Can’t Fish

Thought I’d take the week I have free to come to Tahoe and check out some condo’s for my new life as an outdoors woman.  It’s been quite an experience, it’s off season up here and kinda cold.  The good thing about off season is the price of deluxe accommodations, I’m staying at Northstar resort, but all the stores are closed and there’s nobody here.  You park in this massive garage with no cars in it right now.  It has a very Stephen King quality to it.

Since there’s nothing to do here, I ventured to Tahoe City to check things out.  I’ve been there many times, mostly during the Winter or early Spring.  No one was in the water, no sailing or water sports, it’s too cold.  It was a really nice walk along the beach though, even that seems closed right now.  In a way, this is the time to come here without the crowds.

Last time I was here was an attempt to fish.  There’s a Bass Pro Shop on the way up, I stopped there to get a cheap pole and was overwhelmed.  I ended up going next door and getting even a cheaper pole at Walmart with cheap line.  Most of the time was spent putting the line on and then untangling it every time I cast out.  It’s catch and release here, which is fine with me if I knew how to do that.  I had YouTube on the whole time to figure it all out, very handy.  I didn’t catch anything, which probably was a blessing for both me and the fish.

The one time I had a bunch of success was when I hired a guide in Redding.  I flew up there and caught the max of small salmon.  I just reeled them in and he did the rest, we had salmon for weeks.

This time I still had all the fishing gear from my trip a few months ago in the back of my truck, minus my Leatherman…or so I thought.  In looking for a few things I bought when I went back to Bass Pro Shop, I couldn’t find the pliers, hooks, new line?  No matter, I went to the truck bed to get my pole to see how tangled the old line was only to discover that the hook was in my travel pillow that was in the back of my truck from my trip in May.  It was a total amateur move with nothing to disconnect them.  There were only some kids throwing rocks at each other where I was, it’s not like I had an audience.  It was still pretty funny to have this massive truck, ready to fish with a travel pillow as my bait.  I called it a disaster of an  expedition and set my keyboard up in a Starbucks w/ my headphones instead.

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Driving around here on a Sunday was enlightening, it was the triathlete crowd.  Everyone had zero body fat with $20k bikes.  Then there’s the total outdoors people, then there’s me?  It’s just lonely up here, even when I had my ski bum year I rarely talked to anyone.  My son would come up on the train, that was fun.

Not sure I’m a year round Tahoe person?  It’s just way too lonely.  I need time to myself to re-charge, that one Winter was too much.  I’d get out of the condo to XC ski or downhill for a few hours, not talk to anyone the whole time.

As for fishing, not done with that yet.  As soon as I get my travel pillow un-hooked and find my purchases I’m going to try again.  Maybe not today, but someday.

Chill’in @ the Holiday Inn

In Modesto, of all places??  I came out for a housewarming party of a pilot friend of mine then heading to Tahoe to look at open houses and to relax.  But first, I relax here across the street from a Boomers (an arcade basically).

On the way over here I was listening to the music on the radio thinking how weird it was that songs bring up such strange memories and put you right back there?  I have Sirius XM in the truck with my stations setting to the extremes.  It’s not set at one type of music station, I listen to everything.

 

This one reminds me of driving down to San Diego to see my brother and surf on a sunny day in my VW Squareback.  Every day to me was drunken, sunny, fun.  I would have died of alcohol piosening if I went to SDSU, I don’t know how they lived through it?  Just really glad that I was with my brother in times of black outs.  He lived with his best friends from home who were like brothers to me too.  Besides way too much drinking, the times at the beach down there were fantastic.  There were also many tacos involved.

 

This one sums up the 80’s for me – the Hollywood dance nights and Sports Center in Redondo with all the volleyball guys in their day.  We loaded up my friends van with a bunch of players to head to the Odyssey in Hollywood one night.  When we were at the door, the bouncer took them aside and told us it was a gay club, so if they’re looking for trouble, we needed to leave now.  We just wanted to dance!  The drink of the night was Tally Ho vodka if I remember correctly.  Many a dance break out at the beach when this song comes on for the 6-man volleyball tournament…still.  It also gave my boys a love of disco while growing up.

 

Backwards to the 70’s, to a movie my parents wouldn’t let me see.  It was showing at the La Mar that’s long gone now.  The song was really popular in my memories.  My mom’s pretty funny about music, I LOVED Prince and every time it would come on she would threaten to call the station to get him banned.  Really, I rarely listened to words, he just had the best dance music.  I wasn’t one of those kids who sat around pinning listening to love songs, I wanted to dance!  This one was a popular ballad that I liked to just sing to, no idea why?

 

Going to fast forward to my golfing days right around 9/11 and my friend Mike Jordan who passed away in his early 40’s.  He was one of the pro’s where I worked, we shared the same taste in music and would pass along CD’s we liked.  Mike had been battling illnesses since he was 16, what I didn’t know is how much pain killers he was on.  He was one person in the morning, barely knew who I was in the afternoon.  Those were good times for me, he was a good friend to me.

That’s all the time I have for now, need to get my free breakfast…

Prepping for Fleet Week SF

This is a little touch & go usually, last year I went out both days.  This year I was planning on going out on Saturday with the same crew from last year, my pilot friends with their family.  Then I took some childhood friends out a few weeks ago who asked to go on Sunday, so my H proceeded to fill the boat up for Sunday as well.  I just got a txt from the first couple canceling, now I’m chess piecing a crew together.

Here’s how I do it, if I asked people last year and they never got back to me I don’t ask them again.  The pilot friends are guys who had a blast last year, they also have done me a ton of favors throughout the years and I feel like the least I could do is have them come along with me.  It makes me feel good to finally be able to “pay back” in some way.  Then I leave a day for whoever my H wants to invite.  Last year he didn’t go, I invited a very funky political mix and in my briefing said, “No politics” before we shoved off.

I’m coming out of Emeryville, what they do is block off a runway rectangle on the water right in front of SF and I sail up to the city front by the ferry building for the first leg if there’s enough wind.  That way we get some sailing in too, because for the rest of the time we’re going to be motoring.  I slowly go around the “runway” with just enough speed for rudder to dodge the other boats.  It ends over Alcatraz, by that time I’ve crawled over there and can just drop downwind back to Emeryville.  It’s a fun day, a lot of work for me though if I don’t have someone else who can take the helm and dodge the boats so I can pee from time to time.  When we get in I can’t even drive!

Last weekend I introduced another pilot friend of mine to sailing with his wife and 3 year old son.  We had a blast, we sailed to Angel Island (my personal favorite, because usually there’s a hike/nap/latte involved).  Their son got to play in the water at the beach for a little while, he loved it!  It reminded me of when my oldest was that age playing at the beach there, how fast that all went by.

On the way back I asked their son if he liked sailing or flying more and he said, “Sailing!!”  My friend said that’s saying a lot, he loves flying.  When we docked he said, “You’re the captain!”  I said, “You’re dad’s a captain flying” and he said, “Yeah, but this is your boat and you’re the captain!!”  OK, I love this kid.

 

Drone Shots

Forgot how much I like flying the drone when it comes back and mission accomplished.  They asked me to take some pictures of a regatta that was a few miles out, I haven’t practiced launching (or landing) from a boat so I had to do it on land.  There are a ton of FAA restrictions that limit me from great footage, one is line of sight.  I’ve never put my drone out that far, there’s just no way you can see it.  The other thing was wind, there was a warning the entire time to bring it back that I ignored since it wasn’t losing altitude.

After 20 years of volunteering, I usually don’t volunteer work stuff.  Suzie Ormon has a quote I love, “Free work leads to more free work.”  It’s led me to pay people right away for services, it’s their time and equipment.  If I lose a drone, it’s $1k right away.  For work, there’s a rental fee included just for that purpose.  I’ve lost 2 drones to trees, one was a freebie job in Costa Rica and suddenly everyone was a drone expert without ever flying one.

When I found out how far out the regatta was and the winds, I figured I might have to kiss the drone goodbye.  The first battery my timing was way off on the downwind turn for  the spinnakers to go up, I just wasn’t out there in time.  I had a 20mph headwind making it slow going (maybe 10 minutes) to get out there about a mile then get oriented to where the boats were.  The good news was that it had that 20mph tailwind when the battery warning came on or I would have been screwed.  It landed right where I launched it.

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The second race I was able to time a little better to get the drone out about 1.5 miles out for there downwind with spinnakers.  My Mavic pro has about 20 min of battery using 10 min in that headwind just to get out there, 5 min of shots, then the remaining battery getting back.  If I would have known how far out it was I might have declined doing it at all.  Usually, the races are closer to the marina which would have made for some great shots and given me a lot more time shooting them.  The worst that could have happened is the drone would drop in the water, no injuries, just the loss of my drone 😦

It all went well and I actually learned a lot without the huge expense of losing it.  I have to decide how much volunteer work I want to do with the drone though while other people are getting paid.  I don’t mind doing my own shots for fun and practice, the liability of volunteering for drone shots thinking it’s going to lead to paid work is too great.  So far, none of my volunteer work has lead to $$.

One of the women last night who found out I droned it said that I should put the pictures on their art wall.  They put art exhibits up from time to time for purchase.  I have to admit, was totally flattered by that.  This morning, as I do the math, it’s going to cost me about $500 to get some prints together for something like that.

My huge project this week has been actually quilting waves on a quilt I’ve been working on all month.  I couldn’t get it finished before the housekeepers came, I told her to just leave it on the dining room table since I have it all lined up.  Instead of saying how beautiful it was, she mentioned that I have free time.  That bummed me out on a few levels, you mean I’m not an artist??  I just have free time I don’t know what to do with and delusions of grandeur??  (OK – that’s not what she meant, I’m just adding that for dramatic purposes).  It definitely smacked me with reality, people look at me as a housewife with free time whose time and talents are not valuable.

That’s one of the reasons I always support my friends artistic endeavors (and pay them for it).  I know how long things take to make and the expense involved.

One of my first photography jobs right out of college was still shots for a commercial starring Tommy Lasorda.  I drove to the park in O.C. and got some great shots using a film camera.  I had a little pouch on my keychain where I put my lunch money, probably $10 max (mid-80’s).  I left it on a picnic table with my camera bag and someone stole the money…all day, no lunch.  I gave the rolls to the productions company before I left for them to develop, they turned out great!!  When I sent them an invoice, they said there must have been a miss-understanding?  This was a trial or an intern shoot, not a paid shoot, that somehow included them keeping all the work and negatives.  I couldn’t even put the shots in my portfolio.  After that job, I had to get a “real” one and couldn’t afford to “work” anymore.

Just some things consider if you’re an artist or someone about to ask a favor of a friend.

Emotional Weekend

This song says it all…get your tissue box:  7 Years Old

Going to blame total exhaustion for part of it.  This past few weeks I’ve been all over the place – Tahoe, Seattle, back to Manhattan Beach, now finally home in Walnut Creek.  MB is bittersweet for me, I have some really great childhood memories there and of course some not so great teenage memories.  That’s everyone, except maybe my brother who was best looking, homecoming king or whatever else they award you for looking like a Ken doll.  Me?  I wasn’t even in the game.  Somehow I pieced together some friends out of that I’ve been friends with for life who I share some great memories with.

I bring this up because we had gone down to a memorial for a friends mom, running into other friends who have lost their parent(s) too.  Yes, it’s that time of life for me, my IL’s are both gone too.  The memorial was for a single mom of two boys, who somehow was able to move them from Venice, CA to Manhattan Beach on a teacher salary.  Those days are long gone down there.  The reason I even bring it up is because it was just a flood of memories of different times of my life.  One of them being how sweet she was about my writing, she had read something I wrote years ago and said I needed to be a writer.  When we were in Seattle, where our friend lives, he said the same thing.  It was so touching for me, coming from writers themselves.  Biggest compliment ever!  To become anything you really have to know how to toot your own horn, I’ve never been able to do that.  I’m good just writing my little blog with just a few readers.  Or they could just be being nice? Regardless, I really appreciated it.

The other son still lives in MB where the memorial was held.  It was a small group, was honored to be invited to it.  Within that group were people I have the greatest memories of, even in HS.  These guys saved me, a select crowd who always had my back.  I set up D-1 with his wife in our early 20’s, D-2 I’ve known as long as I can remember.  When I was 18, D-2 and I had a tanning contest on D-1’s front porch until we finally had to call it because one of us got a job.  D-1 lived on the Strand, his parents have both passed away and they’re forced to sell the house because it’s worth so much the siblings can’t buy each other out.  That’s the problem with MB now, the gentrification getting rid of us bitter middle class.

I’m kidding, not about the real estate vultures, but it is the end of an era and time to finally admit we’re adults.  We stumbled into it without realizing it, until you see each other and really see the passage of time or recall an incident that happened 40 years ago.  We thought we were unique, I thought I was a problem teen and now I look back to see that it was really stressful to be a teen with your parents staying together “for the sake of the kids” until they thankfully split up when I was 17.

The now adult boys who lost their mom, C & M, moved to MB later.  My first memory of C was at a HS party when I was 15 and he asked me to dance.  I’ll never forget his dance move to David Bowie’s “Rebel, Rebel” that night.  Years later, when my a-hole of an ex BF booted me from a party where my girlfriends didn’t want to leave, C saw me crying on the sidewalk with no ride home.  He came out and sat with me, went to find us a ride home (he lived close to me).  His mom let us take her car and gave us money to go to the Kettle, a 24 hour restaurant, then gave me a ride home.  A horrible night turned fine, no thanks to my girlfriends.

M was the hot surfer boy who got on the radar because my GF’s were all fighting over him.  I always had an ability to be friends with the hot surfer/v-ball guys due to the fact my first thought would be “out of my league.”  I never tried to date them, I’ve always thought of myself as one of the guys.  There was one night I was driving a bunch of us home in my mom’s VW van, M was the last drop off since he lived closest.  He came in for the kiss and I said, “What are you doing?  You don’t even like me!”  His world at that time was so full of groupies, he probably thought it was just what you did with last girl standing.  I kicked him out, I’m sure he doesn’t even remember.  Having a single mom made those guys more respectful of a “no” than most of the guys there.

Later D-2 and M had a band, I got them their first paid gig where I met my H.  M then moved to Berkeley as a returning student, he was our only attendant at our wedding.  He did it all, photographer, best man, maid of honor, gave me away.  I couldn’t afford a wedding, saving that expense helped me choose to stay home with Gus when he was born.

Another emotional flood of memories came when we went to check out a house our friends are building in the tree section in MB.  I was so freaked out, that’s where I lived when I was really little, from K-5th grade.  I ran down that street and fell, still have the scar on my nose.  The other side of that hill used to be a dirt road that leveled on one of the street crossings.  My babysitter would pick us up from school in her VW Van (we all had them) and at that flat part we’d go flying off of it to the next part of the hill.  The park down the street was where I was the queen of the hula-hoop at 5 yrs old.  I’d go to the beach after school growing up, then run down the Sand Dune park hill to get home.

Now we’re making adult memories – playing v-ball with our kids, golf, bowling tournaments and sadly memorials.  It’s a voyage I haven’t taken with my parents yet, they’re both still alive.  My mom and I talked about the house and her future while I was there, I just started crying and saying I could come down whenever or she could come and live with us.  I don’t want her to think assisted living is her only option, she insists her surviving friends love it.  Been teary eyed ever since, an interesting time of life.  I looked into that same bathroom mirror at my mom’s to get ready for all the parties, the tanning contest, the night I met my H.  Glad my ride thus far has been with some great people.

Seattle

Got to be a tourist this past week while my husband had an engineering conference up there.  I’ve been there a few times for work related things, have never really checked it out.  It’s booming!  That’s either good or bad, depending on the companies that are creating that boom with rising housing prices.  Here in San Francisco, low income has been literally kicked to the curb.  We have all the top tech with Monopoly money, no sense of reality of what anything actually costs.  It looks like all that tech has gone to Seattle, after destroying San Francisco.

We stayed downtown at a very small condo AirB&B.  It was a super modern place, really convenient and close to everything including the convention center.  The first night of the conference they had a dinner at the Space Needle.  I’d been in it before for dinner almost 20 years ago, it’s nothing like that now.  The surrounding buildings are so tall, it almost dwarfs the Space Needle, including the roof of the place we were staying.  It’s still cool to go on the rotating floor, plus construction started on my husband’s birthday and finished in my year, I’m the same age as the Space Needle – probably in need of renovation too??

The roof of our AirB&B

Other than that, I walked A TON!!  Going on little tours, the Duck Boat was a fun one.  I did one in Boston and loved it, this was a good way to see parts of the city I would never see otherwise and get a few laughs in.  We spent a few lunches at Pike’s Market, if I could cook I would have bought some fish to fry up in the condo.  We’re on the go so much this week that I couldn’t even send it home.

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I brought my keyboard, the forecast was for rain the whole time so I thought I’d be stuck indoors.  It didn’t rain at all, one of the things I got to do was go sailing for a little over an hour.  That was really nice, always like to see a town from the water.  The keyboard limited what I could bring home, another reason I didn’t pack a cooler from Pike’s.

 

From the “Let’s Go Sailing” boat pier 55

 

Just a heads up about our AirB&B, this seems to be a booming industry as well everywhere.  On the upside, it really was an amazing location and a cool place WAY too small to live.  Not to hip on the hospitality, it sucked.  We paid high rates, got a 10 page instruction sheet on how we have to tip-toe through the concierge so as not to let anyone know it’s an AirB&B, no noise, no nothing.  Our first morning we woke up to find the coffee left for us was decaf, poor form but not a major infraction.  I have headphones for my keyboard, we didn’t make a peep.

All went well, until we asked for either a late check out or baggage storage.  We weren’t supposed to be there, the concierge scowled at us every time we walked by, we knew from our instruction booklet not to bother them for anything.  The answer from our “hosts” was “We cannot accommodate your request.”  They suggested we leave our bags at Nordstrom??  Really??  You buy a place right next to a convention center and no clue on where we can leave our bags until the conference is over?  I panicked, thinking I might have to lug my keyboard around all day.

It turns out there are Bag B&B’s, a separate entity start up requiring it’s own app…genius.   My husband ended up putting our luggage behind the check in curtain at the conference, all but my 50 lb backpack.  Off I went to the water to get on it.

I loved it there, it was clean and safe.  If the Winter weather wasn’t miserable, it would be a place I could see myself.  The times I’ve been there I’ve hit some decent weather.  Seems the time to go is during the summer before that kicks in.  Lots of building going on, lots of tech is already there.

I have to bring up an incident in the airport as just an aside.  After carrying 50lbs around with hours before our flight, I splurged for a 15min neck and shoulders massage.  This woman sat down in the area, very disoriented.  At first I thought she was cutting in front of me in line waiting.  The guy asked if she was waiting for a massage and she said “no.”  He said it was the waiting area, that’s when I noticed she was completely out of it.

I sat next to her and then noticed a smell, she lost her bowels as well as looked totally lost.  She started trying to pick up her backpack and I said, “Do you need some help?  Are you here with someone?”  She said “yes” she was there with someone (she wasn’t) and that she didn’t need help.  She stood up, then collapsed hitting her head right out of my reach.  People rushed over, a Dr. & nurse traveling (separately) were first on the scene.  I saw a motorcycle in Santa Fe, thank God these professionals are first to pull over.  I know CPR, that’s about it.  The only input from me, besides saying what happened before the fall, was that she needs to go to the hospital.

The medics came, they figured out who she was by getting her cell & ID.  An Alaska airlines rep was there for info on where she was traveling from…Palm Springs to San Jose??  How did she get re-routed through Seattle for a 9pm flight making an hour flight into an all day nightmare??  Even I might be disoriented and shit my pants after that!!

My mom is 81, I haven’t let her travel alone for years.  I suck it up, get on her flight through L.A. and make sure she gets home OK.  Sometimes I just stay at her house on either end of the flights so I’m with her the whole time.  We were stuck in a 3 hour TSA line in Newark once, I’ve slept in airports and zig-zagged across the US to get home due to weather.  Anything can happen when you travel, apparently winding up in a hospital in Seattle is on that list.  I hope she’s OK 😦

I just write this as a warning to myself that there will be a time when I’m too old to travel, coming in at midnight with a keyboard and 50 lb backpack at 55 years old is no cake walk either.  Speaking of, if I ever did move to Seattle you will find me at Royal Cupcake with my latte and fig/honey cupcake every afternoon.

Horoscope for Today

9.4.18: Let your mind wander, and make sure to write down the peaks and valleys of your journey. You are exploring new mental territories, and they demand being recorded and shared. Take heart if you experience writer’s block. Slow down and pace yourself through your cerebral landscape. The words may not come quickly, but they will be worth their weight in gold when they finally arrive. You are crafting a powerful message that the entire world needs to hear.

It’s right about one thing, the peaks and valleys!  Every day has been a “what now?” since the kids graduated from high school about four years ago.  You really never think they’ll grow up when you’re in the middle of it, or that you’ll grow up.  Never picture getting out of that sleepless baby time, grade school, the sports, the milestones, the awards that are all now a blur in time.  It’s like someone played 52 pick up with your life and the cards are all supposed to stack back up when it’s over (and you end up being 52 somewhere along the way).

That’s where I’ve been, finding some footing.  In the meantime, I’m still a “mom,” as well as a wife and daughter.  The first thing I did when I was close to 50 was to quit my job at the golf course to reinvent myself, I did not want to age in front of everyone.  I worked in the pro shop, it was the perfect job for my schedule, my hobby, my co-workers were great.  We did get a new GM that made my work life hell.  He was the wrong kind of good ol’ boy, never stepping in to help only to criticize.  That made my decision a lot easier.

When my youngest graduated from high school I thought I could find my dream job which was going to be flying for a regional airline.  Mandatory retirement is 62 for pilots, I still had ten years in me.  My husband wanted me to start the drone company for his business with my pilot’s license instead, so that’s the direction I headed with it.  Now we have 2, 25 year olds replacing me.  The drones were fun, it’s just that the physical part of the job sites were getting hard for me (think bathrooms).  I also lost a drone in Costa Rica following my friend surfing while my spotter wasn’t spotting.  It was kind of a humiliating experience all the way around, they all treated me like I didn’t know what I was doing after that.  I left with broken ribs and no Hal 3, my purpose for being there was nil.

Now it’s time for new goals I guess.  Scratch the regional pilot, now I’m too old.  The one goal I did achieve was to get all my sailing certifications and buy a boat, so it’s not like I’ve been doing nothing in the meantime.  Really, it’s time to re-group for sunset goals (gulp).

  1. Where do I eventually want to live?
  2. Logistically, where do I need to be for my mom?
  3. Do I even have anymore “hopes & dreams” in me?

Those are the top 3 right now…not to say I’ve been sitting around either, last week I had my 1st piano lesson in about 15 years hoping for my musical breakthrough.  There still might be time for me to be a rock star?  Haha.   I skipped a Half Moon Bay sailing trip for a relaxing day on Angel Island hiking instead and was glad I did, it looked foggy and hectic.  One of the things that’s for sure not on my bucket list is living on a boat to sail around the world and 5 knots.  Love the boat, love sailing, love my bathtub when I’m done.