Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sailing Round-up

So, I haven't posted much about sailing this summer for a variety of reasons--the move, & the family stuff being mainly what this summer has been aboutIn fact, I haven't been doing as much sailing this summer--major bummer, and now we're already moving towards fall.  Yikes!!  Summer has just disappeared. Anyhow, finally sailing post--of sorts.  

Had a serious crappy end to my sailing season last summer (although I did have a few post-season races that were a lot of fun--racing in December, anyone?).  So when Spring rolled around this year, I wasn't exactly chomping at the bit to be back out there & I didn't have a boat to be chomping for as it was, so I was back on the "dating market" for a new sailing "home". And we missed going to the Spin Sheet Crew Listings Party because my kid had a rowing regatta that day so I had absolutely no leads other that a few contacts from previous years.  And, on top of it all, my confidence in my ability was at an all-time low, so I was struggling a lot.  As it was, I uploaded my info to Spin Sheet & almost immediately received an email asking for me to crew for the Annapolis Yacht Club's Wednesday Night Series on a boat that was just beginning to campaign.  "Very cool", I thought because the team would be built from the ground up.  I was getting excited again because it also provided me with an opportunity to learn a new position on the boat. But, as it is with dating, not every first date becomes a relationship & that one was pretty nasty as I would find out very soon & what confidence I did have was blown right out of the proverbial water on that boat.  So, not only was a boat-less again, I also had no ride for Wednesday nights, let alone any weekend regattas. Bleh!  

I got lucky for Screwpile as I'd written before, & also was able to hop on board another boat that I do fall series with for Wednesdays, but as their crew is well-established, there is really little for me to do other than check stays & the occasional grinding & tailing--basically rail meat, but at least I'm getting out.  The down side to all of this is that I'm not practicing my skills at any trim--not jib, not spin, & certainly not main.  Which sucks & further erodes my confidence.  But here's where the fun starts--this story isn't a downer at all!

On Friday evening I got a text from my friend C, who knows a ton of sailors in Annapolis.  She wanted to know if I could go out on a friend's boat for the C.R.A.B. Regatta for Saturday. C.R.A.B. stands for Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating--great for getting folk out on the bay sailing who have disabilities. Link:  The skipper needed a spin trimmer & could I step in?  OK, my initial gut reaction was panic.  I really wanted to go but as I've said, my confidence had been sorely shaken & the thought of jumping on a boat & trimming the spinnaker, & possibly screwing up since I haven't had much practice this season, made my stomach lurch.  But I decided that I'd go, if for no other reason that I wanted to make connections for Annapolis Race Week, since, yet again, I didn't have a ride.

What a great time we had! I honestly can say that the crew just fit immediately--we got it done & when we finished every single one of us had huge smiles--and over & over I heard people saying that it was the best race that they'd had all season.  How cool was that?  The wind was awesome, the skipper said that the boat was sailing at its rating, & we just had great fun rolling the folks in front of us, even when we were over early at the start.  And we saw the first C.R.A.B. boat take the bullet--we gave out huge cheers as we watched behind us as they crossed the finish.  Later, the skipper said that I did a great job with my trimming.  When I said that I needed a ride for race week, well--happy ending--I have one & I couldn't be more excited.  This boat is fun & fast & I am rejuvenated.  I can't wait!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chaos Theory

"All great changes are preceded by chaos." 
--Deepak Chopra

I am trying. Last week I tweeted, "repeat after me, I am not the evil step mom, I am NOT the evil step mom. #grittingteeth."  Why does it seem that my sense of humor & positive equilibrium have flown out the window recently?  Why can't I be gracious & accepting of being cast aside like yesterday's dirty dishes?  Huh? Why?  Even after, being a summer hausfrau, I wash and fold the step-daughters' laundry, am I outside, looking in at all of the fun & games that I'm not allowed to be part of.  Yes, I am to be welcoming, loving, gracious, supportive, generous, & thoughtful to excess for thee divine step children--even my own kid doesn't get that kind of over-the-top ass-kissing! And I read all this advice stuff out in the ether and lo & behold that is what is EXPECTED of me!  And yet, I am treated like an afterthought at best.  And I am to accept this (with grace of course)!  OMG!! 

So, I saw the quote above in several places last week--another blogger, twitter, in a magazine, & someone actually said it to me, therefore I am led to believe that this must be my new mantra. And my life has certainly been chaotic & full of change--but where is the "great change?"  Mebbe it was the new lipstick I picked up at Sephora this week.  Pink instead of wine-colored...

Also, in these well-meaning stepmom advice columns I read the following, "be good to yourself, treat yourself, blah, blah, blah."  All I wanna do is drink several glasses of wine, grab a buzz, hang out with my BFF(J), & try to forget about being a step mom for once.  And I can't escape either.  When I owned my little house by myself & was upset with the situation, I could run back home & curl up in my soothing blue bedroom & be alone with my thoughts (or scream out my frustrations).  Having moved in with Xing Fu, & apparently having troubled the step kids by my yelling once, yes once, I am unable to escape.  Oh, & I'm certainly not allowed to raise my voice--I must keep an inside voice lest I disturb the sensitivities of the step kids.  At least that is what the advice columns also say.  Notice the angst in my tone?  I miss my little house....I think this is just residual to having been alone & making my own decisions about my house without having to consult anyone since my ex vacated the premises in 2004. But either way, I feel the growing pains most acutely when I am made to feel like an outsider in my own (new) home.  Bottom line...would I trade this for where I was before?  Hmmmm....I wouldn't trade the man I am with now--certainly this blog reflects my deep feelings for him.  And well, he comes with baggage--a lot.  As do I--he is a step parent too.  We have gone into this with our eyes wide open & are working hard to move our family forward. But once, just once, I'd love things to flow my way for a change.  New tweet: "trying to find my zen place #zenmaster."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Stepfamily Shuffle--2 Steps Forward, 3 Steps Back

A blended family experiment went down last week in the form of 4 children (3 teens, 1 tween, 3 girls, 1 boy(not in that order for age)), and lo & behold it seemed to work pretty well for all involved.  After all of the drama & stuff from before we left, we all managed to go to the beach for a week & act like a "normal" family.  And upon reflection, I also think the week moved all of us forward in this circus we call stepfamily.  We laughed a lot with one another which is HUGE.  And I finally thought to myself that maybe, just maybe, Xing Fu & I could pull this thing off--that was one of the first times since moving in together where I truly felt positive about it all.  I think we all did.  

But, at some point the other shoe will drop.  And it did about three hours after we got back home (that didn't take long!).  The warm fuzzies just didn't last.  Sigh.  I know there was a lot of crap floating just under the surface for many of us--which of course resurfaced once we all got back to the happy homestead. "We all float down here." a la Stephen in the sh** is bound to rise to the surface once again.  I was hoping that we could keep it at bay at least until the following week.  And to some extent, depending upon the situation, I see changes--case in point, one skid has a birthday & actively involved me--that request really made my day--that she was seeking out something that I had to offer for her special day (OK, a few days after the fact, but still).  I cannot begin to tell you how many points she gained with me--can we call this an Olympic score of 8.5?  I really want to have a positive relationship with all of the skids & this is the kind of interaction that continues those positive feelings--and really, sometimes they are very hard to come by....

I think about another milestone situation & am saddened because we (bio son & I are being excluded).  A work in progress, but it stings pretty deeply nonetheless.  And it does little to make me want to reach out & develop a close, positive relationship because every time I make the attempt, somehow, something always gets in the way which upsets the apple cart & we're back to square one. 

And here's where all the advice columns etc., get to me sometimes--I am supposed to be gracious & accepting, loving & understanding & NEVER show how these things affect me.  I am wondering, are there really those Fairy Godmother, Uber Stepmoms who can do this out there?  Can you send me some of your Uber Stepmom mojo??  'Cause I ain't feelin' it.

It's almost comical how things go from wonderful to sh*t so quickly.  I mentioned how great our week at the beach was & then how just a mere 3 hours later, it all got sucked out like the tide after a storm.  And last night--great dinner--everyone laughing & then, not even an hour later, it crumbled--Xing Fu & I just shaking our heads, WTF?? OK, true statement here, we are both deeply committed to making this work & are optimistic that eventually, prolly in at least a few years, it will come together. But, right now....well, mebbe it had something to do with scrubbing the dog pee out of the rug....