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WTF — A New Meaning

Photo taken by Ron Ouellette of Hiking Friends Polly n Chris on  4/27/18  West Spanish Peak Mountain

I stand corrected regarding my three previous blogs on WTF. Rather than continue to curse the injustice I felt when Ron did not wake from his sleep, my focus has shifted to a more tenable response. Last Thursday at high noon I was standing above the tree line on West Spanish Peak. Instinctively I shouted What the Fuck while remembering this was Ron’s last stand on our beloved mountain. With tears rushing from my eyes, down my cheeks and soaking my shirt I was enlightened by fellow hiker Debbie Gregory’s wry sense of humor. “WTF, you are right! We are in the middle of it,” she prophesied.

Awakened from my outburst by her raucous statement, I stared at her in disbelief.  Debbie explained. “You experienced a tragedy. That was yesterday. Tomorrow things will be better. Today, you are in the middle. Today is also Thursday, sandwiched between Wednesday and Friday. So, just think of WTF as being Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”

As dimwitted as the explanation sounds, it reminds me to find humor and a more positive spin on life’s bitterness.  It is time I stopped cursing what I cannot change. I therefore declare that from this moment forward I will take the gifts I received from my past to build a preferred future.

 

WTF #3

I get it; many, many, too many people have been dealt a handful of cards much worst than I can ever imagine. Yet, here I am after a peaceful day of sailing in Maine saying, WTF for the 3rd time.

Today’s welcomed sail was a gift, the kind of gift I treasure most. My friend Julie arranged with her friend Kathy to take us out for a sail. Kathy rowed us out to her moored Cape Dory 22 in an 8 foot rowing Puffin. A Puffin will make the perfect dinghy for my next cruising tri. Within a few minutes of readying ourselves for the afternoon sail we released the mooring line. It took 3 or 4 tacks to get out of Lowell Harbor. Then, for the next 3 hours we reached along Casco Bay.

Casco Bay has special meeting which brought a wave of sadness. The Friends of Casco Bay is the preferred charity for those who wish to make a donation in Ron’s honor. Lowering my head on the cabin sole I day dreamed of the stories Ron shared of his days sailing these waters.

Before leaving for the day’s sail I had learned of the growing fires in Southern Colorado, southwest of our comfortable cabin. Transitioning from Ron’s burial at sea to the tranquility of a long overdue sail was a welcome respite only to be interrupted by the notice of the evacuation order in my neighborhood.

Thankfully, Polly and Chris, our hiking friends took the initiative to take our van to a safer area earlier in the day. With the news of evacuation our neighbor, Carla called to ask if there was anything in the house I might want her to get. Suddenly without provocation I cried. The most sentimental of all my possessions ran to my frontal lobe. Before leaving for Maine to attend Ron’s memorial I  carefully placed a picture of Ron on the left side facing right. On the right side of the mantle was Danny’s picture facing left. The strategic placement of these two pictures resulted in their facing a treasure I placed in the middle of them. The exquisitely carved jewelry and token box Ron had our friend Richard make. was presented to me at my birthday party by Richard’s wife Phyllis. Inside the box I put the diamond ring Danny had given me so many years ago.

Now, long after day turned into night, I am calming myself, by writing this blog entry. All I can think is What the Fuck! I put Danny to sea in 2010. I put Ron to sea the other day. Today, the combination of everything thing these men provided me is wrapped in and around our comfy cabin home. A quiet salt box style house surrounded by desert terrain, juniper and cedar trees may go up in flames before dawn’s early light. WTF #3.

 

Five years of Mourning –WTF

The other day I had the opportunity to turn an acquaintance into a friendship. Until I get her permission to use her name I will call her Sophie. We met on a planned hike with two other gals. Sophie was introduced to me as a nice lady whose husband also died.

Just hearing those words sent a jolt right up through the crown of my head. A few seconds passed when I reckoned to myself, “At least we have a common ground though my immediate prayer was that our hike would welcome the silent solitude I had been craving. The leaves brushing on my sleeve, the crackling sound of drying leaves beneath my feet, and the breathing of cool air tickling your cheek is what I wanted. Perhaps as mother nature intended Sophie and I broke the sounds of silence.

It seemed that as soon as we took our first 3 or 4 steps we began to converse.  It didn’t take long for me to hear Sophie’s story. Her husband died after several years of chronic health challenges. It was now five years later when Sophie decided to get out of the house, go hiking, and enjoy the company of others. Five years, I thought, I won’t mourn for five years. I will cherish the fortitude brought to my life each and every day of my life. I will socialize. I will read and relax.

I will take pride in my house and our property. I will continue my ukulele, piano and band playing. I will eat vegetables every day. I will maintain my current weight (or lose just five more pounds.) I will be kind. I will finish the slides for Ron’s memorial.

I will end this blog so I can finish the slides for Ron’s memorial….

Diets that WORK

With the infinite number of books, blogs and nauseating ads for the perfect diet, even the non diet diets advertised, I am stumped to wonder why two particular diets proven to work, is never mentioned. Have you ever seen a tabloid headline with the words, BREAK-UP DIET, or WIDOW DIET.  Yet, oh my gosh how they work.

Sadly, though in order to succeed with the break up diet, first coined in my world, by my wonderfully talented friend Maryanne, you have to experience an unpleasant, unwanted divorce from a partner. Whether legally married or not I will be using the terms married and divorce to mean all actions the same without government interference. The term divorce meaning a separation to include such a parting of ways due to death.

Anyway, the thought occurred to me that my eating has slowed to a pace I emotionally prefer. Certainly, I never want anyone to feel emotional pain. That’s another subject. For now, I ask for thoughts about how to transform the weight loss of a break-up or death into a weight loss that doesn’t require these undesirable events.

Remember, my e-mail is:  sailorhiker@gmail.com 

 

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.

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

 

 

Let me Entertain Me…

A few days ago I took on the challenge to write extemporaneously about the word entertain. Today I found myself in a situation I did not like. It conjured up negative, anxious feelings as a result of two people not behaving the way I want them to. Thankfully, I turned my attention to physical activity as a way to dissuade behaving in a way I might regret like sailing upwind with the center board up.

After wheelbarrowing three loads of dead branches and other fallen twigs to our erosion prevention areas, I retreated to my office where the sun is so intense I have to wear my sunglasses to type this. Eventually I will have another area in the loft where I can write. For now, I will use the sun’s intensity to strengthen my resolve to find a humorous way to deal with the situation.

Accessing my sense of humor is how I will entertain my reaction to this situation. Sooner or later a verbal conversation will take place. I need some phrases to accurately express how I feel, what I think, and what I will do. In order to research an appropriate lexicon I need to leave this blog entry in search of self entertainment to deal with an otherwise day of beating to windward in a two foot chop and a 20 knot breeze on my Hobie 14.

Any ideas?  Feel free to comment on my blog or via my e-mail:  sassythesailor@gmail.com

 

 

Validation

About 8 years ago in the tiny town of Chesapeake City an aspiring sailor took the time out of her day to drive a long way to meet me at the dock. A stranger, a gal named Suky, who I read about wanted to get to know me.  Meeting Suky  was the first validation I received as a solo sailor. All my friends, family and colleagues knew of my adventure but it was Suky who made me feel accepted into the world of solo sailing.  Now that I am on respite from sailing it is reading about Suky’s adventures that keeps my dream of sailing alone offshore alive.

Another respected sailor is Sherry McCampbell. I remain in awe of her perseverance to stick with her goal to sail around the world. The days when Sherry and I walked the beaches of Indialantic, Florida are as vivid as if they are still happening. We jabbered with each sandy step. Sherry wanted and found a compatible mate, who she married.  Me, I took the solo route. And, then, I fell into lust over a man who still makes my knees shake when he smiles at me.

While Sherry and her husband Dave are now about halfway around the world, after six years into their ten year circumnavigation, I am learning the ropes of being an unmarried housewife, a fraulein, living at the rural, arid gateway to the Rocky Mountains with a man I adore. Admittedly I am somewhat embarrassed  that I have yet to finish my solo circumnavigation.  Reflecting on the morning Suky showed up at the passage between the Delaware and Chesapeake Rivers which substantiated my need to have someone else  belief that I have the ability to sail where, when and how I choose to navigate the world.

In my heart I know I will sail again. It is in my soul (and my budget)…

 

 

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