Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gone Fishing (not coming back)

This'll be my last post on Futon Quixote. Just wanted to post the new blog's address where I'll be attempting to regularly jot down some stuff: Working Differently. I'm really interested in what folks have to say about what it means to work in a way that is fulfilling, sustainable, balanced, and healthy for more than just our wallets.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

nurkdenflurn will be restored...

P.S. My abandoned little blog nurkdenflurn will start seeing action again now that Futon Quixote is winding down. If you want to keep reading the things I see fit to noodle on about, follow me back there.

How it all turns out.

Thanks to everyone who has followed our travels and offered encouragement along the way. We discovered that the trip was best spent with beloved friends and family. Thanks so much to everyone who housed, fed and entertained this couple of nomads after we dropped into your lives at random times. We're endlessly grateful for your time and love.

I've gotten a few notes from folks wondering how the story ends, so here it is: The crazy guy gets sane and then dies. Wait a minute, that's Don Quixote. Futon Quixote ends a little differently: The crazy folks stay crazy and try to live the best lives they possibly can. It's another couple of hundred blog posts to describe what that means so I'll just move on for now.

In evaluating our financial status last night, we discovered that somehow, a dirty dog snatched our debit card number and address and bought $1000 of software while we were driving through New Hampshire. All things are being slowly restored miraculously, but we're grateful that we had our savings separate from our checking so that the thief only had access to a finite chunk of our dinero. We still have no idea how he/she got our info. Wicked scary.

Speaking of mysteries, we're sitting smack in the middle of one these days. The only thing that's really (wet) concrete about our life is that we'll be living in GR with Catye until at least December and we're going to spend as much time with our friends here as we can. Catye has provided an amazing safety net for us by offering her home. It's really easy to feel at home with her. Stephanie's made this even more possible by all of her hard work in getting our upstairs living space set up spectacularly. The kitchen is completely filled and ready for action after trips to the farmers' market and the local grocery store, so we're set.

Sometime this week we'll be filling out our Yestermorrow applications and sending them off with a little prayer. Our visits to the school have shown that it may provide a tremendous opportunity for both Stephanie and me to grow and learn while living in a community of like-minded folks. Whether we're accepted into the internship program or not, we're living a really exciting dream because we're already in a great community of people who care about each other and are committed to growing together. I'm content with that.

Oh, and I think I'm going to start another blog to journal my path toward living the artist life full-time. Stay tuned for updates.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I wouldn't call it the end of the road, but...

We entered Michigan last Tuesday, stopping at Tim's parents' house for a night before heading out the next morning. We didn't head west to Grand Rapids - we made our way north to Petoskey and Charlevoix, and camped out on Fisherman's Island State Park. Last year in October we camped at this beautiful spot and huddled up against the cold to watch Lake Michigan chop against the shoreline. It was our first time sleeping in the van, and I'd surprised Tim by dragging the futon mattress into the van while he was at work. From the trip, we had our first inkling that we might be on to something with the whole futon thing.

This time back at the park, we were able to stay for free on a water site that is usually booked all summer long, but the family had called and were going to be 2 days late. I took it as a sign that we were definitely meant to stay for those days. The beloved Great Lakes were perfect for swimming. Late August is always the best because they've had all summer to warm up. While Lake Superior is my favorite, Lake Michigan is no shabby second. Being in a part of the state I love helped to soothe my sad spirit a bit.

Driving back through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and through Michigan from Vermont was really tough. As soon as we crossed the state line, we left slow mountainous roads, braking for passengers, and small vibrant towns behind for flat, boring expressways lined with gaudy billboards and filled with drivers that cut you off, blow past you, and just generally don't give a shit about anybody but themselves when they're in their vehicles. I think Michigan is a beautiful place; in fact, most places are. It's just that we make them so ugly. Vermont is proof that human presence does not have to be a blight.

You might say that this time around, I really fell in love with Vermont. Being around people as wonderful as Amy and Pete certainly helps, but I loved the small towns with local economies. The wild flower gardens. The veggies growing in everyone's little plot. The great coop in Montpelier. The slowness. The hiking. The promise of great cross country skiing. The general view that businesses that contribute something back to the local place are worth frequenting, and that towns need to be protected from ones that don't. I did see the downsides that I saw the last time I visited Vermont: expensive to live, lots of insular people wary of outsiders (maybe that's a side effect of feeling protective of a place), too many bumper stickers.

But enough of all that Vermont stuff. We're now back at Catye's place, and I've stayed put since the couple days we've been here getting our little attic space up to snuff. I will start venturing out this week. In our space, we have our futon set up in lieu of our bed, I have some art up on the walls and have created a little reading corner with only ONE bookshelf. But my favorite spot is a little nook where I've set up a desk just for writing and art. It's my 2' by 4' studio. And I love it. I stayed up until 2 in the morning last night writing. I am so pleased to be here with Catye in her house, cooking and puttering around. It was an unbelievable gift she gave us the last month of our trip to know we had a place to return to. I would have worried myself into a stupor.

I'm just starting to sort the trip out in my head. I'm not sure if I have all my questions answered, and that's probably a good thing. But I do have some ideas. And I have some peace. And I'm feeling really joyful right now.

Stay tuned for a post from Tim at some point.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yestermorrow Visit

Late this week Stephanie and I began to seriously consider moving to Vermont. We've enjoyed our time here so much and love what we've seen. So I'm asking myself (and Stephanie) how the heck this plays out with the forming plans of us heading to California so that I can go to the College of the Redwoods Fine Furniture (CRFF) program? Right now, your guess is as good as ours.

CRFF offers what I consider the best instructional and communal learning opportunity with regard to furniture craftsmanship and philosophy and it would be a great starting point for my foray into designing/building for a living. Sadly, the town of Fort Bragg and the thought of living in California for a year haven't really excited both of us. We don't think we'd ever settle out there long-term, and we don't know anyone there. Not to mention, it's wicked expensive for non-residents and I would be in a shop for 60 hours a week. ...There's no real show-stoppers there, but definitely items we're considering.

Considering Vermont, we've been seriously looking through Yestermorrow's site and reading their course catalog, and it seems like it might be a place where Stephanie and I could both grow while living in a place we both love with dear friends nearby. After perusing the website, we found that Yestermorrow offers internships that sound right up our alley: a Kitchen/Garden internship for Stephanie and a Design/Build internship for me. With questions in hand and curiosity in full bloom, we visited Yestermorrow on Saturday.

A current intern, Matt, gave us a tour and answered all of the questions that were in his power to answer. Stephanie and I both loved the facilities and the laid back atmosphere of the school, as well as the location only 30 minutes from our friends Pete and Amy. It's also nestled near tons of hiking trails and blue ribbon fly-fishing streams. The outstanding item that Matt could not answer was how it would work if we both applied and what our chances were of both being accepted. There are some sticky issues with these internships from the get-go in that the Kitchen/Garden gig is for 1 year while the Design/Build internship is 4 months. This also begs another difficult question: "What will I do when my 4 months are up and Stephanie is still committed for another 8?" To answer these, we're going to try to get in to see Kate Stephenson on Monday - she's the director of operations for the school. Depending on how this meeting goes, our plans could be shifted into action a bit sooner than we had originally planned (shocker). Deadline for application to Yestermorrow is October 1st.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

happiness = good breakfasts

What could be better than a quiet breakfast comprised of delicious, natural and local ingredients shared with wonderful people? We found our home-away-from-Marie Catrib's at Kismet in Montpelier.

Tim's view from Mount Hunger

grumpy vs. picturesque: Presidential Range of the White Mountains, New Hampshire

incriminating evidence from the hostel

We took our friends' advice in The Cabin, a hostel in East Andover, Maine and had some frickin' fun already. We played dress up with the really weird clothes that Honey and Bear (the owners) keep around for AT thru-hikers to wear as they do their laundry. Because every thru-hiker needs a curly purple wig...

Acadia National Park