Also

I really don’t know what to do with myself today. I can’t climb cuz I climbed yesterday and sort of tweaked my knee. I can’t start drinking cuz it’s too early and I don’t want to do that anyway. I can’t do much outside right now cuz it’s raining. I already worked on the novel (900 words, pretty good, enough). I don’t really want to go for a dip in the water cuz I did that yesterday and it’s kind of traumatizing. I can’t work because there literally is no work (I go to the list where I usually pick tasks from and nothing is there. Supposedly this was going to be remedied at the start of the new year, but it hasn’t happened yet). And so….what should I do?

Maybe I should make some sort of a plan.

Ah! I know what I could do. I could clean up my boat. And then I could walk to the library and take all my books back. And then I could walk to PCC or somewhere else and get more caffeine. And then maybe when I get back I’ll want to jump in the lake (see: ease my body off the dock and promptly freak out). I could also do more push-ups, since I’m trying to do them (almost) every day and have only done one set so far today.

Things are looking up.

OK so here’s the plan (to reiterate and also be extremely specific):

  1. Do another set of pushups (and maybe listen to music and scream while doing them).
  2. Clean up the boat (take out trash and recycling, organize shit, maybe try to clean up some of the water on the floor since it’s been raining for the past 486 hours).
  3. Walk to the Ballard branch of the SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY. Take back all books and don’t forget to take back that Breathe book I didn’t even read. Don’t check out any more books there. Slash check out the ones that are on hold.
  4. Get a matcha latte from ROOT (or maybe a macchiato).
  5. Attempt to hang out with friends (or anyone, really. Enemies are fine, too).

As far as the bouldering session went yesterday, I’ll fill you in cuz I know you need to know. I had the goal of sending two new oranges OR one new black, and after warming up on yellows and reds and keeping my arms straight, which was a damn revelation, I sent a new black that was a sort of jump start followed by a crimp with a right heel hook. Then I went upstairs and sent two more new oranges, one of which was in the cave. Other than tweaking my knee, I felt pretty damn good about myself.

Also: thanks to those of you who got in touch after the last post, which was on loneliness. I appreciate it. It makes me happy that that post resonated with some people, and also that people are still reading this blog.

Also: I’m probably going to Mexico on Monday. I already have my ticket, but I could cancel it up till 2:04pm today. So I’ll probably just go. To Guadalajara, and then on to Mexico City. And then after that to Bogota and then on to Chile, or just to Chile, or just back to Seattle, or something else entirely.

Also:

 

 

A Swanky Day at 49th Parallel in Vancouver

It snowed probably 8-10 inches last night in Vancouver. I’m at 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, at least that’s what I think it’s called, I’m not sure if they actually roast their own beans. It’s sunny outside and white. Snow is sliding off the awnings. There’s a Dairy Queen about 50 yards to my right. I’m going to be here until Sunday, and then it’s  back to Seattle. Back to the boat? Oh god, I don’t know if I can do it. All the beautiful people. There’s a shadow hanging over me.

I’m not sure what to do today. Yesterday I went to Squamish and tried to climb Easy in An Easy Chair, a V4 that’s supposedly one of the most popular problems in Squamish. I did not send it. I did not even come close. I could sort of do the first move, though I couldn’t even get to the part where you put your left heel up on the starting hold. I didn’t try Swank Stretch V5, even though it was more or less dry and that’s the problem I’d come there for. I didn’t try Lounge Act V6, the one behind it. I dind’t try any problem other than Easy Chair, and on that problem I pretty much immediately strained my right middle finger, felt my elbow start hurting, and by the end of the session felt like I’d aggravated my left hip flexor. It’s a curious thing, getting older and witnessing your body fail. After the session I went to Nesters in Squamish and got some zero sugar added beef jerky and a yerba mate. And then I drove back to Vancouver, getting tailgated very little on the way. There was traffic getting onto the Lion’s Gate Bridge and on the bridge itself and going through Stanley Park and downtown. And then when I got back I watched about six hours of The Handmaid’s Tale. And got an oat milk latte around 9pm at Aperture Coffee, which probably wasn’t great for me getting to sleep later. As I was falling asleep I had that thing happen to me where you doze off and then think you’re falling and wake yourself up with a jerk, but this time instead of falling I was walking on a trail and a grizzly bear bounded out of the brush to attack me. It was terrifying, so much worse than falling.

Should I get another coffee? No, terrible idea.

Should I get a donut? Ha.

What could I do today?

It’s 10:16. I’ve been ‘fasting’ for just over 13 hours. I say ‘fasting’ because I had a little cream in my coffee, which probably broke the fast. So now it’s a dirty fast. I don’t want to go back to N’s to watch THMT. I could walk down to Whole Foods. I could drive to the store in Port Moody that has the Turkish delight. I could go to Indigo and look at the books, though bleh. Oh, wonderful, there’s also a store in Hamilton, Ontario that has the particular brand of Turkish delight I need to buy.

I could go over to my car and brush the snow off. So it’s ready to drive if I need it. I could shave. I could cook some kind of really healthy breakfast. What I’ll probalby end up doing is walking. Oh, I could go to Whole Foods and get a smoothie. Why not. That sounds fun.

K I need to leave here.

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.

 

Crossing the Border to Canada // First Session in Squamish

I’m at my sister’s house in Ballard. I just got back from Canada yesterday. Crossing the border was actually easier going IN to Canada, because I crossed through Lynden and there was no line. The guy asked me almost no questions. He asked to see my negative COVID test and maybe what I was doing in Canada. He didn’t ask me what I did for work, which made me happy because I would’ve felt like I was lying when I said “interpreter.” When I DO work, I usually work as an interpreter or a teacher. This is what I “do” for work. The only thing is I’m not “doing” it right now. Because I’m a semi professional boulderer, minus the professional, minus the semi.

ANYWAY, FIRST SESSION IN SQUAMISH!!!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!! V0’s!!!!!! Failing on a crimpy V2!!!!!!!! Climbing a terrifying highball V1 that felt like V5!!!!!!

Even though this was sort of supposed to be a climbing trip, I only climbed once. This is because my body is disintegrating. I’m not resting enough. I’m not taking enough breaks. I’m due to take about a week off climbing (or more), and until I do that I’m probably not going to make any progress and possibly make backward progress. Yesterday I went to SBP Poplar with Barold Doug, the Crush from Down Under (down under being south Seattle), and DIDN’T CLIMB ANYTHING HARDER THAN A PURPLE. I REPEAT: I DIDN’T CLIMB ANYTHING HARDER THAN A PURPLE. I mean, I didn’t really attempt anything harder than a purple, and I still had a blast and became a better climber, but it just goes to show when you’re 38 (oh yes, I had a birthday recently) you need lots of rest, and your tendons need a TON of time to adjust to climbing. I’ve been climbing about a year and half now. My finger tendons are still adjusting to climbing. I assume this process will take at least another couple years (slash never end), at which point I’ll basically be geriatric. I’ll be the only senior citizen at Bishop super psyched on V2’s. Which is fine. I’m completely down with that. As long as you’re stoked, nothing else matters.

We climbed a V1 called Hot Tamale at the Clean Boulders in Squamish after warming up on a couple V0’s. Hot Tamale is a cool line that sort of traverses/climbs a rail from right to left. The start is slightly tricky. But after a couple tries the start became super easy, which is always a great feeling. All of us sent it, and then we moved on to Bear Trap V2, which (almost) shut us all down. The start to Bear Trap involves a sideways facing foot that allows you to cinch your body close to the wall and windmill (bear trap) your right hand over to a TERRIBLE crimp. Charlie skipped this crimp and went for the hella tall guy beta that involved going directly to the sidepull thing. I was SORT OF able to do this, but it made me really stretched out. After a couple goes Charlie got it, and I was stoked because one of us had sent it and I could now stop trying it and feel better about myself. Then we went back to the welcome area, which was crowded as balls, but one line had no people on it at all: Kung Fu Fighter V4 (a V5 on Sendage). This line is incredible. It involes starting in a nice little corner, working your way up to a slab, and then somehow traversing to an arete as footholds become fewer and further between. I tried it a few times, getting to the crux, and then a guy who lived in Squamish started trying it with me, and stoke levels were high. We had about five pads. His French Canadian friend started trying it too, and at this point stoke levels were basically in the stratosphere. The problem: My body felt gnarly. I needed to stop. So mostly I just watched/spotted/fist bumped. And then eventually I got out there, it was already almost 3pm, traffic was gnarly AF getting back to Vancouver, but I was also in a state of relative bliss. I hadn’t eaten anything all day. All I’d had was a coffee with honey, and I don’t drink coffee. So I stopped at the Whole Foods in West Van, possibly my favorite Whole Foods on the planet. I got a burrito bowl and a GT’S Adaptogenic Tea and a slice of banana bread and sat out in the courtyard eating it and reveling in the day and the fact that I was in Canada. And I then I went back into town.

I plan on going back to Squamish in September for subsequent sessions, but I’d like to give my body a good rest first (at least a week) so I can climb a little more aggressively and attempt harder problems. Having only climbed in one area, I’m still not sure exactly what Squamish is like. So far it felt a bit like Gold Bar, albeit with an even higher concentration of quality problems. Kung Fu Fighter frankly blew my mind. That is now on my lifetime tick list. I’d also really like to try Tyler’s Dihedral V3, Phat Slab V5, and at least LOOK at Black Slabbeth V7. I have no idea what a V7 slab looks like, but I’d like to find out.

That’s about all for today. There’s an annoying dog barking outside and I’m about to drink some tea and take my sister’s dog for her second walk. Tomorrow morning is essentially the last day I could climb outside for awhile, but I don’t know if I’ll do it. If I do, I’ll probably go back to the Index River Boulders. Maybe I’ll do Chinook V3 again, maybe I’ll try Finger Crack V3, The Jewel V3, and who knows what else. Or maybe I’ll finally get back on my old Project, Serenity Now V4+. The Sky (Valley)’s the limit.

Drinking Raw Milk in Le Mans

July 9th. July 9th. My first sip of caffeine in over two weeks. Hopefully the white matter in my brain that had been converted to grey matter got a chance to go back to being white matter again. I can see my open window from where I’m sitting. The comfortable bed. The weather outside is finally nice, finally kind of like summer. Does France not have summer? It’s July and there hasn’t been one sunny day since I’ve been here. Clouds and rain and humidity. And raw milk. Yesterday I had unpasteurized milk and afterward felt like Paul Bunyan. I thought we didn’t sell it in the States but turns out we do it’s just hard to find and I’m sure expensive as hell. Here you can get a liter of organic, grass fed, unpasteurized milk — in other words milk in its most simple form exactly as you’re supposed to drink it — for a euro. Why is the US so messed up? Of course, it’s micro filtered. You know the filters you use for backpacking? They use something like that to filter the milk so it doesn’t have a bunch of bacteria in it. But it’s not pasteurized. Continue reading Drinking Raw Milk in Le Mans