HoydenSeek’s Weblog

hoy·den: a boisterous, bold, and carefree girl; a tomboy + seek: to go in search or quest of

Southbound/Hellbent October 8, 2008

Filed under: Books & Mags,Rants (Politics),Religion & Spirituality,Travel — suzanne turner @ 1:06 am

Seattle today! Helena Tomorrow… maybe.

I had only been to Seattle briefly, passing through until now. But today, Joel and I ran around that city like nobody’s business. The forecast had called for lots of rain, but lo and behold, it was the most fantastic day imaginable. Everywhere we looked, it was a scene straight out of that computer game Myst. The sun was shining on the water as we took the ferry from Bainbridge Island to the city. On the Island, we are staying with Joel’s Uncle, who has an amazing house with his wife, who was unfortunately visiting family in Japan as she often does. So sadly, I didn’t get to meet her. Their house, which they designed themselves, is just a beautiful example of traditional Japanese design. And the Zen-like feeling is palpable. Simple wood, glass, and bamboo surrounded by acres of forest- needless to say, it was a more relaxing stay than anywhere else we could have imagined. I soaked in the deep Japanese hot bath for quite a while before retiring to bed in a casual kimono- I forget the word for it. It was wonderful. Today we walked from the ferry terminal over to the fish market, up to find a place where Joel remembered having great Russian Pieroshky, which we did find and enjoy very much. We found the Seattle Public Library, which I have been reading about since I had heard of its design, and it was amazing to see in real life. I get to cross another famous architect off my list of buildings to see- Rem Koolhaas! I don’t think I’ll ever beat meeting Daniel Liebskind though. 🙂 We then walked up to the retail core, where I saw this amazing restauraunt called Purple which had this ridiculously huge spiral staircase in the middle surrounding their open, cylindrical wine storage. They had big dark, gothic looking light fixtures hanging from the double height ceiling that looked like they held big candles, which I’m sure were really light fixtures, but the effect was stunning. It was very Sarah and Ted. 🙂 It would be so much fun travelling with friends, we decided. Running around there, a couple of couples, would be so much fun. Joel is really good though about shopping with me and looking with me at things I like. Which brings me to my next subject.

We need to shop a lot less. Saving money has never been a forte for either of us, but its time to stop making excuses. So many people want to live a lot richer than they are. Maybe our parents or grandparents generation are doing ok now, but we don’t see the half-lifetime worth of work that has gone into preparing that lifestyle. Some of the people our age have inherited some of their wealth, or a position to make wealth from that same source, but for most of us, we need to realize that hard, hard work is the way to come by wealth. And that wealth needs to build slowly but surely over a number of years. We need to learn to accept that the house we want and the housing we can afford are often two different things most often these days. Think of where your parents were living when they were in their twenties, versus where they are living now. We decided to be starving students, but refusing to acknowledge that decision is not getting us anywhere. We can only dig ourselves out of debt steadily, or rack it up and suffer forever. And for what? Stuff? One good thing about moving seasonally is that it keeps your pack-ratted shit in check. That card someone gave you years ago- did it change your life? Then go ahead and throw it away. People want to keep things with sentinental value, but they could really just keep the memory. Or take a picture and store it on the internet. The thought of how much money I have spent sickens me. Some in worthwhile endeavors, some on pure bullshit. I wish I could just have the money back for all the things I bought. But going forward, I just need to remember that. In fact, today I found a book of Buddhist essays on the urge to spend and consume, which would be cool to read, to bolster my resolve. But I decided to just go ahead and keep that $17.95 and walk away. I could look up the subject on the internet for free if I really care to read up. Joel and I both have a weakness for books and magazines, which is ok to a certain extent. Its somewhat justified, but we still need to keep it to a minimum, and only what applies to helping make more money. When we are bored and want to spend money- hey it sounds like we have free time to be working on learning more, and working out. We just agreed to not get cable when we get to Denver. People our age consider TV a near necessity. Silly and sad.    

When we get back home, I want to go through all that storage in my bedroom- all that stuff I have no idea what it is- and sell it. Everything. Cutthroat. We dont need a TV. We don’t need anything. I want to get the stuff we BOTH own down to what we can fit in the 4 Runner. That’s a large enough vehicle. A few totes for household stuff, the rest for only the most useful clothes and things. No more. Its sickening how much I have, how should I be wanting more? I thought tonight of a mantra that encompasses my goal for the winter: Aim for being the person you want to be, and not having the things you want to have. I want to keep that at the front of my mind.

I just finished reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which talked a lot about the nature of quality. The book was rather long winded at getting to the point, but quality is a concept I have often contemplated myself, so it kept me (barely) intrigued enough to finish it. It did get better, but not until the very end. If you include the afterward. Though the concepts could have been summed up more quickly, it did give me a lot to think about. I want to pare down the things I have and trade them for quality things. I have thought about this topic mostly in terms of architectural appplications, but I think it applies regardless. I am always drawn to things that have quality and good intrinsically in them. I love architecture with the joinery and cladding naked, the methods of construction apparent. I love materials like wood, metal, and concrete that are themselves the material beauty. Paint is never necessary in my mind. When you think this way anyway, other things seem to fall into place- for instance with the absence of paint, you have no volitile organic compunds off-gassing in the baby’s bedroom. The simplest road is usually best. And its true that the best things in life are free. Luckily also, we are at a time when most of the things we could ever want or need are very accessible, and even for free. Books and music are very available at the library, and I intend to spend more time there again. I can easily spend hours there, and for free. We can work out, go for a walk, make a light dinner, hang out with friends, listen to music- shopping is not the answer. I wish I had never bought girl-mag subscriptions for my sister. I know my girlfriends and I were influenced by those at a young age, and not in a good way, but obviously, it is worse now. The only way I can teach her now is by my example that things are not where its at.

All the things I want I can either figure out how to get for free, cheap, or just decide to forego. I’m at the point where I’d rather have a bike or a kayak than a car. I guess quality is just finding the right combination of things that make you truly happy. Finding the right place to live that suits your needs is crucial. I think people don’t explore enough on their own. I have always wanted to visit Seattle, but whenever I mentioned it, people always say, probably some who have never even been there, “yeah, well it always rains there, who would live there?” Now that I have lived half a year in Juneau, with the worst weather they have had in easily over 15 years, I’m glad to know rain won’t stop me if I want to live somewhere. Juneau, no. But someplace like this, oh yeah. I would live here in Bainbridge Island, or over in the city in a heartbeat. People there are really cool, and the whole feel is so artsy, cultural, and yet laid back. I know we caught the weather in its prime today, but the shops I saw here and the culture is exactly what I’m looking for. Rain may not stop me, but we’ll see about snow as we make our way south, and then east to Denver for the winter. I want to give Joel his chance to be back near his friends and family, and since I’m feeling ready to explore anywhere new, now is the time. Joel is good to me, and if I am utterly miserable somewhere, I know he will help me do what it takes to fix things. Plus, we won’t be there forever.

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Goodbye, Cloudtown! October 6, 2008

Filed under: Travel — suzanne turner @ 1:37 am
Tags: , , ,

Last Night in Juneau!

And we happened to hear thrashing see a big ol’ black bear tossing our big trash cans around under our front second story window tonight. Sweet. I’ve had good vantage points for both of my bear viewings.  🙂 That’s how I like it. That thing was loud and it wasn’t even tryin.

Also saw today a wild dog that wanders out by the shop in Skagway where we were this morning, which looked like a husky but I noticed right away had HUGE paws, longer legs, high skinny haunches and brown/gold eyes. I stayed in the shop and let it roam around outside. He came up to Joel and said hello, but Joel is a lot better at judging dog moods. I looked at him, and the look was cold, like that of a reptile- distant and analytic. I was scared to look too long as that can be taken as a challenge. Paul gave him a leftover hunk of meat, as is their deal for the dog keeping bears away. A while back the dog and a big ass bear had a standoff that woke the distant neighbors, shook the near ground, and went on for hours. Paul said the dog walked out of the hills a couple years ago and is just starting to let people pet him and probably has a good deal of wolf in him, as most huskies do but more distantly. 

The trees in Skagway are turning yellow, orange and red. Some higher up are still dark green, above that the trees trail off into rock, and the rocks on top are dusted with snow. Unbelievably beautiful ferry rides this week. Good Alaskan day to end on. For now. I’m sure we’ll be back. We’ve only seen a fraction of Alaska. It’s incomprehendable just how big, dense, dark, dangerous and beautiful a place can be. I often get the feeling this place is not meant for visitors. But who can resist the allure?

That being said, Juneau is a place unlike any other I’ve seen. When it’s nice, oh man, it’s amazing. But those days come, I’d say, one in forty days. It’s just not enough. And that’s in the Summer! I don’t understand the appeal during the winter, but I guess I’d have to stay and see. Which will never happen. Darkness, cold, isolation and lack of food would drive me out of my mind. For most people here, it just drives them to drinking.

Well, in celebration, I have started to compile my silly list:

You Know You’ve Been in Juneau Too Long When…

  • You know what color Carhartts used to be even when covered in a season’s worth of grit and grease.
  • You call each other to report the daily soups and specials at the Breeze.
  • You’ll gladly pay $4.50 for a single red bell pepper. Literally.
  • You now know a lot of different words for drywall, though most often hear “sheetrock.”
  • You feel like you’re back in high school beacuse there is no escaping gossip and drama. It follows you from work, to the bar, back to work, and then home!
  • One or more of the people you met end up going a little crazy.
  • You project the current state and admit that this town has the capacity to drive you a little crazy.
  • You take a liking to plant-inspired names like Cedar, Jasmine, Willow and Aspen.
  • Party planning consists of buying Alaskan Amber, smoked salmon, flares, and parts for a potato gun and a trebuchet.
  • Tourists are your bread and butter, and the bane of your existence.
  • You have started considering buy Extra Tuffs just because they not only seem practical, but somewhat fashionable?!
  • You have started calling nearly every truck a “rig.”
  • You find yourself in a McDonald’s… because it’s open.
  • You and your significant other have together gained 100 lbs. in 6 months.
  • No matter how cheap the rate, you vow never to stay ever again at the Super 8.
  • You can’t think of anything that smells worse than work gear and vehicles: sled dog + fabric + moisture + time = blechh.
  • Rent in San Diego sounds pretty reasonable.
  • If someone tried to convince you the sun still exists in September, but is just fogged over, you might just argue otherwise.