Rummage A-Ramble On

What if our stuff could talk!

I think I heard Led Zeppelin at this year’s annual Bainbridge Island Rotary Rummage sale.

A-ramble on, and now's the time, the time is now

Sing my song, I'm goin' 'round the world, I gotta find my girl
On my way, I've been this way ten years to the day

Ramble on, gotta find the queen of all my dreams

Got no time to for spreadin' roots, the time has come to be gone
And though our health we drank a thousand times
it's time to ramble on.

You can listen to Ramble On by Led Zeppelin on YouTube. https://youtu.be/a3HemKGDavw while you read my blog.

Clothing tables at the Annual Bainbridge Island Rotary Rummage Sale.

Clothing tables at the Annual Bainbridge Island Rotary Rummage Sale.

Just over a year ago, we downsized from our four bedroom 2200 square feet and three car garage home, down to a 1,080 square food townhouse condominium. Giving things away was a very emotional experience for me.

I am still trying to heal from my loss.

So, as part of my personal recovery therapy from “The Great Purge,” I attended the annual Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale. It was is a perfect walkabout to continue my move toward losing my attachment to things physical.

Boy Scouts? No, just a cosy collection of camping gear.

Boy Scouts? No, just a cosy collection of camping gear.

What a visual experience! I was amazed at the amount of stuff, and then there were the strangeness of so many items. All items someone purchased new with good intentions, used, maybe re-used, and now were selling at the Queen Mother of rummage sales.

This is the perfect place for the man-cave chairs. The worn spots are part of the “charm.”

This is the perfect place for the man-cave chairs. The worn spots are part of the “charm.”

My sister told me stories about the crazy things people donate to the Rotary for the sale, so I checked out their website. Their homepage spoke to me:

A swarm of chairs.

A swarm of chairs.

“Hello! My name is Rockie. I am a 37-year-old rocking chair. Until last June, I was the guardian of a room first used as a bedroom for children, and then as a comfortable retreat for house guests and a temporary storage space for items my owners said were destined for a mystical event called the Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction & Rummage Sale. I loved the years I spent waiting for the children to come home from school and use me for everything from a messy clothes rack to the preferred location for secret conversations with their friends. I also liked the occasional guests who always remarked on my comfort and beauty. However, what interested me most was welcoming other pieces of furniture, clothing, musical instruments, dishes, books, and other items my owners didn’t need any more into my space where they waited, sometimes for months, for a trip to the Auction & Rummage Sale. To be honest, I envied them when they left because I had outlived my usefulness to my owners, and wanted a new adventure.”

A passel of pink pots.

A passel of pink pots.

A gaggle of green goodies.

A gaggle of green goodies.

Colors? We got your camp chair covered.

Colors? We got your camp chair covered.

Can you keep things forever and have the items maintain their relevance, efficacy, and usefulness?

A menagerie of miscellaneous mowers. At the end of the day, they were all gone.

A menagerie of miscellaneous mowers. At the end of the day, they were all gone.

An army of action figures.

An army of action figures.

What happens to toys when children grow up? Where does an action figure go when the action is over?

What happens when it is time to move on?

Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?

Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?

“Daddy, When I went away to college, what happened to teddy?” Answer: Rotary Rummage.

“Daddy, When I went away to college, what happened to teddy?” Answer: Rotary Rummage.

“So that’s where my lunch box went.” I had one just like the orange one. Now I don’t take a lunch to work and I don’t need a lunchbox.

“So that’s where my lunch box went.” I had one just like the orange one. Now I don’t take a lunch to work and I don’t need a lunchbox.

A full wet darkroom is available, if you have the space for it and want the smell and the mess. I’ll stick to digital photography.

A full wet darkroom is available, if you have the space for it and want the smell and the mess. I’ll stick to digital photography.

When one door closes, another door opens, even if it doesn’t have a door knob.

When one door closes, another door opens, even if it doesn’t have a door knob.

IMG_9782.jpg

I try to maintain a “Rule of Buying Stuff.” If I can’t do it, eat it or wear it, I don’t need to spend money on it. I know my focus - having time and money to travel.

This was so much fun to see everyone’s used things, I did allow myself to purchase something in the category of “wear it.”

One of the tricks to rummage sale shopping, is to avoid looking like you bought your clothes at a rummage sale.

I took home a bag of clothing from the bulk clothing area, two sweaters, two exercise bras, three t-shirts, and a pair of skinny jeans, all for only $12.00.

I’ll see if I can avoid the rummage sale ‘look,’ because “the less I spend, the more I travel.” Every dollar spent is one less dollar for my next walkabout.

To maintain balance, I loaded three bags full of my old clothing that I am going to donate to a good cause.

The tidiness guru Marie Kondo, In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, writes, “I can think of no greater happiness in life than to be surrounded only by the things I love.” Things are just things. “The stuff of life isn’t stuff at all.”

But, I can still hear the music.

It could be that they were playing classic rock at the rummage sale. Or this stuff is talking to me. “Gonna work my way all around the world.”

I guess I'll keep on ramblin', I'm gonna
Sing my song/Sh-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah, I've gotta find my baby
I'm gonna ramble on, sing my song
Gonna work my way all around the world
Baby, baby/Ramble on, yeah!

Sooner or later, everything that comes into our life will leave our our life. It’s only stuff.

Sooner or later, everything that comes into our life will leave our our life. It’s only stuff.

Thank you Susan, Ken, and Kenneth for hosting us for the weekend.

Tuk-Tuk Took

Columbo, Sri Lanka

Enjoy the view, sit for a while, have a cocktail at the rooftop bar of the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo.

Enjoy the view, sit for a while, have a cocktail at the rooftop bar of the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo.

Colombo, Sri Lanka was a place that I really wanted to love.

I don't want to spoil the end of this story, but it didn't happen.

I am home now, but this is one of my backlog blogs from my trip to Sri Lanka.

My eager and enthusiastic travel partner ( a.k.a  my husband, Keith) arranged our trip to Asia in a way that broke up the flight to Sri Lanka, where his brother and his family lived. Sri Lanka seemed so exotic, wild, and a galaxy far, far away. 

Sunset in Columbo, Sri Lanka

Sunset in Columbo, Sri Lanka

We planned to stay a few days with family, then head for the countryside, visit a beach, head for the highlands, and spend time looking for wildlife. We would walk, take the train, bus, use Uber, and only take a tuk-tuk if there was no good alternative. ( A tut-tuk is a three-wheeled motorized vehicle used as a taxi.)

We had a plan. It was a good plan. 

IMG_7996.jpg
A tut-tuk is a three-wheeled motorized vehicle used as a taxi.

A tut-tuk is a three-wheeled motorized vehicle used as a taxi.

In Colombo, we enjoyed our visit the National Museum. The historic building and the collections were small and quaint. Parrots chattered in the huge historic trees. The artifacts included a few too many Budahs for me, but I did appreciate seeing the thousands of years of human habitation of the island. The nearby park had an impressive assortment of mature vegetation and paths that would have made for a lovely afternoon stroll, if it weren't for the sweltering heat.

Whoever said, 'Rules are made to be broken,' didn't visit Columbo, Sri Lanka.

Walking along Galle Beach, we were approached by a friendly gentleman using an overused "friendly" greeting and ensuing conversation. "Hi, Where you from? How long are you in Sri Lanka? How do you like it here? Where have you been? Where you going?” It is hard to be cold to someone so friendly.  While traveling, we are all ambassadors.

The big one.

The big one.

Ornate roof decoration in the temple.

Ornate roof decoration in the temple.

Usually, I would consider the conversation innocent small talk. 

Until the talk goes in a different direction. "I can get you into an amazing exotic temple celebration that only happens once a year. Elephants, there is a jade Buddha that is the largest in Sri Lanka. Very interesting. Very beautiful. I can get you there." 

IMG_8014-2.jpg
IMG_8031.jpg

Rule number one is always ask, "how much?" Before you get in a taxi, a tuk-tuk, a boat, a plane, an elevator, anywhere that someone else is taking you. Agree on the destination and a price in advance. 

Google Maps, Airbnb, and Uber are significant contributors to our interest and ability to travel. Keith and I agreed to make the best use of Uber, but for some unknown reason, he decided to an arrangement for a tuk-tuk to take us to Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple.

Donations for the Buddha. Watches? Who knew?

Donations for the Buddha. Watches? Who knew?

I ask, "Where are we going? How much for the ride?"  My trusting travel companion gave me 'the look.' "I want to go to the temple." So off we went, an unknown price for an unfamiliar place. I didn’t pursue further inquiry.

"Here is the entrance.” “Pay here." "Go This way." Our tub-tuk driver started leading us around the temple.

“Look at this…” He told me when to take a photo, pointing out the way through the unusual displays, and a making a big deal of all the very strange alters and presentations of donations to the temple. Watches, cars, clocks, paintings, plates, furniture, Buddha statues galore, glitter, filler, flowers, and fluff gathered in piles and presentations. 

It was beautiful.

It was overwhelming.

IMG_8032-2.jpg

I was hot and tired. I don't like being led around, and I don't like being told what to photograph. 

I had enough for one day. 

We finish with a final photo of us, and we asked him to take us to our family's home.

Was that the end? No.

We had to argue that we didn't want to go anyplace else, we just wanted a ride home. Finally, he relented after we repeated and insisted "Our family is expecting us home for dinner very soon. We need to go home now!" 

And all the way home, “No we don’t want to go anyplace else. We want to go home.”

IMG_8037.jpg

On our first day in Sri Lanka, we paid 190 Sri Lanka Rupee for a one-hour Uber ride from the airport to downtown, which amounts to about $0.90.

So, we make it home. We start to get out and we get the final deathblow to a mortally wounded victim.  Keith asks him, "how much?"

IMG_8013.jpg

"8,000 Sri Lankan Rupee."  

Oh, $#{+! That is about $45.00 USD for only a few miles. We never agreed to a tour or a price for the ride. It was a classic. Demand an outlandish amount from someone who may not know what is a reasonable price.

And we only had 3,000 Rupee on us, so that's all he got, about $16.80. Still way too much. 

I know that money meant more to that driver than it did for us and my cultural expectations were misplaced. But still, I felt bad for all three of us. It was not a good transaction.

My kind and friendly traveling partner was willing to talk to a stranger, arrange for a ride without getting a price in advance and trust our driver to be honest. I love my husband’s faith in humans and his enthusiasm for exploring. 

We agreed to not discuss it again. (Sorry Dear. oxoxoxox) But the next time my logical travel partner isn’t being logical, I’ll be sensitively assertive.

After only two days in Sri Lanka, I was burned out of the whole tuk-tuk scene. It wore me down and turned me off. For the rest of our trip, I felt vulnerable and suspicious of the repetitive friendly inquiry. 

"Tuk-tuk?" "Taxi?" "Where you going?" "Why don't you want a tuk-tuk?"  "Why are you walking, I can take you there..."  "Hello... where you from?” “Want a tuk-tuk?” 

"No, no, and no, I don't want a tub-tuk! And, please don't follow me."  

Uber is my friend. 

The Lotus Tower, Columbo, Sri Lanka

The Lotus Tower, Columbo, Sri Lanka

Baghdad by the Bay 

Mission Bay Trail, San Francisco, California

Sailboats and the Mission Trail pass under the Bay Bridge.

Sailboats and the Mission Trail pass under the Bay Bridge.

While visiting family in Vallejo, California, my Trusty Traveling Partner (a.k.a. my husband, Keith) and I took a ferry ride to San Francisco for a very urban hike in two neighborhoods new to us - The Mission and Dogpatch. Keith found a self-guided walking tour by Kristine Poggioli and Carolyn Edison, “Explore Dogpatch, South Beach, and the Embarcadero…” Having a map with descriptions of the area helped us focus on where to go. It gave us our itinerary for the day.

And what an amazingly beautiful day for an urban walkabout!

First stop, the Ferry Building.

First stop, the Ferry Building.

We approached the city from the bay via the ferry to the Ferry Building. We know this building well, and strolled through foodie heaven, checking out the cheese, wine, fish, bread, and mushrooms. A proverbial feast for the eyes. All beautifully presented, unique, and top quality! 

IMG_9474.jpg

We went south from the Ferry Building, along the Embarkadero. Our trail guide says that "Cupids Span was inspired by San Francisco's reputation as the home port of Eros, the Greek god of love," then under the San Francisco-Oakland  Bay Bridge.

Big art in an even bigger city.

Big art in an even bigger city.

We once attended a Giant's baseball back when it was called PacBell Park. As we walk around the stadium and along McCovey Cove, we lament that something was lost with the commercial naming of the stadium. Candlestick Park was always Candlestick Park. "This was PacBell Park. What is it called now?"  I ask. Oracle Park, for now. 

Hiking along McCovey Cove on the back side of the Oracle Park. Go Giants!

Hiking along McCovey Cove on the back side of the Oracle Park. Go Giants!

Near the shipyards, a small sign reads "Herb Caen Way." When Keith and I were students at Humboldt State, we enjoyed reading the San Francisco Chronical. My favorite part of "The Chron" was the weekly column by Herb Caen. Herb has since passed on, but he lives on as a beloved San Francisco author, philosopher, gossip, and satirist.  Herb always called San Francisco "Baghdad by the Bay."  I miss Herb. 

Pier 70 is owned by the Port of San Francisco and has been a hub of shipbuilding and repair for over 150 years. Now, this Historic Waterfront is filled with the construction of new high-rise apartments, new neighborhoods, new businesses. 

On one side of the road, the area is overgrown with weeds.

On one side of the road, the area is overgrown with weeds.

On the other side of the road, a shiny new Tesla sits in the new parking lot.

On the other side of the road, a shiny new Tesla sits in the new parking lot.

Lunch at The Ramp was a perfect place to stop and enjoy the sunshine, the bay breeze, and a beer or two. It definitely has its share of tourist traffic, but I felt it was authentic, historical, and a worthy destination. The sun was warm, the beer was cold, and the service was casual but attentive.

A stranger on the ferry recommend having lunch at “The Ramp.”

A stranger on the ferry recommend having lunch at “The Ramp.”

The trail is well marked, mapped and friendly.

The trail is well marked, mapped and friendly.

 
Major construction along the trail at historic Pier 70.

Major construction along the trail at historic Pier 70.

Street art with a sense of humor. How sweet!

Street art with a sense of humor. How sweet!

A city is a state - of mind, of taste, of opportunity. A city is a marketplace - where ideas are traded, opinions clash and eternal conflict may produce eternal truths.
— Herb Caen
A historic building with new bikes for rent.

A historic building with new bikes for rent.

There are still a few houseboats in San Francisco, adjacent to new apartment buildings.

There are still a few houseboats in San Francisco, adjacent to new apartment buildings.

After blocks and blocks of new construction, we move over a street or two to the west and discover a part of the bay that still has houseboats resting under new high rise apartments. 

A twilight view from my sister-in-law’s home in Vallejo.

A twilight view from my sister-in-law’s home in Vallejo.

At the end of the day, the ferry ride back for dinner with family.

At the end of the day, the ferry ride back for dinner with family.

On the return, we stopped at the Ferry Building to purchase food for dinner, then onto the ferry back to Vallejo. 

One of the cool things about cities is that you can visit them a hundred times and always go someplace new.

There is no need to pay for a tour in San Francisco.  Google is a great tour guide.   "Where can I hike in San Francisco?"  It helped us have a great day.  But even without help, you can just strike out on an urban hike anywhere in the city and be surprised.

Thank you, Kristine Poggioli and Carolyn Edison for putting out a fun and free walking tour. 

Extraordinary Ordinary Day

Lena Lake Trail, Olympic National Forest

Whelan on Walkabout in Washington State

An ordinary photo of an ordinary trail on an ordinary day.

An ordinary photo of an ordinary trail on an ordinary day.

“This is a moderate climb through old- and second growth forest to a large sub-alpine lake with a big picnic rock overlooking the water.” So says the guidebook.

Ordinary enough. 

APC_0307.jpg

When we moved to Olympia, we bought several guidebooks for our new found back yard - Washington State.  One such guide “Day Hike! Olympic Peninsula”  by Seabury Blair, Jr., boasts “More than 70 trails you can hike in a day.” That sounds like a suggestion for a walkabout day hike. 

One year after moving to The Evergreen State, we wanted to get out and see the countryside and use our fitness time to take a hike. I regularly walk our neighborhood, and when the weather is cold and rainy, I walk the treadmill at the nearby gym. 

But only one-and-a-half hour drive from our front door, Hike #11 in the guidebook would take us on a hike in one of our new favorite areas, the Hood Canal. The Lena Lake trailhead in the Olympic National Forest is thirteen miles north of Hamma Hamma (an area well known for wonderful fresh oysters). 

 

Despite the reputation of the weather in the Pacific North West, the sky held only a few fluffy clouds and no chance of rain. I think bright, beautiful weather is more ordinary than my fellow Washingtonians let on. 

Following my Trusty Hiking Husband.

Following my Trusty Hiking Husband.

We parked at the trailhead and started our 6.5 miles with an elevation gain of 1,250 feet. The trail was listed as moderate difficulty. We worked our way up the switchbacks, a gradual steady climb. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow, allowing me to look up from my footsteps and enjoy the surrounding scenery.

Large big leaf maples are dripping with moss reach overhead. Stumps were covered in Huckleberry and ferns. Along the trail, bunchberry, grasses, and small herbaceous plants I have never seen before. All intertwined and living in a magical vertical green garden. 

APC_0303-2.jpg

The trail was well maintained, and it was easy to keep pace on the moderate grade up. About the time I was starting to think “what is for lunch?” we made it to  “Lunch Rock.”  Overlooking the lake, we sat and enjoyed our accomplishment and view. There is always something special about overlooking water; a lake, the ocean, a stream, a pond, and sometimes even a puddle can be mesmerizing.  

Maidenhair ferns and puddles in the Olympic National Forest.

Maidenhair ferns and puddles in the Olympic National Forest.

Please stay on the trail. Duh… but somehow some people don’t get it.

Please stay on the trail. Duh… but somehow some people don’t get it.

Really? You couldn’t take these with you?

Really? You couldn’t take these with you?

I try not to be “The Snarky Traveler,” but the trail is loved too much for its own good. Despite the clear signs at the trailhead, we saw hikers cutting across the switchbacks. And despite the clear signs that dogs must be on a leash, we saw three of the four dogs running loose on the trail. “Really?” At our lunch spot, we picked up pistachio shells left behind. I don’t get it. There is nothing hard about Leave No Trace. You bring it in, you take it out. 

On the way down, My new boots felt good on my feet, and I wasn’t too hot or too cold. I love hiking with hiking sticks. On the last half mile of the day, my knees started aching just a bit, and even though I was getting tired, it really felt good to be out on the trail. 

Correction, it felt extraordinary.
What makes something ordinary feel extraordinary? 

Ok, oysters at the end of the trail is not ordinary. I couldn’t resist stopping at  Hama Hama Oyster Bar  for a post-hike beer and oysters right from Puget Sound. Every trail should end with oysters and beer.

Ok, oysters at the end of the trail is not ordinary. I couldn’t resist stopping at Hama Hama Oyster Bar for a post-hike beer and oysters right from Puget Sound. Every trail should end with oysters and beer.

It was an ordinary hike, on an ordinary day, in an ordinary place, with ordinary stuff, and my ordinary hiking partner.

But at the end of the day, it didn’t feel ordinary. 

It was special. 

Hiking sticks are great! Don’t leave home without them.

Hiking sticks are great! Don’t leave home without them.

Bunchberry- a six inch dogwood.

Bunchberry- a six inch dogwood.

It was extraordinary that I was able to visit such a magical place so close to home. I didn’t need to travel far and wide. I didn’t need a plane ticket or advance reservations. All I needed was to get out and hike in the Olympic National Forest in our Washington State. 

Two years ago, I started Whelan on Walkabout to save my memories and share my photos. I am pleased to still be at it, wandering in simple places and the exotic. I’m still having fun taking photographs and blogging about my travels both far and near.

Today was an extraordinarily ordinary day. 

I think I’ll do it again soon.