Doldrums

A day of not much to do, besides a pile of laundry.  What I should probably do is walk the reservoir and go to the boat (skip the laundry?).  I go with my mom to her hometown in Arizona next week, that’ll be a barrel of laughs.  My mom can either be OK or really difficult, I spent all my vacation times with her one year.  She was a stewardess in the late 50’s, she loves to travel.  Unfortunately, I don’t want her to go by herself so I always go with her now.  The good news is, she doesn’t go far, her Europe trips are over.

My mom is from Bisbee, AZ, it’s a small mining town that’s now a historical, artist town.  Bisbee copper mines were the gold rush at one point, drawing people from all over for steady jobs.  This would include both sets of my mom’s grandparents right around 1910.  My grandfather was a copper miner, my grandma was a school teacher after the depression because women couldn’t work.  My mom grew up with all of her first cousins, some right next door.  That generation is almost gone, she goes “home” to say goodbye now, while she still can.  She’s aware that they might be saying goodbye to her too.

My mom grew up in the boom of Bisbee, when the schools were good.  She was the high school cheerleader, still in touch with a few of her surviving cheerleader friends.  She went to University of Arizona, then became a stewardess until she got married.  At that time, you had to quit when you got married in 1962.

The only reason I write about Bisbee right now is because I’ve been reading this book, “Back to Bisbee” written by someone who had lived there for a few years.  It’s mostly about the plants and animals along the road so far, which I’m skipping over to get to the history part.  I spent every summer in Bisbee with my grandparents, I loved it there.  My best friends were my cousins as well, then when I got back to Manhattan Beach we’d be in a new house and a new school.  The mines closed in 1976, even my cousins had to move for work.  I’m just finding some of this stuff out now, I have cousins that ended up in Las Cruces where my son is.

There’s no current good book on Bisbee right now, that I’ve read anyway.  The architecture and location are amazing, it’s a tourist town now.  They interviewed me once on the news for the stair climb, briefly.  It’s like a family album now, where you don’t know the people in the pictures anymore.  It needs to be documented that my family existed there before we’re all gone.

The doldrums title is because I’ve been really upset over this whole border fiasco of separating children.  Bisbee is a border town, so is Las Cruces really.  I skirt the border to get from one town to another.  We’re all immigrants, come to the US for a better life.  Somewhere along the line, one of our descendants braved the immigration process.  Supposedly, the first Edgington (my maiden name) was a 16 year old stow away on a ship from England in the 1750’s.  My father in law was from Greece,  he got stuck on Ellis Island for 6 mos at 18 years old.  We seem to have no gratitude towards our family forefathers when it comes to this.

My great grandparents in Bisbee were from Poland, Germany, and Canada.  Canada doesn’t sound too bad, except it was the wild west when they came.  I’m just glad that at least Trump signed an executive order so the kids won’t be separated at the border…even though he’s the one who decided to do that in the first place.  I’m scared for the future of the US, if it’s OK to rip families apart at the border – what’s next?  Who thinks of that as a bargaining tool?  A monster, that’s who.

Windsurfing Committee Boat

I was on the water all week, either in Tahoe or here in the Bay area.  Sailing is taking a boat out and waiting for everything to go wrong, picking and choosing your battles.  Our father’s day plan was that I would take my husband out to Angel Island for the night on the moorings then have my son and fiance ferry over.  I got a message asking to use my boat as the committee boat, checked the forecast, then changed my plans.  It looked like a small craft advisory, making it for a miserable FD weekend.  After Fridays sail, I wasn’t up for it.

Because my fuel gauge doesn’t work, what I do is write down the hours and gallons to fuel to determine my GPH (gallons per hour).  It’s diesel, my calculations give me around 1 GPH, it’s been quite a few months since I filled up and 17 hours on the meter.  I’m planning a trip next weekend where I’ll have to motor quite a few hours, time to make sure it’s full.

Before heading to Berkeley, we hit the fuel dock to fill up.  I knew I had a small leak I couldn’t find, but one of the things I did was unscrew the top of the fuel tank to see how hard it would be to replace the floater to get my gauge working again.  Well…there’s a dissolved gasket that wasn’t visible when I screwed it back on, so when I fueled up, that’ where the leak was.  It was a smelly mess, I still smell like diesel fuel.  The leak wasn’t enough to deter me from taking my boat out to anchor for the Cal Cup race.

That was exciting and hectic!  It was 30 knot constant winds, with quite a swell out there and a flood tide.  There were 6 of us on the committee boat, 6 windsurfers that dropped down to 3 for the last race because it was too windy.  With the tide and wind from the same direction, anchoring was pretty easy.  There was a problem with my windlass, turned out it was just the circuit breaker which I quickly fixed.  The boat held while it slammed up and down on the waves.  Compared to those windsurfers out there, it was nothing.

Motor started, the windless brought the anchor up, success!!  I just didn’t think I could get the boat back that night, it was too hectic to get out there once let alone go back.  Thought I could overnight dock it at BYC (Berkeley Yacht Club), it looked like a tight squeeze with another Pac Cup boat there heading for Hawaii.  My friend took the helm, by the time we flipped it around another boat had docked there.  I was a little relieved, I’m a pretty good docker and I didn’t think I could pull off a tight squeeze in those winds. On that particular dock it would have been a 30 knot crosswind.

He went to an open slip and we docked, no problem.  I shut down the boat and locked it, expecting to come back to possibly spend the night.  That never happened, I went back home to sleep it off.  On father’s day we asked friends to meet us in Berkeley.  The winds were a little calmer, the forecast was similar so my sail plan was going to be to get out of the slot ASAP to head for the city (San Francisco).  I had arranged a guest dock for lunch over there.  Fully briefing my new crew, went to start the engine…nothing.  In my hasty shut down, I forgot to turn off the engine battery.

My friend that docked for me happened to be at BYC and brought me over a shore power cord to re-charge.  We waited…nothing.  I cancelled the guest dock  in SF, then headed to Spengers for a fathers day lunch to wait out the charging.  Several hours later, nothing.  While the crew partied it up at the dock, my mind was going into troubleshooting gear/panic.  Several things occurred to me, I might not be able to move the boat back was one.  The other thoughts were us stuck at either Angel Island (the original plan), no engine for the windlass after the race with the whole committee stuck out there overnight getting pummeled by the waves.  Not a bad place to be stuck in all reality, close to BYC which has bathrooms and a bar.

Then I looked at the microwave to see it wasn’t on.  My shore power line has 2 plugs, most have just one.  I might not have been charging the battery the whole time?  I rudely excused myself, not sure if anyone would notice because there had been quite a few drinks consumed by that time.  I drove back to Emeryville to grab my shore power cord, plugged it in, an hour later the engine started for a killer sunset back to my dock.

I’m constantly learning things about my boat, my limits, plan B, C, D’s.  A good thing to know is limits, sadly, a kayaker went out while we were out there for the race and died.  We never saw him, those waves must have knocked him over.  A massive Catamaran motored out, then turned around to head back in while we were pulling up the anchor.   A boat that won’t start in a dock with a bunch of booze isn’t so bad.

 

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Water Weekend!!

Getting a lot of sailing in this week, took a crew to Sam’s yesterday for lunch in Tiberon.  Somehow I joined the cruising crew every other Friday and just found out yesterday it’s a retired crew, most along for the ride.  My morning shift at the golf course was all retired too (because really, that’s who has time to play golf).  I loved those guys, they were great to me.

The hardest part of that is docking with limited help.  I can dock on my slip without a problem, it’s the currents and winds everywhere else that makes it hard (impossible) for me to do it myself.  I anticipated it to be a problem beforehand, one of the other Friday cruise out captains drove there and was at the dock at the same time to help.

Luckily, I’m pretty used to having a crew of non-sailors.  I still put people to work, just make it easy by jamming over with no tacks or gybes…and jam we did!!  It was 25 knot winds, I had to reef right away.  On the way back I just pull the jib and go downwind with no gybes to the marina.

It’s a big responsibility taking people out, I’m coming pretty close to getting a captains license and wonder if I want to do that and assume that responsibility with paid passengers?  For now, I’ve been enjoying these cruises.  It’s challenging, I also know one day I’m going to be a passenger unable to help and I hope someone lets me ride along sailing.  I’ve already had that happen with my back before I bought my boat, I signed up for a crew list and said I was a passenger only.

Today I’m taking my boat out as the committee/party boat for a windsurfing regatta in Berkeley, that’ll be fun!  I can just kick back after we anchor, I love that.  Spend the night on the boat and head out for a father’s day sail tomorrow.

It’s weird, I’m kind of a “tween” again.  Not a kid, not an adult.  I’m starting that passage into old age, what’s it going to look like?  Trying my best to stay in shape, I know one day I might have to give up the things I love.  I know what it’s like to have my legs give out from under me, or not be able to physically help out.

Until then, I’ll just keep plugging along.  I’ve been listening to country music lately, these lyrics I’m listening to sum things up nicely:

Get Along
Get along, on down the road
We’ve got a long long way to go
Scared to live, scared to die
We ain’t perfect but we try
Get along while we can
Always give love the upper hand
Paint a wall, learn to dance
Call your mom, buy a boat
Drink a beer, sing a song
Make a friend, can’t we all get along

Off-line for days

Wow was that nice!!  Went to Tahoe to try and fish, something I’ve only tried a few times.  On the way up I stopped at a Bass Pro Shop/Outdoor World that looks like Disneyland.  I was so overwhelmed that I ended up going to the Walmart next door and buying a pole & line for $30.  What I caught was the bottom of a small lake, then I caught a really porous rock at the Truckee River.  It’s all catch & release up there, which of course I didn’t know how to do but I wasn’t too worried about even catching anything.

I stopped when I couldn’t cast it anymore, since I got the cheapest line it got all tangled when I reeled it in despite my youtube instruction on how to put the line on it.  It was still fun casting, years ago I did a fishing guide trip in Redding where I just reeled them in and the guide did all the dirty work.  I brought a cooler and had salmon for a few weeks for dinner.  When I got back I finally youtube’d how to release and I wouldn’t have been able to do that on my own quite yet.  Driving home I stopped at that Bass Pro Shop to get some tips and better line.  Surprisingly, the pole was a Big Ugly from Walmart and is actually decent.

The funny part of my trip was sailing on Donner Lake, I’m totally bruised and battered.  It was a little plastic cockpit with one sail.  There’s a beach on the West side that has a $5 entrance fee and rents the usual, kayaks, SUP’s, and these mini-sail boats.  I ran into a guy who’s son played soccer with my youngest…feel kinda bad I never remember his name, not an uncommon event lately.  When I see people, I automatically figure they don’t know my name and try to eliminate that awkward recollection by saying, “It’s Heller” right away.  No such luck with this guy.

The awkward part of that one was that he and his buddy were taking out one of these itty bitty boats the same time I was.  He re-introduced me to his wife, then suggested I take her out on my rental.  She declined and I was relieved, it’s not like my boat where you just kick back, relax & chat.  Sure enough, when I got on the thing I barely fit.  I have no idea how two of them went out on it?  I had to slide way up to use the tiller, then lay down for the boom to cross over me and hop my butt over to the other side.  These tip over, it was the only way I had any control over that.  Man was it a blast though!!  Super responsive, when I got a gust I jammed.  Always good to just sail on a small boat to go back to the basics.

The next day I rented a SUP from the East side of Donner lake.  I have a blow up one I wasn’t able to get out of the garage before I left, it was easier to just rent one for an hour. I stayed at the Truckee Donner Lodge that was once a Holiday Inn Express where we stayed when the kids were little to go skiing.   There’s also a camp ground Frank & I stayed at once when we brought his dog back to her homeland, we adopted her in Tahoe.  It’s walking distance from the hotel, so I got a really nice hike/SUP in before I headed back home.

I’ve spent a lot of time in Tahoe throughout the past 20 years, not much of it during the summer.  It was just great!!  I love coming back down the mountain too, as much as I love the call of nature, I hate bugs.  I’ve got a couple of nasty bites and bruises, there was also a run in with a snake that made me hesitate crossing a trail thinking it would swallow me.  Finally I reasoned it was probably more scared of me, I never saw a rattle.  Any fin I see in the water is a shark, any snake is a rattler, any spider is a black widow or California brown.  Always good to be cautious for worst case scenario I guess??

Back in the Day

This has been the windiest year I ever remember, it’s grounding me.  It’s overcast at the coast, meaning heavy fogs in the Bay.  Not sure what to do?? I lied, I’m not in any kind of routine right now besides writing in the mornings.  Not a solid routine anyway, I don’t have a rudder.

Someone on FB from my hometown is writing his childhood memories and people are soaking it up.  Maybe that’s the kind of writing I should do?  Instead of writing a blog about my boring days, write about “back in the day.”  If I even remember anything, my childhood memories are fading, they’re black & white memories now where I’m pretty detached.  I’d end up bashing people too, I don’t really want to do that.  There were a lot of assholes in Manhattan Beach growing up.

Let me see if I can recount a story here?  We were raised Catholic, the church has the prime real estate there on top of the hill with a killer view from Palos Verdes to Malibu.  Even the parking lot is a gold mine now.  People complain that Skechers (the shoes) own a lot of Manhattan Beach, it’s the church.  There were always wealthy families there, they just weren’t as in your face.  It wasn’t material items, although a few of the girls got VW bug convertibles when they turned 16.

My parents didn’t buy a house until I was in 6th grade, we rented in various parts of town.  We always lived in a house, we just rented and I always felt like a temporary resident not knowing where I was going to go to school the next year.  By the time they bought a house, it was East of Sepulveda on a busy street.  It was a big house for  the time, I was thrown into a whole new area of kids I didn’t know at all in the dreaded “East of Sepulveda.”

There was always CCD, the Catholic version of mean girl torture to me.  I knew all the girls, we had grown up together through CCD and soccer.  I had gone to their grade schools at one point or another, so we all knew each other.  We must have been freshman in high school when the popular, wealthy girls of the 70’s tried to enlist me in a little bit of pot smoking after our God training.  I declined, not because I was a prude and against it at all – I didn’t trust these girls and felt like it was a major set up.

I was probably right, our CCD sessions were always at a house after the initial meetings at the school classrooms when we were in grade school.  One of the guys was kind of an odd kid, I don’t remember his name.  I wouldn’t remember him at all if these girls hadn’t told him I liked him and he was acting like an idiot around me, armed with the knowledge I was into him.  It was brutal on so many levels, mostly to him.  When I found out what happened, I’m really not sure how I had to let him down?  I know I did though, his face just dropped, it was awful.  He’s probably writing his own blog about the traumatic experience in CCD where I was the bitch.  Who knows how his memory of that was?  Worse than mine I’m sure.

Not that I was the nicest girl either, I presented a tough exterior at every new school I went to.  When my kids were on swim team I was chatting with a woman who stopped our conversation to say, “My daughter was sick last week, I’m going to go help her get back in the group.  You remember how hard it was to be out and then re-connect?”  I thought about that, no I really don’t.  At some point I stopped trying and just started doing my own thing.

I still don’t get girl/women dynamics, I do feel like my experiences really helped me coach high school girls for 5 years.  I might not have been the greatest coach, my gift was guiding the girls through that mean girls period of life isn’t unique to MB.  That’s what all my childhood Catholic training taught me.

New Routine

Being a creature of habit, this whole Peet’s coffee fiasco has thrown me totally off.  There is still $10 left on my app, I’m too cheap not to use it, I’ll never go back to my daily place the last 20 years ever again.  I don’t know what happened to Peet’s?  It’s slow service and now I find out, totally crappy customer service.  I’m just not their customer anymore, they want the Starbucks customer who practically asks for breast milk in their drinks.  The savvy customer, who can speak in a different language unique to coffee shops now…no more “medium latte” customers.

My new routine has been to walk to lunch, then check out family owned coffee places, then swim.  The goal here is get some exercise and strengthen my back, it’s been a really good routine.  I could always eat lunch at home and make my own latte, I really need to get out every day for my mental health since I’m not working anymore.

After that gusty day I passed on with the plane, I went ahead and did some touch & goes with the Piper Archer yesterday.  It was still pretty windy, just not 30 knots!!  The first landing was a rusty one (there is the “any landing is a good landing” philosophy).  The next 4 went a little smoother, adjusting every time to what went wrong on the previous landing.  A few times there was a little crosswind, had to adjust the ailerons into the wind and rudder it down the runway.  The final landing was the best, short because of the wind.  This would be a good routine if it wasn’t so expensive.

The club I’m in does check rides every 6 mos, my 2 year FAA physical came up too.  What a crock these physicals are, I don’t know why the FAA has designated examiners?  Something changed with the medical since I got mine last time, it used to be every 2 years if you’re over 40.  The Dr. is supposed to screen you to see if your healthy enough to fly, I put down my low blood pressure that’s normal for me and he kind of freaked.  Am I supposed to lie on these?  I don’t want to fly with someone who’s lying on it, I didn’t think it would ground me.  My BP on my exam with them was fine, but I got charged $50 more for the inconvenience of it all.

Get myself ready for my 2 check rides the next few months.  I’ve finally decided that I’m not going to go for my IFR, I don’t want to deal with anything besides perfect weather and mild winds.  I was told that I wasn’t the only one who wouldn’t fly in those 30 knot gusts the other day.

 

Wimping out

The winds here have been hectic, it’s really hard to justify getting out there to fly or sail at the expense of, well, my life.  I was supposed to fly the plane up for an oil change about an hour from here until I saw the 30knot forecast, then I sent a txt to my CFI who asked me to wait for a day.  They got someone else to fly it.

High winds and big waves are not my idea of a good time.  My friend, Cheyenne, is on her adventure sailing around the world.  She has a great blog (she’s an amazing writer) called “Sailing Pristine” where she writes about just getting to Monterey this week.  She’s WAY braver than I am!!  I met her racing, she has the best attitude ever and is pretty fearless.  I consider myself somewhat fearless, with a great respect for mother nature and my aging brain/body.

Honestly, I couldn’t do the sail around the world thing and don’t even have the desire to.  Maybe one day I’ll sail to Mexico along the coast, my boat is perfect for that actually.  Otherwise, staring at the ocean for days on end going 5 mph is not my idea of a good time.  The planning involved on a trip like that is not my forte either, I can barely fill up my Yeti thermos with a latte before I get out.  Basically, my planning skills would leave me the first one eaten if the going got tough.

I suppose it’s good to know your limits, pushing them was fine when I was younger.  Now I’m all about not getting injured (or killed).  The MLC phase of my life is over, unless I live to be 110.  There’s also kind of a relief to not having to prove myself anymore, not doing everything for the competitiveness of it.  I’m tired of competing, although I’m actually pretty competitive.  That “proving them wrong” about me drive is fading.  Just feel lucky I still have better hand eye and reaction speed still.

I’ll just have to live vicariously through Cheyenne’s blog…