So as I mentioned last time, I was staying at a friend’s place for the past week. They actually have a whole, separate tree house (up in actual trees, though they’re just huge stumps now, the tops having been cut down a year or two ago since they were threatening the main house), and despite not having a bathroom, it’s otherwise a pretty sweet guest setup. Since I was gone basically the entire week, most of this journal entry has to do with things other than my usual…
This is a pretty mundane detail, but I found myself waking up an hour or so later than my usual. At home I actually have a whole setup I have developed over the years to help me wake up: first the heat comes on, then my initial alarm starts around 7AM, at 7:15 music starts playing and the lights come on, and by 7:30 my initial alarm doesn’t let itself be snoozed anymore (I can still turn it off and fall back asleep if I really want to though). I knew all this stuff was effective, but without experimenting in another environment, one never knows for sure, or which specific things are the most useful. Turns out that automatic morning heater is a big thing! Getting that Nest Thermostat was totally worth it.
I haven’t talked about this until now, but through the pandemic I’ve actually had oddly sensitive toes! I know, I know, COVID toes… but I’ve tested negative multiple times. I’m pretty sure it’s actually just circulation-related, from too much sitting. I do have a sit-stand desk and I try to switch between sit and stand regularly. But nonetheless I’ve had this “toe thing” going on… It tends to go away when I travel, though, which suggests it may be something specific about my home office setup. Of particular interest (to me and probably no one else ), on this trip I actually did still spend a fair amount of time in a chair, on my laptop, and with no standing desk option. Yet my toes still got better. I have long suspected the culprit might actually be my Aeron chair. Yes, that Aeron. I’ve honestly never liked it, and now I’m fairly confident it is contributing to this problem. So I’m planning to replace it soon with a Steelcase Gesture! Anyone have any experience with it vs. the Aeron?
So overall I had a good trip. But I did end up doing and seeing less than I hoped. There are a variety of reasons for this, some of it comes down simply to my own motivation (or lack thereof), and some is circumstantial. My friend ended up working more than she planned, and another one I hoped to visit in Portland had a COVID work scare (everything turned out OK though!), so some plans had to change. Weather was a bit of a factor too, we had a little rain, though not so much or so often that I couldn’t have taken a hike or two more. But I did get out for some lovely drives, one hike in a cool volcanic area near the Three Sisters, and got to do some fun spirit tasting too.
Speaking of which, I can highly recommend visiting both Elixir Craft Spirits in Eugene, and Deep Woods Distillery in nearby Oakridge. Very different approaches to what they’re producing, but both driven by passionate, interesting people, and both creating delicious and unique things. Elixir is more old-world, inspired by historic Italian (and other) recipes, reviving things like “Calisaya”, and their delicious and well-balanced take on a Chartreuse-like liqueur called “Ver” (less syrupy than Chartreuse, highly recommended!). While Deep Woods is more like home experiments upgraded to professional-level quality and consistency. Completely unique, with the occasional creation loosely inspired by something that exists. But most of what they make is totally unique (Spruce-infused spirit? Strawberry-Jalapeno?), and pretty much all of it is delicious.
On the subject of delicious things, I’d also suggest you check out Sweet Life Patisserie in Eugene. In past trips I have tended to focus my culinary explorations on Portland, with its well-known bounty. But Eugene is starting to have some pretty awesome stuff, too. This bakery was so good, we visited it twice, and everything we had was excellent. The “Josephine” was a particular stand-out, a shatteringly-crisp layered pastry shell surrounding delicious pastry cream, with raspberry sauce for topping. Simple but oh-so-delicious.
If you’ve been reading my recent journal entries, you’ll know I recently started IFS therapy. In fact I had my 4th session while I was on this trip, and we started some more formalized mapping of one of my parts, which was a process I think some part of me has really been wanting in the context of therapy (more structure, that is). But more interestingly I actually ended up having a direct dialog with one of my parts on one of my outings. It’s one one I’m familiar with, which tends to resist exercise and exertion, to feel some kind of danger or anxiety in it.
This was the one day I went for a proper hike, so I didn’t want to just quit without making any progress. Physically-speaking I was perfectly capable of the effort. But this part was concerned. So I got into direct dialog with it. I didn’t get a really clear idea of its specific concerns, but nonetheless I was able to negotiate with it, and get where I wanted to go. It was a rather unique experience! Honestly I’m a someone who is not a stranger to talking to myself, but this was different, more particularly oriented around recognizing and interacting with a unique identity within me, one with its own particular needs, fears, desires, etc. Whether or not it is strictly “correct”, it felt helpful to personify these feelings in this way. I look forward to further exploration of IFS!