Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Loyalty Question

As always a busy weekend.  And believe it or not, I wasn't sailing....in fact, for the first time I missed the Miles River Race & of course the weather, wind,etc., was perfect...sigh.  Regardless, I had a good weekend with Xing Fu, his mom, his kids, & my kid.  And, it was my BFF(J)'s annual Day Before Memorial Day party & I was able to see a bunch of friends that I don't see all that often these days--so a good time despite not racing--there will be many more Miles races I'm sure....but to the point of the post:

I have been reading a bunch of "divorced with children & blending families" books these days & for the most part they are all full of dire predictions of hardship--jealousies, loyalty issues, & just down-right meanness. This weekend could have been a disaster because of all of those kinds of things--we had a lot of activities planned for all of us--Saturday we went strawberry picking at Larriland Farm http://www.pickyourown.com/ --great fun & the strawberries to die for--there is nothing like picking a ripe, juicy strawberry off the plant, warmed in the sun, & popping it in your mouth--amazing.  We gathered a ton of them--good thing we had a party to go to--great dessert.  I am also planning to make a couple strawberry-rhubarb pies--Xing Fu's kids' request so it appears that they will not go to waste. But I digress--the different activities--after strawberries I took two of Xing Fu's kids & my own to my kid's soccer game.  Here was an opportunity again for boredom, disaster, any number of things but it went very well--despite my kid's team getting trounced.  Dinner with all of us also pitfalls & then the big party on Sunday.   

Throughout all of this I kept thinking about the Loyalty question.  What's that?  Well, in ALL of the books there is always a section about the children's loyalty to their mother.  They don't want to like the "step" mom so they are undermining, manipulative & sometimes mean.  Especially if they do like the stepmom.  And according to Xing Fu, his kids really do like me--a lot.  So here I am waiting for the other shoe to drop & it hasn'tWhich is great!  I hope it never happens because I am very fond of them too.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I Don't Speak Love

I know I've been a fool
I'm distant and I'm arrogant
And stubborn as a mule
I want to be a better man
And take good care of you
If you could find it in your heart
To help us see this through

I Can Feel Love
I Can See Love
I Don't Speak Love
I Sure Need Your Love

What a price I'll pay
To spend my life this way
I can't take this pain
When every heartbeat calls your name

Gertie looked him in the eye
And said, "Boy, you are a mess."
"Don't try to find an eloquence
You never can possess."
Willie held her in his arms
And whispered in her ear
"I just need to learn to say the words
You long to hear."

--The Radiators

We saw the Radiators last week & although I think the venue wasn't right, (I'd seen them at 8X10--perfect), they were good, but not as great as I'd remembered--but this song struck me so I'm reprinting the lyrics.  

Thursday, May 26, 2011


On Sunday Xing Fu tried to off me...
Yep, I was trimming the jib during a race & I was grinding in when all of a sudden we were scuppers in the water & me, well I was almost up to my waist--at least one leg was.  Xing Fu was on main & had forgotten the traveller so we were heeled way over.  And then later, since he didn't get rid of me that way-- He hit me with the boom...tenacious aren't I??

But, I appreciate the attempt--but I appreciate this even more:

"I asked my girlfriend: How did your dad show your mom that he loved her? Her response: "Ceaseless appreciation of everything she did for him. He treated everything she did as if it were a surprise, as if it were the first time he'd ever had her chili or smelled her perfume. He noted every routine kindness. And he loved her the same way, consistently."  

From Esquire

From Xing Fu:   "Looking at my tie earlier today, I smiled at your helping me trim the thread. A loving gesture."  

"I hope we always smile together",  is what I wrote back.

He says these things to me a lot.  Just makes me remember the dating mishaps & how I always had hope that the right person was out there for me & that through it all I'd always kept a positive attitude.  

How great that I have a man who isn't afraid to share his appreciation with me & how incredible is it that he loves to sail.  He may exasperate me sometimes, piss me off, & frustrate me too, but he is, as we approach the year & a half mark, my best friend--I am thankful for all that he does to enhance my life.  Yikes, am I a mushy one right now! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Rapture

Of a great sailing weekend--did a distance race from Annapolis to Gibson Island on Saturday (little to no wind) & then on Sunday did an around the buoys race on the Magothy River.  Kinda nostalgic for me because Dobbins Island is there.  When I was a little girl we used to sail to Dobbins & anchor out, row over to the island (back then you could go on the island--now it's eroding so people can't go there), gather sassafras that my grandmother would brew into tea as we continued our cruise down the Chesapeake.  In fact, when I was in first grade I drew a picture for my grandparents of us at Dobbins.  See it above.  In it, Dobbins is in the background, a sailboat with "26 Footer" written on the mainsail, and me & my cousin swimming in the bay.  Also included are the requisite sea nettles which have wrapped themselves around my cousin while I swam ahead of them.  I gave this picture to my grandparents & it hung in their house until they died.  Now it is mine & I treasure that memory.

Saturday evening after-race party was great, part of the crew had her boat brought up as a "floating hotel" and they rafted next to Bump. After drinking the requisite Dark n' Stormy, having a hot dog, & saying hi to many people from the J/30 fleet that I've come to know, we all settled down below & decided that we were the left behinds after the Rapture.  Which makes sense because we're a bunch of rowdy sailors.   I don't think I've laughed that hard in quite a while.

Great wind on Sunday, especially the second race.  We came in third--for me it was a busy day as I trimmed jib & spinnaker so I had no rest on the upwind leg or the downwind leg.  Not complaining--just sore.  In fact, I loved that I was so busy--it feels good to be active all the time but I'm sure that if I had to maintain that over a three-day regatta I'd be in serious trouble I think.  Sunday was particularly nice because Xing Fu joined us--trimmed main.  I always enjoy sailing with him--makes doing what I love just that much more fun.  

  I'm glad it's sailing season again--as the sun set on Saturday, a man stood at the end of the center dock at the Gibson Island Yacht Squadron & played the bagpipes--what an amazing image to remind me of a great weekend with my awesome sailing friends!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Just OK?

So according to this article I read online--many people are stuck in "semi-happy" relationships.  Pamela Haag wrote a book (Marriage Confidential) about these types of relationships & how to not stay in the rut.  She says that couples often settle for a "just ok" relationship--the question being, "Is this all there is?" Yeah, that's a toughie.  I think any LTR, be it marriage or otherwise, fights against that river current.  The romantic ideal--the feet floating above the earth, rapid heartbeat, etc., etc., just doesn't last--is that all there is when reality sets in? 

Glamour: You also mention that "children are the new spouses." How so?
Pamela Haag: When I grew up, there were times when adults wanted to be alone and have adult conversations, and kids were told to scram. Now kids are so often invited and have become the focus of family life, and that can negatively affect marriages.
Glamour: So how does one avoid falling into a semi-happy rut?
Pamela Haag: It's more about how you live in a marriage than whom you choose. I think people in happy marriages live like they're on vacation all the time, in the sense that they're paying attention to each other and trying to have some fun. Marriage should be enjoyable rather than just hard work.

Living like they're on vacation--finding things to do besides dinner & a movie for date night or sitting on the couch watching TV & ordering pizza.  Yup, I agree that is a major way to keep it lively. The quickest way to total dissatisfaction being too tired to go out. Get up!  Go sailing!  Heehee.  OK, if you get seasick, don't go sailing--but get up & do something.  It has been a year & a half & Xing Fu & I have yet to have a "traditional" date night--we've NEVER been to a movie together--it has now become a running joke.  What can we find to do other than that rut-producer?  Turns out--PLENTY!!  Going to the beach for the weekend for me is creating that alone couple time, geocaching, concerts & of course sailing...there's just so much to do--I think we do a good job of living like we're on vacation even in the midst of our responsibilities to our families & our work & anything else.  We make it part of our priority & I think it shows.  Good on us!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Learning Curve

Tomorrow I'm taking a two-day sailing course with J-World.  While this is nothing hugely special in the sense that many sailors take courses--Captain's License, for example, or Blue Water sailing, it's kinda a big deal for me.  I talked about how I used to race with my grandfather in a cruising class when I was growing up--that much is certainly true but three years ago when I decided to do this "racing" thing for real, I never guessed what it would be all about; how involved & how much I really didn't know.  Looking back on it now it is somewhat embarrassingWhen I stepped onto that J/42 three years ago in April I was certainly nervous but I knew I was a sailor & had raced before--I figured it would be no big deal--HA!  I quickly learned that even though I'd been sailing all my life, this ain't your mother's sailing!  My ignorance just makes me cringe now.  In fact, when I wrote about racing on this blog--my lack of knowledge of terminology, etc., is glaringly apparent.  http://boyfriendplease-sailorgrl.blogspot.com/2009/04/sailracer-in-napolis.html I really don't want to link back to it--that's how embarrassed I am....Anyway, some of the guys on that J/42 suggested that I take courses at J-World on that first day I went out.  I think I may have asked them how they got into the racing.  (This was before I went to the crew listings party with Spin Sheet)  Their response was that they'd all taken these courses & had done regattas with J-World.  Interesting, I thought, but I sorta dismissed it--I'd seen adverts for the school as well as many others in the Annapolis & Baltimore area but just didn't think it would benefit me.  Funny how it's full circle now. Yeah, since my regular boat has a symmetrical spinnaker, I made sure to ask the folks at J-World to make sure they had that & the pole on board for me.  Back three years ago I couldn't tell you the difference between an asymmetrical or a symetric kite.  In fact, I probably didn't even refer to a spinnaker as a "kite", "chute", or anything else, let alone fly the damn thing.  Not that I'm great at it now, hence the course on spin trim. But I'm quite excited by the prospect of getting this experience on becoming better at spin trim & also learning about the asym which I've never flown before.  I am also hoping that I become more valuable to my boat.  You've come a long way, baby!  But as Xing Fu is quick to point out, & something I also know with regard to TKD, I may be a 2nd degree black belt, but there are 9 degrees total & I'm really just a beginner.  Perhaps this course over the weekend will make me an advanced beginner....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Your Song

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well a few of the verses well they've got me quite cross
But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song
It's for people like you that keep it turned on

So excuse me forgetting but these things I do
You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue
Anyway the thing is what I really mean
Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen 

--Elton John

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How To Date The Crew

So over the years I've crewed on a bunch of different boats.  Some only once & others for a few different races or as a semi-regular on Wednesday nights.  And now I have a regular ride on Bump...which is great--I like having a home.  I think I have a new spin on crewing--it's a hell of a lot like dating--how?  Well let me tell ya'I used to write a lot about my 50 first dates & how I kissed a lot of frogs until Xing Fu became my Frog Prince.  I think finding the right boat to call home is a lot like that.  I've spent a few years "trying out" a bunch of boats--50 first crews?  

I don't like skippers who yell a lot or who verbally bash their crew & I've seen it & been put through it.  If sailing is supposed to be fun, who the fuck needs that??  I also don't enjoy being put on the rail for the entire race as ballast--I need a job--I may not be the most experienced racer out there (Xing Fu is miles & miles better than me), but I do know how to sail, been doing it all my life, just not racing, & I can trim jib or do pole on down wind legs if I'm not regular crewI wouldn't ever dream of taking the job of a regular, but don't have me sit & do nothing except get bashed up diving across the deck during the tacks.  To me, that just ain't fun.  

What I've learned is that when you find "the one", it just doesn't matter that you get banged up crossing the cabin top--and I may hurl myself across even faster because I want us to do better.  That's how I felt last night during the Wednesday night race.  In fact, the first time I crewed on Bump for the first race of the Wednesday night series on the West River, I felt that tingle--that these people were fun to be with & that I fit right in, uh-oh...And I stayed with them & now I look forward to being with them both on & off the water.  It is a good fit & it took a little while---I'll never forget the "infamous tiller" on another boat I crewed with for a few races...ah, the stories...anyway.

Last weekend I'd taken a guest spot on another boat for NOODs.  It just wasn't a good fit & if, when Sunday rolled around,  and my head & heart weren't in it & I questioned why I love sailing--then there's a problem.  And, watching Bump's transom in front of me is a bright spot during the racing...and that I don't freakin' care if I get an Annapolis NOOD red hat....you see what I mean.  So, when I arrived yesterday to climb aboard my regular ride, I was just so happy to see everyone.  These are the folks that I want to be with--a little yelling sometimes doesn't bother me because I know that they appreciate my contribution--and I do have one.  And also, if I have to ride the rail sometimes, I don't mind because I know that when the down wind leg arrives, I'll be on--that's when I'm busy & I want to do it well.  I look forward to the challenges & I can't hide my smile because it is just an easy fit--just like finding the right guy.  Yeah, we don't always see eye-to-eye, but we have fun--and that's what it's all about.  And beating the boat I was on on Sunday doesn't hurt either.