A maximally fulfilling life

Since my epiphany last week about online interaction likely being the source of much of my stress and anxiety, I’ve been doing a lot of introspection. Overanalytical Man is flexing his muscles…but in a good way.

I’m reading books (currently reading Waking Up by Sam Harris), watching movies, and talking with friends.

This latter action is huge.

For one, COVID has severely reduced my in-person social interactons. No surprise there, right? I do still chat with people by Zoom, but mostly it’s about business. I rarely have conversations with friends right now.

Well. It occurred to me last week that this isn’t just because of COVID. The reality is that I’ve allowed my friendships to fade over the past few years. And this could be a large part of my recent mental health struggles.

So, I’ve made an effort this past week to have long conversations with friends. I’ve had hour-long calls with Julie and Nick and Cody. Today, I had an hour-long call with my friend Todd (who runs Financial Mentor).

These calls have been great. It’s felt so good to reconnect with people.

As a bonus, because these people know me, they’re able to offer feedback on my crazy idea that maybe I should walk away from everything. Some agree that’s probably a good idea. But most think that I should take a more measured approach. They’re probably right.

During my call with Todd today, he asked a terrific question. I liked it so much that I jotted it down on a sticky-note and stuck it to my computer monitor. Todd asked:

“How could you restructure everything so that you have a maximally fulfilling life?”

A maximally fulfilling life

This is, in essence, the fundamental question for folks who are retired or who have achieved financial independence. I love it. It’s especially appropriate for me, obviously, as I’m wrestling with how best to proceed with my online presence.

I don’t know the answer to the question yet, and that’s okay. It’s fun to think about the possibilities.

One thing is for certain (and this became clear while speaking with Todd today). Moving forward, it’s vital that I make choices that are true to who I am and what my needs are. I need to write what I want in the way that I want and to hell with what anyone else thinks about it.

Too often, I temper what I say. Or, more accurately, I restrict what I share at Get Rich Slowly because I think the audience wouldn’t want to read about it. I think this is a huge part of the problem.

Talking with Todd made me realize that I need to write whatever I want at Get Rich Slowly — and everywhere else. If people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it, right? If my audience shrinks, so what? It’s already a tiny fraction of what it used to be. But what if it’s a tiny fraction of what it used to be precisely because I’m so worried about what people want me to write?

Anyhow, I like that I’ve spent the past ten days talking more with my friends. It’s helpful, both in the moment and in the grand scheme of things. I believe that more time with friends is a key component of my maximally fulfilling life.

A Conversation about Travel, Aging, and Happiness

Last night, we had our neighbors over for drinks. For three hours, we sat around sipping wine while chatting about life with Jan and Sheila. (Jan is pronounced “yawn”.)

Jan and Sheila are both in their early seventies, about thirty years older than Kim and I are. But whereas some folks their age seem to have resigned themselves to silently fading away, our neighbors are still active and engaged with life.

The couple met about fifteen years ago, soon after Jan’s first wife died. Sheila was recently divorced and happy to find a man who, for once, was a kindred spirit. For a few years, they traveled the world, teaching English in China, exploring Costa Rica, and so on. They still travel regularly. Last summer, for instance, they spent several months in eastern Europe, including a lot of time in rural Poland.

A couple of years ago, Jan and Sheila towed a pop-up camper across the United States, from Oregon to Montana to New Mexico to Texas to Arkansas to North Carolina. They visited seventeen states in three months. In each state, they stopped at a nursing home to interview the residents.

“We asked people to tell us their stories,” Sheila said. “At first, our recordings weren’t very good. In time, we figured out what we were doing. We got better with the equipment and we learned what questions to ask.”

“Interesting,” I said. “Kim and I want to do something similar. In fact, we’re shopping for a used RV right now. We want to use it to make forays across the U.S. and Canada. We plan to interview the folks we meet along the way. But we’re not sure what we’ll talk about.”

“You should have a plan,” Sheila said. “Otherwise the conversations will just wander. We found that the StoryCorps method was a fantastic way to spark discussion. Their website has a list of great interview questions. You should check it out.”

Jan recommended that we try to keep an open mind when we travel, to not set a fixed agenda. “You should eavesdrop,” he said. “You learn a lot about a place when you eavesdrop. You learn what’s important to the people there. You learn about the things going on in the town.”

By eavesdropping in Taos, New Mexico, Jan and Sheila found out about a jam session at a local bar. Because they’re both musicians, they stopped in. They got to hear some amazing performers that they might have otherwise missed. “You haven’t heard of the best musicians in this country,” Jan explained. “Often the best musicians don’t have recording contracts. They’re not pretty enough for the stage. Or they never wanted to be famous. You find them in out-of-the-way places like Taos.”

“I’m happy that you two are traveling now while you’re young,” Sheila said. “Travel isn’t as easy as it used to be. For whatever reason, this last trip to Poland was especially hard. The language barrier was hard. Airport transfers were hard. It’s the first time I’ve really felt old while traveling.”

Note: Sheila’s advice echoes something I’ve heard time and again. Most people wait to travel. They wait until they’ve quit work, the kids have moved out, and they’ve saved everything they need for retirement. At 60 or 65 or 70, they begin exploring the world around them — but find it’s tougher than anticipated. Without exception, the older travelers I’ve met wish they had started in their thirties and forties.

We spent a long time talking about aging, about intergenerational connections. Kim noted that although she’s in her mid-forties, she loves learning from both people who are younger and people who are older than she is. “I feel like there’s something to learn from everyone if we’re willing to listen,” she said.

“That’s true,” Jan said. “I wish more people felt the same way. Mostly folks seem too busy to connect with anyone else. That’s one of the reasons we did our nursing-home trip.”

“Tomorrow night at our wisdom circle, we’re going to talk about stuff like this,” Sheila said. “We’re going to talk about the things you lose as you get older.”

“You mean like family and friends?” asked Kim.

“Like family and friends, but other things too,” Sheila said, motioning to Jan, who wears a hearing aid. “Like hearing. Like flexibility and mobility. Like health, in general.”

“What about connection to culture?” I asked. “It seems to me that as you get older, you might become more and more disconnected from popular culture. The movies and music you loved as a child get buried under a flood of changing taste and fashion.”

“It’s not as bad as you might think,” Jan said. “You don’t care as much anymore. Plus, the things you love are always there. You just have to know where to look for them.”

The conversation moved to money and happiness. Sheila asked me something she’s brought up before: “Why do you think so many people believe money will bring them happiness? Is it what the money represents? Is it something else?”

We talked about people we know and how they handle money. Jan mentioned a friend who’s afraid to spend anything at all. He has plenty of money but can’t bring himself to buy even things that might make him happier. “He could easily afford a new car, but he won’t let himself have it. I think that’s too bad. His money won’t do him any good once he’s gone.”

I noted that some people have the opposite problem: “In my line of work, I’ve heard plenty of stories about folks who have squandered windfalls. Inheritances, the lottery, that sort of thing. A person can be broke, win $100,000 in the lottery, and then be broke again a year later. I think people like this mistakenly believe that money will solve all their problems. But money can’t solve problems. You have to solve them. Happiness comes from inside.”

“That’s true,” Kim said, “but money certainly makes things easier. For me, I feel a whole lot better knowing that I have so much money in savings. If something goes wrong, I have a safety net. Money may not buy happiness but I think that not having money can make people pretty unhappy.”

I described how my pursuit of happiness has changed over time. When I was deep in debt, I thought money was the answer. After I’d repaid my debt, I thought I’d be happy if I had more money. Eventually I realized that money wouldn’t make me happy. I made other changes to my life. Some increased my happiness but most didn’t. In time, I came to understand that in order to be happy, I had to just be myself. I had to be comfortable with who I am, warts and all. And I had to surround myself with friends who were happy with who I am too.

Sheila nodded. “That’s smart,” she said. “A lot of people never realize that. You’re lucky to have figured it out while you’re young.”

I laughed. “I don’t have it all figured out,” I said. “Sometimes I forget everything I’ve learned. Sometimes I find myself doing things to please others or buying things because I think they’ll make me happy. It’s a process.”

“You know what?” Kim said as the night came to a close. “Before our trip, we need to practice our interview skills. Can we interview you two sometime? We’d love to hear your stories.”

“Sure,” said Sheila. “We’d be happy to help.”

“You’ll want to have a good microphone,” Jan said. “Sound is at least fifty percent of the puzzle.”

“Everyone keeps telling us that,” Kim said. “That’s why J.D. bought a fancy microphone.” I went back to my office to retrieve the gear I bought after asking for advice from my friend Tess Vigeland, a long-time reporter for NPR.

“That should do the trick,” Jan said. “You want to be able to record the person you’re talking too without getting the clatter of dishes or the din of the television in the background.”

And so, Kim and I have started the next phase of our adventure together. Last Friday, we spent several hours browsing the Portland RV show. Today we took our first steps toward conducting interviews. Next up? I need to use our new gear — the camera, the lenses, the lights, the microphone — to make some test recordings. Be warned: Over the next few weeks, you might see some more silly videos around here! (If you have requests, let me know.)

All Good Things

2011 was a wonderful year. I met some awesome people, visited nine countries (U.S., South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Canada, Peru, and Bolivia) and five states, accomplished some long-standing goals, and generally lived life to the lees (to quote my favorite poem).

Having said that, the last six weeks have been very difficult. In fact, they’ve been the darkest days of my life. And the start of 2012 is going to be a challenge. Why? Six weeks ago, I asked my wife for a divorce.

I’m not going to discuss the whys and wherefores of this decision on the internet. Kris and I are both experiencing enough stress as it is. I’ll only say that there’s no acute crisis here: nobody’s cheating on anyone, and nobody’s doing anything rash.

This process is harder on her than it is on my, obviously, since I’m the one initiating it; but trust me: the divorce is no piece of cake for me either. I’ve turned into an insomniac. I sleep maybe four hours a night. And three times in the past two weeks, I haven’t been able to sleep at all. It’s miserable.

Kris: “Those are the only two benefits of getting divorced: No clutter and I’m eligible for a Roth IRA again. Wait. Are you writing this down?”

While I’m not going to write online about my reasons for choosing this path, please understand that I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it was in the best interests of both of us. (Kris disagrees, obviously.)

Also, it’s important to note that Kris and I are working together to build the best possible relationship going forward. We’ve seen folks go through bitter divorces, and neither of us wants that. We want to remain close friends. And so far — after six weeks — we’ve been able to do that. We’re still living in the same house (although I move into an apartment this weekend), and we plan to see each other regularly. We’re doing a “kitchen table” divorce, where we make the decisions and then have an attorney translate them into legalese.

Our biggest conflict so far? (Other than the divorce itself, I mean.) Who has to take the TV? Neither of us wants it. Not kidding. But that problem solved itself last week when it self-destructed while Kris was doing her morning exercise. Now neither of us has to be burdened with it!

This news comes as a shock to many people; others are unsurprised. My request is this: Please be supportive of Kris. She needs it. (I need it too, but I know many people aren’t inclined to support me right now. I get that.)

Some will probably view this divorce as a sign of failure. I don’t see it that way. I’m glad to have spent 23 years with Kris, eighteen of them as a married couple. But that chapter has come to a close. It’s time for us to start new adventures, both together — and on our own.

Though our real-life friends have known of this decision for six weeks, and Kris made an announcement on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, this is the first time we’ve put the news out onto the web. I’ll mention it at Get Rich Slowly soon, as I describe the process of hunting for health insurance and acquiring a new apartment.

A Trio of Bakers (plus Overcome by Cute!)

I’m a tired man. Adam and Courtney Baker rolled into town last week. They parked their RV on our front lawn, and I’ve been hanging around with them ever since — going out to eat, talking about blogging, and staying up late to play board games. It’s awesome — for me, at least. (I can’t speak for Adam, Courtney, or Kris.)

Baker's RV parked in front of Rosing Park
Baker’s RV, Kris’ flower garden, and the ever-present Oregon rain.

Adam and Courtney have been driving across the U.S. in their RV since January. They started in Baltimore, and have made a U-shaped traverse of the country, coming up the West Coast during the month of May. They’re not alone. They also brought their three-year-old daughter, Milligan, who is as cute as a bug’s ear.

Milli tells me how old she is
At dinner, Milli tells me how old she is. That muffin is nearly as big as her head.

All parents think their kids are cute and smart and wonderful. But Milli actually is cute. I think she’s adorable. Plus, because she spends so much time with adults, she does a good job of interacting with them. She’s still three, of course, but she’s a precocious three. She’s smart and friendly and funny.

She’s also cuddly at times. Here, she’s giving Kris some spontaneous snuggling:

Milli and Kris

I spend a lot of time with Kris (which is good, since she’s my best friend and my wife!), but I don’t get to hang out with my other friends very often, except at the gym. It’s been far too long since I’ve been able to linger with anyone, playing games, going to lunch, and so on. But that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few days, and I’ve really enjoyed it.

Thankfully, Adam and I are working in separate spaces today, which means we’re able to be productive. (I am, anyhow.) But I look forward to playing games with the Bakers again soon: Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Dominion, and more! And I look forward to mingling with Milligan.

Arnold Thomas Sandwick, Jr.

When Kris and I moved to Oak Grove in 2004, we were surprised by the neighborhood. We’d just come from Canby, which seemed like a proto-typical small town. Yet we barely knew our neighbors there. We smiled at them and waved hello and helped each other with small tasks, but we were never what I’d call friendly. Our area never felt like a neighborhood or a community.

Our street in Oak Grove felt like a neighborhood from the start. People were welcoming. They chatted with us and shared vegetables. We talked about the cats and the druggies down the street. We exchanged baked goods at Christmas and watched each other’s homes. This has never felt intrusive — just friendly.

Tom, the old man next door, was perhaps the best of the lot. He liked to stand at his fence and chat about our gardens or our cats or the history of the neighborhood. He shared advice on growing fruit trees. Once, while we were holding book group outside, he brought over a wheelbarrow full of old photography magazines to give to me. (And later gave me a bunch of darkroom equipment.) Tom was a Good Man.

Tom died last Saturday. I never thought I’d devote an entire blog entry to mourn the loss of a neighbor, but I’m doing so today. As I say, he was a Good Man, and it somehow seems wrong that there’s no digital memorial to him. Well, Kris and I attended Tom’s funeral service this afternoon, and the program contained a fine biography of the man. I’m going to preserve it here.

Arnold Thomas Sandwick, Jr.

18 September 1927 – 08 January 2011

Arnold Thomas Sandwick, Jr., was born 18 September 1927 at Terrebonne, Deschutes County, Oregon, and went home to be with his Lord on 08 January 2011. He was the first of five children born to Irene Beatrice Deach and Arnold Thomas Sandwick. Tom was followed by Andy, Anitra Van Matre, Carmen Olsen, and Eric.

Tom and his first wife, Mildred, also had five children: Carl, Jean, Karin, Kristen, and Judi. After his divorce, Tom married Roberta and gained two more children: Clifford Sandwick and Catie Elrod. He was predeceased by his parents and brother, Andy.

At 17, Tom graduated from Redmond High School, and whiled away the summera as a railroad section hand pounding spikes into a rail line under construction. After he turned 18, he joined the Navy. He served a partial tour of duty at the end of World War II on a submarine. He was called back up during the Korean War and served on a seaplane tender.

Tom spend the years between and immediately after his time in the Navy continuing his education. He attended Powellhurst Bible Academy, Whitworth College, Oregon State, Western Seminary, and Denver Seminary. He had a degree in civil/structural engineering from Oregon State and became a registered professional engineer in 1961. When structural engineering became a separate discipline, he successfully applied for dual registration under the grandfathered application process. He did not renew his license in 2007, although he was willing to brainstorm engineering problems after that time.

Tom’s engineering career was complex and varied. He designed the marine park at Kalama, Washington and worked on the Bull Run water source for the city of Portland. He was involved in the ramps on the Morrison Street Bridge, the sewer system in Oak Grove, and a now-abandoned chip loading facility in Lake Oswego. These are just a few of the many projects he was a part of as a problem solver or designer. On a personal level, two projects stand out. The first was the house in which he raised his children. His favorite was his last project, the house in which he spent his retirement.

As a young boy, Tom was entranced by airplanes. He read about them and built model airplanes. Much to his grief, he was never able to fly due to very poor eyesight. Tom learned to develop and print his own black-and-white photographs while on the submarine at the end of World War II. Photography was one of his pleasures. A collection of his prints is scattered through the second house. He had a very good eye. Tom took great satisfaction in growing a significant portion of the household fruits and vegetables. He was also an immense help in putting up the surplus for winter use.

Family was always at the center of Tom’s life. He worked very hard to be a responsible parent in a single-income household. At times this spread his resources very thin, but the results were worth the effort.

Tom seriously considered a life in the ministry, but decided that he was just not cut out for the pastoral role. He valued greatly the education at Powellhurst, Western, and Denver. He applied this education to all aspects of his life.

Tom usually had some deep thought wandering around the back of his mind, even at the very end. Shortly before he lapsed into unconsciousness he said, “This is ridiculous.” When asked what “this” was, he answered, “The whole concept — yet it’s perfectly plausible.” Perhaps he meant that the idea that man was in charge of anything was that which was ridiculous. That would be consistent for a man who said “love” was not a big enough word to encompass the emotion he was experiencing.

I only knew Tom for six years. He and I would stop to chat when we saw each other in the road. (When he was setting out to feed the neighbor cats, for example, or when I was walking up the hill to my office.) I didn’t know Tom well, but I liked him. I wish I had known longer and better.

Tom Sandwick was a Good Man.

Geeks in Love

On February January 24th, Kris and I will have been together for 22 years. Here’s a photo from right around our one-year anniversary:

Black Tie Affair 1990

This was taken on approximately 14 February 1990 (my guess is the 10th 3rd) at Willamette‘s “Black Tie Affair”, a formal dance held in Portland. Man, we’re a couple of geeks.

Family Reunion

Kris and I attended the Roth family reunion yesterday, as we do every New Year’s Eve. I’ve been going to this reunion ever since I was a little boy. It used to be held in the Smyrna Church between Molalla and Canby. I remember many cold January afternoons spent playing outside or in the kids’ room at the back of the church.

I stopped attending the family reunion when I left for college. It just wasn’t cool to go. About a decade ago, my aunt Virginia prompted me (and many of my cousins) to begin attending again, and I’ve tried to make it ever since. I don’t know everyone (and not everyone knows me), but it’s still fun to chat and to remember old times.

At yesterday’s reunion, this video was a hit:

The first four minutes show the Roth reunion from 1991, when I was a senior in college. I’m not there, of course. Again, it wasn’t cool. And while this video might not seem like much, it’s a fun way to see people who have died in the past twenty years. My father, for example, can be seen at 0:45, waving at the camera. (This is 4-1/2 years before he died.) And my grandfather is the short man in glasses with a white shirt and a tie (he would die that summer at age 88).

At the four minute mark, the video switches to footage taken at the 1954 Roth family reunion. The oldsters in our group yesterday had fun trying to identify everyone. The laughing girl in the plaid coat, for example, is my aunt Virginia, who can also be seen walking through the background of the 1991 video at about the ten second mark.

After we ate and chatted and watched the video, we grouped together for family photos. This is the Daniel Roth family reunion. Daniel had many children, including my grandfather, Noah. Here are a handful of Noah’s many descendants:

Noah Roth Family

My brother Jeff is in the back row, on the far left. His wife Stephanie is standing next to him. I’m the third one from the left, next to Kris. Other prominent “characters” at Folded Space include my cousin Tammy, who is in the pink vest, and my cousin Nick, who is standing to the left of her. My nephew Noah is in the front row, sulking (though who knows why), and his sister Emily is to his right, in a pink shirt.

For more about my family tree, read this post from 2003 that lists my cousins. (Believe it or not, there are actually folks who find this blog and want to know more about my genealogy. They’re all distant cousins, of course, but it still happens.)

Note: That “cousins” post I just linked to is the first “re-mastered” post here at Folded Space. I’m going to g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y move all of the posts from the old site over to here, but it’s going to take a long time. Paul and I may automate the process later this year, but for now it’s a manual thing, and it takes a while.

It’s Not Easy Being a Man

For a long long time I’ve wanted to be be able to support my artistic friends by commissioning them to do art specifically for me. I’ve had this dream ever since I saw some of Nory’s work from the Art Institute of Seattle back in the mid 1990s. I’ve never had the guts — or the dollars — to do anything about this until now.

When I saw that Jolie was painting Tiffany’s Kermit the Frog toy just for kicks, I knew right away that I wanted her to paint a Kermit for me, too. We fixed a price and she got to work. Tomorrow I’ll take delivery of this wonderful piece:

It's Not Easy Being a Man

Jolie calls this “It’s Not Easy Being a Man” (after Kermit’s song “It’s Not Easy Being Green”), which I think is hilarious. And yes, this painting is going to be proudly displayed in the man room, where my gentleman friends gather to sip Scotch now and then (and dream of being able to smoke our tobacco products, if not for the Wrath of Women). Also note that Kermie is sitting on a copy of Your Money or Your Life, the book that helped me turn my financial world around.

Thanks, Jolie. I love it!

The View of Her Tomatoes

Some of the biggest conflicts of our marriage come when Kris and I cannot agree on where to place things. We’ve had huge rows about seating arrangements for dinner parties, for example. And when we receive our furniture shipment later today, I’m sure there’ll be some tension as we try to find the ideal layout.

But for now, this moment, we’re fighting over blueberries.

Kris doesn’t really like blueberries. And because I don’t do as much as I should to help in the garden, she’s leaving the current blueberry project to me. I tore out three of our blueberries (the 25-year-old plants the neighbors gave us) as well as our two gooseberries. Yesterday we bought three new plants, and we have two more coming by mail. It’s up to me to decide where to plant them.

In theory, I’d simply plant them where the old plants were. But the old plants didn’t thrive. Part of this was because I didn’t water them enough, but there’s also the problem that they didn’t get enough sun, and that they were spaced too closely together.

I’d like to create a dedicated blueberry patch in our yard. This morning, I walked through the north side, looking for a place to put the plants. There really isn’t one. The north side gets full sun, but it’s packed with fruit trees. It’s our orchard. There’s really no place to put blueberries.

Fortunately, there are a couple of spaces on the south side of the house that might work. The best spot, in my opinion, is running east-to-west next to the vegetable garden. There’s plenty of space, it gets full sun, and I could alter the soil as needed.

Unfortunately, Kris hates this idea. For some reason, she refuses to let me put the blueberries there. We’ve been butting heads now for an hour.

It occurred to me that I didn’t know exactly why she didn’t want me to plant the blueberries between the house and the vegetable garden. So I asked her. And here was her reply: “They’ll block my view,” she said.

“View of what?” I asked.

“The view of my tomatoes,” she said. “I like to look out and admire them. I try to make the garden beautiful and pleasing to me. I put a lot of work into it. I want to be able to see it.”


Far be it from me to deprive Kris of a view of her tomatoes. She does a lot of work around here, and she deserves to be able to see the fruits of her labor. (Literally.) I’ll find someplace else to put the blueberries. (I’ll probably put them in the spots we had originally designated.)

But when the Man Room furniture comes in a couple of hours, I’m going to be assertive! Just once in our 20+ years together, I’d like to win one of these arguments about where to put things. Kris can’t always be right — can she?


Kris and I spent the weekend in Lincoln City with Michael and Laura and their two children, Ethan and Sophia. We had a fine relaxing time, including good conversation — and a round of miniature golf.

One strange thing we noted: Up the beach from the rental house were several large pieces of driftwood. Driftlogs, if you will. And one of them was burning. There were no flames jutting up from the thing, but it was smoldering with hot embers. This was an enormous log — 20-30 feet long and maybe 8 feet in diameter (though there was a U-shaped gouge down its length) — and it was hot and smoking at both ends. What gives?

Over the course of the weekend, I was able to ply my trade: indoctrination of children. Here we see Ethan and Sophia falling under the sway of a bad, bad man:

Maybe next time I can introduce them to Advanced Comics. Heh.

Speaking of comics indoctrination, Lisa e-mailed me last week and actually asked me to help her indoctrinate Albert. Like I’m going to refuse that? Albert doesn’t know it, but he has some Tintin in his future. And some Little Lulu. And some Disney ducks from Carl Barks.

While we were at Lincoln City, I checked out a couple of bookstores. The first is actually about 20 miles from the coast, almost at the casino. I don’t know what it’s called, but I remember that longer ago — ten years? twenty? — it was a decent bookstore with a fine collection of comic books. It’s not longer a decent bookstore (if it ever was), but it does have some comics.

Unfortunately, they’re all kept in a glass display case. The woman who helped me seemed intent on showing them to me one at a time. Since there were a couple of hundred, I gave up rather quickly. There were some comics I wanted, but they were priced way too high (four times what they ought to have been), and I wasn’t about to spend all day with an old woman piecing them out to me.

Another used bookstore — near the outlet mall — was only rather average. It did have copious collections of railroad and radio books, though. Strange subjects for specialization, but there you go.

But there was one bookstore that took my breath away. It’s amazing. Robert’s Bookshop is located south of the downtown area near the theater multiplex. (Kris says it’s across from the Christmas store.) It doesn’t look like much from outside, but inside it’s a labyrinth of old books. There are paperbacks and hardbacks. There are comics and magazines. There are science fiction books and personal finance books and children’s books and cookbooks.

It’s been a l-o-n-g time since I let loose in a bookstore, but I let loose in Robert’s Bookshop. And I don’t regret it. This store is sort of like what Powell’s used to be back when the latter was a decent bookstore. (Powell’s is a hollow shell of its former self nowadays.)

Our trip to Lincoln City was about more than books and comics, though. I do have some video recorded. If I can find time to edit it, I’ll post a bit to YouTube.