and physical and mental abilities. Domestic violence is unspoken and often faceless. For many people, it is hidden and rarely discussed in public. Many individuals don't recognize it as a public issue that significantly impacts communities, families, and individuals. It is quiet in our conversations and that secret speaks volumes for the continuation of domestic violence.

This violence is characterized as a systematic pattern of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, which is predominantly directed by men against women. Rather than a series of independent acts or events, it is most often part of a process in which the perpetrator maintains control and domination over the victim...

I found this report very interesting because it focuses on the year 2004. That is the year in which I escaped the abusive relationship I was in. The following is some information from the same report concerning the Utah domestic violence shelters, specifically in the year 2004:

In Utah,sixteen domestic violence shelters provide services to victims and survivors. From these shelters during 2004, one thousand five hundred ninety-two (1,592) families requesting DV Shelter were referred to other communities because their local shelters were full.


See the highlighted line for Provo? See the 432 clients sheltered? Three of those were Maya, Penelope and me. See the 5,256 days of service? 108 of those days belonged to us (36 days for each of us).

I was lucky. My local shelter had room for my daughters and me when it was my CHANCE to escape. After I arrived there, the place was almost filled to capacity. Most of the 36 days I lived there, the shelter was at or above capacity. I was lucky that I didn't have to wait for enough beds for the girls and me. Most women KNOW when it's time to get out... and there is no room for error or waiting on room at the shelter. If I had been referred to another shelter in another county, I would have been stranded there in that county once I returned my father's truck to him. That would have terrified me. It was scary enough to rely on the bus system after having had my own car since I was 16, but to have to learn a whole new county's bus routing system... or worse yet, be in a county with NO bus system and NO vehicle and NO money... I don't know if I would have made it.

I will be forever grateful to the Utah County Center for Women and Children in Crisis. It was a safe haven for my girls and me. I made many friends there, and received free counseling, free food, free diapers for Penelope, free second-hand clothing for my girls and myself. Free tampons... something to think about here... how we take for granted having a few bucks to buy necessary feminine hygiene products every month... when you don't have a place to live or money for food, those donated hygiene products are worth their weight in GOLD, I tell ya.

During this month, I'm going to be assigning homework to all my loyal readers (all two or three of you! lol). I'll be doing the homework assignments also. Anyway, I will be posting a list on my sidebar, and will be adding to it each day. The items on the list will be things that will go into care packages for the women and children at the Provo, Utah, women's shelter. If you would like to help me out, check the list and find, purchase or make any or all of the items on the list. At the end of the month, I will be putting the packages together. If you live near me, and want to help with that task, just leave me a comment on my blog and let me know. I know a few of you don't live near me and may still want to help out. If so, you could make your own care package(s) and donate it/them to your local shelter. Remember: Think Globally ~ ACT Locally! Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When I've Got Some Lemons... I'll Make a Lemon Poppyseed Cake Filled With Lemon Pudding and Topped With Lemon Icing!

Concerning my last post, I've decided to take my girls to see their father. As if there really was any question. I've taken these trips before... to Richfield several times... to Fillmore a couple times... gotta love The Middle of Nowhere, Utah.

Life has given me some lemons as of late. I'm bringing home about one-half the paycheck I was last fall due to cut in hours because of the bad economy. But I AM grateful that I still have a great, full-time job even if I don't get any overtime for awhile. I still have insurance benefits and my 40 hours a week. I still love my job and the people with whom I work. However,the fact that I'm barely squeaking by has me thinking about cheap yet fun things I can do with the girls this spring/summer/fall.

Because of my decision to take the girls to see their father, I've managed to give myself some lemons. However, I've figured out a way to make some lemonade out of this trip AND it will be CHEAP too! Gunnison (the city in which he's now incarcerated) happens to be on the way to a great place I've wanted to take the girls for a few years now... GOBLIN VALLEY! If you're not from around these here parts, you probably have never heard of Goblin Valley, so I'll explain where it is and post some pictures.

Secluded Goblin Valley was first discovered by cowboys searching for cattle. Then, in the late 1920's, Arthur Chaffin, owner/operator of the Hite Ferry on the Colorado River, and two companions were searching for an alternate route between Green River and Cainsville. They came to a vantage point about a mile west of Goblin Valley and were awed by what they saw - five buttes and a valley of strange-shaped rock formations surrounded by a wall of eroded cliffs.


Wind and water have carved fantastic and unique goblin-like sculptures out of rock, creating an outdoor playground that inspires the imagination. Numerous rocks and coves offer unlimited walking, exploring, or hiking opportunities. It is well worth the time to hike through the area for a few hours, to enjoy the desert beauty and fascinating comical goblin forms that you find here. Along the way, there are fine views of the San Rafael Reef and the Henry Mountains.


Goblin Valley State Park is located in Emery County between the towns of Green River and Hanksville. From Green River, travel west on I-70 for 12 miles to exit 147 (Hanksville) and head south. After about 30 miles turn right at the Temple Mountain/Goblin Valley Junction. The entire road leading into the park is surfaced and improved. Travel west on that road for about 5 miles and then turn left (south) and continue to the park entrance. Goblins of infinite design will greet you.


The park is a photographer's paradise. Near the park area, history buffs can discover rock art left by ancient Indians and ruins left by early prospectors, miners, and ranchers. There are also great slot canyons for adventuresome hikers.


Hour and a half drive to Gunnison; two hour prison visit; grab a quick bite to eat at some local "mom and pop" drive-in; two and a half hour drive to Goblin Valley area; set up camp; cook some hot dogs over the fire; make some s'mores, tell ghost stories and go to bed. Next day, explore Goblin Valley, and if it's not raining or flooded, visit nearby Little Wild Horse Canyon too!


The Little Wild Horse Canyon/Bell Canyon loop hike is the most popular hike in the San Rafael Swell for good reason. The canyons are two of the best slot canyons in Utah. This hike is suitable for just about everyone. If you enjoy a long walk in the park then you can probably complete this hike with little problem. The canyons can be hiked individually for a short distance or connected together to provide an easy half day loop hike.


The Little Wild Horse Canyon/Bell Canyon loop hike is 8 miles round trip and will take about 4 hours to complete. Little Wild Horse Canyon is the better of the two canyons, so if you can only do part of the hike do Little Wild Horse.


The canyons can be hiked year round except when thunderstorms are possible. Spring and Fall are the preferred hiking seasons.

Corbin is coming with us also. I have to figure out something for him to do while the girls and I are at the prison. We'll figure something out...

We told the girls about our idea of making this a little weekend mini-mini-vacation (and I use the word "vacation" very loosely here), and they were ecstatic. They haven't been camping at all the last few years. Then we showed them pictures on the internet of Goblin Valley, and they got even more excited. I think they're going to have a lot of fun. I, personally, love Goblin Valley. It's one of the few outdoorsy places I like to visit (I'm an indoor kind of girl, ya know). I'll be sure to take 2.3 million pictures and post some of them here after our little trip.

Okay, I recant my previous derogatory statement about The Middle of Nowhere, Utah. It's not ALL desolate and creepy.