Sassea Sails




10 Days Til Departure September 18, 2018

In just a few days I will mark four months since I saw Ron leave for heaven. It is difficult to say the exact time he died. It is clear in my mind that his soul, his inner being, his mind was transitioning. His eyes were bright and clear, his mouth partially open, his fingers darkening at their tips. Being with him, holding him, feeling his heartbeat, even while asleep brought me a sense of calmness that was new.

My whole life had been a mentally chaotic array of parties, bullying, bad decisions, impulsive wonderment, and rushing toward something. When I met Ron I was mesmerized by his wide smile, his thick wavy hair, and his routine way of doing spending his day.
He was as neat as a pin. I have two girlfriends who are as perfectionist as he. They never drop their clothes on the floor. Even when taking off slacks. They hold the waist band and slowly slip one leg out at a time. Then, while still holding their pants they hang them on a hanger, a hook or over the back of a chair. Never once in the six years I watched Ron slip out of his day clothes did he just drop them. There was one day that I came upstairs. He was sound asleep, sawing logs as they say. The recliner was tilted back. In clear view under the foot stool were two dirty socks right their on the polished wood floor. “Wow,” I thought, “he must have worked hard today. Silently I picked them up. While shaking them out I felt this weird sense of purpose. It was an affirmation of my desire to spend my life caring for him. Being there for him. Loving him and giving him the gift of a long term relationship.

I would not be the kind of girl who enjoyed his company, even flirted with him but was never available for him. Certainly, I was not wanting to be just another passing fancy. A girl of convenience who was looking for a daddy figure, or a good time girl who was good in bed. No, I knew for certain as I shook his dirty socks to free the loose yard debri from the fibers and allowed the toe section to fall from the ball it had been rolled in that I found the man I wanted to put before me.

After 35 years of having Danny make his life around me, it was time for me to make my life around someone. I never thought of Danny thinking I was pretty or sexy. He always, every single night we were together, kissed me before we fell asleep. If I went to bed while he was still watching TV, he would eventually come into the bedroom. Gently I would feel him pull the blanket up around my neck, then, lean toward my face where he would place a kiss on my lips, my cheeks or my forehead.

One time, I guess the feel of the blanket move woke me up. I turned toward him lifting my arm. In one swift movement my forearm smacked him on the side of the head. Wow, it started us both. Then, we laughed as I apologized.

When Danny and I would talk about keeping a gun in my nightstand I had a compelling argument. “What if I was having a bad dream and I mistook you for a burglar.” No, I contended, insisted I would never keep a gun by my side of the bed.

Of course now that I don’t have Danny to worry about accidently shooting and Ron left me to go to the great beyond. It matters not. Will I carry a gun in the van, I don’t know. I don’t think so. Well, maybe. Regardless in chatting with camping neighbors I will say I do have a gun. I gotta protect myself. Oh yea, I also have to write five pages for my book today, clear out some yard debri, order a sign inviting campers to join me for some pickin’ and grinning.’

So, for today, it’s time again to do what I can on the tenth day til departure.

For anyone who reads this, I say, FAIR WINDS, especially to new

                              sailor Becky who just a few days ago left San Francisco,

           in her words her and her sweetie, Barry, were ‘out of the gate and turning left.’

11 Days to Departure

Woke up about 4 am. Wide awake I got out of bed, peed, threw on work out pants, then washed my face. I did not actually wash my face, rather I cupped my hands to let water fill them. With my hands a little too relaxed most of the water crippled back into the sink. With wet hands I touched my cheeks, grabbed a dry wash cloth and patted my face dry.

Back in the bedroom I slipped a work out bra on under the t-shirt I slept it. It is a cheery yellow. Sauntering into the kitchen I made a few pots of coffee in order to have some to sip on throughout the day. Without much thought I went up to the loft, perhaps my favorite spot in the house.

At the top of the stairs I get to pause to acknowledge the peace Ron brought into my life. As I walk along the alley to the west side I acknowledge how Danny’s kindness allowed me to live the lifestyle I have enjoyed since the day he rescued me in 1980 at Kelly Park.

Today’s chores include peeling the cactus bulbs to make juice and build a wall  in the van between the galley and the shed. Eventually I might put a curtain along the length of the shed to make the decor more pleasing to the eye especially when I lie down to sleep. For clarification the shed is the area in the van where my bunk once existed. For 3 years Ron and I slept side by side with a 12 inch foot path. When asked why he didn’t make us one double bed he replied with a chuckle. “I use the van for utility purposes even though the middle is a narrow alley, I can slide sheets of plywood and other building materials in and out easy. As far as sleeping with my lady, “Hell, it’s only a short hop across to her hot bod.”  For Ron to say that was quite impressive. He is usually a more subtle, non-sexual, romantic type of a guy.

What struck me yesterday was a sudden fear of returning to Florida. The fear is an overwhelming burst of emotion that will repeat itself with every friend I encounter. Most of the people are friendly friends; yet all of them are people I can count on. Still, I feel so stupid, so much like I just fucked up my life and I don’t know what I am going to do. What if I run out of money. No one wants to return home broken hearted or broken down. My heart is split. I now wonder is it letting the pain out, or bringing in an infection.

Some say the pain of a loss allows us to let the love we have for the deceased to do something. Oh, I don’t know what all this is about. I do know my sister said yesterday during our daily chat that she doesn’t want to live long. If she is healthy I argued why not live long. I am going to write her a personal letter.

In the meantime, know that emotionally this Florida trip is scary. Otherwise, I have a road plan, and should be able to stay within my budget. To all my friends and family, may you never have to bury or burn a loved one…





12 Days til Departure

It’s not like I am going to the moon or even counting down til Santa arrives. It is the beginning of an adventure of a different kind. To head to Florida after almost a year’s time will be interesting. There is the geographical, demographical and cultural change from living in rural Southern Colorado. From mountainous terrain to flat country. From 7000 + feet above sea level to what can sometimes be a foot below sea level, the prediction is more oxygen in my blood per breath. Demographically, there are so many more people per square mile. Oh my gosh, the traffic, the closely constructing houses, and beach crowds have me concerned. Can I adjust?

Of all my apprehension of visiting is the cultural change of my self indulged lifestyle. From quiet afternoons sitting on the deck to an occasion night at the honky tony bars to the Blues bar on the beach and Friday nights at Street Parties, and oh yea all the hoopla at the Melbourne Yacht Club, can my 70 year old body and mind adapt?

Of all it is and is not, this trip is to be as bitter sweet as they come. Seeing my friends, seeing my family cannot be underestimated. I need them like never before. Certainly, it is with an unprecedented appreciation that I want to be with them. Perhaps I can bring some joy to them as well.

Returning to where I left Danny, and where I made a life with Ron, is just so weird. So full of emotion. So tearful. So endearing. So hurtful, , ,

While waiting for Norine, a wonderfully pleasant with an uncanny sense of humor to visit this morning, I decided to document each day of the 12 day journey to departure, through my blog. It may prove a bit much, but at least the 12 days leading up to departure may be worth savoring,,,,

Happy trails to all, , ,

the Sassea One, Marlene

$$$ takes you where you wish . . .

On the other side of grief’s maddening nuances are three normal stressors a single 70 year old widow may face. Speaking for myself, 3 major stressors (besides overall sense of confusion) are finances, finances and finances. It seems I am spending a lot of money. It also looks like I have a lot of money.  My house, 2018 Subaru Crosstrek, and 2015 Mercedes Sprinter Van are paid for. I also have a little bit of money in an investment account. Heck, my electric bill for the hottest month of the year, August, is a whopping $51.  So, why am I stressed?

My investment portfolio is spread amongst several low interest/low risk mutual funds. Within the mutual funds there are stocks and bonds. Because my broker is in the midst of changing companies I am waiting for one of the new statements which I expect to be able to access on Monday.  I did access a statement from another new firm I am vested in. Not only are the year to date (YTD) rates in the minus (-) .02% range, the rate since the inception of the fund is in the negative zone. What didn’t I hear when this was discussed with my broker about changing to these companies. Of this you can be sure, me and Mr. Investor Broker will talk about this on Monday.

Monday will also be a day of automobile maintenance. The van is getting new set of tires, the wheels aligned, the oil changed and a lesson about the government required diesel exhaust fluid (DEF).  According to the online magazine, Autoweek (Sept. 1, 2018), federal law mandates the use of DEF to control nitrogen oxides that are a part of the exhaust fumes emitted by diesel engines. Because DEF can  damage engine parts if spilled while filling the container it is a task best left to a professional. (I know this because someone, (who shall remain anonymous) spilled def on their three month old engine parts. The price for repairing the engine damage was  $4000+).

Read more about def: 

Oh yea, I just thought of other expenses adding to my financial stress. The van needs new windshield wiper blades and the brakes need to be checked.  With an estimated cost of  $800 for the ires, and def, I am putting $1200 in the budget to take care of whatever the van needs in order to get me off safely on my upcoming 3 month van trip.

Three months?  Am I really going to leave my house for 3 months? Holy cow, who will take care of my house, our cabin on the hill. You know the house Ron and I bought that. faces the Spanish Peak Mountains. The house that shelters my  fear. The house he   won’t be coming inside about 2 pm for a sandwich and a glass of water. “DAM it!”

Back to finances, the basic bills for the month include electricity, water, and trash. Certainly I can pre-date checks and have them ready to mail from where ever I am at the time they are due. Then, there will be 2 or 3 helper fees. One fee is  for a neighbor who will empty my USPS mailbox and stow everything in a box until I return. A second fee is for for a neighbor who will check on the house once a week. The agreement is they will check the inside of the house. Making sure the anti-bug lights are working, there aren’t any mice running around, and once a month turn the air condition on for about 15 minutes. Then, turn on the heat for equivalent amount of time.

Outside it is important a neighbor will check for rodent infestation. If needed they are to call the BUG MAN. The BUG MAN is a commercial services paid a handsome fee for keeping rats and other critters from building a nest under the deck or within 50 feet of the house, garage and shed.  A third fee is set aside to assist neighbors 1 or 2 if needed. All my friends will be invited to take a thriving potted geranium to their house for watering and general care. The budgeted cost for these three helpers is minimal. If not paid in cash, then gift cards to a nice dinner restaurant or trinkets from my travels will be given.

As I write this the financial stress is going away. My belly is full of freshly made chicken salad, whole wheat gluten free crackers and a liter of water. I am fully content.

Well, I was content until I put a period on that last sentence. As I hit the proper key  a  beautiful soft feathered blue bird flew past the loft window. My brain was jarred. I reminded myself to put the upcoming house/auto insurance premium and the property taxes due on the budget. Then, I need to research amount for our property taxes. I know I will have to pay something on the investment money I withdrew in 2017. I used that money to pay the deposit on our house.  I don’t understand why I don’t know the exact amount of money my required distribution is. Next time I talk with my investment broker and my accountant and I will again ask them to explain it to me again.

All of this blogging about my finances has shifted my stress about money to stress about the bottom line. What do I want? As I see it there are 2 choices:  (1) to buy or to not buy a cruising boat and/or (2) to continue living here in this desert like, low humidity environment or to move somewhere else. Maybe I will make a flow chart to illustrate the ifs involved in each possible choice. Maybe I should quit this blog entry and work on my book.

What to do? What’s a Girl to do? What should I do?

I certainly do not have the answer to these questions. What I do know is that my mind shifted while conceptualizing the choices I mentioned in the above paragraph. While stressing over what to do or not do, I realized my financial stress dissipated at the moment I began to for gratitude that you are reading my rant about my finances. The stress seems to have come from not knowing how much money I had to spend. Knowing how much money I have has relieved some of the stress. Knowing how much I have challenges me to find a creative way to make whatever new dream that seeps into my psyche come true. As Ayn Rand reminds:

                          Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish.

It will not replace you as the driver. — Ayn Rand
















A Capricious Phenomena

Grief, that capricious phenomena that accompanies loss can be maddening. Interestingly the lonliness that is expected in the wee hours of the night evade me. I sleep soundly. I wake to a day of anticipated activity. Some mornings I need to coax myself more than others to get out of bed. When the sleeping bag seems velcroed to my pajamas  I ask myself “Why am I feeling badly?” My answer is always the same, because I’m like a fish in a bowl, swirling around with nowhere to go, a ship without a rudder.  I insist on maintaining a healthy lifestyle for fear of wilting into death’s demise. The bottom line is I can’t have what I want – dam-it!

A tantrum starts. Abruptly it ends, like the squalling of a two-year old without an audience. My legs cross over each other until my limbs slide off the side of the bed. As my feet reach the floor I scoot my torso to an upright position. Gaining my balance I saunter to the bathroom. When my business is done, I turn on the hot water. While it warms up I lather the soap in my hands, scrunch up my face muscles then ease the washcloth into the sink. When it is sopping wet I lean over and relish the warmth of the water on my awakening eyes. Using Ron’s favorite drying towel I lay it across my face while it soaks up the droplets from my forehead and cheeks. Thoughts of Danny’s smile emerge. Confused by the dichotomy of grieving for Ron and Dan an invisible dam slows my air flow until I gasp.

Standing in the dark, peering in the mirror, I decide my hair needs brushing. Harshly at first as if shooing the grief from my mind, I lean my head downward. I stroke from the nape of my neck up over the crown of my head and down on my forehead.With each stroke of the stiff bristled brush I coax myself into a better frame of mind.

Grief is supposed to hurt, it’s good to cry I remind myself. My counselor and my sister tell me my behavior is normal. I grab the wall for balance, turn on my phone and begin my morning exercises. It’s a combination of meditation and yoga. My self-imposed rule is to be physically fit, make our bed and get dressed for the day before unlocking my bedroom door to enter the living room.

As I step into the main living area I feel awake, ready to concoct my morning apple cider vinegar potion used to wash down my vitamins. Then, I fill Ron’s tea kettle with water and set it on the burner to boil. I stroll to the piano and practice my three song repertoire until the familiar whistle calls. With coffee in hand I saunter up what we call our stairway to heaven. It leads to the loft. There I muster my mind to write. It is a struggle. Looking out at the stability of the Spanish Peaks I recall what it was like when Danny knocked on heaven’s door. Similarly my current struggle with grief persists. My fight to breath air into Ron’s lungs and Danny’s years before Ron, is relived. Failing again to convince myself I did all I could to revive them, I manage to type a few words. On a good day I perfect a sentence. One f—– sentence; that’s it, one sentence a day. How will I get a book written at this pace? When will the pain stop? Do I even want it to stop?

My thoughts are like a runaway freight train speeding out of control until a dose of reality slams my hand on my desk to stop the madness. My face tightens, my nose runs, and my eyes squint so hard the tears welling up inside are unable to escape. A sob squeaks out. I stop breathing. The involuntary respiratory system takes over.  Slowly I regain my wits, stand up, and walk back downstairs.

        Thank goodness my family, friends tolerate my moodiness, , , 



I Believe

          It was about two hours after I arose from a tumultuous night’s sleep when I sent a text to Norine, a new found friend here in SOCO (Southern Colorado). A few days ago we talked about sharing a home-made pizza. I wanted to confirm the plan. Her reply included a reminder for me to go water the sunflowers she taught me to germinate, then plant.

About two weeks ago, under Norine’s guidance, I began the process of germinating sunflowers seeds I bought for feeding the birds. A week later 20 little plants emerged from the dry dusty dirt where I planted them. Keeping a watchful eye, I continued to water them in the morning sun and the evening sky. Two days ago I was sadly surprised. With an angered curiosity I studied the area where the healthy looking green sprouts werethriving just a day before. That’s right I said where the sprouts were. Overnight they disappeared. Gone.

Using what Ron called my Sherlock Holmes detective skills I bent down to examine every inch of the dirt within a 3-yard radius. “Who ate my sunflowers?” I whispered out loud. Two indentations about 4 inches wide were noted. Each indent had loose dirt pushed to one side. There weren’t  any claw like features ruling out the possibility of a bear. I wasn’t sure if those were my prints from previous days when I was tending my seedlings. Still, I was dismayed.

When Norine stopped by later that afternoon for a tea sipping visit, I lamented about how the baby sunflower seeds sprouted then began to peek up through the dirt. I shared my joy of experiencing the miracle of growing flowers from seed to the disappointment of another example of life’s bitter sweetness. To soothe my soul we turned our thoughts to the belief that nature follows the little fish get eaten by the big fish theory. Still, I want to know who ate or stole the seedlings. How dare????

As this sunny Sunday progressed my consternation over the demise of my sunflowers erupted into a pleasant surprise. After Norine reminded me to do my morning watering I almost believed in God, or Jesus, or something. Just as I do every morning I filled my red watering can and strolled down the driveway. I stopped to say good morning to my garden size ‘Train that Could.’ Pausing to primp up the petunias growing in the coal car I said a silent prayer thanking mother nature for blessing me with this awesome 4 acres in a high plains desert far from the sea life I am still passionate about.

Moving along in body and spirit, I tilted my head toward the eastern sky, I swear I thought I saw a miracle. I couldn’t believe my eyes. How did I not see this sunflower growing? How can a sunflower go from its germinated shell, to 3 feet high overnight? WTF, , ,

Reminding myself to exhale I came to my senses when I was overcome with another uncontrollable bout of tears. Without further thought I garnered my sadness and appreciation, then, sauntered back to the house.  Inside I rolled out Bob’s Gluten Free Pizza Dough, put some Michael Martin Murphy tunes on my i- phone, cranked up my Bose speaker, and climbed what Ron and I call our home’s stairway to heaven, kissed his picture, and wrote this for my blog.

The Little Train That Could


A friend from Everglades City, Judy, posted this comment in response to my last posting about changing WTF from its use of the f-bomb to an alternative mindset, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. She stated:  A creative mindset for making a positive reversal in life’s endeavors!

After reading Judy’s comment I was encouraged to change my thoughts and behavior. It seems my mind has become scattered. My goal to write a memoir keeps slipping down the priority list. There are so many things to do. To seriously write I need a clutter free desk. I need my kitchen table to look like it is ready for a meal and not for an  array of photos to be sorted.

 I want my backyard to look more inviting with the trash can and air conditioning condenser hidden by a nice concrete wall, I want the deck in the front yard to be adorned with selected stones taken from other areas of my wooded 4  acre lot. I want to socialize with friends who are going out of their way to keep me safe to enjoy life’s little pleasures. Then, there are the daily OM lessons I subscribed to. For pete’s sake I need to take the time to learn what OM stands for. Lastly, I need to stop thinking about buying the 40  foot trimaran I have my eye on until I get more information about it.

While thinking about what to think about I went downstairs to warm up my cup of joe. Peeking out the kitchen window I saw the little wooden train my friends, Debbie and Richard, convinced me to buy for $5 at yesterday’s garage sale. Since I first read the classic book, “The Little Train That Could,” it has been a favorite. During my career as a school counselor I frequently read it to students of all ages. Now, that great symbol of encouragement sits right alongside my driveway leading to my door.

While staring at the primary colored train my mind did make a positive reversal. With a  few deep breaths I made a mental list of my priorities. First, tidy up my desk so I can spend two hours focused on writing my memoir.  Second, go outside to put more blocks on the wall. Third, experiment with a 60s hairstyle for tonight’s sock hop. Three things are plenty for one day. All else will wait until tomorrow.


**For those interested in learning more about this classic “children’s” story, written by Watty Piper – pen name for Arnold Munk, I encourage you to do a google search. I was happy to know that “The Little Train that Could” is ranked along with Alice in Wonderland as one of the top 100 children’s stories.




Dawn’s Early Light

A new day has begun. If I were leaving a harbor I would be walking about the deck preparing to weigh anchor. All lines leading to the cockpit would be tangle-free, the diesel would be warming up, hot coffee would be simmering. A slow 360 degree turn would substantiate the wind’s strength and direction. The drifting distance astern would be ascertained. A decision to raise the mainsail would be made. A deep breath would be taken; maybe two deep breaths or even three before pushing that magic button on the windlass to free us from mother earth.

Because I am not leaving a harbor my day will be different. In fact today will be like no other before it. Needing to be cautious while overcoming my fear of the dark, wooded terrain on my Southern Colorado four acre homesite, I shall embark outside. For the first time in my life I shall overcome my fear of seeing a bear, chasing a rat, or steering clear of a snake. Yipe, it is time to step outside onto my deck and hang up the load of laundry that I put in the washing machine two hours ago when I woke up.

Keeping my promise to change my physiology when negative thoughts swarmed in my head, I got out of bed about 2:30 am. My subconscious mind had me dreaming about a situation that made me feel badly, insecure, and angry. Despite these ideas, my curiosity yearned for details. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to get out of bed and formally begin my first formal draft of my memoir. Now, at 5:13 am, my mind is devoid of choosing the right words. Time, to get those clothes out of the washer and hung on the line. There is few joys in this world then clean clothes dried in the clean Colorado air (now that the smoke from the devastating fires has subsided)….

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.


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