We flew out of San Juan, had a layover in DC, spent a few nights at a couchsurf in Oakland, and are now in Eureka at a couchsurf looking for an apartment and a job for Casper. That is all for now.
Category Archives: Uncategorized
The process of getting Casper’s passport has yet to be completed but my toes are itching for foreign soil so we’ve made a decision: Puerto Rico!
We are flying out of Minneapolis the first week or two of February – no passport required. From there, our plans are similar to those we had for Vera Cruz: apartment, projects, fresh food. Plus: history, churches, beaches. I can’t believe we are going to be in the Caribbean in less than a month! It’ll be a first for both of us.
It is literally 7 degrees below zero here in Wisconsin right now so Puerto Rico sounds even more inviting. Saul, a good friend of my sister’s, has been visiting from Texas for the past month. He is taking a break from his Master’s program to travel – he’s been here for a month and will leave for a month in Denmark on Wednesday!
Jess is the only one who has a lot going on in her daily life so me, Casper and Saul have been enjoying lots of laid back time combined with busy running around here and there as we accompany her on her life. The four of us plus Jess’ big dog Oso ride around in her little Toyota Corolla quite a bit; it’s crowded/cozy and always feels a little comical.
Jess and I grew up with the phrase “herd of turtles” to describe a group of people shuffling along in a determined but silly way (my grandpa used to say it when my mom was a kid). With four of us eating, playing, living together, we are often a herd of turtles. We stop at the library and all get out. A few minutes later, Jess is making the rounds through the aisles gathering us up again because it is time to go. Then to the grocery store where we do the same. We have a dumpster we frequent and it is similar there: Jess and Saul (and Oso if he is with us) stay in the car while Casper and I walk quickly to the dumpster, extract our goods, and hurry back to the car where the trunk has been popped. We slam the trunk shut, stuff ourselves into the backseat, and off we go like a herd of turtles.
It has been wonderful. For all of us, though each in different ways. Jess is already sad
about the time a month from now when it will just be her and Oso again.
Other exciting news includes the fact that my wisdom teeth are not impacted! Casper and I were planning to dart out on a plane to Seattle before heading to the Caribbean because I have dental insurance within Washington state and my wisdom teeth have been making themselves known. But no need! I found a very affordable dentist here in Wisconsin who did a quick exam and panoramic x-ray to determine that my wisdom teeth are not in fact impacted. He still recommended getting them out as they can easily get cavities and swollen (thus the previous pain I’d been having), but I’m in favor of keeping my body intact when possible.
We are in Wisconsin. We arrived 7am Saturday morning in Minneapolis, went to a party where the majority of my now-grown-up childhood friends were at, and when we tried to leave with Jess and her dog but the roads were too dangerous. A typical midwest welcome!
I find the snow heart-wrenchingly beautiful, especially in the valley Jess and I grew up in. It is chock full of memories for me and the landscape feels like home. Every season is beautiful! Casper and I were here in June 2011, I was here this spring and now we are here for the winter:
Pictures pictures pictures! And I’ve been journaling a ton so my blog writing is suffering. However, that means more photos for you!
Just spent three days outside of the OCF meeting other travelers, soaking up the woods and summer, sleeping near a rarely used train tressle (note “rarely”), hitch hiking about. 101 wasn’t treating us well so we went to the Fair.
Traveling by thumb. Headed for Cali. Email and phone text is the best way to reach me ’cause Facebook won’t load on my laptop. Blesings!
On June 7th or 8th, I was going through bookmarks (I am a hoarder of digital reminders) and that led me to her website. While looking around to see if she was still in France or what, I saw she was going to be in Eugene on the 10th!
So we went on our second day back in Eugene. It was free because we stood outside the fest (Out/Loud). So many beautiful queer people! Luckily I had a freshly shaved faux hawk.
In fact, I made a game of the haircut, counting 15 other faux/mohawks on fest goers during the hour or so we were there. This was helped along by a hair salon booth advertising “FREE DYKE HAIRCUTS”.
And Tender Forever was gorgeous, too, and had a French accent and never never never stops moving on the stage.
I’ve come through Eugene maybe a dozen times in my life but never really explored it. Casper spent most of his life here – about 26 years – so this is hometown stomping ground for him. I am falling in love with the atmosphere in this town. We are having such a wonderful time – much of it due to Casper knowing a ton of people here from the old days.
We’re staying at this busy crazy house near downtown but tonight we’re driving outside of town a bit and staying at this empty house a friend has. Last night I went through all our photos from the past six months and finally organized them. Amazing photo posts coming soon! For now…
Casper picked me up at the Portland train station on May 4 and we promptly headed to Eugene. There, we stayed with a friend of Casper’s and his wife and roommates. They took Salem for us! This means our beloved feline has a warm, cozy bed to sleep on all day and doesn’t have to endure another summer on the road. In cat years, he is in his 90s. It was well past time for his retirement.
Eugene was: gorgeous weather; being hobos again; sorting and packing the car; a stroll through a peaceful pioneer graveyard; exploring empty U of O classrooms; seeing lots of sights from Casper’s childhood; lots of sleep for me; getting to meet/reconnect with one of Casper’s old friends; a wonderful event (speaker, Q&A, comedian, meal) put on by the U of O Islamic student club.
After three nights there, we’re back in Portland. And we freakin’ love Portland. As we do outdoor yoga, have picnics, read novels to ourselves and poetry and newspapers outloud, shop at New Seasons and Fred Meyer, see tons of gorgeous funky people I keep saying to Casper, “So how much do you love Portland.” “So much,” he says. “So much.”
I have been working hard on launching my art website, Ignorant Art. It’s the first time I’ve ever put my art up for sale. Nothing there is over $5 and postage is included. Help me spread my beauty/creativity/insights with the world!
What we’re working on:
- drinking plenty of water
- posting more artwork to Ignorant Art
- visiting Portland friends, new and old
- inventing and utilizing new and strange ways of communicating with each other
- organizing photos from the past year and a half
- posting those photos to this blog
- living in the moment
Our winter hiatus from travel is nearly over and we are just about ready to start this blog up again. We’ve spent the colder months burrowed in a small, cozy room on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound. A 20 minute ferry ride from West Seattle, we’ve spent most of the past six months on the island and inside our house.
I believe we last left off as we were leaving Bozeman, Montana. Of course, that was over at a different URL so those posts aren’t on this blog. However, we’re sticking to this blog now. I think. I guess. We’ll see.
We had a lovely time in Bozeman last fall and then took our time driving to Spokane. We spent a lovely day on a secluded mountain trail somewhere really high up in Montana or Idaho. Absolutely gorgeous.
That was August or September 2011. We spent a month in Walla Walla, Washington, living in my parents’ basement. They have two puppies who we are absolutely in love with. My paternal grandma had a stroke and died while we were there. My sister flew up from Texas to attend the funeral so my whole family (plus Casper) were in the same house for a few days there!
We left in October planning to travel the West Coast down to Eugene at least. We spent a week or two visiting my dear friend Sean in Chehalis, bopped down to Portland for a day to pick up a friend who was looking for a ride to Seattle, and then headed for Vashon Island.
Our plan was to spend a few days on Vashon visiting some of my old friends from when I was 14 and 15. We spent a week in our car near a lovely Seattle library doing writing work so we could afford the ferry ride to the Island.
Once on the Island, it was about a week before we decided to take the room they had available. It measures something like 14’x10′ and has lots of storage-like shelves up high. The walls were kind of beat up so we painted them boldly with quotes and art and the like during our stay. It very quickly became a cozy little home for us. We called it the Bunkernest.
Our roommates started out being Ben and Cosmo, folks I know from when I was younger. It’s a four bedroom house. A guy named Matt joined us November 1. Kyle kept sleeping on our couch while walking from town to a house south of us so in January he decided to move in. He sectioned off half of the living room with beautiful tapestries and I’m not actually sure what he was sleeping on for a bed back there… Brian, a friend of Kyle’s, started sleeping on our couches regularly sometime in March, I think. An older couple, Heather and Thom, took Matt’s room when he left in February.
As of April, the four bedroom house was home to seven housemates, one couch friend, three cats and over a dozen computers.
Right Now: Octavia
For the first time in a year and half, Casper and I are apart for more than a week! I’m in Wisconsin with my sister and he is back on Vashon.
My sister became known to the Vashon household because she stayed with us for a week after getting knee surgery and then at other points as she was flying to and from Texas. On the last visit, she was thinking she would need a second round of surgery so I offered to drive to Wisconsin with her to take care of her post-op.
We spent a few days with our parents in Walla Walla, picked up her dog Oso who was staying there, and then up to Spokane to visit our brother. The car, a rickety little thing named Antonia who has been through some stuff, was packed to the gills. I had a backpack and a bag and the rest was Jess’ worldly possessions and dog.
One of those possessions was a yurt she built. We set it up the first night on the road at some BLM land outside of Billings. It was easy to set up but bloody cold. We ended up in the same sleeping bag and full of giggles at 2am as we froze our asses off.
We hit the road at daybreak and managed to get all the way to the Twin Cities. It was, like, a 12 hour driving day. Jess did most of it; she’s a rockstar. We spent the night at an apartment in Minneapolis where some of our childhood friends live, though we didn’t actually see them at all because we got in after midnight and then slept in late.
In the past week, we’ve been housesitting outside of Menomonie, Wisconsin, for some old friends (actually the parents of the people with the apartment mentioned above!). It turns out Jess just needs a lot more physical therapy and not surgery so we’ve just been enjoying ourselves! This has included eating delicious gluten-free things that Jess makes, setting up her yurt in the valley where we grew up, yoga and tea on the front porch, talking about how cute her dog is, andmore. We’ve also been working a bunch on her midwifery business stuff – business cards, advertising, medical forms, licensing, tools of the trade, etc.
Right Now: Casper
I am leaving Wisconsin on May 2. Casper has been a rockstar, judging from afar, about getting our car ready for the road, our belongings packed and the bedroom walls painted. I am taking Amtrak out west and will meet him at the Portland train station on the 4th!
The plan now is to do the West Coast. Anyone who has been told of our “plans” before, though, know how much these things can change! We go as the wind blows us, seeking bliss and adventure.
In our future: Portland, Salem, Eugene. We want to spend time on the coast, in ghost towns, on friends’ couches, and deep in BLM land. We’re excited to be back to moving again. Those four walls on Vashon were a comfort but by March were starting to feel like chains. We want to be away from people for awhile, not living in community and living instead by our daily whims.
And this fall? Europe. One way ticket, friends. I am so excited my feet have trouble staying in the socks they aren’t wearing! So far, I know how to say “yes” and “no” in Icelandic and am feeling really good about my future plans!
Hello! It’s been awhile! At the moment, we’re in Madison. Casper is singing “brave Sir Robin” as he goes out to the car to get us some breakfast. I’m lying on a bed, which is a big deal because it’s been awhile since we had a bed. We’re in this fantastic house run by a woman and her two kids, 2 and 12. It’s part of a co-housing co-op (there are so many here in Madison!) that takes up nearly the entire city block!
I’m in love with Madison. Chicago was cool, Milwaukee was ok, but I love Madison. Casper’s favorite is still Chicago. And we both miss Portland.
Where did I leave off? Ah, yes – leaving Chicago. That was, at this point, over a week ago so I’ll have to do a bunch of posts to catch up. And we’re not doing this chronologically and because that hurts our heads a little bit, we’ve created a page of our posts, listed chronologically.
The last day at Abby’s, she had to work all day. It was a Saturday; we drove to Grayslake for a Craigslist gig. This man, of slight creepiness, shaved my head on high quality video equipment and then paid us $200. I could go into details, but really that is all there is to be told. He was born in Israel and Jewish; his wife had been a stewardess and therefore never allowed to shave her head though she’d always wanted to. So, for the past 14 years, they’ve been paying folks to have their heads shaved on camera. Apparently they sell them at hair tradeshows? Here’s a video of us driving home.
And that, folks, is the first and last video you’ll see in quite awhile. Within the next few days, I was running from a Lake Michigan wave and our camera fell into the lake. We stored it in rice for a week, but no luck.
After the head shaving, we drove back to Chicago, went to our favorite Whole Foods in the whole freaking world (seriously) and then went to Abby’s to pack up. We watched some TV, packed up and Casper made an absolutely stunning steak dinner, with asparagus, mashed potatoes, and bell pepper onion stir fry. We were dreading the exhausting move to a new place, but that steak was like crack and by the time Abby came home, we were loading our last few things in the car.
More posts, soon, I promise!
We drove home from Nashville Friday evening after a lovely morning with Adrienne.
It was a rainy morning. Casper woke up early and went to Nashville farmer’s market, which we had been meaning to do all week. He bought incense and took photos.
Adrienne played us a few songs on her piano (which she was given by surprise while we were there) so we could record them and listen to them in the car and such. She is so freakin’ amazing! I could say she’s talented – and she is – and I could say she is skilled – and, good lord, she is – but mostly it’s amazing because she’s passionate. The first few days after she got it, her hands were always fidgeting until she sat down on the bench. And she plays so boldly. Recordings shall be posted if Adrienne permits and interest is expressed.
Casper then got the strange but ingenious idea to play Scrabble. Adrienne had been wanting to play the whole visit – she’s a bit of a whiz and has been beating me persistently on Facebook for, literally, years – so we decided to go for it. Who plays board games during the day? Before noon, even? Us, apparently. It was a lovely game.
We extracted ourselves and our belongings from Adrienne’s couch and surrounding areas and transitioned back to having a car-home. I set up a comfy place in the backseat so I could sleep on the drive. Casper to ok an incredible amount of time to decide on which CDs should be in the player.
We drove highways to Hermitage, Tennessee, where we revisited the Toke N Roll head shop. The place is in a weird little strip mall that seems even more significantly out of place then strip malls usually do. It didn’t have any chain businesses that I could tell – there were a few stores for lease, a consignment kids clothing store and not much else. The dude at the desk was the owner and he seemed really bored/lonely but he gave us a nice history of the place. We talked about pipes, freelance writing, phone sex (which was the surprise mentioned a couple posts ago but it has yet to pan out), living on the road. The back of the toilet was removed and you had to pull the right cord to make it flush.
It was getting dark by the time we left the shop. We went to a Wal-Mart a few miles down the road bought a bag of trail mix and a deli sandwich for dinner. They were surprisingly delicious. Casper turned on his book on CD of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and I crawled in the backseat to sleep.
We arrived in Cincinnati around 11pm. It had been raining on and off all day and the air was wet and smelled like warm piss. The streets were as dirty as we remembered. The looming abandoned buildings, the groups of people loitering suspiciously on street corners, that tightening of the stomach as a car drives by (I always expect to be the accidental victim of a drive by shooting).
Oh, Cincinnati. I can’t believe I call you home.
Sitting alone in Adrienne’s apartment, listening to Coco Rosie and drinking tea. Casper is out buying herbal incense from a local guy and Adrienne’s at work.
Yesterday, we went to a gorgeous park and took several hundred photos of Adrienne. She did ballet poses in sundresses and Casper snapped photos and I carried the shoes and water. It was a perfect day. In some parts of the park, the flowers were so intensely vibrant we felt the color was coming directly into our pores and filling us up. I ended up with a slight sunburn on my shoulders, but my even paler companions had opted for sun block.
We went to the grocery store first, buying picnic yummies and then sat on our green sleeping bag (which has seen this country over and has yet to be ever washed…) under a huge tree. A creek ran through the park and I got my feet wet; sweet, sweet wild water.
In the evening, Casper stretched in the sunshine, Adrienne organized her file box on the living room floor. I went back and forth between the two, discussing futures, human potential, our generation, parents, the apocalyptical state of the world, and what it is we all want from life anyhow.
Casper made us a delicious dinner, as usual: pasta cooked in veggie broth with mushrooms and artichokes mixed in. He has a little green bag that he always carries into the kitchen here. It is his “spice bag,” in which he carried all the spices he brought from home. We were all tired and hungry so we watched Indiana Jones: the Last Crusade because I’d never seen it before and Adrienne aspires to be Indiana Jones. In the course of the late evening, we ate pudding, brownies, and ice pops and giggled often. I have never seen Adrienne laugh as hard as she did last night…and I don’t even remember what was so funny!
It’s hot here. At least, for my sense of April weather it’s hot. It’s been in the 70s and muggy. Today me and Casper woke up at 7:30am, whined about being up so early, cleaned out the car a bit, and headed off to Hermitage. We picked up a lady there who needed a ride to a car dealership. We found her on Craigslist and it all went splendidly. She was friendly and chipper and interesting and we only got lost once. She ended up buying the car she went to see, so we didn’t have to give her a ride home. If her car is still in the shop tomorrow, we’ll also be taking her down south a bit for a teacher/parent thing. She was very generous with her reimbursement and the possibility of buying me a small guitar for the road is looking more and more possible.
Casper and I bought a cat harness for Salem (it’s actually a small dog harness, which tells you something about Salem’s size…), rechargeable batteries for our camera, sidewalk chalk, spray paint, the second big strap we need to attach our car top carrier, and two notebooks for a present my sister requested from me.
As we came home, Adrienne’s new-to-her piano was being delivered. Me and Casper just snuggled on the couch for a bit listening to her play. Her brother in law Ted, who lives across the street, had come over to borrow his car from Adrienne, who uses it to get to work each day, with promises that he’d be back in time for Adrienne to get to work on time. He was headed for a comic book store so, instead, Casper invited himself along with Ted and they took the Pearl.
Adrienne dyed her hair, I listened to Pomplamoose, and Adrienne left for work just a moments before Casper and Ted returned. Casper and ate leftovers and fell asleep watching The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Gallery, which I adore and Casper just can’t seem to enjoy. I kept napping after the movie was over because I felt the intense grumpiness I always feel when I have napped but not been fully restored. It is dangerous to interrupt me during a recharging session. I woke up around 7 to Casper busily planning his herbal incense heist.
I am alone. I haven’t been in quite a few days. Hours of time alone. It frightens me, but I’m learning to be alone without being lonely (citation: Paul Baribeau’s song Christmas Lights).
The sun and the pulsating spring here are exactly what we need. Winters bring us down. Aprils is for new beginnings and everything is lovely at the moment. The government is in frozen crisis; Japan was hit by an earthquake yet again; and I am still overwhelmed by emptiness, despair and panic on a regular basis. But things are good. Things are warm, things are blooming, things are changing.
At midnight, on April 5th, we departed. We unloaded all our goodies (clothes, tons of LPs, paper, photos) from the car and filled it up again with a random assortment of clothes and entertainment devices. We said goodbye to Salem – he is being cared for by our old roommates.
Our first stop was a mile or so north of our apartment where a Freecycler had promised me a crafting wreath would be left for me to pickup. Casper, of course, needed to have this to make into a laurel or ritualistic wreath. I jumped around the cold pavement, barefoot, until I found the right house number and retrieved the wreath.
Noah Gundersen to the freeway, a Drank for me and a Rockstar for him. I crawled into the backseat to sleep and Casper put on an audiobook of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I can’t believe how choppy that woman’s writing style is.
Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee. We stopped once for Casper to sleep in the backseat, but made it to Nashville around 7am. I slept most of the drive. We didn’t realize we’d switched into Central Time Zone for quite a while and kept having brainf*cks about it seeming really late. By chance, Adrienne came stumbling out of her house in her PJs and slippers, having suspected that we might have showed up. We’d only been waiting a few minutes so it was lucky, but we were all sleepy and me and Casper promptly commandeered her couch.
We: talked, hugged, slept, checked out her epic backyard, laid in the sun, and did stretches/yoga. During all the talking, I finally managed to glue all my extras into my last journ, finally making a clean break to the new one.
Adrienne went to work in the afternoon, leaving Casper and I home alone with the kitty, Greyson. We watched Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog for the first time ever and were surprised at how good it was. We took photos. I wove him a laurel. We talked and talked.
We also practiced for a gig I just got offered today…I have no idea if it’s going to work and I’m keeping the specifics a secret until I find out more. It’s very daring!
Now, Casper is out buying groceries so there’s a lovely dinner on the table when Adrienne gets home form work. I think he’s thinking turmeric rice with green peas, but I’m not sure what else he’ll concoct.
Oh! Adrienne was given a piano today, though she has some time before it’ll be delivered. And she’s gotta find room for it in cute little house.
Casper and I have been on a DaVinci-style sleep schedule since Saturday and I’m hoping to get that straightened out starting tonight. There is talk of an air mattress so hopefully neither Casper nor I will be on the floor.
We’ll be heading back to Cincinnati and our apartment before going on the road for good. Since we’re planning to head north straightaway, we thought we’d come down south to see Adrienne before we leave the southern Midwest altogether.
We can already feel our bodies and minds shifting. Our concepts of time, money, responsibility, priorities, commitment and communication have already started making the transition to a freer, looser format.
We’re thinking more and more of hiding away in the woods for a long time at some point this summer. And snagging a long housesit somewhere cold and cozy come winter. We’ll see.