A lovely yoga student pal of mine puts this on each year and has even donated "free of charge" a booth for my beloved Shanti Uganda Society! There will be some really truly amazing local craft vendors too, so if you are around and in the hood... grab a toonie and go!
Can't believe the holidays are so near. Have fun!
“It is about coming to realize that you are on a path whether you like it or not, namely the path that is your life.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn.
An hour later, I heard the familiar tapping on the glass. Drip drip drop. I groaned. I tried to go back to sleep. By 8 all the rocks in Smith were wet. By 9, the ground under the trees was too. I sat up in the back of my Saturn station wagon and stared. There would be no climbing today. I would sit and stare out the car window all day, wishing it was nice outside, wishing I was climbing, maybe even wishing I had a normal job with a house, a girlfriend, and a real life. Drip drip drop. But that’s only wishing. Right now, I am living out of my car, traveling wherever I want with no responsibilities. I am living the dream. Drip drip drop. There were days when I wish the dream would end.
I should have known I was out of my element when I stopped just north of Shasta. I tried to pump my own gas. The attendant stopped me immediately, assuring me that it was his job to fill my gas tank. “That’s why they pay me the big bucks,” he said as put $38.00 of regular unleaded into the tank. I gave him a look of pure Californian suspicion. Why was the gas cheaper than in Cali? Why was he really filling my tank? Who were these sneaky sneaky Oregonians with their half truths?
“I love this climb. You can just scamper up it,” Darryn said as she lowered down from Wedding Day, a 5.10b arête at the Dihedrals. I crimped through the classic climb, grunting, thrutching and desperately fighting my way to the anchors. I pulled out every trick in the book. I didn’t come close to “scampering.” As I lowered, I looked at the route next to it, a short 5.12a called Flat Earth. “It’s a stroll,” said super local, Ian Caldwell as he sunk a mono and drop knee back stepped through the crux. It’s a local sandbag, I thought to myself.
The climbing in Smith is tuff. Alan Watts, established many of the routes on rappel. Bolting the chossy faces from the top down revolutionized American rock climbing. By climbing on preplaced gear, bolts, the climbing standards rose quickly. “Sport climbing” arrived in the United States. The standards of the 80s were far different than those of today. The bolts are miles apart by today’s standards. It’s not sport climbing in Smith. It’s 80s face climbing. And it’s SCARY.
10 Gallon buckets- a 35 meter 5.10c or a multi-pitch cluster fuck
I can’t crimp. I can’t high step. I get terrified when I’m ½ an inch off the ground and more than ¼ an inch away from a bolt. There were a hundred reasons why the climbing in Smith would be especially hard for me- I took everyone as a reason to go. It’s easy to get better at things you’re already good at but working your weaknesses- that will make you a better climber.
The Full Heinous climbs a steep gently overhanging section of the Dihedrals area at Smith. The route originally had 3 bolts and required widgets to protect. Watts retrobolted the route and placed twice as many bolts! Twice as many! That’s incredible- until you realize how far apart the bolts still are. To stick clip the first bolt, you need to stand on someone’s shoulders with a stick clip.
What's that guy doing? Stick clipping on a route? OMG!Smith Rocks!
I found an extendable pole in the boulders of Camp 4. Duct tape held two brushes to the metal telescoping pole. I ripped the tape off, grabbed some supplies, and with my own duct tape, created a Stick clip. This would surely get me up any route I wanted to try in Smith. That’s what I thought when I showed up.
Ian Yeardin getting out his thermal sensor.
Perfect temps for sending the mega slab To Bolt or Not to Be.
Perhaps it was his half Billy Ray Cyrus, half George Michaels good looks. Maybe it was the stained long underwear he wore under his filthy shorts. “It’s like you said James,” a cloud of dust hung around Portlandianer Alex Baker. “You got to look good to climb good.” The mullet, the dirty costume, the 5 day old beard, and the dirty costume, somehow got Alex a send of Vicious Fish, a difficult 5.13c arête at the Morning Glory Wall. It also got him a girlfriend. Weird. Baker was also on his way to get a job at Black Diamond in Salt Lake City. Oregon is a strange place with strange people. While Baker was an out of the ordinary bone crusher, the weirdest people were the “Super Locals.”
“Im glad I can climb harder so I can climb easier routes,” said Mark Postel, a tall, lanky Smith Rocks climber of over a decade. “A lot of the easier routes aren’t that well bolted and often are quite hard.”
Located directly across from the Smith Rocks campground, the Postel’s humble abode is as close as you can get to Smith Rocks without tripping. The small building Postel called home could barely contain the big man. Postel refuses to admit he’s six foot two inches. “I’m 5’14”. Postel works as a guide in Nepal or Patagonia or Anartica- wherever the yak riding Sherpas with Britney Spears ring tones on their fake iPhones live. He returned from dragging a couple clients to some mountain called ImmaDaBomb to hike all the routes on the front side of Smith Rocks. There’s people out there who are close to living the dream. They own houses and climb at the rocks outside their house. They are super locals, and Postel is one.
Postel service at the Dihedrals
Max shaved chocolate into a mug ¾ full of hot water. By the time he added the bourbon, the hot liquid almost boiled over. He played the new Chromeo album, placing his iPhone into a cup so that the sound was amplified through his home, a Toyota Previa vansion. Max had finally made it.
“When the dashboard battery light comes on, it might not be your battery,” Max called me from Goldendale Washington, a small town somewhere between Leavenworth and Smith. “It could be your alternator. Did you know that your car won’t drive without it?”
Max walked to the library and spent most of the day trying to find something to do while he waited for a new alternator to arrive in Goldendale. That’s called living the dream. After a day’s delay and a few hundred bucks, Max arrived in Smith. He spent most of his five day stint getting flash pumped and then leaving to find some boulders. Did you know that there are a number of boulder problems at Smith? I didn’t. Nor did I care. Max did. And he cared enough to climb them, dragging me out to a surprisingly cool chunk of rock below the campground. Though Max has climbed the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre, climbed El Capitan, established new free routes in Alaska, he is primarily a boulderer at heart. Not only did Max crush some V gnar, but he put on a rope and fought his way up the classic Chain Reaction, falling at the redpoint crux a number of times. On his last day before leaving for a business trip to Japan, Max stuck the dyno at the top of the route. Boom!
Max bouldering at 11pm on the tuff below the Campground Bivy at Smith Rocks
I climbed towards the first bolt. My legs shook for 15 minutes as I stared down the crimps to the first bolt. If I could only make it there, I could be safe. The exposure was overwhelming. Panic. Panic. Panic had set in. I over gripped then when I couldn’t hold on any longer, I fell. I plummeted a solid 12 inches to the ground. It was an enormous fall. I thought I was sport climbing. I tried to clip the first bolt but my stick wouldn’t reach. The bolt was too high for my stick clip. I didn’t need a stick clip- I needed a rope gun. Thank God Kate was around.
Kate Rutherford climbs good cause she looks good. Kate advises you to wear pastel puff jackets for winter 2012.
Kate Rutherford is quiet. I met her like 7 or 8 years ago in Indian Creek. She was atypically clean for Indian Creek. I didn’t know it then, but now I do. It wasn’t abnormal. Kate always manages to look put together. It’s impressive. I’m not sure how she pulls it off but she does. It probably comes from her well put together life. Kate works as a part time jeweler, part time Patagonia Ambassador, and full time bone crusher. She lives most of the year with her boyfriend, Mikey Schaefer, inside a black Sprinter, a regular McVansion. She’s living the dream. While at Smith, she totally took advantage of the look good climb good phenomenon. She hiked The Full Heinous, Darkness at Noon, Doritos, and a ton of other “moderate” 5.12 “warm-ups.” She wasn’t the only one hiking at the sport crag.
“Someone’s on the proj Kate,” from the Morning Glory Wall, I watched a pink shirt dance up the runout climbing of the Full Heinous, a 5.12cR route at the Dihedrals. When I walked over, I saw a bespectacled man and a couple of young kids. The dad seemed intent on toproping the Full Heinous all day. I groaned, wondering who had put the rope up for this dad. I looked around. Kid, kid, fat parent, kid. It wasn’t making sense. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a pink shirt bursting from beneath a skinny 12 year olds oversized down jacket.
I stared at him. A few minutes of conversation revealed the culprit. Drew Ruana onsighted Kate and I’s project as a warm up. My ego was the Hindenberg. Crashing. Burning. No Survivors.
“Tell that kid of yours to stop flashing my projects,” I said to his dad, hoping to salvage some of my destroyed dignity.
“He's been doing that to me since he was 9...” said Rudy, a bridge architect in Seattle who was well aware of the reality of having a young crusher around. “I took away his playstation, just to be a dick!”
This 12 year old Seattlelite will crush your proj and act like a gangster.
I tried to ignore my defeated attitude and went up the route. One move before
a bolt, high on the wall, I fell, whipping well past the first set of chains. Yup. Smith is scary. Yup. Little kids send your projects. Yup. Living the dreams means living with a constantly broken ego.
This summer I spent a month in Rifle, which was a fun place. The limestone there is ok. There’s a large concentration of good or okay routes, which makes the 2 mile canyon pretty good as a sport climbing destination. A few years ago, I went to the Red River Gorge for 23 days in November. The climbing was fun but robotic. I don’t remember any different routes there. There was a lot of sandstone, the south east culture is super fun, but that place- meh. Red Rocks, Mesquite, Sonora, Rumney, little crags like Little Si, Chekamus, Trinity Aretes…meh. Smith may be the best sport climbing in the United States. The style of climbing there, vertical, crimpy rock, isn’t in vogue though and even the locals don’t take advantage of the offensively large amount of basalt in the gorge.
An Upper Gorge classic Wardance- 5.12a. My ass hurt the next day from stemming so much.
“Chicken pot pie- my three favorite things.” Greg Garretson. I met Greg in the Red a few years ago. The brief encounter ended up turning into a lucrative opportunity when Garretson hooked me up with an amazing job.
The production poster for the upcoming movie. I get credit on it!
The movie closed the entire Morning Glory crag, 5 Gallon Buckets, and many of the best climbs on the front side of Smith Rocks. Disney productions hired Mario Lopez and Flipper’s grandson son, a dolphin named Flopper, to star in River Dolphin, the story of a retarded football player and his redemption with a smart alec river Dolphin. The movie gave me an opportunity to cash in on some costume designs. Mario Lopez got a nice Ducks shirt with a fake string of saliva on it. Boy, Lopez looked better than when he did the Slater Dance.
I put glitter around Flopper’s blow hole. That’s right. Lots and lots of glitter.
Disney will be releasing the movie later this spring. I’m looking forward to its arrival. Maybe I’ll get more costume designing jobs out of the production. That’d be sweet!
Five or maybe six years ago, Drew “The Iceman” Rollins set a toprope on Dreamin for me. The crux of the route is low and well protected but the run out 80 degree wall above keeps away the crowds. I tried for a minute to stick clip the first bolt. Then I tried the initial moves. Then I figured out how to clip the bolt. With a few weeks of tuff under my feet, I monoed and grab the pockets just right, surmounting the roof and heading up the long section technical section. I tried not to be scared but I was. The park was quiet. I felt alone between the bolts. It was a Wednesday or Friday or maybe even a Monday afternoon. I don’t know. I was just focusing on the rock climbing. I was living the dream.
My fingers numbed out below the roof. I fought through the stemming in the middle to the redpoint crux at the pen ultimate bolt. High on the red wall of Kings Of Rap, I crimped a hold and locked off to grab a small pocket. I couldn’t feel anything and fell.
My next try, I wore a buff, another shirt, I put hand warmers in my chalk bag, I ran to the bathroom and back to warm up, and I sprinted through the intial difficulties, ignoring the pump and fighting the biting cold. I was successful.
Even the deer look cold.
That night, it snowed three inches. Snow covered the car. I woke up two, three, maybe four times during the night because the cold froze my nose and lips, the parts of my body not buried into my sleeping bag. The sun rose eventually. The snow stayed. It was time for me to leave.
A few hours after I left
I began driving slowly, very slowly down the 97 south towards warmer and better weather. A semi, a chevy van, a pick-up, were all on the side of the road. I focused on the ice and keeping the Saturn on the road. Kate sent me a message that the crags were sunny by the afternoon. I wondered why I left. I wondered if I should just turn around. I wondered mostly what part of living the dream this was.
If you come to my classes you know about fascia (and likely have rolled a tennis ball under your foot etc).
Amy Purdy has been through hardships that most of us will never face -- or can even fathom. But what makes her story so incredible is not that fact that she lived a "normal" childhood and spent her high school years as a passionate artist and snowboarder, then traumatically lost both her legs at age 19, but how she has persevered, taking implausible challenges and rising above them.
“All mothers and newborns should receive a visit from a public health nurse, if they want or need one."
These visits are a godsend to new moms when they are at their most vulnerable. They help detect post-partum depression, jaundice, breast feeding issues and much more. These problems ...cut across socio-economic lines. Funding for this decades old program should not be cut!
On Friday November 25 at 11:30am, Parents for BC Babies will gather outside Premier Christy Clark's Vancouver office at 3615 W. 4th Ave to protest her government's decision to cut public health nurse visits to women who have just given birth.
Hope to see you there! Bring your stories of why/how much a nurses home visit mattered to you and your newborn and new family.
Here is the BC Nurses Union petition for you to share and sign.
Free Postnatal massage- A small group of BC registered massage therapists who study under Paula Jaspar (also an RMT and mentor), will be studying/ practicing massage therapy care of women “after birthing by C-section” Sunday Nov 20th from 2-3pm if you are interested. Must be 6 weeks post-partum.
Baby is welcome to come too of course! Each mother will receive treatment by one massage therapist for one hour, free of cost. (Under the guidance of Paula Jaspar).
For more info or contact regarding this : Marie Arcand, RMT at 604 732 7272
P.S. You will love Marie! She is a fellow gardener from my community garden and a wonderful RMT!
With these uncertain times and all that is going on we must remember all the pure goodness around us.
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you.
I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.
100 minimals & abstracts
A selection of 100 minimal and abstract photography sequences that have previously been shown on my blog: 'aesthetic investigations'
This poster is constructed using a thumbnail from each of these individual curations.
Includes works from: alec cheer, leonie polah, brancolina, rita vita finzi, krystina stimakovits, james withey, françoise lucas, phédia mazuc, dibujos de molina, lucie bourassa, lillykeeper, visualisarium, annemie hiele, john kosmopoulos, peter moons and wilma eras.
You've been a big brother for almost 7 weeks now. What an awesome time it has been (especially when Daddy was home). We've tried really hard to make you feel special, and so have all of our family and friends with their little presents to you.
You were so lucky to have met Nora just a few minutes after she was born. What a special moment for mommy! You are so gentle when you hold her, and you love to give her hugs and kisses (even if you do smother her once in a while).
You are Mommy's little helper! You get me supplies when I'm tied up, and it's even good practice for you with following multi-step directions. "Please get me her blanket and the pink burp cloth in the basket." Once a therapy mommy, always a therapy mommy.
Nora is a more challenging baby than you were in some ways. She's not as content as you were, but my days with her are much more carefree than my early days with you were. My biggest concern with her is when she's going to want to eat next or whether she's going to keep me up all night, as opposed to whether you could hear or would need open heart surgery. As a result, I'm more willing to share her with others this time around. With you... not so much.
On the day she was born, she had her hearing tested... right in the room with Mommy. It was extremely emotional, and I cried the whole time. The nurses in the hospital still need some sensitivity training and education. Even with knowledge of your history, they still told me not to worry about it, and if she didn't pass, it was probably just fluid in her ears. We're the wrong family to tell that to! Here is the screen that we saw:
She passed her hearing screening in both ears. She can hear. The results really evoked mixed emotions for me. Although we are elated that Nora will not have to endure what you did (the tests, surgeries, therapies, etc) or go through the life long struggles of living with a hearing loss, somehow rejoicing too much in the results was also the same as saying that you are not perfect just the way you are, and that we somehow love you less. Needless to say, we have not shouted her hearing results from the rooftops with joy, but rather whispered them with some sense of relief and ease. It's very personal. I think only some of my fellow hearing loss mommies might understand.
I worry about the day when you start to ask me why Nora doesn't have ears like you. For now, you don't seem to be particularly concerned about it. ever. We have yet to have any of those difficult conversations. Sometimes I try to initiate them, and you just move on. You know what your ears are called, and that you need them to hear, and that's about it. Although you ask "why" about 1,000 times a day, that has yet to be one of your questions. The word "deaf" has yet to come up either. Maybe I'm as bad as the audiologists we worked with in the very beginning, but I'm just so hesitant to teach you to label yourself already. You are still only 3. But not for long!
I'm enjoying my time at home with you and Nora IMMENSELY. You did ask me the other day if I was going to work so Oma could wake you up in the morning. Nope... not for 9 more months. Yippee!
I can't wait to watch you grow up with Nora. We can only hope and pray that she is as sweet, witty and feisty as you are. You will teach her much about the world around her. It's scary to think that by the time Nora is your current age, you'll be almost 8. I hope that day doesn't come too soon.
I love you with all of my heart,