Episode 58: Tree House, My Hobby

Icebreaker shirts
Leavenworth, WA
One-star Google restaurant reviews
Tree houses

Episode 58: Tree House, My Hobby Shel We Read a Poem?

Icebreaker shirtsLeavenworth, WAOne-star Google restaurant reviewsTree housesHobbiesSinusesDizzinessEpisode transcript here: https://laurenhudgins.com/2022/04/04/episode-58-tree-house-my-hobby/shelwereadapoem@gmail.com@ShelWeRead


Intro music

British Voice: Shel We Read a Poem.

Russ: Hello all and welcome to Shel We Read a Poem. I’m Russ.

Lauren: I’m Lauren.

Russ: Lauren, we wasted our cold open today.

Lauren: Oh, that’s right. We can’t have a cold open now because we already announced ourselves.

Russ: And we already discussed it because I was gonna say, “What kind of shirt is that you’re wearing?”

Lauren: It’s an Icebreaker shirt.

Russ: And then I was going to say, “You mean a kind of shirt that is meant to invite conversation?”

Lauren: No, it’s a wool shirt. Icebreaker is a brand.

Russ: Oh, I was thinking it was some sort of sweater I’ve never heard of before. And now you have all heard a dramatic reenactment of what happened 37 seconds before the podcast started.

Lauren: I didn’t think it was that interesting.

Russ: Laughs. I’m the star of my own show.

Lauren: Laughs. Sometimes you’re the star of my show, too, Russ. Russ laughs. I went to Leavenworth.

Russ: I have tabs open online. Both laugh. I was so gleeful when you started sending me photos. Because this is the kind of place where people have poodles named Gertrude.

Wells Fargo ATM with frilly scroll font under a wooden shelter that looks possibly Bavarian.

Lauren: Laughs. I sent you photos mainly on Friday, the day I got there. And when I got there, I was just like, “Ugh, this place is so cheesy,” as if I was expecting something else. And then I slept really well, because I don’t do well with cars. And it’s a five hour drive from Portland to Leavenworth. And so like I was just, I was just in a bad mood on Friday. I had a nasty headache from… and I’d gotten carsick on the way there and so I was in a bad mood. Then I woke up after I slept 12 hours. The place I stayed in was really fancy, but for some reason all of the furniture had no support in it at all. So you had to… even the dining chairs, you had to either sit on the very front or on the very back to get some support from the structure of the furniture and the bed was like that, too. And I still managed to sleep 12 hours, and then I woke up and I felt a whole lot better. And so I went from “Ugh, this town so cheesy” to “Ooh, this town is so cheesy!”

Russ: What I have… the first photo was of a Wells Fargo ATM that seems to have its own log cabin built around it. So then I asked about the minority population of Leavenworth and come to find out that Leavenworth is a solid 91% white.

Lauren: I don’t think they are really even that many people who live there. It seems to be almost entirely for tourists.

Russ: Well, that is very interesting that you say because I got really interested in Leavenworth for, you know, 75 seconds…

Lauren: The Slovang of the north.

Russ: …and I found a story from KUOW, which is apparently an NPR affiliate up there. And the headline is dated January 12 2022. Leavenworth has become über expensive, pricing out the people who work there

Lauren: Yep. Yep. Though, the people who work there hate the tourists. Man, every single person who served me just hated me. Just hated me. And I wasn’t… I mean, I guess I was kind of bitchy at one place. But in general, it wasn’t a problem. There was one restaurant that was very full of itself, and the food was not great. And it had a food that was advertised as “potato poppers.” And I was like: That sounds good. I need an appetizer. I’ll have potato poppers. And then they showed up with the potato poppers, and they were just, they were just potatoes. Just potatoes, just small little potatoes, new potatoes, but just potatoes. And then I was kind of snide, because I was like, “This is just potatoes.” She didn’t like me, but I don’t think she liked anyone

Russ: It says 80% of those folk—that is to say the workers—don’t live in Leavenworth. 30% of the houses that you see are second homes.

Lauren: Yeah, it seemed like almost everything was either a second home or rental. They had a lot of lots with several houses on them for rentals. And that just seemed to be the way it was. Also the restaurant that I went to with the “just potatoes,” if you give them bad reviews on Google the owner responds and a really like “Fucking stay out!” sort of way.

Russ: Can we hear your review and the owner’s response?

Lauren: He hasn’t responded to my review yet. I gave it a three star because I was like, “Well, that wasn’t the worst.”

Russ: I guess we probably shouldn’t doxx them; that would be mean. So with that…

Lauren: The restaurant was called Yodelin Broth. It was called Yodelin Broth. Russ laughs. Things are overpriced and not that fancy. Not that great. I had a vegan item and it is just Tom Kha soup. It is just Tom Kha soup, which is fine. I like Tom Kha soup but don’t pretend it’s not Tom Kha soup. And nothing against Tom Kha soup or Thai cuisine. The thing is they were selling Thai cuisine, as if it wasn’t Thai cuisine, which to me seemed kind of appropriative

Russ: Located in the Bavarian Ritz. And now here I am scrolling for angry reviews.

Lauren: Go look at some one star reviews. See what the owner has to say about it.

Russ: Oh, oh, yes. Okay, this is a review from Chris, who writes, “My daughter made a reservation here at 7:30 on a Saturday. We showed up promptly at the top of the stairs where they’re trying to corral people due to obvious reason…” Interesting.

Lauren: Also corral is spelled “coral.”

Russ: Coral. Yes. “We wait at the top for over five minutes not seeing anyone managing the floor so we make our way to investigate finally a quote gentleman, rudely asked us who we are and barks that we are really late and he’ll need to see if you can fit this in because our reservation was first seven. By the way, I heard my daughter say 7:30 when she called. We made our way back up the stairs and in less than two minutes he’s calling our name to be seated. I was in shock at the whole experience and asked his name He informed he’s the owner.” And here’s the owner, “Good. Please don’t come back. Go ahead rewrite history. Seems to be a common trend these days. Your inability to see what’s going on around you. Yodelin works way too hard to deal with groups like yourselves. Audios go eat in the street.”

Lauren: Yeah, I don’t know what that means at all.

Russ: I feel like they have a T-shirt now. “Yodelin Broth: Audios go eat in the street.”

Lauren: Laughs. I think maybe they were trying to write “Idiots go eat in the street” but maybe they just autocorrected stuff. I don’t know.

Russ: I was going to say, what autocorrects to audios?

Lauren: I don’t know.

Russ: Assholes? Duck you! Anyway.

Lauren: Yeah. I don’t know if I’ll get a mean response. But if I do, I will be delighted.

Russ: Here’s hoping. Well, what are you reading today?

Lauren: Okay. I am doing “Tree House.”

A tree house, a free house,
A secret you and me house,
A high up in the leafy branches
Cozy as can be house.

A street house, a neat house,
Be sure and wipe your feet house
Is not my kind of house at all—
Let’s go live in a tree house.

And yes, there’s a picture. So where did the picture go. Okay. Yes, it’s a tree house. It is like a tree with some rungs nailed into the tree to act as a ladder, which I don’t really advise doing. Those things come out of the tree very easily. And then there is a pretty simple tree house. It’s just one room with a window. Actually, this is not so simple. It has a window next to the door and a little circle window above the door. And it has a rope leading down. I’m not sure if that’s for swinging or if it’s for raising and lowering like baskets of goods.

Russ: Lord.

Lauren: The tree is very Giving Tree looking except this one has not been chopped down. Maybe the boy chop down the other tree to make his tree house.

Russ: Oh, lord. Don’t get me started on The Giving Tree. Did you ever play in a tree house?

Lauren: Not really.

Russ: Not really? I did.

Lauren: There were some platforms. I guess there was I don’t think I’ve ever been in an actual treehouse. We should discuss what makes a tree house tree house.

Russ: Is it a house that’s in a tree?

Lauren: Well, is it in the tree? Or sometimes people build houses, they’re like right up against the tree and call it a tree house that does not support it. Does it need to be supported by the tree?

Russ: Yes. A tree house is supported by the trees. Madness. A house next to a tree, that’s a tree house? Oh, sir. Sir, you’re making a scene.

Lauren: So did you play in a tree house?

Russ: I did. My best friend growing up had a tree house and so…

Lauren: What was it like?

Russ: It was exactly as you imagined a tree house would be it was… 1-2-3-4-5 pieces of plywood with two nailed on top to make a roof. Very, very simple. And there was a simple ladder leading up to it.

Lauren: I hope it was an actual ladder and not like in the picture with just some pieces of wood nailed into the tree.

Russ: I am trying to remember, but my brain is trying to invent a memory and I can’t tell which one is true.

Lauren: See, I say I’ve never played in a tree house but I’m having a memory of something that is very mildewed I don’t know where it’s coming from.

Russ: Is it a bathtub?

Lauren: No. I mean, it’s like…

Russ: …a tree tub.

Lauren: It’s like a one room structure that might be in a tree and it smells kind of like, you know, the rain’s been getting in.

Russ: Yes. This was one room. Did yours have a roof on it, this mildewed thing?

Lauren: Yes.

Russ: Okay, so probably not a bathtub.

Lauren: No. Why are your bathtubs mildewed?

Russ: Well, this one isn’t?

Lauren: Well, my bathtub is not usually mildewed.

Russ: My current one isn’t. But, you know, I have been single at points in my life.

Lauren: I mean, my bathtub can have strange smells, but it’s not usually mildew.

Russ: Is it mildew, that black stuff that forms in crevices of a bathtub? That’s not mildew?

Lauren: I don’t think so.

Russ: Oh, when I was growing up, my parents always called that mildew.

Lauren: Well, let’s look it up. I don’t think mildew usually grows on non… Well, I guess grout’s kind of porous. I don’t think mildew usually grows on not super porous surfaces.

Russ: What is the black stuff on tile grout? Mold, mildew, or dirt.

Lauren: Okay. Yes, mildew does happen in the shower. I haven’t had showers with tile in a long time.

Russ: Hmm. That was a magical conversation we went on.

Lauren: Wow. Oh, dear.

Russ: I don’t think any listener will find it interesting. But now they’ve learned something. Why did you pick this poem, Lauren?

Lauren: Because I was in Leavenworth. Russ laughs. The fancy-ass lodge that my friend booked…

Russ: I saw photos. Was it was it made of logs or just heavily wood based?

Lauren: This is very heavily wood based. And it had a really weird layout. But it was fancy. The furniture looked fancy, but had no support. But apparently if you went on a little path behind the house, there was a tree house and I never looked at it. So I couldn’t actually verify if it was a real actually supported by a tree house. But apparently there are beds in it and you can pay extra money to rent that too.

Russ: Oh, my dear gracious. I would have been rushing to find out.

Lauren: We were doing so much. And I was often tired.

Russ: How was the birthday?

Lauren: Oh, it was fun. I had a great time. Except for the car ride.

Russ: Except for the car ride.

Lauren: Yeah. We went out and had dinner.

Russ: Well, at least one at least one terrible one.

Lauren: Yeah, but we did a really, really strenuous hike beforehand, and I am still sore.

Russ: Ooh, nice.

Lauren: My calves are still sore. And the views were just amazing. I assume they chose the Bavarian theme because of the mountains.

Russ: But no follow up on the tree house.

Lauren: No, there was so much to do all the time that I didn’t actually go to a tree house that I couldn’t get into. But in retrospect, I wish I had gone out just to be like: yep, that’s the tree house.

Russ: Well, I have a poem.

Lauren: Good.

Russ: I am reading “My Hobby.”

Lauren: Okay.

Russ: When you spit from the twenty-sixth floor
And it floats on the breeze to the ground
Does it fall upon hats or on white Persian cats
Or on heads, with a pitty-pat sound?

I used to think life was a bore
But I don’t feel that way anymore
As I count up the hits, as I smile as I sit
As I spit from the twenty-sixth floor

And there is no accompanying illustration.

Lauren: Thank goodness. Although I would like a picture of an angry Persian cat

Russ: Getting spit upon.

Lauren: Kitten spitten. Have you ever seen a kitten do what’s called spit?

Russ: I’ve seen them hiss.

Lauren: Spitting is like khak! They they like lunge and make a like a very short hiss sound. It’s called spitting. So when you hear of a cat “hissing and spitting” that’s what they’re doing.

Russ: Huh. I have seen them do that. I didn’t know that was called spitting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen spittle leave their mouth.

Lauren: No. It’s just called spitting even though there’s no…

Russ: …even though they don’t spit. Laughs. Words have meaning, Russ? No, they don’t. Is it flammable? Is it inflammable? Do they mean the same thing? Why did I pick this poem?

Lauren: Yes. Why did you pick this poem?

Russ: Oh, kind of weirdly existential reasons. I have no idea why it crossed my mind, but like the notion of using time to pass the time. And maybe it’s because I’m about to turn 40, but that suddenly became scary to me. It’s like “What are you doing?” “Oh, just passing the time, whittling it away before the grave.” That kind of thing. And then I got into the etymology of like, “why hobbies are called hobbies?”

Lauren: Well, why are hobbies called hobbies?

Russ: Just so I don’t misquote… ‘In the 16th century, the term “hobyn” had the meaning of “small horse and pony”. The term “hobby horse” was documented in a 1557 payment confirmation for a “Hobbyhorse” from Reading, England. The item, originally called a “Tourney Horse”, was made of a wooden or basketwork frame with an artificial tail and head. It was designed for a child to mimic riding a real horse. By 1816 the derivative, “hobby”, was introduced into the vocabulary of a number of English people. Over the course of subsequent centuries, the term came to be associated with recreation and leisure. In the 17th century, the term was used in a pejorative sense by suggesting that a hobby was a childish pursuit, however, in the 18th century with more industrial society and more leisure time, hobbies took on greater respectability. A hobby is also called a pastime, derived from the use of hobbies to pass the time.”

Lauren: Alright.

Russ: And, you know, thinking about what a waste of time my hobbies are, which are, you know, playing video games and watching movies…

Lauren: You’re really good at it, though.

Russ: …yelling about movies, and then from time to time I read a book.

Lauren: I enjoy you yelling about movies. I listen to Hey, James, Watch This.

Russ: Oh, Thank you. And isn’t that the point? If you’re enjoying the time, is the time really being wasted? What else are we gonna do with it? Sit around in dread?

Lauren: That’s maybe my hobby.

Russ: Laughs. What do you do in your kitchen? Think about death.

Lauren: I spent a lot of my 20s drunk, sobbing on the kitchen floor… on the dirty kitchen floor sort of being like Imitates sobbing. What am I doing with my life?

Russ: The insertion of “dirty” right before “kitchen floor,” that took it from tragic to profoundly tragic.

Lauren: Yeah, I mean, it sucks when you’re really drunk and despairing and you’re like, “Oh, God, the floor is dirty. And you turn your head and you see under the oven.”

Russ: Laughs. On the plus side, it would give you something to do.

Lauren: No, I didn’t clean it. I just was like, sad that it was dirty.

Russ: Tell me if you’ve experienced the same thing. I am starting to crave more audio/visual stimulation when I’m doing something hobby-ish. So yeah, I’m playing video games, I’m focused on the video game, and that’s what I’m playing. But I might have something playing on like my laptop next to me. And it’s something it’s nothing new. It’s something that like, if I looked down, I would immediately know the plot of you know, like a movie I’ve seen 1000 times or something

Lauren: That’s common for a lot of people. I tend to do more the opposite: I watch something and do something else at the same time. Usually, it’s crocheting.

Russ: And your hobby is one of the productive kind.

Lauren: I mean, I pretty much just turn out hat after hat after hat after hat after hat after hat after hat. Because I don’t have to think about it.

Russ: I would also learn that hobbyists are identified under three subcategories: casual leisure, which is intrinsically rewarding, serious leisure, which is the pursuit of an amateur hobbyist or volunteer that is rewarding and results in the sense of accomplishment, and project based leisure which is often one off and short term.

Lauren: Well, what do you do for anxiety based leisure?

Russ: Laughs. Anxiety based leisure.

Lauren: That’s my crocheting is. It’s anxiety pacifying.

Russ: It would probably be casual leisure, wouldn’t it?

Lauren: Guess so.

Russ: I also love here that they differentiate between amateurists and professionals, indicating that amateur astronomers have discovered some, you know, very famous celestial bodies. And I think if you do that you automatically become a professional.

Lauren: Hmm, I mean, I think it depends on whether you get… The real distinction is do you get paid for it or not?

Russ: Fair.

Lauren: I think if you get regularly paid for something, that’s the distinction between an amateur and a professional,

Russ: So you couldn’t make money off your hobby?

Lauren: Not regularly.

Russ: Interesting.

Lauren: According to me.

Russ: I was also thinking about how one of my hobbies when I was younger I think prepared me for the rest of life, because when I was in high school, I would perform magic shows for small children’s birthday parties. And while I still have the ability to do at least one card trick, what I more gained from it was empowerment when public speaking.

Lauren: Nice. I’m not very good at spitting.

Russ: You’re not very good at spitting? What about with not with your saliva, but like with watermelon seeds?

Lauren: I mean, I guess I don’t know. Probably not great at it. Russ laughs. I don’t think I’m very good at projecting with my mouth like that. Also, I can’t hock loogies.

Russ: I don’t think that’s necessarily a negative thing.

Lauren: But like, I like absolutely can’t. I think it’s some way the way my sinuses are constructed.

Russ: Also, you’d have to be a foul bastard to hock a loogie on the street. And good, dod, do I have to step over those things. They’re like dog poop. You can’t aim for the bushes? You can’t see the bush? It’s right there. The bush is right there.

Lauren: Yes, there are some times when I’m like out exercising, and since I have asthma, I tend to over produce mucus when I exercise. And I’m like, “Please just spit it out. Please!” And I can’t.

Russ: You never learned that that particular throat wracking?

Lauren: No, I can’t do it. But I really wish I could when I’m having asthma problems.

Russ: I could do it in the microphone right now, but I hate that sound on other people’s podcast.

Lauren: No! I don’t like the sound of it. I don’t want the sound of it. I’m just saying that I don’t think I really know how.

Russ: I wonder if there’s a YouTube video.

Lauren: See, I’m not sure it’s even possible for me to do it, though. I think maybe it’s possible that my sinuses are just not up to it.

Russ: I saw a video of a Japanese comedian, Masatoshi Hamada, who is physically unable to become dizzy.

Lauren: That’s awesome.

Russ: It’s very interesting. He’s been put to the test multiple times. And you know, like that race where you take the baseball bat and lean over and put your nose down on it and spin in a circle a bunch of times and then you try to run across the field or whatever? He just runs in a straight line. Like it doesn’t do anything.

Lauren: That’s wonderful. I wonder if there any drawbacks to this?

Russ: None that he’s noted. Then they built a machine that spun him very, very quickly. And again, that had no effect.

Lauren: I want this.

Russ: And it’s been speculated that there’s probably some sort of damage to his semicircular canal, but nothing else seems to go wrong.

Lauren: As somebody who gets motion sick on a park swing, I want that.

Russ: Motion sickness on of park swing.

Lauren: Yeah.

Russ: Well, do you have any uplifting thoughts for our listeners?

Lauren: Russ recommended the show Kotaro Lives Alone and I watched it and it is really wonderful. It’s sad but also sweet and hopeful.

Russ: Oh my dear heavenly goodness. Stop whatever you’re doing and go watch Kotaro Lives Alone. Right now.

Outro music.