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Sassea Sails

SAILING, METAPHORS, ADVENTURE,

Letters I’ve Written, Blogging for Blabbing and Memoiring Maybe

Having been a blogger for about 20 years now, I finally decided to write my memoir. Writing with the intent of printing a book, though is different than blogging. Blogging, for me is way to vent, to puke out whatever thoughts come to my mind. There have been times when my blogging had a hidden theme. Themes included  a never before vocabulary word, using only 3 sentences in a paragraph, or admitting a less than desirable action.

Writing a memoir for the world to read is a little different. Committed to making others look good, to show their sunny side, and avoid any words that might upset or offend someone is a challenge. How does one bear their soul, share intimate stories, or explain deep feelings without offending?

What I do know is that I have a compulsion to write. When I graduated high school and my best friend at the time went off to college, I wrote to her every single day. A boy I liked, Frank,  at the time was serving our country as a soldier in Korea. I wrote and mailed him a letter every single day. He wrote back nearly every day, as well. Upon his return I learned he had been living with a little lovely during his time overseas. Though glad to end any possibilities with a romance I wish I kept the letters.

Forgetting about ‘boys’ I idled my time writing a story using the titles of songs. It went something like this:”Oh, Mr. Postman, look and see,” I “Aint Misbehavin.’ and I ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” even though “All my Rowdy Friends” are having a “Blue Monday.”   On and on it went. As I recall it was at least ten pages handwritten filling both sides of notebook paper. If only I kept that as well.

So, from silly lyrics to assertively written letters in which I pour my heart out to people whose behavior leaves me feeling hurt or misunderstood, to blogging and now to memoir writing here I am blabbing on. What keeps me motivated with an unstoppable compulsion? It is an internal urge. What will propel me to writing a successful memoir though is my friend Linda McGarry, who holds me accountable for not just paying my bills on time, but for encouraging me to write.

The Magic of Day

From darkness to daylight is magical, my favorite time of the day. Living in Cocoa, Florida the darkest hour meant get up and drive to the beach to catch the first wave at the crack of dawn. Living on SPRAY, dawn’s early light signaled the time to weigh anchor. After a good morning stretch, I would step up into the cockpit and be amazed as if I were in some wonderland. The sense of accomplishment resulting from forty years of learning what I could about sailing, the people who taught me and those who shared my many adventures all came into view. To this day every morning is greeted with the recognition of someone in my life; a principal I worked for, a student who touched my heart, or a disgruntled parent have equal time in my personal benediction.

Now, far from the sea, on the arid southern Colorado terrain, 7000 feet above sea level the miracle of daylight brings that same appreciation for all who have been a part of my life. From cousins like Peter Pearsall and Jane Trudeau Weisman, who I barely know, to my sister, Jane, whose caring for others is an admirable trait I lack, to family and friends along the way, I have visions of the faces of those I have had the privilege to know.

Two paragraphs ago, when I started typing today’s blog entry, I could only see the reflection of what is inside the house out my living room window. Now the Sangre de Cristo snow-capped mountains are coming into view. Gently rocking in synch with the swaying leaves on the pinon trees, mother nature and I are waving in a new day. A hint of sunshine is adding a red tinge to the earlier morning’s dark brown ground. A tiny bird flits from one feeder to the next.

Footsteps coming from the bedroom bring the joy of having a loved one to share another day. With Passover and Easter being celebrated around the world I will take time to add another stone to my appreciation garden. Each name I paint on a specially chosen stone is accompanied by a prayer of gratitude. With all the weirdness, frustration and joy, transitions from night to day, from surfing to cruising to mountaineering, from one love toward another, thankfully, I am a better me. Bless you!

Dawn to Dusk,,,

There he was. Or, was he a she? When I turned from filling the bird feeders I looked toward the trees behind the shed while imitating the flock of larks who were hungrily waiting for their day’s ration. Then, my eyes drifted downward. A stump about 3 feet high caught my attention. I tried to recall if I had ever noticed it before. Squinting as one would to clearly make out the markings two eyes were staring back at me. As still as the tree I initially thought I was looking at took a more defined shape. With his head erect and body pointing straight at me, I was reminded of Lucas, a four or five month old lion that I was fortunate to play with years ago while in South Africa. The only notable difference was that Lucas was a golden color typical of lions. This cat was wearing grey and his eyes the color of an ordinary house cat. In fact, his whole body resembled a pet many cat lovers enjoy as a companion.

This cat, the one standing about 3 feet from the house and about twenty yards from me, looked like a giant house cat. He/she didn’t meow or  grimace. He/she remained still, save for the wind perking up his/her thick coat. Wanting my mate to see, I stupidly started yelling in the direction of the upstairs loft where I knew he was inside doing his morning exercises. “Ron, Ron, you gotta see this.” Because he didn’t respond to my wailing, I slowly walked up onto the deck and opened the front door. Thankfully, Ron was already on his way outside. “Shush,”  he whispered, “and move slowly.”

Being the coward I am I stayed an inch or two behind Ron stepping into his footsteps as he peered around the west corner of the house. Only ten yards in front of us, the cat continued to stare at us. Then as quietly as he had been, he turned his head and slowly walked away from us and into the woods.

As if this wasn’t enough excitement for a city girl, while the sun was setting later in the day, a hefty, healthy looking  doe strolled into our front yard. For about fifteen minutes she nibbled at the bird seed beneath the juniper tree about 30 yards from our front door.  Her big ears turning in different directions. We were inside and taking pictures. The bird feeder is an actual tea cup, the kind fancy ladies sip from so there isn’t much seed in the cup when I fill it every other morning. Yet, this majestic ruminant mammal   nibbled, and nibbled for about 15 minutes,  yet still leaving enough for two birds to dive into the cup after the she strolled away.

Wow, a deer and a bobcat in our yard; one at dawn and the other at dusk. Quite a day for a city girl…

 

 

Blaming Fate

It must be fate that wiles my activities in its effort to hold me accountable. The epifocal of my plans to move to a more remote environment than the overcrowded lifestyle lived for the past 50 years, was designed to lure me into a new career as a writer. Yet, the seemingly tranquil, too cold to go outside, climate here in arid southern Colorado, has not exactly kept me indoors.

Knowing fitness would continue to be a priority, I participated in a “Hike on New Year’s Day” event held at Lathrop State Park about five miles from our home on the range. As the group of hikers, whom I had never seen before, gathered to hear the Rangers’ plan for the start of the year right adventure, I asked to make an announcement. Swallowing hard and grimacing when the ranger waved me toward the center of the room a thundering silence bombarded e my brain. “Will someone want to go hiking with me?” was the voice of a lifetime of  rejections that infiltrated my frontal lobe. Still, I persisted.

Polly, a tall radiant blonde wearing a multi colored knit ski hat with long braided tails raised her hand. Without hesitation she spoke right up.  “I love to hike and have been hoping to find a partner.” We decided to meet after the hike. It was a fairly easy climb to the summit at Lake Lathrop State Park in Walsenburg, Colorado (about 5 miles from my house).  Located on the north side of the  park, the trail provided several scenic views of two lakes and several mountain ranges in all four directions. The ranger took time to explain the geological history of the park and describe the features of the varied flora and fauna. None of his words took hold. My focus was on navigating the terrain. From small pebbles to flat topped boulders I was embracing each step.

After the hour long  hike the group reconvened in the visitor center. The park ranger and his staff of one provided healthy snacks, chili, coffee, and bottled water for the participants. Polly and I found each other in the group.  Being excited to be meeting at least one person my confidence encouraging others lifted my spirits. I again announced, “Any ladies interested in future hikes, please join us.”

Donna, a healthy looking gal about my age offered a seat next to her. Her spoken resume of hiking many of Colorado’s 14 ers (mountains with a summit of at least 14,000 feet above sea level), and other adventures as a career firewoman were intriguing. Despite her choosing to not join us on future hikes  (at least not so far),  Polly and I marked our calendars for the following Tuesday. That was the first week in January. Ever since, we have hiked 2 – 4 hours each week; each week on a different trail.  This past week two other gals joined us. Slowly our hiking experience is growing in numbers and terrain.

Hiking provides inspiration for memoiring. Past experiences from childhood up to today my life is filled with bittersweet memories. Some bring so much joy my laugh echoes across the meadows. Others turn on the faucet that like a dam opens to let the tears flow. Still others, the ones that perplex me the most are the irritations like jealousy that infuriate. While these thoughts provide impetus for writing, fate is being blamed for spending my time doing other things than writing.

Learning to play the piano and ukulele are an example. Three years ago I began taking piano lessons. A requisite for buying a house included the purchase of a piano. My battery operated piano keyboard had become a necessary  accouterment when traveling. A real piano has class, it adds to the ambiance of a home filled with music. Still, the portable piano was to be my travel companion. Its bulky maneuvering in the van led to the purchase of a ukulele. What I acquired was three distractors from writing: hiking, and playing the piano and ukulele.

Fate further infiltrated. Moving to SOCO (southern Colorado)  held the promise of a return to another love, skiing. During the first two months it was easy to dismiss slope surfing (my interpretation of downhill skiing. Using the need to get familiar with my new life in rural America, I lied to myself. “I’ll wait until next winter to take up skiing. After all it would be a 3 hour one way drive to the slopes and being as Ron and I are renewing our lives as a couple I did not want to go out of town without him. Skiing would wait, I silently repeated almost once a day.

Unexpectedly on a chilly winter’s day watching freshly fallen snow outside our living room window, a well respected sailing friend from the ’80s and ’90s sent me a compelling text. “Hi Marlene, I’ll be skiing next week. You and Ron can ski then spend the night with me and Kris.” Can you guess how long it took to respond? Well, fate insisted I leave the next morning at 5:30 for Wolf Creek Ski Area. Ron chose to stay home.  At $100 a day for fuel, equipment rental and lift tickets, there goes the budget along with another non writing day. And, there goes the budget…

Lest I forget my agreement to create a flyer for our neighborhood “Best Tasting Chili Contest,” prepare at least one meal a day, update my computer and phone at the local coffee shop where they offer free wi-fi, a weekly trip two hour round trip to Pueblo for groceries, dental appointment, lead the one hour walk around the neighborhood,  join my sweet for our evening  fire side chats, engage in a 45 minute fitness routine, e-mai friends, play a few rounds of Words with Friends, check the mail, organize tax documents, check on investments, listen to the radio for the ubiquitous political drama, and lastly, put another log on the fire.

Whew! just listing these endeavors tires me out. It must be fate. After all, the better part of my life has been spent contriving an escape from boredom. If I believe I can control these urges to do so many different things, than I feel undisciplined. If I blame fate, I more easily accept my failure to follow through. Oh, dear, I ask, “What’s a girl to do?”

 

 

 

 

Motivation Times Three

First, what motivates me more than an unexpected call to go skiing? In my present state of mind, not much else. Welcoming a new chapter in my life, skiing with friends, Simon and Krissy,  from our sailing past is remarkable…(Wishing Danny was here)

Second, what gratitude fills my heart with more than an unexpected call from a friend. Similar to me, she has crossed from one life style to another. Her reminder of the power of an ‘ant’ led me to copy the words to Frank Sinatra’s song “High Hopes.” If an ant can move a rubber tree plant, surely Max and I can move mountains…

Third, what sailboat intrigues me more than any other style than a try. Whether sailing my 17 foot Windrider or sailing offshore on my 35 foot Marples, tris are the way to go. Relatively fast and relatively flip over proof like my sailing friend Suky, we shall forever lust over these fine designs. Oh yea, what motivated me today was that I finally read a comment in which Suky reminded me of a typo. Need to change a prior post on Validation from listing to lusting…

If you believe in things coming in threes, well today was my day.

Cheers and please remember to provide me with feedback, check me out on facebook (can’t believe I am addicted to it) or zip me an e-mail: sassythesailor@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Bittersweet n Blue

Blue outerwear, a favorite color with twenty circular rows of stitching on each sleeve.

Stitches equal in length to the thickness of a toe nail.

Lightweight, expensive, name brand, stylish.

Worn alone or layered.

Compact, comfy perfect fit.

Hand warming pockets, zippered chest pockets, with hidden pockets inside.

Shiny lining.

Water resistant for sitting on a snow-covered log.

All the makings of a perfect piece of apparel.

Photogenic .

Silky smooth to the touch.

A perfect match for a couple in love.

A Yuppie garment usually detested in favor

Of Goodwill jackets usually embraced.

With all the goodwill it was meant to represent.

But didn’t quite measure up!

Homo or Neo

“23 and Me” is a company that provides information about one’s past based on a DNA sample. Their report includes the belief that modern people evolved from either Homo Sapiens or Neanderthals. Learning about the traits of each revealed that I evolved from Homo Sapiens. Someone dear to me evolved from Neanderthal. This determination was based on a single trait noted in some of the research. Neanderthals tend to be hairy. You know those people with dark long hair on their legs, arms and back.  Further intrigue about this concept came from a book by Robert Fritz, Your Life as Art. Fritz contends that as a civilization Homo Sapiens created art. Neanderthals did not.

As research continues let us hope one’s ancestors adds interest to the differences that make each of us interesting. No longer will we only consider race, religion, and nationality. Now we will ask, “So, are you homo or neo?”  Let us hope it matters not as to how relationships will evolve…

Three Strikes

Here I go again getting impatient because someone didn’t respond to my rant. So, instead of quietly ignoring the situation and leaving the ball in their park I threw another pitch. This brings me back to an old philosophy of mine.

Three strikes and I am out. Anytime I failed to do something on the first try I reminded myself to allow two more failures before changing my tune. This worked when sailing, counseling, and doing a domestic chore.

In sailing it was imperative to keep a roster of five for each race. My roster included up to ten. How many times did I call each person? No more than 3. I figured if someone didn’t respond after that they either didn’t want to say ‘no,’ or were too busy. I certainly didn’t want to be a nag.

In counseling I would allow three sessions to solve a problem. In the school system counselors rarely have time to engage in long term therapy. Hence the genre ‘brief counseling’ was coined. If after the 3rd session the problem wasn’t solved a recommendation another counselor with whom the student, parent, or teacher might want to consider meeting with.

In the domestic arena I was negligent. There were too many other things I would rather do. Domestics included dinner with family like those Thanksgiving traditions where everyone would sit around the table and overeat. Then, the men would plop in a cushy chair and fall asleep watching football on TV. The women talked about future plans, bashed the men or  gossiped. I probably tried a zillion of these experiences. Way more than three.

With relationships I always want to end encounters in  peace. Although it took me some sixty years to come to this position with my sister. I am thankful her and I have finally met in the middle. At the first inkling of a misunderstanding or annoyance we confront each other. Within a day or two we rehash until we reach a satisfactory understanding. In some cases we decide a topic is not one we choose to engage in. And, so it goes with my mate.

On another tack, when I want to turn an acquaintance into a friendship do I use the same baseball rule before giving up?  I think I will because just like calling a dear friend if they don’t return my calls after 3 attempts a voice shouts in my head, “Quit being a nudge or an annoyance, they will call when they are ready.” Current score is two to none.

OOOOOOOO, I almost forgot between now and my birthday a hiking friend, Polly, and I will attempt to climb our first 14er. If we fail, do we try two more times then give up?

Happy Trails

 

 

Hemingway’s way of writing…

According to Jeff Goin’s blog (Goinswriter.com) Hemingway once remarked on his writing process during those early days in Paris as a fledgling writer:

All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.

So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then

because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say.

Isn’t there at least one true sentence you can say?

 

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