After We Read The Order of Time || Chilling on the Boat

I look forward to writing these blogs. I look forward to communing with you, my friends. I also look forward to writing these blogs because it means I get to drink caffeine. Gross amounts of caffeine. Caffeine coursing through my veins. They say now that caffeine makes your brain have more grey matter than white matter. I don’t really know what this means. I think grey matter might be less flexible. Caffeine definitely makes you less creative. More focused = less creative. To be creative your mind needs to be absolutely still. At peace. Wandering. Your mind needs to wonder. Living on a boat alone is a good place for your mind to wander. You feel the boat swaying in the water. You hear the ducks outside. This morning a Canadian goose came swimming into the waters between my boat and my neighbors, honking. I think it wanted food. My neighbor with the devil child sometimes throws food to the seagulls, and the birds know this. The mergansers come. The ducks come. And maybe now the geese are coming, too.

Time to breathe. Always time to breathe after the first paragraph. Big exhale. Come on, Marko. Everything you got.

God this Hop Tea is fucking delicious.

I’m almost done with Free Food for Millionaires. Thank God. I was enchanted by this book at the beginning, but after 500 pages it’s lost some  of its luster. I’m ready to dedicate my attention in full to Desert Solitaire. Why are there so many shitty novels out there? I mean, I guess there can’t only be GOOD novels. There has to be a full gamut. Amazing novels. Mediocre novels. Shitty novels. Good novels. The kind of novel where you think, OK I COULD go on. Like, I could probably finish this, but I don’t really want to. When is someone going to write a good book about climbing? More importantly, when is someone going to write a good book about BOULDERING? Could I write that book? Could I write A book?

Hop Tea.

Woke up this morning and looked at apartments in Leavenworh. There’s a BEAUTIFUL two-bedroom for $1,800. There’s a decent looking two-bedroom for $1,300. There’s a decent looking studio (though it appears to not really have windows) for $1,000. And then of course there are all the Leavenworth Haus apartments. Aka the efficiencies that are only 283 square feet and cost almost a thousand bucks. What redeeming qualities do these apartments have??????????????????????????????????? I ask you: What redeeming qualities do these apartments have. I ask the manager, who changes the price every single fucking ad on Craigslist: What redeeming qualities do these apartments have. And finally I ask myself: When will I be able to gym climb again.

Which reminds me, I need to do my physical therapy.

I’m not looking forward to the drive to Gig Harbor today. I’m going to Gig Harbor to visit my sister. I’m not looking forward to this drive. Who would look forward to a drive down I-5. I’ve done this drive so many times. Past Burien. Past Federal Way. Past ffffff-ffffff-fffffff-ffff. Past fff–ffffff-fff-fffff-ffff. Past FFFF-FFFFFFFFFFFFF….Fife. Past Tacoma. Over the Narrows Bridge. And into Gig Harbor. Gig fucking Harbor. I mean, I’m glad they moved away from Beacon Hill. Beacon Hill is a prison, though at least it’s a prison located near SBP Poplar. WHICH REMINDS ME!!!! Dear God I need to talk about this. Yesterday I was out with Nate and Hunter and Nate showed me THERE’S A NEW CLIMBING GYM NEAR THE FRED MEYER ON 85th!!!! I repeat: A NEW CLIMBING GYM!!! AND IT LOOKS TERRIBLE!!!! IT LOOKS SO AWFUL!!!!! The walls are too short, there’s no slab, it’s ALL OVERHUNG, and the routesetters look like they randomly just screwed holds into the wall. Anyway, I was not impressed and certainly won’t consider ever climbing there. When it comes to climbing gyms in Seattle you have a couple options. You have SBP, which is far and away the best option. You have Stone Gardens or Momentum, which are probably the next best options. And finally you have Vertical World, the worst option. Why is Vertical World the worst option? Because its bouldering area is the size of my shoe. Why is SBP the best option? Please do not ask such questions.

Please spend this evening reading The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli.

After you finish The Order of Time we can read Desert Solitaire together and compare notes for the test.

After we ace the test we can out to Mr West in U-Village for a matcha latte.

After we get a matcha latte we can spend the evening bouldering at SBP. We can power spot each other.

I’m losing steam. I’m going to go to the locks and do my physical therapy. I miss you all and think about you constantly.

– Marko Rovelli

 

 

Seventy Milligrams of Caffeine || Chilling on the Boat

Ahhhhhhhhhhh, the blank page. The empty page, sitting before me. A great expanse of white, waiting to be played with. What words will be written? What thoughts will be conveyed? Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?

I take a sip off my Hop Tea. This morning I have opted for my usual, “The Really Hoppy One.” Ingredients: Carbonated water, hops (simcoe and citra), organic black tea, citric acid. Seventy milligrams of caffeine. Keep cold for freshest flavor. One serving per container. Total Carbohydrate: 0g. Total Sugars: 0g. Protein: 0g. Not a significant source of nutrients.

Oh, but it nourishes the soul.

I just got back from Woodland Coffee.  I was supposed to go surfing with some friends today, aka chill on the beach and watch them surf, but apparently there isn’t much swell out  there. I mean, there’s tons of swell, of course there’s tons of swell, it’s winter in the Pacific Northwest, for fuck’s sake, but the swell isn’t getting to the….waves. I mean, it’s not getting to the…break. It’s not getting to this fickle spot of land somewhere west of me, where when the moons align, and the tides, there are waves. Maybe it will happen later today. Maybe it won’t.

Another sip of the hop tea. I hear my neighbors’ devil child screaming across the way. I hear my other neighbor talking about what a beautiful day it is. And it is a beautiful day. God, it’s gorgeous. So….fucking….gorgeous. My succulents are on the back porch, basking in the sun. I have the heater off so I can hear the silence better. A goose honks. A crow caws. The mallards say nothing.

Jesus. OK. Phewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…..

Physical therapy yesterday. Did squats holding a twenty pound weight. Now today the knee feels fucked. I mean not fucked. It feels ok, it just feels a little off. At least 20 times a day I check my LCL to see if it’s still intact. My physical therapist yesterday was a boulderer. The dude who’s taking over my physical therapy in about a week is a climber. What dumb, blind luck I have. I’m surrounded by climbers. Sure, some of them might be rope climbers, which make them slightly less than human, but they’re still climbers all the same. They still know what it’s like to have their fingers touch granite. I was thinking yesterday about how much gnarlier stuff you could do skateboarding if you had a harness around you that would catch you every time you fell. People would be grinding 100 stair rails. People would be kickflipping 30 stairs. And yet, when you skateboard, you don’t have a harness to catch you. Only the cold, hard, unforgiving ground. When you fall on a big wave surfing, you don’t have a harness to catch you. The wave might pound you down to the reef. It might break your ear drum. You might not know which way is up. When you fall snowboarding you don’t have a harness to catch you. Only the snow, which often times is as hard as concrete. And yet, when you sport climb, no matter how high you are up, no matter how “scary” it is, you always have a rope attached to you, someone ready to catch you when you fall. And from what I hear sport climbers sometimes “look down” upon boulderers. I don’t understand why this is. Bouldering to me is 100 times more gnarly, 100 times more pure. Sure, you have a four-inch pad to break your fall. Hopefully. That’s it. There are some boulderers who don’t use pads. The first boulderers didn’t use pads. One day I’m sure I’ll appreciate sport climbing. Maybe. But for now give me a 10 foot face instead of a 200 foot face.

Hop Tea. God I wish I had more Hop Tea. Do I need to get in my car and drive back to Whole Foods and get more Hop Tea?

70 mg of caffeine.

I wish I could stay here all day and talk to you guys, but at some point I’ll have to leave the boat. It doesn’t look like we’re going surfing. It doesn’t look like we’ll be going to the Olympic Peninsula. It doesn’t look like we’ll have the camaraderie of chilling in the car together, the snus, the good vibes, the good times, the lewd jokes, the happiness. It doesn’t like we’ll be passing Discovery Bay and pressing on westward. It doesn’t look like we’ll be stopping at Country Aire.

When I stop typing I can hear the whir of my computer fan. The creak of the boat lines. A boat or a barge or something like that sounding its horn so they’ll open the bridge. The beep of some kind of truck backing up. Geese honking, always honking. There are always geese honking. Then there are the spring birds. Maybe they’re robins. They’re the kind of birds where you hear them and think, “Oh, spring is coming.” But other than that it’s silence. Beautiful silence.

 

I’m Not Your Friend || Matcha Lattes at Woodland Coffee

I just got back from Woodland Coffee, where I got a matcha latte with oat milk and a LITTLE bit of honey. This was the first time I’d been to Woodland Coffee, which has a pretty horrible location, tucked on a sidestreet behind Safeway just off 15th Ave NW. Dastardly location. Closed to McDonald’s. I mean, there are some other businesses right next to it, and the building it’s in (brick) is actually sort of comely. But, I mean, it’s in Safeway’s shadow. It’s literally (figuratively, since the sun comes from the south) in Safeway’s shadow.

Now, how was their MATCHA LATTE????????? And why did I get it with oat milk, if I’m trying to keep the carbs down. Simple: I’m obsessed with oats. Oh, and their matcha latte is pretty bomb. I’m not sure what kind of matcha they use but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s ceremonial grade. Wouldn’t be surprised at all. Also, I liked that they ASKED if I wanted any kind of sweetener, to which I said, “A little bit of honey.” Unfortunately, all of the honey sank immediately to the bottom, which meant the first 7/8 of the matcha latte were basically unsweetened, and the last 1/8 was like sticking my head in a worker bee hive.

And then I walked to Ballard Market where I got an Ashwagandha Spicy Chai. And an Epic Bar. The Epic Bar was 100% grassfed venison, seasoned with thinks like celery and garlic powder. It was delicious. The texture was a bit gnarly, but it was delicious. 1 carb. Bomb.

Now I’m back on my boat wondering if I have a belly. I have physical therapy in a couple hours and then I’m gonna walk around Greenlake. Maybe get a matcha latte at The Retreat, everyone’s favorite Greenlake hipster cafe. The sun is glorious in Seattle today. Today the sun sets at 5:50pm!!!!!! Civil twilight till 6:21pm!!!!! What kind of tropical paradise are we living in????? On the way to the boat I noticed all the mallards were in the shade under the docks and I thought, Hmmmmm, that’s weird, I wonder why they’re in the shade and not enjoying the sun. But then I realized: They probably have winter plumage. Right now they’re built for temps in the 30’s and 40’s, so on a day like today in the sun they probably overheat. Poor, beautiful mallards. God, I love them. They keep me company everyday. And today I saw a flock of herons flying around the locks. A flock!!! It’s one thing to see one heron, it’s another to see a flock of them. It warmed my sternum. It warmed my aorta.

I have decided that in addition to looking for apartments in Leavenworth I should also be looking for apartments on this side of the mountains, but closer to bouldering. Places like Index and….well….Index. I don’t want to live in Gold Bar. I don’t want to live in Startup. And I certainly don’t want to live in Monroe. Why not? Because I don’t want to have to get tattoos and develop a drug problem. But Index I could definitely do! And Skykomish. The problem is finding a rental in these places, since they each have about 200 people. Maybe if I just show up on someone’s doorstep with my naked body wrapped in Tibetan prayer flags? Or I could just buy a van and live in the Index parking lot. Be a a true dirtbag. A true climber. But then I might have to start “sport climbing,” and we can’t have that. We can’t have ropes and carabiners and helmets and all that crap. That’s not climbing. That’s aid climbing. Clipping in??????? Give me a break. But living out of a van is actually not a 200% terrible idea. But still, Leavenworth.

My succulents are on the back of the boat enjoying the sunshine. The new one I got from Trader Joe’s seems to have integrated well with the others. I think they have accepted him. He is undoubtedly male, and possibly a bully. If he does not behave I will have to throw him in the lake. I have not watered him yet, nor do I intend to. Nature will water him when it sees fit, i.e. when I forget to bring him in overnight. Until then, he can wait patiently like all the other succulents.

Sunset on the Boat

The question on everyone’s mind right now, aka no one’s mind, aka my mind, is the following: How are red bananas different from regular bananas?

The other question I have is: Should I move to Leavenworth?

And by move I of course don’t mean move. I mean kinda move. I mean mostly move. I mean get an apartment there but keep my boat in Seattle so I have the best of boat (sorry) worlds. When it’s sunny and beautiful and I wanna be on the water? Chill on the boat. When I want to boulder my ass off and have dry weather and the stark beauty of the north-central Cascades? Leavenworth.

It would also make sense to rent in Leavenworth before I buy land there. This is what a responsible adult might do. But to be fair, the experience of living in an apartment complex would be very different from living off grid on a semi remote piece of land. But there are things you can figure out even living in an apartment complex. Do you like the community? Can you make friends there? Are the tourists too annoying? Are the summers way too hot? Is it too dry?

These, of course, and myriad other questions.

I’m back on the boat and I’m thinking about doing my physical therapy and I’m also thinking about doing some training, i.e. hanging. The roof of my boat is in fact perfect for hanging, and using core strength to bring my feet up to touch the mast actually sort of simulates climbing an overhang. The physical therapist gave me insane amounts of hope yesterday when she said she thought I might be able to start gym climbing in two weeks. I don’t think she realized how much hope she gave me. I have to get my body back in shape. I have to start getting ready for climbing. I will be so happy when I can just climb a red or a green at SBP. Not even purple let alone an orange or black or blue. A red. A green. Anything harder than a yellow, which is beyond VB and basically like climbing a ladder. Though climbing up and down yellows all day could be a GREAT way to build endurance. You cannot fall while climbing yellows. You can fall on reds. You can definitely fall on reds. And you can definitely fall on greens. But you can’t fall on yellows.

I’m drinking a Hop Tea and it’s delicious. Sixty mg caffeine. I just had a matcha latte from Whole Foods with unsweetened almond milk. Lunch was young coconut meat, a red banana and a thing of yoghurt. The yoghurt had a cream top. Bliss.

Slash I really wish I had caffeine and I’m gonna need to leave my boat later to get some.

Slash I bought a throw pillow from Target the other day.

Some observations as of late:

  1. I’m weirdly obsessed with oats.
  2. I bought a throw pillow. I am now an adult.
  3. The sunset is approaching 6pm!!!!! (and daylight savings is approaching!!!!!)
  4. A good book will see you through almost any bout of loneliness.
  5. My finger is fucked.

The sunset is casting an orange glow on my neighbor’s boat. In the distance I hear a train sounding its horn. A merganser plies the water near my boat. A seagull floats by in the distance, and a cormorant bullets by up close. So many bird species. Kingfisher, herons, mallards, mergansers, loons, even a beaver. A bald eagle. The whir of the heater at my feet. My orange puffy jacket on the bench seat across from me. My hands that smell like smoked salmon. The new basket I got from target holding all the clutter. The piles of books underneath the basket. So many books. So many books I read, and even more that I don’t read and will be put in one of those little lending libraries. Omega 3’s, mushroom powder, vitamin d, a laptop case, tortilla chips. The light on my boat seems faint. I want more rolled oats. One throw pillow isn’t enough; you gotta have two. Beef bone broth. Tech stocks tanking. Geese honking in the distance. Are they going north or south? Did some of the geese miss the memo this winter and go nowhere at all? A sparkling yerba mate from Trader Joe’s, and I wish I were curled up next to a fire right now. I’m going to go to Tahoe this summer and go bouldering. I’m gonna go to Bishop, and J-Tree, and Rocky Mountain National Park, and Roy, NM, and Spain, and France, and British Columbia. A thank you note that needs to be written. A foam roller. Physical therapy exercises undone. A masters in Spanish, C1 in French, B2 in German. A pint of blueberries and the sun continues to set.

 

Slash Omega 3’s || Chilling on the Boat

It is gloriously sunny in Seattle right now. It’s 9:26am. The sun rose at exactly 7:00am this morning. It will set at….wait for it….5:45pm. Civil twilight (where you can still kinda see outside) will last till 6:16pm. Nautical twilight (where you could still navigate a barco) will last till 6:52pm, for all you mariners out there. And the best part? The absolute best part? The part that makes you want to scream with glee and jump into Lake Washington with all your clothes on? In less than three weeks, on March 13th, the clocks will inexplicably “spring” forward an hour in time. We will all effectively time travel. We will shut our eyes and when we wake up the clocks will have surged forward. The sun will set an hour later. It will be (almost) spring. Joy and hope will be in the air. And all will be well.

Slash.

Turmeric supplements.

Slash.

Carlson brand Omega-3’s.

Slash.

Whole Foods matcha latte with almond milk.

Slash.

Branch chain amino acids.

Slash.

Knee brace.

Today is day two of my training. Today I do 15 mast touches (where, hanging from the roof of my boat, I use core strength to alternate bringing my feet up to lightly tap the mast), and also some warm-up and some hanging. It’s not much. It’s not much at all. But it’s a start, and that’s what I need. Yesterday Barry and I were talking about how I should be training upper body, and I realized I’m a fool for not doing it. Yes, footwork is massive when climbing, but I don’t need to train my leg muscles. I have strong-ass legs. Strong thighs. Strong quads. Strong hamstrings. Fabulous glutes. But I could definitely use some upper body training, some hangboarding, some pullups, and eventually, campus boards. Besides, you wanna be real climber? You gotta hit the campus boards. They’re so cool. If you’re campus boarding you’re automatically kinda cool. And I wanna be cool.

Slash.

The Subi got new brakes yesterday. And to think I was thinking of buying a brand new car!!!! A 2016 or 2018 Subaru Outback. I mean, it’d be cool to have a car like that, or it’d be cool to go to your favorite mechanic, Al, and pay him 181 bucks for new rear brakes, an oil change, and an oil filter change. If I’m going to spend a lot of money on something, it’s going to be my living space. Aka an apartment or land or both. Not a car. That’s just foolish. I already have a car that’s taken me to Cali twice in the last few months and almost all the way to Mexico City. Sure, she might have a cracked frame. Everyone knows that. But she’s beautiful. And we have a relationship. We’ve stood next to each other in tough times. Surgery to repair a right front axle, etc etc etc etc

OK.

Still sunny.

Vitamin D.

Slash.