When my wife asked if I’d go sweater shopping with her, I immediately agreed. Knowing how much time she invests in trying to make sure I’m happy, it seemed as if my wish that she finally do something rewarding for herself had finally arrived. Having become used to accompanying her to a mall or outlet, I was a bit puzzled when she got off the highway and began navigating her way down a winding, dirt road. Was this a well crafted surprise or perhaps a pit stop where jugs of apple cider and sugar coated donuts await. Judging from the barking dogs and strange looking beasts that flanked us on both sides, probably not. It was then when my wife pointed to a small hut and said “That’s where I’m going to look for a sweater.” Being that I already own four sweaters and try to limit my shopping to bacon and records. I took a moment to enjoy the farm and meet its inhabitants. Enclosed within a wide open field were twenty or more Alpaca spread out over what looked like a pretty big field. Like many of the farm animals I’ve come across while traveling, Alpacas are pretty chill and seem more curious than bothered by visitors. Within a few moments, a number of them gravitated towards me, perhaps to say hello, or more likely to see if I had brought presents. Then, just as I began to move closer to the fence, the one pictured below came around the corner like a boss. I don’t know how she got out, but the man who ran the farm told me she was quite the escape artist.
I’ve been tuning in to the History channel’s TV show ‘American Pickers’ a lot these days. And while many of the characters and destinations featured on the show could easily find their way to an episode of ‘Hoarders’. Digging through a families history as opposed to unearthing years of unattended cat feces somehow appeals to me.
As a kid growing up in the shadows of Shea stadium, the junk yards guarded by attack dogs and pop up automotive repair and parts shacks just a few feet beyond, I became enamored with old trucks, their histories and the miles they accumulated while making their rounds. You see, everyone and everything has a history as well as a unique story to tell. For myself, I’ve always felt a responsibility to document and whenever possible preserve it. Knowing full well, that nothing is permanent.
Every month, my wife’s company chooses someone to be on stand by, just in case something goes wrong, or someone needs help with something. While the assignment doesn’t require the person to show and sit alone in the office waiting for the next big meltdown. It does ask that the appointed worker have internet access if called on. When she got the job this weaken, the strong possibility of rain made it feel as if we weren’t going to miss that much. We agreed to stay somewhat local while making a stop at the downtown Seattle library. After a stop in Rat City for breakfast at Biscuit Bitch (Our first time in over two years and our first in Rat City.)
we headed to the 4th Avenue library in Downtown Seattle. Though I’ve been to the beautiful glass landmark numerous times before. I’ve never really explored much of it’s spacious and beautiful decor. After a trip to the top floor where you can get maximum returns of the 3D view of the city and bay, we headed down to the 8th floor where I spent a couple of hours digging through CD’s. For the first time in a long time. I actually felt like a photo journalist. I couldn’t help but want to go back alone and just explore.
When my wife and me first moved to Seattle, I recall an exchange where my wife lamented, “I think we’re going to run out of things to do pretty quickly, here.” Though I thought of things quite differently at the time, I accepted her lament while seeing it as a challenge to find new adventures while exploring the limitless places and things I had never experienced having lived my entire life in one corner of the east cost.
Little did either of us know just what kind of adventure exploring new towns, cities and locations would be. Within time, we found new restaurants and coffee shops where we’d spend enddless amounts of time filling our stomachs and fueling our passions.We found an apartment we loved and visited Portland and Vancouver, BC for the first time. On the days or weekends we decide to saty somewhat local, we are never far from one new adventure or another. Yesterday was a good example of such when following an excellent breakfast at Redwing Cafe and some random clothing shopping. We found ourselves in the somewhat familiar territory of Rat City. (Don’t judge the town by it’s cover.) After some really good ice cream and a few healthy rounds of Gallaga at Full Tilt Ice Cream, we went next door to Pho An’s tasty Vietnamese joint to pick up what would be our dinner. In the end, it doesn’t matter how far you travel. Adventure is what you make it. What matters most is who you do it with and what you make of your time together.
I love goats. Goat milk, goat farms, goat petting, goat yoga, goat sanctuaries, goat rescues. I just can’t help but feel happy when I’m in the presence of goats. When I lived in Jersey City, there was a landmark cemetery that employed goats to maintain the landscape there. I used to visit to feed the goats on a fairly regular basis. It was a stress reliever that had a very calming effect. So, when my wife insisted on going out for gelato instead of ice cream, I have to admit to being a bit irritated. That is, until I saw a sign that not only made me smile, but helped open my mind to something different. Goats or not, that was some damn good gelato. And while I don’t see myself giving up on my ice cream scoop or embarking on more ice cream driven road trips. I’ll definitely keep an open mind when asked about returning to Seattle’s Fainting Goat.
Since making my appointment with Rochester, Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic close to a month ago, I’ve caught myself referring to the weekend of 07/27 – 07/28 as “my last weekend.” Though not intended to be morbid or prophetic of any kind, I somehow equate this long awaited trip to be somewhat of an ending or beginning of some sorts. These next few days will mark what I see as the final chapter of my search for answers. After several years of my troubling symptoms being written off by my asshole doctor as post brain tumor, post stroke symptoms. I finally sought treatment outside his umbrella of short sighted ignorance which eventually rewarded me with the knowledge that I had another brain tumor and later finding out that I had a rare, virtually unknown neurological disorder known as Fahrs. One that had no cure or known treatment.
While I do expect this coming week in Rochester to be helpful. My expectations regarding any breakthrough information are almost non existent. Instead, I’m hoping for a sense of closure, as in ways to adjust my lifestyle while moving forward. instead of looking back in anger, asking why. I hope to live in the present, moving and thinking forward. Adjusting to and facing any challenges this disorder might throw my way and tackle the head on. In the end, what’s life without living?
I love Tacoma and while a long commute will probably doom any plans to settle there, I look forward to our many weekend trips there. With two years living in the great northwest tucked in our back pocket and more trips to Tacoma to count. It’s easy to appreciate the area’s laid back vibe and somewhat close proximity to our home. The problem, if you can call it one, with visiting any particular area is that you often find yourself visiting the same spots and doing the same things. And while repetition can often bring one temporary comfort, it can also produce torturous results. (Ever see the movie Groundhog Day? And while we did manage to include a couple of regular stops including High Voltage Records and Bluebeard Coffee, it was our breakfast at Marcia’s Silver Spoon Cafe and its industrial surroundings that really had us foaming at the mouth.
It goes without saying, that, as much as visiting those old comfortable might have it’s perks, the practice itself gets old rather quickly. So, instead of visiting the same places over and over again, try turning your chosen navigation app. off and let you natural sense of curiosity take over. Getting lost is often the best wsy to find yourself an adventure to remember. It can also net you a few more favorite places to go to.