Caveat: library

We had intended to go out fishing today, but it was raining in the morning and too windy in the afternoon. Not good weather for taking out the boat.

This made Arthur a bit grumpy. 

I worked at unloading my giant container. I made some progress. I'm building a new library in Arthur's attic. I'm not sure he actually likes this idea. It may finally be sinking into his brain that I intend to live with him, and he's not totally happy about this. Just like me, he's been a bachelor for far too long. It's a hard adjustment, I am aware – for both of us.

So I've been moving furniture and boxes like a donkey. Down out of the container, down the hill into the house, then up the stairs again into the attic. I am sore and tired.

[daily log: walking, 3km; boxes, ∞]

Caveat: the move becomes concrete

I woke up before dawn. This was the Sunny Hay, shrouded in clouds across the water.


We went into town in the morning. Arthur was confident at the bank, but confused at the library. That's because he was thrown off because the library employee wasn't who he was expecting. New things…

My move became a concrete reality because my container was delivered in the afternoon. Rather than having to unload it all at once, they are leaving the container over the weekend and will take it back Tuesday. This gives time to unload it.


For Arthur, the whole reason for wanting to come back to Alaska was made a reality later in the afternoon, as we got the boat out of its hidey-hole (the "boatshed") and launched. Arthur has designed this process so well, that it's easy to do – I just stood around making sure things were safe, and lifting heaving things a few times. And it was launched.




[daily log: walking, 4km; carrying heavy stuff, yes]

Caveat: Six Inches Too Far

We flew up to Klawock (Craig), Alaska, today.

The trip was divided into 3 legs: Portland to Seattle, Seattle to Ketchikan, and Ketchikan to Klawock. 

On the second leg, the 737 landed at Ketchikan, and the pilot turned off the "no seat belts" light and everyone stood up. Then the pilot came on the intercom and said: "Sorry everyone. I screwed up. I pulled up to this jetway, and I went 6 inches too far. And this jetway here in Ketchikan [there is only one jetway] doesn't move. So I'm going to have to back up the plane six inches. Please grab a seat." The flight attendants had to close up all the doors, all that stuff… the pilot had to fire up the engine. It was funny. Just to move 6 inches backward. We couldn't even feel the plane move. And it was done.

Then we waited around for a while and got on the small plane, over to Prince of Wales Island, where Arthur's house is.


Countdown to Craig, Alaska: zero. Arrived.

[daily log: walking, 3km in airports]

Caveat: working without a job

Today wasn't too hard of a day. I'm realizing that when I land in Alaska, it won't be a sudden opportunity to rest and relax – there's a lot of hard work waiting for me. Work to get Art's place cleaned up, since it's been neglected all summer. Work to get my own stuff organized, since it's arriving shipped from Minnesota and Korea. Work to get my new life under way and sustainable.

In general, although I take breaks, this summer of unemployment has been quite a bit of work, so far. And it will continue that way at least for a while.

Countdown to Craig, Alaska: 2 days.

[daily log: walking, 4km]

Caveat: Road

We drove up the road.

But first, we had some breakfast with Barb and Tom Peters, in Eureka. These are old friends of my mom's and Arthur's.


Their house is charming.


Across the street is a high school my sister attended, though I never did.


The Oregon coast was photogenic.




Countdown to Craig, Alaska: 5 days.

[daily log: walking, 2km]

Caveat: The First House

I'm staying at the first house that I ever lived in, where I spent the first 17 years of my life (with some interruptions).

I'll not provide much narrative. Here are some pictures, with a few comments. I had put these pictures on facebook too. 

This is the house. It has changed a lot, but it's still the same house. Peggy and Latif live there now.


This is the park 2 blocks from the house, where I went an infinite number of times as a child.


This is my high school, where I graduated in 1983. Children are still suffering there now, I imagine.


This is me with Peggy, my de facto godmother and once-upon-a-time 6th grade teacher.


This is Arthur sitting by the window in the dining room, in a spot he sat many times during my childhood. It's strange – all the furniture has changed, the house has been remodeled, but the space still feels the same, and the Humboldt overcast waits outside.


No visit to Arcata is complete without a trip to the Arcata Co-op – the biomagnetic center of the People's Republic of Humboldt.


This is a view from the street of the house on L Street in Eureka, where my dad and stepmom lived during my high school and college years.


This is the Helliwell's house, where David and Vivian live. David was very generous with me (in spirit) during the early 1990s, and I spent some time here.


A salmon we prepared for dinner – David is a fisherman and has ways to get fish.


This is David with his dog, on a redwood stump of a newly cut tree. He is logging some of his land up behind Eureka.


Here is a broken-down excavator (cat) parked where some of the logging is going on.


Arthur brought in the big fish from the barbecue.


We ate the fish. Here are the Helliwell siblings (center two, David and Peggy's kids), Erilynn and Dustin, with their spouses, eating dinner.


That's my visit to Humboldt so far. 

[daily log: walking, 5km]

Caveat: You eat what you can can

No, that's not a typo in this post's title. It's drawing on the two meanings of "can", one as an auxiliary, one meaning "to preserve food". 

Juli does a lot of canning. Her pantry is full of jars of preserved foods, and as the late summer fruit harvest appears, she cans applesauce, blackberry preserves, etc. I took a picture of her pantry wall.


Another notable bit of news, today: my container of personal effects, shipped from Eagan, Minnesota, has arrived on the dock at Craig, Alaska. It has beat me there by a week. This is pretty amazing, as it was originally supposed to take 4 weeks. My representative at Alaska Marine Lines was very generous and kind, looking out for me. I'd told her I specifically didn't want it to arrive too fast. This might not be a common problem for people shipping to Alaska, but she'd been understanding, and had put a delivery date of September 1st. So the fact that it got there early means that normally I'd have to pay "storage" fees for the dock in Craig. But because it's early relative to the promised delivery date, she has waived this storage fee. I was very pleased about this.

Today we drive down to Arcata, California. This is the town where I was born and spent my first 17 years (with quite a few interruptions, but more-or-less). 

Countdown to Craig, Alaska: 7 days

[daily log: walking, 3km] 

Caveat: One month job-free

A month ago, today, I had surgery to remove my job.

So I'm floating through life, a bit. This was an intentional move, but it's strange to be living this way. And eventually I'll have to have reconstructive surgery to restore the job-state. Meanwhile, my full time job is accompanying my uncle, I guess. Which he somewhat resents, because he feels like nothing's wrong with him. That, in itself, is one of the characteristics of the brain trauma he suffered. So there's some difficulty there.

Countdown to Craig, Alaska: 8 days.

More later.

[daily log: walking, 4km]

Caveat: 낙원한국음식식당

So this morning was Arthur’s last VA appointment. They’ve released him into the wild, such as it is, and he’s free to return home to Alaska.
We’ve bought tickets for next week. Meanwhile, we’d planned a small road trip down to Humboldt (my hometown where I grew up, and where he lived with us for many years, during my childhood). This was planned when we still weren’t completely certain of when we’d be able to go to Alaska. Now, we’re squeezing it in before we depart for the north.
Today, to celebrate the end of the infinite series of doctors’ appointments, we went to a Korean restaurant called Nakwon (Paradise) over in Beaverton – about halfway between the VA hospital in downtown Portland and where Juli and Keith live in Forest Grove. We were joined by Juli and Keith’s daughter Jenna, who is visiting with her husband up here from where they live in Southern California.
Here is the lunch. Arthur is looking angry because I said “smile” before taking the picture. That’s Arthur’s personality – if you say smile, he puts on a grump face.
[daily log: walking, 3.5km]

Caveat: he ahí los tatuajes de mi castillo


Marcho día y noche
como un parque desolado.
Marcho día y noche entre esfinges caídas de mis ojos;
miro el cielo y su hierba que aprende a cantar;
miro el campo herido a grandes gritos,
y el sol en medio del viento.

Acaricio mi sombrero lleno de luz especial;
paso la mano sobre el lomo del viento;
los vientos, que pasan como las semanas;
los vientos y las luces con gestos de fruta y sed de sangre;
las luces, que pasan como los meses;
cuando la noche se apoya sobre las casas,
y el perfume de los claveles gira en torno de su eje.

Tomo asiento, como el canto de los pájaros;
es la fatiga lejana y la neblina;
caigo como el viento sobre la luz.

Caigo sobre mi alma.
He ahí el pájaro de los milagros;
he ahí los tatuajes de mi castillo;
he ahí mis plumas sobre el mar, que grita adiós.

Caigo de mi alma.
Y me rompo en pedazos de alma sobre el invierno;
caigo del viento sobre la luz;
caigo de la paloma sobre el viento.

– Vicente Huidobro (poeta chileno, 1893-1948)

[daily log: walking, 3km]

Caveat: A photogenic bumblebee

I keep intending to write something longer. But then I lose myself in some other undertaking, and I don't get around to it. I'm trying to keep up the discipline of regular blog-posting, but it feels a bit low-quality lately, to be honest. Not that it's that great to begin with.

Meanwhile, here's a joke:

'i' before 'e' except after 'c' – disproved by science!

And here is a picture I took of a photogenic bumblebee this morning. It's a bit blurry, though.


[daily log: walking, 4km]

Caveat: Just a day

Just a day.

Walked down the hill to the river with Juli and some dogs in the morning.

Drove into Portland to see a neuropsychologist with Arthur and Juli, mid-day.

Drove back and do a little bit of shopping.

Picked a lot of blackberries.

Actually, things are wrapping up. Arthur only has one major appointment left at the VA Hospital. We have bought tickets for Alaska, in 10 days. Next week, we'll take a short trip down the coast to the town where I grew up, Arcata. Think of it as a trial run for the trip to Alaska? Just to see some people and places, too.

[daily log: walking, 4km] 

Caveat: the twilight of such day

Sonnet 73

That time of year thou may'st in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day,
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by-and-by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

– William Shakespeare (English writer, 1564-1616)

[daily log: walking, 4km]

Caveat: armed and ready to blow

Yesterday Art and I drove to East Portland to see his tax accountant – not so much for him, as for me, since I need a new tax accountant, and I have some issues to resolve because I haven't behaved properly with the US tax authority (IRS) since my cancer surgery, 5 years ago.

So we drove there in Juli's Prius (the hybrid electric car). We were parked there, and I noticed this flashing red light blinking on the car's dashboard, after turning the car off. I didn't know what it was.

"What is that flashing red indicator on the dash?" I asked Arthur.

He said, "System is armed and ready to blow!" Not even the hint of a smile. 

I said, "Oh. Okay… that'll help us out a lot."

Arthur's personality is still the same.

[daily log: walking, 3km]

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