Saturday, September 26, 2009

Did I Mention That I Love to Sail?

(J-24s racing as we sail home with the spinnaker)

So I just finished another race today--the Hospice Cup. I was on the Beneteau First that I raced on in the spring & early summer. The skipper goes away with his wife up to Maine for the summer to cruise on their other boat--50 feet & then come back to race in the fall series races. Today was just a practice for those of us that he's chosen to be regular crew for the fall. I'm pretty happy about that because most of the rest of his crew have some affiliation with the Navy sailing teams & again I have an amazing opportunity to learn. It was a great race with 20 knot winds--I was back in the pit but I was grinder for the chute so I had to be able to anticipate what the guy on the chute would need--I must admit--I did quite well--our jibes were very smooth & synchronized--we didn't lose much speed--and the skipper kept telling us how well we did. I am a bit battered--bruises up & down my legs & arms & I re-opened a gash I received that I thought had healed from way back in August--but I am proud of my war wounds.

It looks like most of October will be taken up with racing on the weekends--I am so not complaining. My parents on the other hand, are. They told me that I'm obsessed & have been focusing too heavily on racing to the exclusion of all else--this coming from lifelong sailors! They should at least get it...but then again they enjoy push-button sailing these days. I don't think they've raced in over 20 years--since by grandfather was still racing. Push-button sailing is--push a button, out comes the mainsail. Push a button & unfurl the genoa. Bleh! From the other side of my mom's mouth are statements like, "I really admire you getting out there & racing without knowing anyone or what the boats are like. I would be scared to put myself out there." So which is it? Admiration or condemnation????

I do admit that there is some obsessive behavior but I have this drive in me to get out on the water, sailing as much as I can. I just love the thrill of the race, the way things can go wrong at the drop of a hat--case in point--foredeck screwed up today & managed to wrap the chute around the headstay--we had to douse & re-set the spinnaker costing precious moments. I love that we all know what to do & move in a kind of synchronization that is cool to see--crossing the deck on the windward tacks. I love watching other boats tack & seeing the crew dive for the rail as quickly as they can. It can be hard work--my shoulders are killing me, but I wouldn't trade it.

Which brings me to a source of puzzlement. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a fellow sailor who described the following scenario: Women who go sailing to find a husband & then once they do, quit sailing & try to force the husband to stop as well. I just don't get that. Yes, if I meet someone while I am racing that would be awesome--but for me it's because I want to be sailing as much as possible & sharing such an intense hobby is important. So there are women out there who have really never sailed before & they don't plan to sail again after the ring is on their finger. In my opinion that seriously sucks--sailing is in my blood & I imagine that the men I sail with have it in their blood as well--to try to make me stop sailing would be like cutting off my air--NEVER!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Jumper

It is so tragic it's funny. I live near a new development that is built around an old quarry. The water hasn't filled up entirely, at least a 1/2 mile down from the top to the surface of the water but rumor or urban legend has it that it is about 500 or more feet deep. At the bottom are supposedly a ton, at least, of heavy equipment--somewhat like the canals in Amsterdam--supposedly a mile thick in mud & then a mile thick in bikes before the water on the top.

Anyway, yesterday I was driving home with my kid about 9:15 pm or so & we see an ambulance drive into the quarry development. We glance up & there is a helicopter circling over the quarry with its spotlight on. My son says, "what's going on?" I reply, "Looks like someone jumped into the quarry." I was right. The entire street next to the quarry was lined with police & emergency vehicles. We drove into our neighborhood & pulled into an overlook street but we couldn't really see anything. My son asked why would anyone want to jump into the quarry because it doesn't go straight down--you'd have to bump down the side until you hit the water. He figured the person would really be injured or dead.

The next morning I visit the Starbucks in the shop part of the development & ask the manager if she knew what happened. She told me that a guy jumped in--I knew that, but the tragically funny part of this was that apparently the same guy jumped last year--on the same day! It had to be a water rescue because the ropes weren't long enough to reach the guy, which cost the county even more. I just couldn't believe it--the audacity of this guy--and the vast amounts of money it cost to rescue his sorry ass! I want to send a bill to him, after he gets released from Sheppard-Pratt of course, for the expenses he incurred as a result of his SAD--my tax rate will be impacted--they shoulda let him drown! OK--maybe not, but still....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It Is Sealed

Unetaneh Tohkef – This prayer is about life and death. Part of it reads: "On Rosh HaShanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed, how many will leave this world and how many will be born into it, who will live and who will die... But penitence, prayer and good deeds can annul the severity of the decree."

Interesting how those words rang true on Sunday. Saturday was Rosh Hashana & those words are a very important part of the "Days of Awe"--the time between Rosh Hashana & Yom Kippur when Jews reflect on the past year, ask for forgiveness from those they've wronged, & generally become introspective about life.

On Sunday my BFF(J) had a birthday party for her son, my son's best friend. Of course it was a month late but who's counting? I brought out my son's other best friend because my BFF(A) had a game to go to with her other son but would be out later with the rest of the family. It was on the water & the boys enjoyed the usual fun: tubing, swimming, kickball, etc.

Later on, after the rest of the other boys had left and just the three families were left, my BFF(A)'s husband brought out the mega-fireworks. We were excited because he hadn't set any off for some time--the cops kept showing up around our neighborhood so we stopped. Also, we suspect one of our neighbors squealed. So he goes out to the end of the dock & lights this 100-shot firework. The boys were all sitting on the cement bulkhead, way back from the end of the dock, & me & my BFFs were standing in the yard, behind the fence. The first shot soars up & blasts apart nicely & that's when all hell broke out. The blast knocked the cake on its side which caused it to shoot off the next shots straight at us & the kids! We were swallowed up in a volley of sparks & explosions. The cake itself then shot off the edge of the dock into the water.

No one was hurt! Thank god. I turned to my BFFs & said, "Well, it looks like we are sealed for the next year." L'Shana Tova. May it be a good & sweet year--I know that I have spent the time since Sunday thinking about things & what I may need to do better for next year--it struck a chord for sure.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bad Girl Drama

Samantha: Ladies! Seamen, twelve o'clock!
Miranda: I pray when I turn around there are sailors, because with her, you never know.

Sex & The City

So after the regret comes introspection. Bad Girl--here I have been complaining about the BBs in my life & I think I've come to recognize that I may be just as bad....of course I wouldn't play the game like the Bull--I may be bad but I ain't BAD-destructive, sociopath. I think I'm bad-fun, drama. Recently a few people have called my bluff. Saying that I thrive on the drama that my choices create--that the drama prevents any deep relationship because it's diversionary--I won't get hurt. That wall is intact & no one gets in. Since the Bad Boys won't ever be appropriate relationship choices & I know it walking in, I know I won't get stung. It all kinda makes sense but I really wonder if this Bad Girl is a reaction to the Bull. After being so burned am I choosing to protect myself or am I choosing to have fun? Last summer I thought about having a "Samantha summer" but I met the Bull--it appears that recently I have been channeling my inner Samantha.

And yes, I have been having fun. Because, well, I AM a flirt...but even so I am always aware of Karma....I will only go so far with certain men--again I am not destructive. And I would like to meet my match.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stoopid, Stoopid, Stoopid

Regret sucks. Bad decisions suck. Hangovers suck. Sometimes I wish I didn't make the choices I do. Yeah, I could blame it on the wine & maybe I'd feel a little less like an idiot but underneath that great Pinot haze I knew what I was doing.

It started off innocently enough:

One of my circlers, Sweet Mistakes (& yes, now it is quite a fitting name), has been going through a nasty divorce--right at the beginning as a matter of fact. I have been very supportive of him but have stepped waaaay back so as not to complicate things & waiting until the air clears a bit before being anything more than a good friend. We had been planning to get together for dinner a while ago but because of the chaos in his life right now we hadn't been able to set up a time. This past weekend we planned again for this week. I wasn't holding my breath because stuff has come up before & prevented him from coming over. But SM calls me on Monday to confirm for last night & I was happy & excited--we planned to make mussels a la Brussels & have a bottle of Muscadet that often accompanies them as well. We planned to cook it up together & I prepped everything prior to his arrival. We had great fun making dinner & it was quite good. We were having a blast~being friends but it just went too far after the bottle of wine was consumed & some of my walls crumbled.

Now I am just sorry--I think there is a future with SM but we need to go back to where we were--me being a supportive friend with the future potential relationship change. I texted him: "I need to hit the rewind button--too far, too fast. Pls call--we should talk." I hope we can fix this...

Sunday, September 13, 2009


So welcome to my 100th post! I have been sorta saving up a few things recently to put in the 100th post so I can make it a BIG DEAL....or something. As the overall theme of this blog has been primarily about my dating disasters, frustrations, or excitements, I wanted to make sure that this post contained all of that--there won't be a disappointment because--yes, I have had quite a ride recently & that's been both a good & a very frustrating thing. I haven't posted everything about last weekend until now because I needed time to think on it a bit & figure out just what I have been working through. There's a lot saved up--and this week may prove to be a multiple-post kinda week--last weekend to this weekend--both quite the trip.

The Bad Boy Bug--or B-cubed. I got it BAD. Yep, I am certifiable in this respect--the badder the better--After reflecting on my various men I am seeing quite the clear pattern: I am excited by the Bad Boys. Yes, I've touched on this theme before, but after this summer & last week's experiences, well it can't be too much clearer. Those "loveable assholes" as the Bull used to call himself set a fire for me & the nice guys--i.e. Mr. Trip to Amsterdam, do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Sigh.

Last weekend I took my son racing with a man who is most definitely a Bad Boy. I gotta say--couldn't have been more romantic sailing in under the beautiful setting sun (see above), with a cup-o-wine, my son laying in the little belly that the main sail makes at the boom, and BB2 & I, shall I say delicately, enjoying each other's company while watching the sun set & the full moon with Jupiter rise. That was, without a doubt, one of my best experiences this summer--the entire weekend, really. Of course with any BB there is drama, & there certainly was drama--I will most probably recount that in another post because otherwise it will just take too long.

So Friday we sail into St Michael's & dock at a house with the most amazing family. They built their house entirely with a green purpose--all the way to the solar panels & waste disposal system. Even the beams that they used were recycled from an old barn. The tiles in the shower were hand-placed with a sea theme--little mirrors, sea glass, etc. I was very impressed--it was a beautiful house with a beautiful family--their two little girls were like sunshine--too good to be true but here they were with fresh sea bass cooked in an outdoor oven that the husband had just made, with a salad from their garden, cooked perfectly & waiting until we got in--about 8:30 that night. They had a boat that they'd be racing against us the next day. They were so inviting and made us feel so at home--there was another house on the property belonging to the grandmother but she was away & left the house for our convenience--shower, bathroom--my son slept in one of the bedrooms instead of on the boat. After dinner, we mosey back down to the boat & my son hangs up at the house. Realizing of course that there was a race the next day, we completely ignore this fact--full moon, gently rocking sailboat--I was awakened in the middle of the night....

I recounted the race in the last post so I don't need to go over it again except to say that the family whose house we docked took 1st & it was quite fitting that they did--it was well-fought & well-earned.

Sunday arrived & BB2 & I were up just after sunrise, sitting up in the house while my son slept in the back bedroom. I had taken to calling BB2 an asshole during the weekend--he absolutely loved that I called him this with all that it implied--it was funny but I didn't even think of the Bull--just of BB2 & how much he was a bad boy & how that excited me. While we were chatting, etc., BB2 saw bald eagles swooping down to the water trying to catch their breakfast--he wanted to make sure that I saw them so we walked outside & stood entwined, on the little bluff overlooking the water & waited. This is what so sucks about bad boys--they can be such great guys--romantic, talkative, & involved in life. I was thinking about Mr. Trip & how silent he was a lot of the time--I wanted to discuss the world with him & all he would do was sit. It made me somewhat uncomfortable. BB2 was engaging & loves to regale stories from his quite colorful life--a lot like another BB I know. Very soon the eagles returned--a juvenile & a full grown male--just an incredible sight. As I've said, the weekend was full of incredible experiences--of all the senses--one of the thank the universe kinds of times that makes you smile when re-living it.

The family invites us up to the house for peach pancakes--with local St Michael's organic coffee alongside. Such a nice send-off--when I got back to Baltimore I sent them Zeke's Coffee with t-shirts for everyone in the family--I was just so taken by them & their kindness. Sailing back was intense. BB2 gives my son the spinnaker to fly on the way--teaches him what to do & puts him on the foredeck, laying down, with his back to us. We sit in the cockpit--BB2 with his hand on the tiller, steering the boat and the other....feeling sun shining on my upturned face, the sound of the wind & other boats passing, I'm relaxed against BB2's chest, sailing across the bay--- Eventually my kid gets bored so I take over flying the kite until we get close to Bloody Point--where our course changes & we have to douse the chute. We wanted to catch some of the races of Annapolis Race Week & watch them round the mark & pop their chutes. I saw a few boats I race against & we sail up & down the line watching--very cool listening to BB2's discussion of some of the racing strategies he was observing--he is truly an excellent sailor--I have great respect for that.

I've been thinking about the rest of the weekend--our return to the marina, what BB2 said to me, the other folk around, & I think I need to think some more about it. Suffice it to say, I knew what I was dealing with walking into the weekend with this man. I knew that beyond a special friendship there would be nothing more--and that's ok. If anything else, my relationship with the Bull has helped me recognize the BBs out there & take them at face value. BB2 never misrepresented himself--he was always honest--I give him credit for that--at least in that respect he isn't a player--or mebbe he's an honest player. I do look forward to more times like this one--it was great fun!

More on this next time....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Passing to Weather

(In the distance--the big boats of Annapolis Race Week)

This weekend was a wild ride on so many levels. But since the most important of the rides was of course the race I'm gonna talk about that right now.

I didn't catch a ride for Annapolis Race Week but I must say that I certainly didn't miss it! I have learned so much this summer & this particular race was I think where I've learned the most because I had to do it all--from taking the tiller to being on the mast, to flying the kite. There was only the skipper, me & my son to race the boat so being able to observe & learn went right out with the dirty air.

At the beginning of the season I essentially knew nothing about racing aside from my experiences with my grandfather 20 plus years ago sailing non-spin class in a Wednesday night series near Pasadena, MD. He had an Ericson 35 which was a pretty fast boat & we won a lot of races with her. I had been sailing all of my life but felt my skills had stagnated & racing again was a way to get out on the water & learn more about a sport I loved. So stepping out on that J for the first time way back in April was pretty scary--at least I knew a little more than the spinnaker was the really big sail with all the pretty colors--but not too much more.....

This weekend widened the gap considerably--I got to be foredeck & get ready for the spin set, I was on the mast raising & dowsing the sails, & I flew the kite in very light air & a ton of chop from asshole powerboaters & even though this boat is used to winning most of the time, I managed to help us to a 2nd. After all this is quite new to me, and even though I have some guilt over not getting the 1st, but at least as inexperienced as I am, we did get 2nd--I think that says something.....

The race was down in St. Michael's on the Miles which is a beautiful area especially during the sunset & the full moon rising--more on that later. It was very tough--as I said--all the chop & the light air made flying the kite quite challenging. But the best part of the race was at the end--5 or so fast tacks towards the Miles River Yacht Club. We came about 10 feet off of the docks & we could hear the folks on the end, watching saying things like, "they're too close, they won't make it, they're gonna hit us...", & then we tack, narrowly missing--felt like our shrouds could have brushed the pilings....exciting! Try that 5 times in very short duration to the finish....god I love racing!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September Song

"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always
been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
- Henry James

What happened to my summer? I am sitting with the windows open, catching the fall-like air & already, aside from the crickets, I hear geese flying overhead (maybe it has something to do with the lake close to my house..dunno). Only a couple of cicadas chirp as if their voices are already withering with the approach of the fall months. September always brings mixed emotions--I always look forward to summer--not only because it is the wrapping-up of my work(school) year but because that's when my fun begins. Even if I do work all summer. It makes me somewhat melancholy as the pool closes & the racing season draws to a close--at least there's the fall series.

This summer proved to be as memorable as last but in a slightly different way. Just a reflection on my trip to Amsterdam--it seems so recent & not almost a month past.

And although I haven't gotten any closer to finding "the one" this summer, I am strangely OK with that. In a way, all of the intensity of the summer search has faded just like the summer. I am more of a mind of if it happens, it happens. I still want to find that person, & I still believe that I will--I guess I'm just not so urgent about it. Which may be a good thing. Time to focus on me again--back to the routines of TKD, riding, & running, not to mention the gym. Working on finishing my Master's in School Leadership & juggling the responsibilities of being an IEP Chair as well as the School Support Team chair. Leadership roles in my school are becoming very important for me. Still, I have a little feeling of weltschmerz--world-weariness. I love my summers & wish they were just slightly longer.....

"The summer days are fading, as they must
From endless hours to short and fleeting light
The bird's once bright, immortal tune, now cries
A melancholy aura to the dusk
The children fiercely climb, and dream, and race
Before their wild and unchained days depart
And yet beneath the zeal lies a half heart
For there isn't time, there's only enough space
The sun seems low, a hazy orange sphere
Now reminiscing sweetly of the days
When endlessly before you summer lay
And as in the deep, crimson dusk you stir
Your soul joins with the birds in wistful brood
Crying for lost summer days, for childhood."
- Shannon Georgia Schaubroeck, The End of Summer