Recapturing a Moment

I’ve been moaning and groaning over accidentally deleting the original image I took (just below.)) with my iphone when we first moved to Columbia City in Seattle.

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So this Sunday after washing the car and stopping at a local Buddhist temple. We returned to Billiard Hoang to try to recapture the lost image in order to finally capture another unguarded moment. One the might finally bring some peace to my troubled mind while ordering a couple of the best bahn mi this side of the planet. Not wanting to be intrusive or step on anyone’s feet. I found a similar spot to rest my camera and made sure to remove the flash. Though the results were pretty good. (No complaints on my part.) I really wish I had a larger file size of the original image in order to print one of those gigantic metal prints. And while the new ones I took todqy are okay. I feel it might take a few more visits before I capture something worthy of printing.

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Day Trip to Roslyn, WA.

Over the weekend we traveled about eighty miles east of Seattle to the city/town of Roslyn, Washington. Though we had a quick drive through a few weeks ago on another trip to the snow caped area. This weekend was our first visit to the area in daylight, Starting early on our journey. My wife did some googling and marked a few spots to stop for breakfast, window shopping and coffee. After an somewhat surprisingly amazing breakfast at The Redbird cafe & bakery we navigated the ice and snow to check out the coal miners memorial and the unique shops housed just feet away. untitled-1My wife loved the hand crafted furniture store as well as the crowded arts and crafts shop housed within the historic building. From there we continued to navigate the icy, snowplowed streets and sidewalks. I enjoyed the long exchange with the town drunk a little more than my wife did. Though I was somewhat surprised when she reached out to button up his flannel and zip up his jacket. The 28 degree cold didn’t seem to bother him much. With just a few blocks in us. My wife’s chills turned to shivers and we retreated Basecamp Books and Bites for some hot tea, pastry and a game of Jenga. It wasn’t long after that when we retreated to our warm Mini and headed back to Seattle. And while the rather harsh weather we’ve been experiencing hasn’t put much of a damper on our travels or adventures. We can’t help but dream of warmer, dryer days to come.I was thinking of posting links to some of the places that highlighted our trip. Instead I’ll leave you with a trip advisor that links some of the city’s highlights. Trip Advisor

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A Movie Scene Triggers a Memory

Trip-1.jpgBack in 2016 I went to the theater to see “Snowden”. The true story of an NSA agent who reveals illegal surveillance techniques used by our government to spy on its own citizens. There are a couple of scenes in the movie where the character suffers from seizures that had

him writhing uncontrollably on the floor. As someone who suffered from a serious seizure disorder from the age of eighteen to about twenty four. Those scenes freaked me the fuck out. So much so, that I could feel myself unexpectedly welling up with tears and feeling overwhelmed. You see, though I have experienced having seizures myself, countless times over. I had never seen one from the eye of the beholder. During the times people like my Father described the frightening scene that would unfold before them. My unresponsiveness and the sheer sense of helplessness that accompanies it. I completely roll up into a metaphorical ball of guilt and shame. Recalling how often I joked or made lite of my disorder and the challenges that came with them. Know what I put others through makes me want to take it all back.

Now, having a seizure disorder is nothing to joke about. Over the years I woke up many times with  the taste of concrete or soil in my mouth. I had my share of trips to the emergency room and I can remember the crazy hallucinations that often accompanied them. Yet, over time I got to know the warning signs as well as the triggers. I learned enough to consistently question my doctors upon visits and do enough research of my own to learn that the medication/medications they were prescribing and insisted I’d have to take the rest of my life were not curtailing the frequency of my seizures while giving me a pack of side effects to add to my misery. Add to that the horror stories I reading in the medical journals my Father just happened to have lying around. Through quick browsing I learned that the long term affects of the drugs were going to do more damage than good.

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Upon informing my family and doctors I would be ending the endless cycle of medication and doctors visits. I was met with closed minds, disbelief and a couple of dozen cases of “But, James.” Still, I went forward with my plans to take a more holistic approach. Seizures followed, but for once, I was taking responsibility for what was happening to me. I made changes to my diet and every day habits and before you knew it. I went from having up to three seizures a day to going years without them. No more Epilepsy Society, no more medication, no more visits to the doctor or even worse, the ER.

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I’d feel remiss and somewhat irresponsible for not adding that my decisions and choices were mine and mine alone. Everyone’s case is different and no one in their right mind should refuse treatment. My story and road to recovery is mine alone. As painful as it might have been for me. I feel as if seeing something so jarring from a different viewpoint was an education, of sorts. I think it’s somewhat universal that seeing or experiencing both sides of the coin gives you better insight into the situation. I know it did for me.

 

 

Change

In moving to Seattle, Washington from Jersey City, New Jersey. I had some fear that much of the toxicity that had become a part of my daily life for so long would follow me out west and cast a negative cloud on whatever changes I was hoping to undergo. Despite a rather grim diagnosis just months after arriving in the great northwest. I’ve manged to maintain a decidedly positive outlook. Now,  by no means does change come easy. Everyone is different and their isn’t a one fix fits all remedy out there that I’ve seen or heard of.

H-Bomb-1Since being diagnosed with a chronic illness. I went through a number of emotions that included depression, anger and self blame.. Throughout, my one constant has been trying to define what truly makes me happy while sustaining a balance that can nourish and fulfill my soul. The more I’ve searched. The more I come to realize how much the little things play a major part. When listing my favorite things, music, photography and maintaining a level or creativity on a daily basis are the first things that come to mind. However, the more I search the more I’ve come to understand how much joy comes from sharing or preparing a meal with my wife, traveling and sending silly texts to my younger brother.

As we get older our priorities change as often do the things that attract our interest and show up on our shelves. The solitude and alone time I often seek and have learned to enjoy, only improve my ability to socialize. Training myself to limit the people I let into my life and not getting caught up with too much bullshit has helped tremendously in cutting down on stress, anxiety and many of the ingredients of my once toxic personality and lifestyle. While my posts do get there share of likes these days. I would love to see some of your strategies, techniques and practices for dealing with stressful situations and day to day anxiety.

Non Touristy Destinations.

We started out on our three hour journey to Leavenworth with the idea of revisiting the town and stopping for some bratwurst before exploring the surrounding areas. After a stop for breakfast at Snoqualmie’s Commonwealth restaurant for some tasty beef brisket. We made our way to our destination in Leavenworth.  If you’d ever had a chance to visit the area, You would have immediately noticed the Disney like themed Bavarian setting. The town itself is a vacuum for tourists. Everything from the architectural facades to the shops and restaurants are focused on attracting tourists and their readily disposable income. Not to say that’s a bad thing, but it is definitely not something I look for when traveling. After indulging in some bratwurst at a packed outdoor spot. We hightailed it out of there and began our picturesque drive home.

On the way, we drove through some nearby towns that featured the character and warmth we always look for when traveling. Cle Elum was just one of the towns we travlled through and stopped in. I manged to take a few pictures before the sun disappeared into the night. The Chai Tea I enjoyed at Pioneer Roasting Company was enough to guarantee a return to the area. While I won’t go as far as to put a negative spin on tourism, tourists or tourist attractions. From my own experience, I always suggest exploring the areas outside of the designated areas of your trip. If you wish to learn about the area, it’s people and their unique personalities. Doing so will almost always reward you. As for Leavenworth. I’ll be cooking my own bratwurst from now on.

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Red Arrow Drive In
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Viewing the sunset over Sunset Cafe
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Enjoying my Chai tea and the dusk from the inside of Pioneer Roasting Company.

Posing a Question

olympia roasting co.-1Truth be told, if it weren’t for the constant call of family back east. I might just stay in Washington state a bit longer. Having lived in New York and New Jersey my entire life. I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to move to and live out west. And while it’s long ago been decided that we’ll soon return to either New York or New Jersey. I can’t help but wonder, what if?

Though my wife has reiterated that we, indeed, will return to that area. She, perhaps unknowingly, sends me mixed singles when I catch her looking online at lofts and condos in Portland. OR. It’s something I’ve become used to and I fully realize that she is either playfully curious or just doing it to break my balls. Maybe that’s why I’ve learned to take it all in stride and play along. Maybe that’s why I didn’t even blink an eye when leaving Olympia today and I was asked the question, “If we decided to stay in Washington and the choice

came down to living in Tacoma or Olympia. Which would you choose?” Before responding, I took a few seconds to think, choose and properly explain my choice. As a husband, you get used to being asked questions all day. So being able to quickly answer one and have enough facts and data to back it up might make you seem a lot smarter. Though delaying your answer can help give you breathing room and slightly delay the next life shattering inquiry. Which in my case usually has something to do with my hatred of Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi or Aerosmith.

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Parting Shots

Any trip to Olympia means stopping at Old School Pizza for a sit down, slice or three and a celebration of wall to wall 80’s culture. Whether I’m hungry or not. There’s always room enough for pizza, a fountain soda and a few quarters for Pac-Man. And while I usually leave my camera packed away in the trunk of the car. I sometimes bring my phone with me in case I want to capture a moment. Today was the “in case” as I pulled out my iPhone to take a few shots of both the interior and the totally awesome Marvel Comics mural in the adjacent parking lot.

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Tattoos and dirty napkins
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“Be sure to write something before returning to your pizza.
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Despite not collecting comics since the fourth grade. I could name everyone pictured in this mural along with their super powers.
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I was happy to see that Moon Knight made the cut.