Petra: the hidden heart of Nabatea—a 2,300-year-old empire, a crossroad of antiquity, of fabulous monuments, of palaces and grand avenues chiseled into a sandstone canyon far above the Rift Valley of Jordan. Towers. Columns. Stairs. Altars. Pediments. Aqueducts. Palaces. Petra is a city scooped from living rock. Its architecture rivals the majesty of Rome, the clean beauty of classical Greece—just two of the many empires with whom it traded. The Nabateans were once nomads, proto-Arabs. For centuries they monopolized the incense trade. Their gods are depicted as cubes, as pure geometry, as triangles, as abstract squares. (Al Qaum, the warrior god, a night deity who protected the caravans, was a guardian of all sleepers, whose wandering souls took the form of stars.) They held wine-soaked feasts for their dead. In Mada’in Salih, Saudi Arabia, they carved gigantic tombs from bergs of rock that stand like colossal Fabergé eggs in the barren deserts. Awesome. Imposing. Monuments to raw power. To monomania.
BC Milestone (2017). “the courts have been increasingly firm that the Crown in B.C. does not have clear title to the land and its resources…In the rush to establish the colony of British Columbia, governor James Douglas skipped over the stage of negotiating treaties. In 1859, he issued a proclamation that declared all the lands and resources in British Columbia belong to the Crown. At that time, the colony had about 1,000 Europeans and an estimated 30,000 Indigenous people.”
Why some people become life-long readers. Not an introvert, didn’t see parents read, didn’t have books at home growing up…somehow (my birth mother was an avid reader), I am the exception and just like them.
The myth of soulmates. “while I hate the idea of marriage as “hard work,” long-term relationships are borne out of deliberate choices, not fate. We choose to stay together, or not; we choose to put the other person’s happiness first, or to lay it aside in favor of our own. We decide to stay faithful or cheat, to be an equal partner or let the other carry the weight.”
The Tukoyuktuk travel brochure. You can now drive there year-round and Instagram shows many people posing with their vehicle in front of the Arctic Ocean sign… but not a lot else going on. I have been obsessed with Tuk for about as long as I can remember and I will get there at some point but it seems like it’s going to take about 100 hours.
Also, the Greenland Hiking Guide and the Arctic Trail Intro because I am also obsessed with hiking the Arctic Circle Trail. 2020 is the year that I will get to the Arctic and it is going to be a dive trip but I feel like these are not far behind.
Also thinking about sneaking a trip in between Mexico / finishing my pre-req classes and Mexico / starting grad school. Current shortlist: Zambia, Norway, New Zealand, Beijing.
Whoosh! The past 2 months have gone by in a blur, as I knew they would. Right in the heels of moving countries and getting unpacked and back into school, I took off for a motorcycle ride on Vancouver Island. It was a lovely event, combining a loop around the southern tip of the island with refugio stops along the way where we had small tasks to complete that would cause us to reflect on where we were (literally and figuratively.
Then some Ravens came up from Seattle to go on a motorcycle ride up to Lillooet and over the Duffy Lake Road loop. Matt was meant to come with but just before we left, Riley got stung by a wasp and her poor jowls swelled up like crazy.
The next weekend we were off to Wales for the wedding of our dear friends, Jules and Dan, which was not made less sudden and exciting by having be planning the trip for over a year. Moving countries is tiring! Weddings are exciting! These are the facts.
We didn’t have a lot of extra time, but Matt and I did some favorite (British Museum, 7 Dials, Shoreditch) and new (National Gallery, Dishoom, Bletchley bar, Shakespeare at the Globe, Tower of London) stuff in London then rented a couple of triumphs to ride out to Wales, passing Tintern Abbey on the way out and Stonehenge on the way back. Unfortunately on our last day in town our airbnb got broken into and our laptops and Matt’s camera were stolen.
Last weekend we had a housewarming party, at which the only photo I took was of our handsome (and delighted) host and now I am back to the books for real, trying to get finished the Psychology pre-req classes that I’ve been taking online so that I can get into the real meat of grad school and a job. I’ve also started flamenco classes in earnest, kicking it off with a bang in conjunction with the Vancouver Flamenco Festival and some workshops with visiting teachers this weekend.
What was beautiful:
Studies in purple and blue, from Vancouver Pride and Hotel Zed in Victoria:
More on drinking culture “high risk’ drinking in women (four or more drinks a day on a weekly basis) rose by 58 percent between 2002 and 2013, and 65 percent in other adults. Among women, alcohol abuse and dependence rose 83.7 percent.” from this study
Reframing – “You can transform anything into gold.”
No country for old moderates – “The middle” is a fairytale for Democrats who want to believe it can save us from Trump, and a lie conservatives need to stop us from fighting for what’s best for Americans. But we don’t have time for fantasies, and the stakes are too high to let Republicans tell us what to talk about and what to fight for.”
What is mental toughness and where can I get some? – “According to Clough’s model, mental toughness is made up of four components that psychologists call the “4Cs:” challenge, control, commitment, and confidence. A mentally tough person interprets challenges as opportunities and believes they can maintain control in their life.”
Largely just unpacking and trying to find places to put things. This house and garage are slightly smaller than our place in Seattle but we also have tenants that live in the suite downstairs so we are Marie Kondo-ing the hell out of our stuff.
Whenever we need a break we take the dogs and head out to explore the neighbourhood – Hastings-Sunrise – in a new direction. It has historically been an Italian neighbourhood and you can’t go a block without passing an urban farm covered completely in tomatoes, grapes, runner beans, huge fig trees, and at least one mature olive tree. We’re walking distance to Rupert park, New Brighton Park (and pool!), and an excellent cafe and coffee roaster. All the delicious restaurants and small grocers on Hastings and Commercial are within reach as well and getting out of the city is so easy. We (dogs included) are so stoked.
We celebrated being moved in by going to see Rebirth Brass Band perform at the folk festival in Jericho Beach Park and it was so great to hang out in the sun with our friends, listening to great music. The night unfortunately ended with me losing my phone, getting a parking ticket and discovering that someone had hit my truck in the parking lot, but our happiness remains unaffected. It is so good to be home.
What was beautiful:
Our new house and our neighbourhood are basically the best but seeing the sun set over the city from the folk fest at Jericho Beach Park – as well as this rad split-window VW bus – was incredible.
What I’m reading and listening to:
Nothing new. The paper books were all packed and I lost my iPhone so no audiobooks either.
Our neighbour is a very accomplished ragtime pianist so we’ve been enjoying hearing him, and it seems our tenant also plays guitar.
Creating intimacy – how to do it and why we need it so badly, but also includes this gem that feels very true:
“Friends are those rare people who ask how we are, and then wait to hear the answer.”― Ed Cunningham”
Hacking your creativity – “particularly creative people have higher levels of alpha activity, the brain waves that are associated with a relaxed and “ready for anything” state of mind. And how can you encourage this alpha activity? Meditation.”
Well first and foremost, we are still in the midst of moving to Canada and while there have been some serious snafus this week, we are getting past the point of no return. MANY papers have been signed, the car has been sold, all of our worldly possessions (excepts animals, plants, paint and some other stuff the movers won’t carry) has been packed onto the truck and we are camping out. We head north in the morning.
Seattle, we will miss – and especially our friends – but we will be back often and hopefully people will come to visit. But I am feeling the sadness of leaving this house. It was the first property that I owned and we were not planning to move so it will always be the place where we got Tyler and went through his bilateral knee surgeries, quarantining him in the bedroom so that he wouldn’t run or jump and carrying him down the stairs to pee. And then the hours I spent recovering from my motorcycle accident and subsequent surgery staring out the window at the pear tree. There were the raised beds I kept putting in (until we ran out of room at 7), and the stone walkway that I did myself, and my plans to level the yard that ended in the discovery of the surprise well.
Also where we built a free library and cooked paella over an open orangewood fire – although that didn’t happen until our going away party last week
But prior to the whirlwind of packing and paperwork, I took a quick trip down the coast with my Triumph, almost to LA. Partly I was killing time until the movers arrived, and staying out of Matt’s way while he cleaned up his garage projects, but it was also a chance to visit the remaining locations in my McMenamins passport and some other points of interest. So down to Portland then hopped through McMinnville, Salem, Corvallis, Eugene, Roseburg to arrive in Grant’s Pass.
Then through the Redwoods where I passed many trees much larger than my motorcycle – and actually drove through one , down Hwy 101 to the sea glass beach, past otters and sea lions and an elephant seal rookery, through all the twisties to the top of Bolinas Ridge, then down over the Golden Gate bridge, up and down a crazy San Fran street hill that I shared with a streetcar, through Big Sur to Morro Bay where I spent two hours in a cafe courtyard feeling warm for the first time on the whole trip. I decided I didn’t have enough time to do all the things I wanted to do in LA so saved it for another time and went inland to Bakersfield (almost immediately becoming way too warm). The next day I didn’t want to hang out on I-5 so got up early and barreled 830+ miles north back to Portland and home the next day via the newest and most beautiful McMenamins property in Tacoma.
Normally I do not stop in big cities when I’m on a road trip with limited clothing and makeup but I’ve been wanting to visit the Musee Mechanique in San Francisco since the last time I drove through there (20+ years ago) so rode my motorcycle right onto Fisherman’s Wharf and started exploring. It did not disappoint.
And now that we have some downtime between moving events, I have started planning a dive trip to the Arctic. I was so cold on my moto trip to Cali that I think I’d better get this booked ASAP. The most likely option is this one but if I win the lottery or fall in love with ice diving, this one (hosted by the company that made my drysuit) sounds like a dream.
Plus Airbnb has launched an Adventures page, where you can book whole trips like this amazing one around the world. So now I am updating wish lists and travel plans.
What was beautiful:
So many beautiful things from my trip but the collections that struck out were the vintage neon and ghostwriting (usually in smaller towns), beautiful wildflowers blooming everywhere (plus gorgeous succulents in SoCal), the treasures and art in various McMenamins locations, but mostly I fell in love with what I came for – the trees and the sea – and what I brought with my – my motorcycle.
On adjectives – https://medium.com/@JessicaLexicus/adjectives-you-want-to-hear-about-yourself-f15e1c14e9bd. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately – how other people must see me and it’s interesting because it is such a rare thought these days. At some point, I did really stop caring or at least considering it. Sure, I conform. I get all the subliminal messaging about culture but I don’t often stop to think about how I am perceived. Even when I am looking at photos I am judging myself, instead of seeing a new angle. But I have been thinking that I am not well liked and trying to figure out why that is…how I am categorized. What certainly doesn’t change is that I will continue to try to be a good person and try to be kind, because it is the right thing to do. “Kindness isn’t an investment in a specific person, but the kind of world you want to live in.”
On marriage – “This is what marriage does better than anything else. It forces you to look hard at what you want to be and acknowledge that someone else, someone you love, cannot give it to you. Even after spending 25 years with that person, the only way to get there is to change yourself.”
Reversing the scarcity mindset – “scientists have found that loneliness can induce a scarcity mindset. Being narrowly focused on what we don’t have erodes our capacity to make choices that serve us long-term”
Oooph, it’s been busy! We had a party where we (finally!!) made paella over an open, orange wood fire and it looked, smelled and tasted amazing. More importantly, no one caught on fire and even more importantly, many of our friends came to see us off on our next adventure moving home to Vancouver.
Then I rode with my Rainier Ravens and Dykes Who Ride (aka Dykes on Bikes) in the Seattle Pride Parade. This was an amazingly joyous and beautiful experience but also triumphant because it was my CB400’s re-debut back into the world (in grand style) after we crashed into a truck.
And then to celebrate Canada Day, I went to visit the wolves and their friends at an animal rescue. What an amazing experience.
Seems like a long time ago but Matt and I also went to see El Dorado at the Can Can and laughed our asses off. So funny, and sparkly!
Now I am planning to go on a bit of a road trip to kill some time before the movers come but I’m exhausted and sore and not packed and it’s raining so not a lot of progress has been made there yet.
What was beautiful:
This article about my cousin’s project in the Straight. It’s a couple of years old but really good, especially in context with the musical component.
This story by Flying Edna. “It’s too easy to get caught up in the big death, she said, but it’s the little deaths that kill you.”
Breaking the booze habit “For drinkers who have become alcohol dependent, taking a short break is likely not an option. Many people who drink heavily have not had an easy road in managing their relationship with alcohol.”
“All my drinking was really centered around community and wanting that connection so badly with other people,” he says.
I had a free weekend with nothing on the calendar (tough to come by in these Seattle summer days!) so I hopped on the motorcycle and headed east. Well first south to Portland to collect some McMenamins stamps for my passport, then over to Hells Canyon in Idaho, up Lolo Pass into Montana and then back home, stopping in the town of Wallace (and fell completely in love with its quirkiness), Palouse Falls, and the Ginko Petrified Forest – so many things that I’ve been meaning to visit or that have caught my eye on the way to somewhere else.
Also trying to cram in some dog training so the dogs won’t bark in Vancouver and of course, finish off my online Psychology classes and grad school application.