Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bull Canyon

Reading was a challenge at times when both were around a couple of years ago
4-25-13 (Last week)  I woke up at 5am this morning and couldn't go back to sleep.  Getting up and doing something was not appealing so I read instead.  Generally when I wake up in the middle of the night like this (and 5am is still the middle of the night for us) I find if I read a bit, then I can go back to sleep.  However this time I couldn't.  My current book "Bull Canyon" had me wrapped up.  I was 80% of the way through reading it so I plowed ahead to finish around 7am.  Then I laid quietly reflecting and thinking about the book and our current life.  The life half way between land and sea - in flux.
Bull Canyon was written by Lin Pardey.  She and her husband Larry are lifelong world sailors, adventurers, authors, advisers, heroes and legends.  I will let you research them more on your own if you want.  Suffice it to say that most sailors -inland, coastal, world or armchair have heard and probably at least read an article or two by them at the very least.  We have two terrific DVD's -"Storm Tactics" and "Getting Ready to Cruise".
"Bull Canyon" is Lin's latest book, released in 2012.  To be honest, I wasn't terribly interested in reading it.  I am into stories about sailing, travel, far away places, not living in a stone cabin in the boonies without power, struggling to build a boat from scratch!  Whatever.  However, I bought it anyway via the Kindle - price was right.
Tom read it a month or so ago.  "You really should read it."  Then a couple of weeks ago at our joint garage sale I heard him tell fellow sailors "it's a good book.  Very motivating."  I finished up my current book "Nica's Dream" and thought what the heck.  It was easy reading (unlike Nica's Dream where I constantly had to look up words - thank goodness Kindle has this feature).  It was entertaining and the characters interesting.  I like Lin's style of writing as she paints a very detailed picture without being overly wordy.  However, it wasn't until I well over half way through the book that I really started to get into it.  I was cheering for them to complete the boat.  I understood the distractions of the people and place they were.  I felt the pull of two different worlds as they worked to get back to the sea and their life adventuring while feeling comfortable in the home they had established on land.
Yesterday was not a very productive day for me.  We have SO much to do to wrap up our land life and move aboard and I was very frustrated with myself that I didn't accomplish much.  I vowed last night to do better today.  As I lay there reflecting this morning on what I had read, I found renewed focus to move ahead towards our next phase of life.    

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rear View Mirror - The Right Way

2004 after passing ASA 101, 103, 104 - on our way
1-1-13.  Read all the magazines, books, blog and such about cruisers out cruising and they will all tell you the same thing....there is no right way to do it, just do it.  But most then go on to say "but here is how WE recommend you should do it."  I am not going to do that here.  I am just going to tell you how and why we did it the way we did.
2005 s/v Ad Astra -Panama City FL
We decided to go ahead and purchase s/v Honey Ryder well in advance of our castoff year for several reasons.  First, was the feeling that we had outgrown Lake Perry.  I don't say that to sound snobbish or a know it all.  We certainly enjoy ourselves and the sailing community that is there.  But we felt like we were no longer growing our sailing skills to the level necessary for our cruising plans.  We knew we needed experience with tides, currents, navigation, coastal weather, storms, various marinas and such.  On Lake Perry there are no navigation markers, tides, currents, and such.  We also wanted time and more importantly $$ to make the boat our own.  Boats cost money.  Upgrades cost more money.  Unexpected items cost even more $$.  While we are short on time on the boat as commuter cruisers, we do still have income coming in to pay for expected and unexpected items.  Another KEY element is access and exposure to a whole different level of boating/cruising community.  The marine industry experts we have deal with so far have been good and in many cases great.  The knowledge of other cruisers we meet is vast and they are so willing to share whether it's to loan a grinder, or help us tune in our SSB or share their various routes and waypoints.  Knowledge like that just can't be gained by reading still more books, blogs and magazines or sailing around Lake Perry.
2005 s/v Ad Astra -Panama City FL
In the past, Tom kept asking Kansas sailors that have left to sail on bigger water "when do you know you have outgrown the lake?"  Finally I said to him, "you kept asking and I think ultimately that means we have."  He agreed.
2008 soloing s/v Ad Astra out of Rockport TX -expanding our skills
We say it often now.....the time for reading it over.  The time for doing is here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rear View Mirror - Freedom


I have been reading some new sailing blogs recently.  These are blogs of cruisers that have just castoff or are about to castoff.  All of these blogs talk about Freedom in one form or fashion.

"I'm free.  I resigned from work today."  OR "I'm free, as today was my last day of work."  OR "We're free from dirt dwelling because we moved aboard today."  And of course "We're free!  We left the dock today."

All this freedom talk got me to thinking more about our specific cruising plan and freedom.  While we are not there yet in terms of the steps above, we have accomplished one very important freedom and perhaps one of the most important freedoms for us.  At the end of 2011, we became completely DEBT FREE.  This is a pretty big freedom and one that basically opens the flood gates to whole new possibilities and freedoms.

How specifically did we do it?  Hard work, good jobs, saving, investing, living well below our means, and no kids.  Raises were put towards our long range plans vs upgrades to a new house, or granite this and stainless that, or new cars, or designer this and that or more... stuffWe still took vacations, went to concerts, ate out and such but always with a careful eye toward our long range plans.  Our drive to become debt free became our secret status symbol if you will.  Polite society tells us we shouldn't talk about money or brag.  However,  we think this is something worth sharing.  Maybe others will think about following suit.  This doesn't mean you have to cast off to go cruising.  To each their own.      

So, yeah...."We're FREE." 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Where are we going to cruise to?

Tulip in the Snow -photo by Duane West
Given today's weather......someplace warm.  We are not really digging the rain and sleet today.  In fact - ugh!

Freeze Warning:
Issued at: 4:06 am CDT on April 23, 2013, expires at: 8:00 AM CDT on April 24, 2013

...Freeze warning in effect from 1 am to 8 am CDT Wednesday... The National Weather Service in Kansas City/Pleasant Hill has issued a freeze warning...which is in effect from 1 am to 8 am CDT Wednesday.

Timing...late tonight into Wednesday morning.

Temperatures...will fall into the upper 20s to near 30 degrees for several hours.

Impacts: prolonged cold temperatures could damage or kill sensitive vegetation. Precautionary/preparedness actions... A freeze warning means sub-freezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely. These conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Rear View Mirror - Reactions to "We're Going Cruising"

2009 aboard s/v Gratitude
It has been very interesting to witness all the various reactions to the news we are going cruising.  Almost 99% go "Wow."  With some people it stops there but with others we can quite literally see the questions and confusion spinning in their head.  Many, many others go on to say "That is wonderful.  We wish you the best" and then ask us questions related to our plans.  Quite a few others simply say "Wow, that is great.  Good for you."  and then go on to change the topic rather immediately to something completely unrelated.  A few people start in telling us all about the dangers they have read or heard about, perhaps hinting that we should rethink our plans.  Interestingly this is usually from fellow sailors but not ones that have cruised.  One suggested "It won't last, you'll be back soon."  And finally, one we discovered had alternatives motives in his suggestions that would ultimately help him and not us so much.  Reactions are reactions, it's just fascinating to observe.

2008 s/v Kalo off Anguilla
And then there is the derma doctor.  When Tom told his dermatologist what we were doing and asked him for any advice or suggestions that we could use in our new life, his derma doc said simply "Don't go.  My advice is don't go, stay home and out of the sun."  OMG!  Really?  I get the dangers of the sun and all but "Don't go" that is his solution?  I realize the sun is dangerous but so is driving to his office.  So the alternative is to cancel our plans for the next phase of life;  all the planning, saving, studying/learning, consolidating we have done...all the excitement of new places/people/music/food....forget all that and continue along the current, normal, prescribed "safe" path of life and all the STRESS that comes with "the norm" and then die an early death from some stress related disease.  No thanks doc. Life IS a risk.  We weigh the options and consequences, pick our path and go, making adjustments as we journey along.  This is life, ultimately no ones gets out alive.  *Three days later I saw my general doc - he was super excited and encouraging.  "Are you finally going?  Haven't you been planning this for a long time?  Where are you going first?" and on and on.
I picked up my business line today and heard "F- Ing AWESOME!  That is just F-Ing Awesome!"  Those are the first words a fellow co-worker said to me.  He was calling to congratulated me on my announcement that I resigned from work and we are setting sail.  It made me giggle.  Still does.  Tons of well wishes poured in from people I work with - so nice.  
Fellow cruisers or those that have been cruising are some of our strongest supporters - thank you so much for the encouragement, suggests and enthusiasm.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Unemployed - Week 1 Getting the House Ready

A couple of friends have emailed this week to ask how it's going.  "How does it feel not going to work this week and what have you been up to?"

Cleaning and purging the house (I know I sound like a broken record-sorry).  Very exciting and glamorous - NOT!  Getting the house ready for the new renters is basically the same as getting it ready to sell.

We must purge all of our personal stuff except the small amount of items we will put in storage and the even smaller amount of items we will take with us on s/v Honey Ryder.

There is basic cleaning and then there is cleaning because company is coming and finally there is moving out/selling the house clean and fixing up.  After living here 17 yrs.....well...gross.  Additionally we have been scanning important personal, tax and financial records and putting them in Dropbox.  If you are not using Dropbox for cyber storage of documents, we highly recommend it.  Tom has been working with a management company to turn over management of our rental houses (6 of them).  This will be a huge change for us, as we have always managed those ourselves - mainly Tom.  But we like what we have seen so far in dealing with them.  They seem to be good peeps that know what they are doing.  Tech items is another area taking up time - updating and pulling data off old home PC, updating mini laptop and laptop, getting a new laptop for Tom, new emails, contacting all the companies we deal with to let them know our new emails (this takes tons of time), etc...Tom is still working as well during all of this. 
So there you have it.   

Friday, April 19, 2013

Rear View Mirror - Purge

Staging area in the basement
Tom = "Where was all this stuff?"
Me ="Around the house."
Tom - "But WHERE?  How is it possible that ALL this stuff fit somewhere in our house?!"
Donations going to Dress For Success - good cause
We are purging BIG time.  Major, major, major.  The entire basement area has become a staging area:  some for garage sale, some for Dress for Success donation, general donation, and yet to be determined.  It looks like a flea market -UGH!
Business clothes going to Dress For Success
The really scary thing is this isn't the first purge.  I did a BIG purge last year - filling the Murano to the roof - the entire car except where I sit to drive.  We have also given away quite a bit to friends and family....Our policy since  early fall 2012 - no one leaves our house without taking something home with them.  Most friends are completely avoiding us at this point because of our new policy.
Special load of K-State items going to our Wildcat friends
While previous purges have left me feeling terrific (and I sure this one will once it's over), at first I felt a bit overwhelmed - so much to sort through, tabulate, tag, etc...then I felt depressed and sick.....So much stuff and why?  YUCK!  And remember, we have a very small house - less than 1500 sq ft.  Imagine if we had an average size house.  Eeek.
We did discuss at dinner the fact that most of the stuff has been used.  We found very few items that had not been used at all.  Some of this stuff had not been used in a while - like camping gear but it was still very heavily used in the past and we hung onto it in case we decided to go camping again.
But no more!  As Steely Dan says "we're going out of business, everything must go."
How can 2 people have SO many t-shirts!
4-17-13 Update
Garage sale stuff is gone.  Whew!  We continue to purge stuff like crazy.  To date we have missed nothing.  Let me say that again.....NOTHING.  It's just stuff.  I did pull two scarves out of the donation pile a few weeks ago but that was only because of a cold snap and I wanted to wear them again for business.  Both have since been donated.  I also pulled out one metal mixing bowl w/handle to take on s/v Honey Ryder but other than that, we have not missed a thing.  We are storing a few items like photo albums and such but not much.
Closet used to be stuffed with business clothes

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rear View Mirror

I have tried to capture various steps as our plan towards living aboard and cruising progressed.  This includes actions, results, challenges, thoughts and emotions at the time of writing.  I did not publish all the postings because we had not made the OFFICIAL announcement of our plans.  Now that we have made that announcement, I am going to publish some of these past blog drafts under the title "Rear View Mirror" for time to time.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

HUGE Sigh of Relief

Did you hear it today?  It might have sounded like a wind blowing through your area but in reality it was us.  We let out a big sigh of relief - GIGANTIC.  I am not going to bore you with the details but mainly because it's all too raw and I get very worked up over it.  VERY !!!  Nor am I going to entertain any discussion in comments about this topic at this time...  Our sigh of relief? We were both able to obtain health insurance.  We have always been covered through my work, no problem. Unbeknownst to us, it can be an extremely difficult thing to get on your own.  But after many stressful, stressful weeks, we have it, or will May 1st. Whew!  Maybe someday I will post about our experience so others can learn from it.  Maybe not.

Sadness and Grief - How Do Ex-Pats Handle It

I apologize, I didn't have a pic of our flag at half staff.  I personally took this pic in DC. 

The events Monday at the Boston Marathon are so sad and shocking.  When things like this happen , I think as a nation we momentarily stop in utter disbelief and then band together to get through it as best we can.
I was out running errands and didn't know that anything had happened until I stopped by an appliance parts store.  From the front of the store, I could hear the 3 guys that worked there talking about the Boston Marathon.  I didn't even realize it was "Marathon" day.  I quickly (and incorrectly) guessed that these 3 middle aged, middle shaped guys must have a friend running in it as they didn't strike me as guys that would take a huge interest in this marathon nor any other marathon.  So, they must be interested because of a friend or maybe even a co-worker.  Then I realized they had a radio on in the background and were getting info on the marathon.  Yep, they MUST have a friend running in the marathon....I mean who listens to the radio about the Boston Marathon?!  The final four?  Yes. Superbowl?  Yes.  But the Marathon?  I don' think so unless it's personal.  Then it dawned on me....marathon coverage on the radio.....somethings wrong.  I asked them and they told me that two blasts were reported and many were hurt but not much more was known as it had just happened in the last 30 mins.  I lingered listening with them to gather as much information as I could - which was very little.  A few quiet, nervous comments were made as I complete my business and then rushed out to my car and my own radio to try to get more information.
Unfortunately I have experienced this before...we all have, a tragic event on the national level happens in the middle of our busy, normal day. We stop what we are doing to gather information and try to comprehend, often in the company of strangers.  We huddle around a break room TV, or in the corner of coffee shop squeezed in to see some strangers laptop screen of the streaming news videos. Or even in the back of an old appliance parts stores-near the radio.....whatever happened, it's horrific but comfort seems to come ever so slightly in being with others, fellow countrymen as we try to make sense of the senseless.  I've seen pics of strangers holding hands, lending a shoulder to weep on or even hugging. 
It got me thinking....How do cruisers deal?  They aren't getting instant, 24/7 news.  How do you deal with a national tragedy when you are out there alone?
I am so very proud of all the reports of courage and kindness that took place immediately after the blasts and are still occurring.   

Monday, April 15, 2013

Subscribers and Followers of this Blog

I am still fine tuning some of the settings and struggling a bit to do that.  Where are all the tech savvy preteens when you need them!  I am trying to figure out how to push updates out to followers and subscribers specifically using Blogger.  In the mean time, please bookmark or save this blog in your favorites and check back often until I can get the setting figured out.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  No, I am not on Facebook - yet so please don't suggest it.  We decided to do a blog over FB because people can read along without having to belong to anything or login unlike FB.         

Saturday, April 13, 2013

New Skills and the Wearing of Hats

As part of the shift to become liveaboards, I learned to cut Tom's hair the other night.  OMG!  I have been SO nervous for this day.  Tom has really great hair and I was in no hurry to take over the cutting of it for fear of really butchering it. I have even suggested more than once that perhaps he should just grown it out and wear it in a ponytail like sailors of yesteryear. Granted Tom has been cutting my hair for at least 2 years now,  but it's easy - straight across the back....easy pleasy.  So last night it was my turn.  His hair chick showed up to give me the lesson.  I opted to just watch and take notes vs actually trying it.  I figured one last "official" correct cut was best.  We reviewed and I talked through the process a couple of times trying to commit it to memory.  The next time it needs cutting we will most likely be aboard and cruising.  If you see us in an anchorage and Tom never takes off his hat, you will know.....I have been cutting his hair.  Many thanks to his hair chick (term used to protect her identity and reputation) attempting to teach me the basics. 

Friday, April 12, 2013


In the movie the Shawshank Redemption they talk about being institutionalized -the cons are in jail for so long that they come to depend on it and can't make it on the outside.  In reflecting on my sales career over the past 23 years, I realized that I am institutionalized to some extent.  I have worked all 23 years since college graduation in corp America - no breaks in employment in between...straight through.  I am glad and it's worked out well but at the same time, I am a little like the cons in that movie, I am not really sure what life is like outside of corp America and that is a little unsettling.  Yes, I lead a balanced life and my work is only a portion of my total life, but that portion has been inside corp America.   So now what?  Now that I am leaving corp America and my sales career behind, what now?  I guess Andy Dufrasne said it best "get busy living or get busy dying."


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Happy Anniversary s/v Honey Ryder

Simply gorgeous!
April marks our three year anniversary with s/v Honey Ryder.  Wow, times flies when your having fun.  We are really look forward to the next phase of life as liveaboards.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Crazy ride into Spanish Town in BVI's
When we tell people we are planning on going cruising they usually say something about fear and being scared.  "Aren't you afraid of pirates?"  "I would be SO scared to sail on the ocean, aren't you?"  "Doesn't it scare you to sail out of sight of land?  Or at night?  Or in a storm?"
Sailing is safe compared to this wild ride into town
Scared?  No.  At least not to date.  However we have had some exciting, heart pumping times while sailing.  Like our romping sail to Bermuda with storms each night - my watch of course.  All of our senses were on high alert when s/v Honey Ryder's engine wouldn't start and a gigantic cargo ship blew his horn warning us to get out of the way NOWOMG!  And our pulses quickened when the current caught our keel and pinned us against the dock in Charleston.  But I wouldn't say these were scary times....just highly exciting times.  No, what scares me is two fold.  One is leaving the security of our current life, having a steady pay check coming in, insurance, benefits, etc...And I know even that is not guaranteed but it has been there so far for the past 23 years.  We have planned for this day for a long, long time.... but it's still weird feeling to be leaving normal behind.  The second, and greater thing that scares me is the fear of staying...that somehow something will happen and we won't go.  I think Madonna put it best in her song JUMP "I am not afraid of what I'll face but I am afraid to stay."  I realize these two fears are somewhat polar opposites but there you have it.   

Monday, April 8, 2013

I Resigned From Work Today

With Ms Rosie (my first inside partner) - what a team!
Let me say that again....I resigned from work today.  That was more for me than you.  PINCH ME - the day is finally here after all the planning.
Traded my little black dress for black foulies
Why did I resign?  We are going cruising.  When?  Soon.  How soon?  We turn the keys to our house over to renters May 15th then we will move aboard full time.  The plan?  See The Plan tab.  It's simple for now.  Check back for updates here as well as on on the various other tabs across the top of this blog.  Be sure to subscribe so you get updates as we adventure along.  I will not be sending out emails when I update.  It's up to you subscribe or check back frequently.