Monday, June 29, 2009

Birthday Sailing

No racing this weekend but I did get a lot of sailing in. It was my son's birthday yesterday so it was his wish to go sailing. We lucked out with the weather & wind & off we go on my folks' boat. By the time the afternoon was ending, the wind was up to 15-18 knots, perfect for their boat, & we had a great sail across the bay over to 7 Foot Knoll (I will NEVER get used to seeing that stick in the water instead of the lighthouse) & Craig Hill Channel Light. My son & one of his best friends just had a blast hanging out up on the bow just like I did when I was a kid. Feet over the low side to catch the water (a HUGE no-no while racing of course). He told me that it was his best birthday ever.

The day before my BFF(J) had us all over to her water house to hang out & celebrate my son's birthday. They have a Scorpion (Sunfish knock-off) that my son & her son immediately sailed out & flipped on purpose. They sailed around the river for a while, deliberately flipping the boat as much as possible. You have to climb on the daggerboard to right it. But I was glad that they were so comfortable with it--they'll need that skill for camp. Later I took my BFF(A) out sailing. It had been a while on the tiller, but after 5 minutes I had it all figured out again & we flew across the river & back. No flipping for us though--need to instill confidence in my sailing skills. We had a wonderful time & as usual I am thankful for my friends & them looking out to help me make my son's birthday the best it can be; even if I have to go at it alone. I have a phenomenal support system.

Unfortunately for my son his father forgot to call him on his birthday & he had to call him. I could see him trying to fight off his disappointment & make excuses for his dad. So sad. But he hugged me tightly & thanked me for being there to make his birthday the best & told me how much he loved me--wouldn't trade that for the world. I wonder if my ex-husband even cares how badly he hurts our son.

Back to work today & I'm already swamped! I have educational assessments to complete & meetings to run. I'm already looking forward to Wednesday night & racing down on the West River. Got to get practice in before the big races coming up.

I have to say that it is harder to sail when cruising then racing. I have a hard time finding things to do when I don't have to pay attention to anything or hang out on the rails. But I also must say that I'd rather sail no matter the circumstances be it cruising or racing! Everyone should sail!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Light Air on the West

The only problem with summer is light wind. Yes folks, West River Wednesday! We thought we had about 10 knots going in but as the sun starts down so does the wind...but the race was fun anyway--a little less intense & a little more relaxing. We notice things: like the two rays with their wing tips peeking out of the water. Right in the bay--not often you see rays outside of the aquarium petting zoo. It was so cool because we were joking that having the rays cross your bow gave the boat behind us an unfair advantage. We yelled toward them about the rays' port crossing & how time needed to be deducted from them as a result. Then you hear one of the crew on the other boat exclaim: "Cool! Rays!" Even though races in light air can kinda suck, it is fun because ultimately you are out on the water & not stuck in some cubicle somewhere where the only rays you can see are the ones on the computer if you google them. One of the guys said to me. "This sure beats working anyday so bring on a little light air." I have to agree.

My sister sent my son a gift certificate to Annapolis Performance Sailing (APS) for his birthday.
My son is so excited by this--he says he wants new gloves because his aren't as cool as mine. Then he said he wanted foulies--I said, find a job! I may see if I can get him a lightweight jacket though, but I think a pair of Camet shorts may be best before he leaves for sailing camp. That is one cool store if you like to geek out as a sailor. In fact, attached to the gift certificate was a catalog--talk about geeking out! I was glued most of the night comparing different gear--next up: gear bag for my days at Screwpile.

Oh yes! Screwpile & Solomons: Night racing down the bay & days of racing & nights of partying. I'm looking forward to it--one, because I never raced at night & how cool will that be? I love sailing at night, especially under a full moon--it is spectacular! Racing just adds another whole dimension to the beauty of it. And two, how much fun will it be to race & party--that's what summer's all about! And I'm free to do it! I guarantee if I were still married or even heavily in a relationship, I might not have been able to crew this race. I am taking two days from work too. It looks like my summer is shaping up to be fantastic after all--just what the hell was I worried about??

Monday, June 22, 2009

Silver Lining

And I was your silver lining
High up on my toes
You were running through fields of hitch-hikers
As the story goes

Hooray hooray
I'm your silver lining
Hooray hooray
But now I'm gold

Hooray hooray
I'm your silver lining
Hooray hooray
But now I'm gold

And the grass it was a ticking
And the sun was on the rise
I never felt so wicked
As when I willed our love to die

Silver Lining--Rilo Kiley

I think Saturday was a turning point in many ways. I feel like I finally saw the silver lining so to speak & the sun came out after the storm to mix as many hackneyed metaphors as I can. Of course the black belt test signifies a new beginning, etc. but what I'm really referring to here is about my break-up. A friend of mine once remarked that in a few months time I'd be ok. That was back in April I believe & at the time I was still struggling with what happened with the bull. I have to admit that I was in love with him & such an abrupt ending ain't easy. In fact, it seriously jolted my self-esteem, my ability to judge myself in a positive light & my general happiness. People may say that I should never allow a man that kind of power but I challenge anyone to tell me that after a blow like that, & it had nothing to do with physical appearance or specific problems as a couple, just his lying, cheating self, that they don't feel a little less jaunt in their step, or struggle to feel normal again. For the past few months I feel like I've been living in a bit of a fog (I know, I know, another hackneyed phrase) but that's truly how I felt--I'd go through the motions of thinking I was ok but never really being ok.

So, as I woke up on Saturday, I just felt so much better--to quote the song--I was the silver lining & now I'm gold. The little flirty me was back & feeling quite cocky again. It felt great. Again, do I miss things--yes. But I'm fine with it. The little turn of the knife when I remember things that I liked, or stupid silver volvos, or hearing Spoon, well--I have a smile now because it was great. It was an explosive & fiery relationship & I'm glad I went through that agony & esctasy. Yes, he still is a sociopath, & yes, what he did to me was reprehensible, but I gotta admit it was one pretty awesome roller coaster ride. I can only hope that the next relationship I have is as explosive & fiery but driven by genuine love and caring. I'm quite sure it will--

It's all good, er gold.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Just Amazing!

"Inspiration Award"
"You express your joy & enthusiasm for our school & Taekwondo every time you walk through the doors of this school. Your positive attitude is infectious. Thank you for making all of our days brighter."
--given to me at the test--

Today was just amazing! I am riding a wave that hasn't crashed quite yet--or at least the adrenaline is still coursing through me. After all my worry & stress, my black belt test was awesome! Everyone did a super job & it really was a great class of testers. The highlight for me was smashing my cinder block on the first attempt--that was...I crashed! Fell asleep writing this post so now I can pick up where I began to snore....

As for the cinder block--executed perfectly. According to one of my teachers, my face was priceless; surprise & then exhilaration when I'd realized I'd done it. My fellow testers were just as exited for me--just a reminder about the great support system at my Taekwondo school.

The day continued to be great--one of my closest girlfriends, CFW came & stayed the entire time, my BFFs, my folks were at the test & of course my son. I couldn't have felt more people in my corner than that!

After the test, my BFFs insisted we celebrate with wine tastings. Ah--such a difficult descision. So I run home, change into something relatively cute--never know who you may run into (certain massage therapists), & meet them. I must have been feeling quite full of myself because at the second tasting, a guy that I also see regularly asked me for my number...go figure!

Next, it was off to the Black Belt dinner in Catonsville. The same place I'd gone with the bull before--just a little different this time--better. I looked around at all the people I spend so much time with & was just filled with the overwhelming sense of what a great community it is. These people are so important in our lives & it so great to be part of it. Our Grandmaster was full of compliments for my son as well as for me--it just felt great.

Off now to get home & get ready to go out to listen to music with my BFFs & their husbands. Crazy, crazy trying to fit it all in, but I was determined. Plus I had a date with a new guy too--points to him for going out with all my BFFs from the jump. Getting ready meant a quick swipe of make-up & out the door. The man appears on time while my son is waiting to be picked up by his grandparents--so introductions there too--yeesh--talk about backasswards! But he is a good sport & we seem to hit it off quite well. It helps that he's pretty cute too--also a former rock musician who actually did quite well for a while. He was the drummer in a couple local bands around here. So the Drummer & I go down to the 8X10 to meet up with my friends & listen the super band: the Radiators. It was a great time, but I keep wondering about the Drummer--he seems into me but very reluctant to express that. No worries I think, dancing's awesome, I'm hanging with my best friends, & all's right with the world because I know there's chemistry--women just know these things.

So rolling forward to 2 AM & we get back to my house: The Drummer finally explained what's up--I am his first date since his divorce! He's a dating virgin. As much as he said he was attracted to me, he was just a wee bit freaked out about being back in the game. I can understand that because I remember vividly my first date after my divorce: the guy kissed me & I immediately burst into tears! Needless to say, I never saw him again..... We are in much different spaces, the Drummer & I. Maybe I'm a bit jaded by all of these adventures in dating because now all the goofiness in meeting all these men & going out with them doesn't phase me as much as it did. There have just been soooooo many frogs. But I like this guy--there seems to be potential if he can get around the newness of the whole dating thing. I need to tone down a little for him so he feels more comfortable if we go out again. I hope we do, but I certainly understand if we don't-- At least he can remember having a great first date because it truly was--he kissed very nicely too.

So I fit it all in & the day was just amazing! Thanks to everyone who is part of my life--you are the ones who make it so!

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Little Grasshopper

"To advance from one rank to the next, students typically complete promotion tests in which they demonstrate their proficiency in the various aspects of the art before a panel of judges or their teacher. Promotion tests vary from school to school, but may include such elements as the execution of patterns, which combine various techniques in specific sequences; the breaking of boards, to demonstrate the ability to use techniques with both power and control; sparring and self-defense, to demonstrate the practical application and control of techniques; and answering questions on terminology, concepts, history, and so on, to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the art. For higher dan (black belt) tests, students are sometimes required to take a written test or to submit a research paper in addition to taking the practical test.

Promotion from one
dan to the next can take years. The general rule is that a black belt may advance from one rank to the next only after the number of years equivalent to the current rank. For example, a newly-promoted third-degree black belt may not be allowed to promote to fourth-degree until three years have passed. Some organizations also have age requirements related to dan promotions, and may grant younger students pum 품 (junior black belt) ranks rather than dan ranks until they reach a certain age. Black belt ranks usually have titles associated with them, such as "master" and "instructor". Taekwondo organizations have their own rules and standards when it comes to ranks and the titles that go with them."


"Little Grasshopper, think of all you know, think inward of all you learned and then beat the shit out of something. Good luck."
--Merryfish via FB

I am in a bit of a freak-out mode. In less than 24 hours I am testing for my 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo. I know I'm ready. I know that I've trained for this for quite some time, but I guess I wasn't prepared for the enormity of it. There is a saying that anyone can get their first degree--that they are a dime a dozen so to speak. But once you move beyond that--well, you're in it. A second degree shows commitment, attention to the art, a skill level that means business and in the grand scheme of things fewer people, let alone women, attain beyond that first degree. I'm not saying that there aren't a lot of women out there with 2nd degree or more black belts--but how many do you actually know? I know a few because I practice with them--but there are only 3 of us at my school. That's what I mean by the enormity--it is an accomplishment--if I pass, that is.

I am mentally trying to rid myself of my freak-out--some of my teachers are telling me that I'm over-thinking & that I need to get out of my head. I know I'll need to meditate a bit, write a bit, & call my sister.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Massage Therapy

can be a very good thing when stressed out about a black belt test. It has been a very troubling few practice times recently. Nothing has gone right. My breaking seminar failed to produce the desired effects: both the cinder blocks as well as the boards & recently all my forms classes have proven to show, well, bad forms--bad kicking, wrong arm placement, forgotten get the idea. When I acted in shows in high school & beyond, we always talked about bad dress rehearsals yielding great opening nights. That's what I hope will happen on Saturday during the test. Since everything has gone badly just prior to the test, maybe the test itself will be phenomenal. I can only hope....

Anyhoo--I know this massage therapist that I have seen at most of the wine tastings I go to. He & I have talked over the past few months & recently I got up the nerve to ask for a massage. I admit--ulterior motive here. Yes, he's cute, yes, he appreciates good wines, & yes, getting a massage can be a wonderful prelude to, well, do I have to spell it out???!!! I admit--my massage fantasies have taken hold here. So he & I make an appointment for today & I tell him that after the massage I'll show him my wine cellar--wink, wink, nudge, nudge. I am such a bad girl....In reality though, the massage was great & he only charged me for a half hour when he gave me about an hour & 20 minute massage. I feel so much more relaxed & mentally prepared for this ordeal on Saturday so if nothing else, my body is in a better place. I do show him my collection & we pick out a nice, mid-priced Pinot Noir from 2004. Truchard--great bouquet & really a straightforward Pinot. We enjoyed it & I think, getting to know one another better--in fact, we have plans for Thursday to open yet another bottle from my collection--go ahead, twist my arm! I can't resist a good massage done by a cute guy with a nice wine to enjoy is so great being off from work these few days....I am getting caught up on my naughtier side which recently I've neglected--hello wicked girl! Ah yes, deep tissue rubs & Pinot Noirs--what more can a girl want? Wait--don't answer that! I'll keep you posted....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dead in the Water

I was really looking forward to the Leukemia Cup regatta today. It would've been awesome but there was absolutely no wind. One of the skippers from the Catalina 27 fleet said that we couldn't even move backwards that's how dead it was out there.

It was actually pretty funny if it hadn't been so hot--the start was the most entertaining. There were 5 of us starting at the same time: PHRF A0 & A1. Three of us got across the start line nicely albeit slowly as there was only about 4 knots of wind at that time & that was pretty much the best it got. The last two were highly entertaining to watch as they struggled to even get to the start. One of them made it just before the start for the J105's gun. The second one, a poor, hapless boat sat dead as the gun for the 105's went off. He just never made it to the start-apparently couldn't even set the boat to find the little air there was & for that matter by the time they figured it out, the 105's had stolen the good air anyway & they were left with the dirty stuff....

So as we were attempting to sail to the mark, we were on the rails watching the water for wind. Of course we could see the current but even that faded to nothing and became "slick-cam". This is Smith Island waterman speak for what the Bay looks like when it is a glassy mirror. In other words: dead calm. The race was called & we all puttered around back at the RC boat to see if we'd try for a second race later. A lot of people dove into the water to cool off. I wished mightily for my bathing suit just about then because it just got hotter & the wind was just.........

A bunch of boats retired from the race & called it a day. The RC attempted for a second race, thinking that wind was building, but eventually that was called too--well before any start gun went off. We were hanging by the RC boat & saw the blue & white "Abandon Race" flag go up followed by the three gun blasts. Motor on--we were heading home. After grabbing a bite & a Margarita with a few of the crew, I decided to go to the party at the sponsoring yacht club.

I met up with a few folk from the Catalina 27 fleet, but I think the party was much smaller because of the lack of wind. People were hot, frustrated & tired & just decided to go home instead of drink rum. I picked up the requisite T-shirt, hung out for a bit listening to the band & chatting about the Miles Race & how drunk we all were, & then headed for home. Of course anyone who sails on the Chesapeake knows how it gets in the summer: no of course just about the time I pulled up to my BFF (A)'s house, the wind began to blow....better luck on the West River on Wednesday.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Closing the Book on the School Year

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when you're older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and dawn
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game,

Joni Mitchell--The Circle Game

Tomorrow will be the last day of the school year for me & my son. It seems like a good time to reflect on the year & close a chapter perhaps. There are certainly a lot of pages in this chapter & it has been quite a ride. My son seems to have made the most growth this year--he went from being a little boy to acting & looking like a teenager. It just amazes me. Just when I wasn't looking, he grew up. He's had a lot to deal with too--from coming home from summer camp & seeing his mom very involved with a man that wasn't his dad and having to deal with all my ups, downs & eventual break-up. (The divorce was different & he was so much younger & didn't understand too much at that point.) Middle school was brand new and being able to negotiate a new school that is so much larger, a new way of attending classes, and most importantly, at least to him, the social miasma which is tween-dom. He seems to have navigated it well thus far.... Visiting his dad in Illinois was rather tumultuous & has continued to cause both of us stress because the fall-out has long-reaching repercussions. And of course his granny's death. In between all that he seems to have picked up a renewed enthusiasm for TKD, has found sailing nirvana when he's racing, and loves to play tennis. All in all, he's negotiated one of the tougher years in a kid's life quite admirably in his mom's humble opinion. I am proud of him. And he still has quite a sense of humor. Soon he'll be leaving for over night camp again & so the merry-go-round turns.

For me it seems like such a whirlwind. I can't believe it's June again. I certainly don't need to re-hash anything here as I think I've written so much & I don't want to beat a dead bull--just a live one.... I think I'm poised for a lot of fresh starts: I'm going back to school this summer to maybe FINALLY finish my school leadership degree. In two weeks I'll be a 2nd degree black belt (if I break the two stacked cinder blocks for practice tonight & for real during the test), & of course the continuation of my racing. This weekend's Leukemia Cup & I'm back on the Beneteau First. Summer work begins on June 29th & it looks to be VERY busy at my school. All in all a very busy summer. I'm sure I'll reflect back on this post in August & wonder where the time went.....

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Nut-jobs!

The only thing I can say is: She's preggers again! And 6 months in! I guess when the federal government supports your ass, having more & more babies that you can't support while taking what tiny bit of money my son does get is acceptable.

The irresponsibility just astounds me--I am sickened. This man will never be a true father to my son, ever. The selfishness & childishness just disgusts me--I am rendered speechless! Dare I say that perhaps those folk who receive total aid from the government should be obligated to use birth control by law?? Or is that just too outrageous a statement?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mistaken Identity

Yesterday was my former MIL's funeral. It was held at a beautiful church in DC that for all my years being with my son's father, I'd never seen the inside of. I can imagine that during my MIL's favorite time of year, Christmas, it must have been absolutely amazing. It has the look & feel of a European/British church--much like the ones I visited while in England & France.

My parents, my son & I drove down & I was quite glad for my folks' presence as I made sure that my son sat with the family--namely his granddad & his father.
But it made sense because of course they had a relationship with Sylvia as well. I would have been sitting alone in the back if they hadn't come too. Which is a big difference from when my son was born--they were in Western Maryland attending a friend's son's wedding & my MIL was in the room helping me give birth....we may not have seen eye-to-eye as I've said, but SHE was there when he was born & my own mother was conspicuously absent!

Anyway, the service was lovely, albeit long--maybe that's the way it's done there or even in that type of Christianity, I wouldn't know--most of my experiences are limited to Jewish services, usually shorter, or some Hindu meditation ceremonies. It was a great tribute to her life. I sat there listening to all of the "Jesus Christs" & "holy ghosts" & was wondering what my son thought of all that since he'd never attended a church service before. He did look around to find me a few times but I was proud of how he acted & looked--dress shirt, tie, & suit. By contrast his father was wearing an under-armor tee & khakis with closed-toe Keen least it appeared as though he got a hair cut--perhaps at his father insisted.

After the service there was a gathering with food--very British tea-type sandwiches (cucumber, tomato, etc.), deserts & wine. I wasn't sure how to be here because I was no longer part of the family. I stood back with my folks & just watched. My ex & his new wife came in with the babies & it was just very sad. She was very dowdy (also dressed VERY inappropriately for the circumstances--black jeans & sleeveless sky-blue tee) & not very attractive--the first thoughts that came my mind were "lumpy" & "horsey" as well as her needing to see a good dentist immediately. The babies were cute as babies generally are, & at first drew some attention, but soon people drifted away from her & began to talk elsewhere obviously a bit put-off by her lack of social niceties. My son came over to us shortly & he stuck by me for a while & then drifted off to be by his granddad & aunt. I recognized most people there but felt uncomfortable about approaching them because I didn't know what they knew about me or had been told since the divorce. As I was standing with my mom, a woman approached me & told me "what an adorable family I had." I was just a little taken-aback by that comment & wasn't sure how to respond. She was indicating towards the two babies, one being held by my ex, & the other by his wife. My son was standing by my ex, talking to him. I must have looked at her slightly confusedly because she then said, "Your babies are so cute!" I just had to laugh slightly--& I still am as I write & shake my head. I told her that the oldest boy was mine & that I was my ex's first wife. She had thought that his new wife was a babysitter!!! Unbelievable! What's even more amazing is that she wasn't the only one who said these things to me--another woman did almost the same thing!

At this point I saw the daughter of one of my in-law's good friends. She & I had been close at one point so when she saw me she did a small, furtive wave at me--I guess a lot of folks weren't too sure how to approach. I decided that enough was enough. I walked over & we immediately hugged each other very tightly. After that, her father came over, whom I always had a soft spot for. He is like an old country gent--heavy drinker, boisterous, etc. He lives in Louisiana but until his own wife passed, they were always at the gatherings at my in-law's house. It seemed like more & more people relaxed after that & came over to talk with me & my parents. They told me that Sylvia said that I always made sure that my son came to spend time with them & how she was so pleased that I made sure of them maintaining a close relationship with my son. That my son was just gorgeous & so self-assured & what a wonderful job I'd done with him. It was nice to hear these things because I never knew what was said in the past. After that I began to circulate amongst the other people. They seemed genuinely happy to see me again, & had very complimentary things to say. By contrast, the new wife sat alone in a chair with one baby & talked with no one.

All in all, it was a very interesting time. My mom said I appeared gracious & acted very appropriately for the situation--she would know since she's been through similar types of gatherings with my dad's, her ex's, family.

So off to sail on my folks' boat now, after getting my car's emissions test done--blech!

If my MIL was still alive she's be glued to the French Open right about now....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Rest in Peace, Sylvia.

We didn't always get along--she wanted a Christian daughter-in-law, she didn't think I accepted her son's "disability" (I still don't), & she felt that our values were too dissimilar.

However, she loved my son & was a super Granny--He was the light of her life. She came to realize that even though I wasn't the ideal DIL, I have done a great job, so far, raising her grandson & came to respect me because of it. We got along much better after the divorce & we grew to appreciate one another.

She had a loving family & tried her best to be a good mother--I think her daughter would say that she always supported her dancing--even going to most of her performances even into adulthood. That's pretty amazing--even my folks don't come to watch my belt tests in TKD. Although they did go see me in the community theater musical The Robber Bridegroom. So did my then in-laws....

She was a strong woman, even up until the end. At least my son was able to see her before she passed--my ex just missed his opportunity by an hour. I think she tried to hold out for him but just couldn't--for that I'm truly sorry.

God bless.