Halloween 2008

Day-ooo, daylight come and me wanna go home..

I hopefully have a flight out of Kiritimati Island to Honolulu tomorrow morning. Six hours in a prop plane that's held together by duct tape and rice.

Long story. Nothing bad, just a timing thing. I'm happy and satisfied, but burnt out. Too much rice, and 100 bunches of bananas in our hold..

  • Current Music
    The Decemberists - 'Los Angeles, I'm Yours'
Making History

Two Nerdy Notes:

1. Lady Maryland is desperately looking for an education officer and deckhand, to start ASAP. She's a sweet little schooner, sailing in the Bay and the Patapsco River in the spring and fall, and between Long Island and Massachusetts in the summer. They have a small crew, liveaboard, and excellent education programs. Email Lisa Jones or Peter Bolster at lisaj@livingclassrooms.org for educational positions or pete@livingclassrooms.org for deck positions!! And ask and more than likely I'll give a rec!

2. Revealed: The Man Who May Have Sunk the Mary Rose

..Eyes bleared from gunsmoke and salt spray, the face of the man who may have sunk the Mary Rose has been revealed, more than 400 years after he went to the bottom of the Solent in the wreck of Henry VIII's flagship.

The head has been modelled by the internationally renowned forensic artist Richard Neave from a skull recovered from the wreck. Only a handful of the more than 400 crew and soldiers survived when the ship sank so fast and so close to shore that helpless watchers on the cliffs heard the screams of the drowning men. For the first time, the face of one of the victims can be seen.

The remains of more than 170 individuals have been recovered, but few can be identified as specific members of the crew. This man was found with the emblem of his comparatively senior status, his bosun's call - a whistle - proving he was the man who may have been at least partly responsible for the disaster. The public will see him next month, in an exhibition at the Whitgift conference centre, Whitgift school in Croydon, the first time objects from the wreck, normally stored at the Mary Rose museum in Portsmouth, have been displayed...

3. This is not so nerdy. Hopping up to Long Beach for the weekend to see friends on the American Pride and the Tole Mour. One day, I swear I'll visit someone and expect to stay in a bed, not a boat bunk!
Lady Washington

Lady Love.

I have so much to tell.
So many emotions that I need to put to paper before they burst inside me and I disappear in a flurry of luggage and goodbyes.

oh gee.

March seventeenth came and went. And with it, a flight and six days in Oakland, California, on what I've come to realize and finally accept as Home, onboard Lady Washington. Even with all the trials and doubts and fears and anger she has brought me over the years since first stepping upon her decks in October nearly three years ago, she has changed my life. Brought me family and friends of a sort I've experienced rarely.

But enough of that.

With an overnight the evening before, and an 0445 wake-up to go with it, my ninety-minute flight found me falling asleep in my St. Patrick's beer, courtesy of the holiday and Southwest Airlines (note to self: St Patrick's and Valentine's translates to free booze). A quick hike down the street, and there they were, just as I had left them sitting at Jack London Square's dock 385 days ago. Hugs, hose fights, and salt-spiked coffee brought me back to reality and the warmth and smells of the main hold of Lady.

Tiny, Pony, Chad, Beau and I trotted off across the bridge to San Francisco to make mischief, and found that strangely enough, the bars closed by 2300, so Tiny and I were left feeling quite sober, but we had our fun watching a very drunk white-collar man (who was at one point I'm sure, dressed in a suit) challenge the Tiny one to shots of whiskey and downing beer... and then watch him down the ketchup and other condiments sitting at the pub, which also happened to have the most disgusting bathrooms I've ever seen... Why did I always look forward to celebrating St Patrick's legally?

Wednesday we sailed, a nice sweet day to feel the rig again and familiarity. Cookface, Miah and Kent came by, current crew of the Bill of Rights, now owned by the most insane captain I've ever worked with, so we managed a night out on the town, to Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon and the ever-classy Merchant's.

Thursday I became a Professional Tarbaby (if you have an issue with my resume title, wiki it. Term is not racist.), painting the deck with a handful of crew, with thick coats of pine tar and Penetrol, darkening my beloved Lady into the queen of the bay. Nothing, nothing smells better than pine tar. Unless it's fresh cedar, pipe tobacco, and sauteeing butter. And so, still tar-speckled with brown feet and black toenails, we enjoyed the spring sunshine in the hotel's pool, then warmed up in the sauna. (How many tallship sailors can you fit in a sauna?)

Friday more education sails, the deck stick-stick-sticky with tar.

The weekend came too quickly, sailing the brig on the bay, set to a soundtrack of chanteys sung by Sparky and Tiny. And drowsy with happiness, came my favorite evening. The first day of spring, celebrated with gin and tonics (my traditional first day of summer drink). Out came the sweet music of Frank and Ella, swooning into dancing with the girls of the Lady and some of my most beloved crewmates.

Monday brought another sail, and packing my bags, I headed for home. Appropriately finished my flight in a cloud of clove-smelling smoke, and fell asleep in a pile of brig-smelling wool blankets on the Star of India.

It was easily one of the monumentally life-changing weeks. A week I can place with the trip to Boston (that eventually led to applying for Lady Washington in the first place), the week before I left Home to sail, the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Week, the trip to Richmond, Virginia... all these full moments in my life when I knew I was, for one instant, at the exact place I was supposed to be, and everything in the universe was perfect.

And dammit, I think of her and her crew and those moments every night before I sleep, and when I wake up. She's impressed herself onto my dreams.

I'll find myself in her rig again soon. If just for a few more days, I'll enjoy another salt-sweetened cup of coffee with some of the Best of the West.

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."

- Jack London


Tourist Season

oh. em. gee.

Nothing frustrates me more, apparently then when a coworker fronts a knowledge and experience (ie "I'm the captain, and I've captained many ships in real life") when he wouldn't know a port tack from a starboard, much less captain a boat (he's um, color-blind, for one).

And then says this on television, not just in front of children and myself.

On the other hand, a recent evaluation from a parent included the line: "her sailing knowledge was not believable." This coming from the same group I explained lateral resistance, a little sail theory, and the importance of a deep keel to. HAHA. I love adults.

  • Current Music
    Reefer Madness the Musical Soundtrack
Coffee. Now. Boondock Saints


he gave me until the 26th. I'm trying not to stress. Really.

I have some funds saved, and plenty of offered couches. More stressed about all the CRAP I've managed to accumulate, and packing all that. And moving it in the spare hours I have when not working that week.  (40 hours in 4 days, including two overnights, two 2pm-8pm shifts, and two morning sails. I think I have a time frame of four hours.)

I finally got a new phone. I don't have many minutes on it, but I do have unlimited text. Hurrah, real life. 619-846-7994.

I work an overnight tomorrow, then visit the Lady and Chieftain in Oakland for the next week. Thank god I found cheap tickets, and had these days off anyway, because heaven knows I need the time away, and if I can be 1400 miles away, and 90 feet above the sea, the distance is good.

Time to breathe.

Fresh air.

Good food.


Oh crap I need to be there now. 26 hours.
Halloween 2008

Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)

Put your MP3 player on shuffle, and write down the first line of the first twenty songs. Post the poem that results. The first line of the twenty-first is the title.

It Takes a Lot to be Always on Form
As your soul drifts on the plate
A restless feeling consumes me tonight
Banned from the end of the world
Well we realized so long, long ago, and I bet you,
There's still a little bit of your taste in my mouth.
Last night I said to her
"!Óígame compay! No deje camino por coger la vereda." (Translation: Do not stray from the road to pick up the trail)

Stay away from me, 'cause I'm in my sin
I ain't got no home
Tied down against the tracks
If you want me I'll be there

Lovely is the feelin' now
I got nasty habits, I take tea at three
Five to one, baby
I thought I heard the old man say,
"Welcome to the real world,
Build a bridge or maybe two"

My gift is my song and this one's for you
You'd be so nice to come home to
I've got a smile on my face, I've got four walls around me

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  • Current Music
    Tom Waits