Tuesday, November 09, 2010

some like it hot

we love a sauna. we have built three, two at the same house. well, we built one on a lower level of an outbuilding and moved it to the upper level after the creek came up six inches into the sauna.

our first sauna. that is flooding creek water down there.

the first sauna (pictured above) was lined with old growth redwood salvaged from an old house. we moved the redwood upstairs along with the heater and benches. when we decided to sell that house we replaced the redwood with pine, and packed up the redwood with our household stuff and took it to port townsend.

our sauna in port townsend. the building is about six feet by ten feet.

when we decided to leave port townsend we removed the redwood and replaced it with cedar. now we are now building our last sauna (we hope). it will be lined with our precious sweat-stained redwood that has traveled with us through three moves from port townsend even as we have given away or sold some furniture and appliances.

picture a sauna here.

ready to put on the underfloor. this building is 8 feet by 12 feet. we wanted a bit more room in the sauna for wider benches and a larger anteroom.

why is this man staring at a post?

the current state of construction. that rafter is just sitting up there to give us a clue about the roof slant and overhang.

i have thoroughly enjoyed the physical labor of digging a semi-flat area, leveling pier blocks, and framing a foundation and walls. keeps my mind at rest and seems to ameliorate some of the strange head sensations due to chemo. nailing requires a goodly amount of direct attention. when the mind drifts the hammer hits a finger or thumb. sharpens one's attention. a good thing.

i have finished 3 rounds of the total 8 of chemo. a week off and i start the 4th. my only real complaint is the strange sensations in my head. like a slight pressure in the back and general fuzziness of thought. i am fortunate that so far i have none of the more debilitating side effects: no sores in my mouth, nor on my hands or feet, no diarrhea, no nausea, no hair loss.

our pal bonsai the cat is noticeably perkier than he has been for a while. more inquisitive, more demanding, more talkative. three enemas really cleaned him out, but he is still not as regular as we think he should be.

Robin sez:

PS-- When I was reading this post, I remembered that on our first date (January 13, 1989), we went out to dinner, and during dinner Roger mentioned that he loved saunas. I said, Yay! I love a good sauna, too! He said that that was great news because he had packed some towels in the car and knew of a wonderful place to go for a good sweat. So, after dinner we headed over to Kiva Retreat and took our first sauna together. It's been one of our favorite winter rituals ever since.

PPS-- Oh Bonsai boy, come here, I've got another laxative for you... Poor bound up kitty cat.


  1. Glad to see all this progress Roger. Who said Dharma Bums don't sweat?

    Say hello to Japhy for me when/if you bump into him.

  2. You both sound wonderful, happy, eager and it makes me feel the same way! You are both such an inspiration and I always look forward to your posts! And I love a sauna! Hope you have a great week!


  3. I love that you have been taking such good care of that redwood lumber! Glad the chemo's still going O.K.

  4. Great story. Those of us who grew up in N.CA love us our saunas and ofuros. I remember the sixties when all the artists and poets lived in Mendocino and celebrated the week's end with a giant communal sauna up there in the pygmy forest.

  5. I love this.

    Love, love, LOVE it!

  6. Hot rocks are the cat's meow! All sounds so positive and up...congrats! and keep it up...

  7. I'm pleased to know that you are not suffering too badly from the effects of the chemo. You are lucky.

  8. Entirely wonderful portrait of you at work, roger!

    Love the sauna thread that runs through the years. A Sauna Sutra!

    Has Bonzai ever tried pumpkin? Oboe loves it, as I discovered when she jumped up on the table and started eating from my dish of pumpkin. I have to make sure she doesn't eat too much of it, though. It has lots of good kitty fiber. Dogs like it. too, I understand.

  9. Three enemas! I think I just had a Jethro Kloss flashback!! The sauna looks just about perfect. We love them too, and look forward to finally building one of our very own very soon! Can't wait to see what my woodworker guy decides to use...

  10. glad to hear about the sauna progress and Bonnie feeling better.
    And that Roger is doing as well as one can do on chemo! I am always impressed by Roger's industriousness. Would have been a fine pioneers, the two of you.
    Except the internet part.

  11. Glad to see that the chemo has not effected your charpentry skills or your sense of humor.

  12. do ya suppose that a few rounds of chemo would help me build a sauna??? (bad joke) More of a hot tub fan myself (but you knew that) but I'm so glad you've been working on your little hut of sweat. It's already bringing you satisfaction, and it's not even done yet.

    I would love to sweat in it sometime.

    Congrats on the latest round of chemo!

  13. A home-made sauna, that's great!

    Have a peek into Malaysia at:


  14. Great job on the sauna roger. Sweat is good, whether sitting over hot rocks or slinging a hammer.
    So glad Bonsai is doing better. Try that pumpkin "am" mentioned. Mighty dog gets a dose every day and it works wonders. My cats would get some but they don't like it.
    Congrats big time on 1100. What an accomplishment.

  15. hoping the fogginess will resolve when the chemo ends. it has with those i know.

    glad you have this special project to focus on to enhance your concentration. looks like you have more energy than most of the general population! so glad to hear you are moving through this phase with good health and strength, roger!

  16. Wow! I'm totally impressed. Surprisingly enough, I do not like saunas despite the fact that I spend the last 30 minutes of the day soaking in the tub.

    Glad things are going well for you, Roger. I have no doubt part of the reason is your tremendous attitude and courage.

  17. love the sauna photos, looking good!
    glad Roger is doing so well during chemo, you are one cool dude Roger!

    ask the vet if sub q, fluids would help him and keep you from having to do enemas.

  18. Wow. Looking forward to more photos!

    Glad to hear you're doing well, Roger.

  19. Wow! What a lot of work! Saunas are great, though, so the work is worth it.

    Poor Bonsai. I hope the laxative worked.

  20. nailing requires a goodly amount of direct attention. when the mind drifts the hammer hits a finger or thumb. sharpens one's attention. a good thing. Kind of like when a Zen master whacks a meditating student across the back with a stick! That's a thought: a hammer as a sort of bodhisattva.

    As others have mentioned, that thread of the redwood lumber that followed you through your various homes is delightful. I wish you many wonderful sweats in your new sauna.

    Yay for Roger doing well. I've got my fingers crossed for Bonsai.

  21. Wow, Roger, you're energetic, that's great!
    I wonder if Bonsai's pooping problem has anything to do with dehydration. Does he drink a good amount of water?
    Hey, have a swell weekend, you guys.

  22. It's great to see you can find comfort in the work. It sure looks like a very well-built sauna! Looks like hurricane straps holding it down. How deep do footings have to be in your area?

  23. Ah man you guys made me miss home. I'm from Finland, home of the sauna. Feels good to sweat it out once in a while :)

  24. Now that's what I'd call dedication to your sauna indeed. If you've clung on to it after several relocations, it's definitely a staple of your household already. I'm glad that not only do you still enjoy having saunas, you also enjoy constructing a new home for it. Let's hope this one last for a long, long time to come.

    iHealth Saunas