Sassea Sails


6 Days til Departure

September 22, 2018

Today’s entry is in honor of a great man, a real gentleman, Bill Haberland who is pictured here with his daughter Nancy. 

Yesterday started with a morning workout. I followed along with Beach Body’s Insanity Cardio Power and Resistance. Just going through the motions is a great way to get moving; it is never my expectation to keep pace with Shaun T, the leader of this series. After two weeks of falling off my healthy eating regime, this 45 minute regime got me energized.

A quick shower got my mood ready to wear my favorite jeans, tight fitting surfer’s rash guard and a baggy shirt to kind of hide my big bosom. My soak and wet squeaky clean hair was left to air dry on the drive to Trinidad. Yea, I was heading to Trinidad. Well, not the famous island. I was on my way to Trinidad, Colorado. The revitalizing town in the southeastern corner of this wild western country singing, dry desert in landlocked USA. Why leave my cozy home on this first day of cool 50F windy weather?  B e c a u s e,,,

Each Friday for a month now I have been taking ukulele lessons with Ike at his Music Shop. Each uke lesson is followed by a piano lesson with Addie. My progress is slow. Sometimes we talk about music theory, other times we do a 4-measure duet of a popular song. Other times Ike and Addie present me with a technique for skill improvement. Changing fingers as I descend and ascend the fret board is an a needed skill for playing the uke. The same principle applies to the piano, although your hands and fingers are obviously placed in a different orientation.

After my lessons I meet my friend Polly for lunch. Polly is my hiking partner. Due to work constraints and my limited days til departure, our hiking days have diminished. Yet our determination to meet again on the trail motivates our individual week day workouts.

I returned home from my music lessons. My strength was weakening. Not just my body, but my mind as well. I laid on the couch to watch the blue birds and doves flit about our yard. The phone rang. it was a friend inviting me to a free concert. Without hesitation I got up and readied myself for an outdoor Celtic music festival.

After listening to the ear piercing bag pipes, fiddle playing and Scottish brogue singer I retreated to my van. I checked my phone to see the time. On my iphone screen was a message. I clicked on the icon. Tears welled up, it was a message from Gail, Bill’s other daughter, not the one pictured.  Bill was my sunfish sailing coach, dance partner and dear friend who passed away several years ago. Gail was inviting me to stop and visit on my Florida trip. Tears immediately flowed.  I just sat in the driver’s seat and cried and cried. Her dad was a special man, a kind, gentle man who embraced me on an emotional level when my Danny died. He understood the pain of widowhood. He was a true friend, admired by everyone.

The fortune of having so many friends welcome me back to Florida is overwhelming. It is turning my fear into what could be the biggest crying jag of my life. Why do we cry? I don’t know, I just know Gail’s message touched my heart in the most endearing reminder of the bittersweet world in which we live.

And, now as I end today’s blog another friend, Alice, just now interrupted my thought with a message, “When are you coming to Florida?”


7 Days til Departure

7b79e9fec06c4665f03abdce693460d7With an uncertain future, as it always is, coupled with aging I had to include a plan to see my sister and brother to celebrate all we are thankful for. Doing so on the proclaimed day the pilgrims and Indians had their infamous turkey dinner creates problems. This is especially true for my brother who would be taking a commercial airline to attend our little rendezvous in Florida. He lives in Poughkeepsie, NY. A compromise between him, my sister and me was easily reached

With 7 days til departure stressing me to get done all I need to do to have a more stressless time away from my home, I at least have a date for ending my Florida adventure. December 1 I will begin the 5, or 6 or 7 day drive back to SOCO. That is unless I get picked up by a pterodactyl bird who carries me away to a far away land.



8 Days til Departure

This is scary or am I just upset? Or I am upset when I get scared. It is just those dam pack rats. I thought I had an effective system. Last night as a trial I left the van in a different location outside of the garage. Dam those ubiquitous desert varmits. Sure enough the brat or brats chewed the paper towel on which I had a bar of Irish Spring soap. I was told they don’t like the strong smell of that brand of soap. Ha, the brat knawed on the soap and chewed the paper towel.

In 8 days I am leaving for almost three months. I have a friend who agreed to check the vehicle at least once a week. To hire someone to check the car every single day is not reasonable. I can leave bright LED lights on in the garage. If the electricity goes out for any reason, what then?

Picking up the chewed pieces of paper towel my breathing became shallow. This was not so much because I cringe at the thought of seeing a live rat. It was because again I am faced with solving a problem on my own, a problem I would have easily passed on to Ronald. Ronald is not here. So began a miserable morning of grief.

Intuitively, I cleaned up the towel crumbs and removed the bar of soap. I decided it is best I keep the van in the garage when not in use. To further my skill navigated this 24 foot long home away from home I again backed SasseaVan into its specially designed garage slip. This was my second backing it in experience. Wow, it does get easier. In the garage I keep the engine hood up, point an anti-varmit sound emitting gadget at the engine, decorate the engine with Irish spring soap, a few spritz of peppermint and go on on my way.

During my 2 mile walk around the north and south loop of Buffalo Drive, I introduced myself to a neighbor who was walking in the opposite direction. Listening to Pandora on my Bose headphones, I broke down crying, sobbing uncontrollably when Eric Clapton’s rendition of “You Look Beatiful Tonight.” How many times did Danny play that tune on the electric guitar he rebuilt? Once he blocked the front door to prevent me from going out while he sat on a kitchen stool silently mouthing the words. He did not sing, at all. He played so precisely, by ear. He never read music. But, I diverge.

When I got to the mailbox the movement of my arms twisting around to take my backpack off and the jiggling of the key to open the box transitioned me from a sobbing sally to an angry bitch. Forcefully I stuffed the mail into my pack, then walked with a vengeance back home. I kicked every pebbly stone (and there are a bazillion) on the tenth of a mile back to the house.

Inside, I filled the kettle with enough water for several cups of coffee. On a misty rainy day this is turning out to be coffee will be my friend. First, though, I drowned my sorrow in a big bowl of cheerios, raisins, coconut and walnuts. Usually I put in enough almond milk to moisten the cereal. Today, I filled the bowl to the brim. It’s a big bowl,,,

Well, I guess I am talked (written) out for today’s blog. With 8 days to go, my stomach is in a knot, my legs are tense, and my mind is telling me that this is a scary time in my life. I so miss my life mate and my husband. Two wonderful men, , ,

Now, just as I was ending this a friend sent me a video. The message says, “This is for you. It had me in tears.” I instantly wrote back, “I’m scared to watch it.” Then, I shut the computer off. Maybe later I will watch it. For now, I’ll go play the piano…





9 DAYS til DEPARTURE – Sept. 19, 2018

Again I am scared and sad. Scared because I don’t know what is going to become of me. I like living in this house. It is the only one I’ve lived in that didn’t frighten me. Walking around the yard is fun. There are so many trees and paths to take. Every now and then there is a newly bloomed flower. Bunny and deer tracks are often spotted. The dike that runs across the yard is curious. One day I may dig around a part of it so the wall actually shows making a border. It will be a big task because the ground below an inch is hard packed. Across the valley and off to the west huge gigantic naturally formed dikes are an anomaly in this georgraphical area of the world. Ron’s favorite drive was pass the dikes in Cuchara along the famous HWY 12, the Legend of Highways. I haven’t learned much about the legends. They include the Indian tribes and Mexican people who roamed the area.

Every few days I decide to stop paying for Ron’s phone service. It is $70 a month. I don’t use his phone, not really. Cancelling it brings me to tears. It will be another reminder he is gone. He is not coming home. I sure hope when people die they are at rest, feeling peaceful and happy. Because living here without him has not been happy. Actually I am ok living here, it is going back to Florida that will puke up the sadness and the trauma of his death as I face people I love and who love me. It’s feels like when I took his ashes to his sister. It hurts, to carry that burden all the way across the country. The lonliness in the airport and now the long drive along the same route he and I traveled so many times during our camping trips and excited move here.

Despite the drama and our one big ugly disagreement, I liked living with him. I made him my life because it was like when I bought my boats, I was happy sailing them. I was happy reading alongside him. I was happy peeking outside to see if he was in the shed or down the hill chopping wood. I liked dancing with him. My favorite time was when we arrived in the Canadian Maritines. Parked alongside an enormous frozen lake. The wind howled around van. The chilled area penetrated the van. With the little propane ‘my buddy’ portable heater going full blast we drank a bottle of wine and danced, and danced, and laughed, and hugged, and laughed and danced some more.

Now, my life is more day to day, ‘ok what do I do now.’ Thankfully I have the energy to do things like yard work, play piano and uke, and as of this week doing an intense workout each day. Speaking of work outs I better go do a Tony Horton, P90X work out to keep up with my every other day mission of firming up my flabby thighs and sagging butt.

With 9 days to go, I have a lot of house planning to do, continue organizing the van, maybe even paint the new dividers Richard C and Clyde B helped me install. I need to get them each something as a token of appreciation. I need to write another 5 pages for my book today. And oops, right this second I need to go to the potty.  J



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

First Day of Chapter 7

If I divide my life into decades this is the 7th one. Years 1-19,  Decade 1, 20-29 Decade 2, 30-39 Decade 3, and so on. I know 1-19 encompassed more than a decade. For ease of reporting and keeping things themed in a consistent manner, I choose this format. That brings me to the start of Decade 7. With a birthday in June I am as a kid might say 70 1/4 years old.

Two weeks ago, I formally, seriously began writing my autobiography. Perhaps it is a memoir. I am slowly distinguishing the two genres. Either way, I am prompted by a coach, Ginger Moran. I found her online and we began planning last spring. Just as we were getting started and my overall plan for the book was melding. Ron, my life mate and love of my 6th decade, died. For the first time in our 6 years together he kissed me good night, smiled and went to bed.

In the middle of the night he had a snoring jag that woke me. I whispered, ‘Ron, you are snoring, really loud.’ I gently kissed his arm and fell back to sleep. In the morning he was dead. It was a Tuesday morning. Three weeks later I turned 70. My sister flew in to provide comfort and help me with what was to be our Appreciation for our new lifestyle and friends in Southern Colorado. I kept that theme but tendered it with a night to pay tribute to a wonderful man, Ron Ouellette.

Three months into my 7th decade I made a few decisions. One, I would attend a conference in Florida the week-end of Oct 5 – 8. Two, I would attend a gathering of small sailboat and kayak designers the week-end before Thanksgiving. Third, the week-end before that I would attend the Seven Seas Cruising Association’s Annual Gam. All three of these events are being held in Florida. In between these events I would visit family and friends who live in various parts of the state. From Everglades City, to Melbourne, to Jacksonville and even McAlpin I expect to be busy.

The only change in this plan is if I accept a cruising opportunity. I suggested I sail with a guy who wants to sell in 40 foot trimaran. He built it in 1992 in the same manner as my previous cruising boat, SPRAY. The designer is the same. I went so far as to offer escrow money with first rights of refusal. The cruise would be an opportunity for me to know for sure if I want to purchase the boat. Even if the purchase doesn’t work out, as he made decide to not sell, I might enjoy going for a cruise as I may return to the sea.

Regardless of what I do after leaving here on September 28, today marks the countdown to my next life’s chapter. What opportunities will present themselves? Do I want to be a cruising boat owner? Would I rather stay land locked, buy a Hobie 14 and travel the country regatta hopping?

What I know I want includes:  playing the ukulele, piano and the small wooden glockenspiel, writing my book, being kind, up keeping my house, staying in my pay as I go budget, and adventure, something that becomes an over riding passion to get back in shape, maintain my less than 120 pound curvaceous figure. All of these things while maintaining a relationship with family and friends are at the top of my daily routine. (Oh yea, there are dishes to wash, clothes to line dry, a van to organize, a car to protect, flowers to distribute to neighbors, and ,,,





$$$ 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
















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