The Duck Pond (and other thoughts)

Five days ago since I wrote the last post, and I’ve made a couple attempts to write posts since then. The problem is usually I start too late in the day, and for me to be even remotely successful at writing blog posts I have to start in the morning. Take now, for example. It’s 1:53pm. I just boiled water for mate. I’m sitting at my computer. Things are quiet and I feel a bit tired. I don’t have much to talk about. After this paragraph whatever enthusiasm I’d garnered will probably peter out, and I’ll be left just staring at a computer screen, wondering if I should go in the next room and watch YouTube videos. I know it sounds a bit depressing. It sort of is. But in November in the Puget Sound region when you should be working and can’t climb, there’s not much else to do.

I did got to Victoria this weekend. Victoria, British Columbia, to be exact. There I stayed in the James Bay Inn and saw some old friends, wandered around the city a bit, and went to the local bouldering gym. Probably my favorite part of the trip — apart from seeing friends — was hanging out around the duck ponds in Beacon Hill Park. I love watching ducks interact with each other. I often watch them by my boat where I live in Seattle. I love the seriousness with which they go about their tasks. Life is a serious thing to them. Predators are a serious threat. Finding a mate is not a trifling matter. Conversely, in our species, life is a serious matter. Getting a job is serious. Finding a mate is serious. We do all of these things as if they have some kind of inherent meaning.

When I was in the park I couldn’t help but think about Eckhart Tolle, and how after his supposed enlightment he spent a couple years sitting on park benches. It made me think about how the contents of our brains are probably generated by the stimuli that goes into them, and if you were to sit on a park bench for a couple years, contemplating the ducks, your life would probably be as serene and carefree as the scene is when you stop to watch it for two minutes. However, when you start exposing yourself to the ‘real’ world, to busy streets and deadlines and people yelling at each other, the contents of your brain start to resemble that. I’m not saying we should all go sit on park benches for the next couple years, but I am saying a couple of us should. Maybe I should step up and take the plunge. Maybe you should. Some of us have the responsibility to be the keepers of a tranquility that the rest of us will never know.

Taking the ferry back to Port Angeles, the Olympics were bathed in celestial light. On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of seeing my therapist in person. I’ve been talking to her for a year, and I’d still never met her in person, mostly because she’s far away. I wondered how doing a session in person would be different from doing a video session. And it turns out it was different. It was more intense. I somehow felt inhibited by being around a real, actual person, instead of just a face on a screen. However, when we started getting into the nitty gritty, I also felt the intensity of the atmosphere, the intensity of her words, so much more than if I were sitting at home on my boat by myself. In fact, throughout the rest of the day, I felt lighter, empowered, in a way that I’ve felt after few sessions with her.

Maybe it’s finally time to sell my boat.

And now I’m going to try to work. I say try because this week it’s felt like an immense struggle. All I’m doing today is writing two blurbs. That’s it. Two blurbs. And yet it feels like I’m trying to move mountains. I’m compensating with mate. I’m trying to get my diet right. Figure out how to have more energy. But it’s a slow process. You can’t give up, and basically since July I’ve given up on trying to be healthy, thinking it didn’t matter that much. And now I feel worse than I’ve ever felt in my life, body health wise. So I’m going to claw myself out of this hole, one intermittent fast at a time, one 24-hour fast at a time, one less carb at a time, one more cup of mate at a time.

 

Go Climb (or don’t)

I’m back on the boat. The road trip is over. All in all it was about 10 days, and not a ton of climbing happened.

One reason not a ton of climbing happened is that my body didn’t feel up to it. I was sacrificing my body to the V5 gods, and the V5 gods said, “We don’t want this.”

There was one specific day in Bishop where everything changed. I was in the Sads. I was by myself. I was trying to warm up on some easy stuff, and then basically wrenched the crap out of my body establishing on a dumb, V3 slab. I got to the top. It wasn’t satisfying. And I thought to myself, What am I doing? Why am I doing this? Do I even like climbing?

Enter: the time since that, up until present day, sitting on my boat, burning incense to ward off bad energy, listening to the drone of my heater, thinking about how I should probably be doing my Booking work right now, NOT doing my Booking work right now, wondering what I’m going to do with the rest of my day.

But first, rewinding to the end of the trip, in Bishop, California, the eastside of the Sierras, the Year of Yaweh Two Thousand and Twenty-One:

I’d thought that I’d give Molly V5 a few burns before I left Bishop. And then, if I was getting kind of close, I thought I might stay an extra day in Bishop so I’d have a chance to possibly finally send my first V5. What ACTUALLY happened, however, was that I drove to a spot just north of Lee Vining and looked for first ascents. I found a beautiful egg-shaped boulder that I dubbed The Dragon’s Egg that you can actually perceive with your very own retinae right here:

(The boulder almost right in the center of the frame.)

Anyway, this boulder had a nice looking line on it, probably somewhere in the V0-2 range, but I JUST WASN’T FEELING IT. So I pressed on. I got to Tahoe, and DIDN’T CLIMB THERE. Or actually I sort of climbed there. I checked out some boulders on Kingsbury Grade Road as I was getting in, specifically one that had a high right hand pinch, a crappy left hand, and a right heel hook, that was somewhat overhanging, and I tried for a bit just to see if I could heel hook with my right heel to free up my right hand. Which I couldn’t. I tried no other moves on the boulder. I didn’t WANT to try other moves on the boulder. And then I left.

And that, friends, is how my sessions have been lately. I show up. I look for lines (or just moves) that inspire me. I don’t look in the guidebook until after the sesh, or before the sesh for directions on how to get to the spot. Basically, I just do what feels good. And you know what? Hardcore trainers would probably say that’s the worst way to approach a session, the worst way to get better. But I don’t care. A) I know they’re wrong, B) It makes me happy, and C) I realized in Bishop that I had to start completely over. I had to re-learn my love for climbing, and I had to learn, once and for all, HOW TO CLIMB. I’m not really sure how to do that, but I think it involves approaching climbing the way I did when I first started bouldering outdoors. I didn’t try to do things like “train my weaknesses” (unless I wanted to). I didn’t make myself try a boulder over and over if I wasn’t feeling it. I basically didn’t do anything I didn’t want to. I would basically roam around the hills of Gold Bar, taking a burn on something here or there, and then move on. I wouldn’t sit at a boulder for three hours making no progress and hurting myself. The only time I would stay at a boulder for awhile is if I was making progress, having fun, and feeling like I was sort of getting close to sending. And you might be saying to yourself: Well, that approach to bouldering isn’t the right one. And the thing is: You’re absolutely wrong. Because it’s right for me. And if it’s right for me that’s all that matters.

OK, and now I sadly have to do some ACTUAL work at my ACTUAL job, because I’m a working stiff (see: semi-rigid) now. I wish you all a glorious day. Go climb. Or don’t.

– Wetzler

 

 

Surfing La Push Slash Why Does My Back Hurt

Friends. Lovers. Times are tough right now in Wetzlerlandia. I hurt my back last Wednesday and I still don’t know how bad it is. I was just jumping down from a route at the climbing gym, just using my legs to break my fall, and I felt something kind shift or get tweaked in my back and it’s felt gnarly ever since. Surfing a lot yesterday and the day before might not have helped. It might have helped, but it also might not have helped. That remains to be seen. Either way it feels stiff and gnarly right now and makes me sad.

But.

Anyway.

Hi.

My succulents are sitting in the cockpit. I just did some child’s pose and cat cow. Smoked SO many cigarettes (rollies) over the past two days, so now my body is detoxing. I need to axe cigs completely, but it’s kind of a ritual with the friends I smoke them with and so I’ve been hesitant to completely axe them. But, like, they’re gnarly. Not good. They don’t make my body feel good. They don’t make me feel good. The only thing they DO do is make my cognition as sharp as a tack. But I’m not ready to sacrifice my soft tissue for that.

Do you follow?

You don’t follow.

You’re not even paying attention.

How dare you.

It’s a beautiful sunny day here. Please stand by while I check the Gold Bar forecast.

….

OK the HIGH tomorrow in Gold Bar, WA is supposed to be 80. Which means I could go bouldering in the morning. Which I won’t do because my back feels gnarly. HOWEVER! The highs for like the ENTIRE week after that are only around 70 degrees. Aka perfect bouldering attempts. Aka will I ever go back to Canada? Aka I need to talk to my physical therapist today about my back. Aka I’m drinking matcha right now and it tastes disgusting. Aka I just bought four packs of sardines. Aka bee pollen. Aka turmeric pills.

OK. Time to concentrate.

Honestly that might be it for today.

I guess I could talk about the surf trip.

El Cazador and I went to the Olympic Peninsula on Sunday, surfed near PA on Sunday morning and then La Push Sunday evening. It was my first time surfing in a couple months and only my SECOND TIME SURFING since my knee injury though lately I never think about my knee my knee is great it’s my damn hip flexors now and MY MOTHEREFFING BACK GOD WHY DOES MY BACK HURT SLASH.

The waves at La Push yesterday were, in one single word, primo. Well, they were “good,” but the sun was out and they were fun and playful and it felt pretty darn good to be back in the water. I only surfed one sesh cuz I wanted to take care of the BOD, but El Cazador surfed two cuz he’s a beast. Then we slow-rolled out of there and made the late 8:10 ferry back to Seattle and I didn’t get home till like 10:10pm. I was tired. I still took the time to rinse my westuit and shower and get all the gnarliness off me. So many things went well from the expedition, namely the WEATHER. Sun in La Push?????????????? Almost never happens. Mist in La Push? Happens all the time. But so much sun that your face gets charred? Um, yeah, pretty rad.

Now I’m back on the boat as I alluded to earlier, drinking matcha and stuffing my maw with bee pollen. I want more caffeine. But I’m not going back to Whole Foods. But I want more caffeine.

Slash.

Books, Bouldering, Beverages

I’m not watching any videos today. No climbing videos, no bouldering videos, no Saturday Night Live videos, no videos about how the universe works or how the world works or how dating works or how the human body works. Most days I spend an inordinate amount of time watching videos. Probably several hours each day. And it’s not that I necessarily want to be more productive, it’s just that watching so many videos, scrolling and scrolling trying to find the next dopamine hit, makes me feel kinda bad.

Slash, I went climbing yesterday, and it was glorious.

I went with Barry and Adi, and we climbed first at Upper Walls and then made our way over to Fremont Main, where we didn’t climb. The reason we didn’t climb at Fremont Main was because it was crowded as balls and getting food/beer sounded like a better idea. I remarked as we left Fremont Main that it felt like we had just climbed there, too. The feeling was the same, exiting out into the night air, backpack full of climbing stuff on, chattering away. And I’m glad we didn’t climb at Fremont Main, because after Saturday’s sesh at SBP Poplar my body was absolutely wrecked. Today is a hard rest day. Tomorrow will either be a rest day or an outside day but the high for tomorrow in Index, where I’d like to go to work Leggo My Ego V6, my current mega-proj, is 89 degrees Fahrenheit. Which means it’s supposed to be 78 by 11am. NOT EXACTLY SEND TEMPS (aka send temps).

In other news, I had a matcha bar this morning, a green hop tea, and now I’m having a Four Sigmatic matcha latte with lion’s mane (20mg caffeine, in case you were wondering [do I wish it had more caffeine? probably. I think like 30 or 40mg would be more appropriate, in this case. but hey, beggars can’t be systems engineers]). Also in other news, I’m currently reading the books Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari, and In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. I got the Proust book the other day at Elliott Bay Books. I got Sapiens from the Bainbridge library, and I think it might be due quite soon. The annoying thing about Sapiens is it’s sort of like a graphic, glossy-page version, which means it ways (sic) about six kilos. When I’m tired af after a climbing session and I want something to put me to sleep there’s no better book than Sapiens; the only problem is it weighs a ton. Fourth world problems.

In still other news, I had collagen yesterday. And sort of cleaned the boat. And hung out with my friend Pat. And had some mate (it really annoys me when brands spell mate “maté.” like, I know why they’re doing it, they want to differentiate between the English word “mate,” as in “friend,” but it still annoys the shit out of me.) I also went for a run yesterday, at Queen Anne Bowl, and it was kind of amazing except I also think it kind of strained my left hip flexor. I’ve had problems with my hip flexor ever since I hurt it in May thrutching on the V5 dyno that is Alcove Right in Leavenworth. It’s been healing — slowly but surely — and yesterday was the first time I tried to run on it for any considerable distance.

Slash.

The seagulls are cawing outside my boat. I’ve just finished the matcha latte. I have no more caffeine on the boat. I do have some chia pudding, which I will most likely consume presently. Current plan: head north to BC on FRIDAY. Will I actually do this? Seriously, will I actually do this??? I have no idea. The only thing I do know is I want to get the hell up there before they close the border again. Because numbers are on the rise, as they say, numbers are always on the rise, and we have so many variants going around we can’t even keep track of them (aka like one variant, aka the delta variant). So who knows when I’ll actually get up to Canada. Who knows when I’ll get back to Leavenworth. I proposed to a friend that we go to Leavy on Friday and boulder in the 104 degree heat, but she mentioned something about heat stroke. I mentioned something about jumping in the Wenatchee River. She mentioned something about cryptocurrency and treasury bonds and how her mother used to wait tables in Illinois and we promptly reached an impasse. For some reason the whole interaction reminded me of the one time I went to Nashville, sharing the elevator with a guy who was on his way to a Garth Brooks concert, or on his way home from a Garth Brooks concert, or possibly just wearing cowboy boots. For some reason I found the guy tremendously wholesome because he had on cowboy boots and because of his accent and because he was in town for a Garth Brooks concert and staying at the Best Western or whatever the hell it was. But for all I know he beats his wife and emotionally abuses his children. Why should I have assumed he was a wholesome guy?

Aka chia pudding.

Yesterday I meditated twice.

I need new climbing shoes.

I wish I had more matcha.

Or mate.

Or maté.

The best book ever written is called On Man and God, by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It’s 61 pages long and was published in 1961 by the Peter Pauper Press. It is currently one of my most prized possessions despite not being my possession. Why does the title Reading Lolita in Tehran make me want to punch myself? Or the title Waiting for Snow in Havana? Why can’t you just name your book something not cute? My dad just handed me a copy of the book The Intelligent Asset Allocator. Now there’s a book title, if I’ve ever seen one. The only way it could be better is if it were The Girl Who Allocated Assets, or something like that. Then  it could be sold all over town.

Waiting for Assets in Bolivia.

Now we’re talking.

 

 

To Sell or to Sail?

Friends! The Euro Trip is over. I am now back on my boat. I must say: I’m not entirely thrilled to be back on my boat. I mean, yes it’s beautiful. Yes, it’s peaceful. But I’m getting really sick of living on this 27 foot piece of fiberglass. Something needs to change, and something needs to change relatively soon. Which is why this fall I’m either going to A) Sell the boat (frowny face), B) Sail the boat south (if the boat’s in Mexico living on it suddenly seems way more attractive), or C) Leave the boat in Seattle, spend the winter OFF the boat and traveling (basically living in Latin America), and then in spring come back to the boat and finally sail it south. The moral of the story is this: Keep the boat and sail it south (now or in spring), or sell it. These are the two options.

This topic segues perfectly into shorter term plans. Regardless of what I do with the boat, what am I going to be doing for the next few months? Well, at first I thought about getting a job. But then I thought, No, that’s kind of lame. I don’t want to do that right now. The thing is, I’m much too excited about my fall and winter plans to get a job right now. When I think about living in an apartment in Seattle this winter and working some kind of “normal” job, even if it is a cool job like interpreting, I want to drown myself in Hood Canal. Seriously, I got an email from a hiring manager the other day about an interpreting job in High Point, Seattle (a neighborhood basically in West Seattle that would take 40+ minutes to commute to from where I live near the locks), and it felt like a death sentence. But then I think about the plans I had before I decided I needed to “get a job.” Sailing to the San Juans. Going to Canada to chill in Vancouver and boulder in Squamish and maybe hang out on Vancouver Island for a bit. Then possibly sailing south, and if not doing a shit ton of bouldering. Either way doing a shit ton of bouldering. In October going to Cabo for a wedding, then Mexico City, then possibly Bogota, and then definitely Chile. And that gets me excited. That I actually look forward to. And maybe it’s just me putting off “real life,” but at this point I don’t really care. I’ve put off “real life” for so long that I won’t be living “real life.” I’ll live my life. Other people can live “real life.”

I do, however, plan to take the Foreign Service Officer Test in October. Because I’m mildly interested in being a diplomat. And because last time I almost passed it.

And I also want to possibly take the legal interpreting exam, but it’s unclear whether that will be offered this year, due to the pan-de-mic.

If/when I HAVE to get a job I don’t really want, I’ll do it. I’ll do it with gusto. Every time in my life I’ve needed to work, like actually needed to, I’ve done it. But right now I don’t have to. So I’m going to do the things I actually want to. Because life is really short. And only getting shorter.

ANYWAY, it’s good to be in Seattle right now, for the most part. I’ve been climbing a ton, and my body is somehow hanging in there. I’ve been working on Leggo My Ego V6 at the Index River Boulders, but mostly I’ve been climbing in the gym. I’ve been stoked on gym climbing lately. It’s so social. It’s so easy (logistically). And it’s also so easy to work on your weaknesses. Granted, climbing outside is still cooler. There’s nothing like being alone in the middle of the forest standing before a hunk of gleaming granodiorite grandeur, puzzling out how to get to the top, but for whatever reason lately I haven’t felt like getting in my car and driving an hour and a half just to fail. I can get (basically) the same feeling of movement at the gym, which is a 10 minute drive. And at the gym I can watch other people climb, aka crushers, and I can meet people. I can still have projects. I can still get super excited about certain climbs. And it’s just so….easy.

That said, holy shit Leavenworth this fall is going to be fun.

Anyway, that’s more or less an update on what I’ve been up to since I’ve been back in Seattle and what I’m thinking for the next few months. The trip to Europe was (fairly) great. The flight back was atrocious. Twelve plus hours of ACTUAL flight time on a budget airline with a guy behind me who treated my seatback like his personal punching bag. At least I had an aisle seat. And the seat next to me was empty. When I sat in my middle seat and saw two empty seats by the window I immediately asked a flight attendent if I could move there if no one came. And no one did come. So when they said “boarding complete” I pounced on the empty row like a cobra on a naked mole rat. But the flight was still awful.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week. It’s great to be in touch.

– Wetzler