“Turn around and run…

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…back to the sea and the sun.”  The song, Turn Around and Run, by Kelly McGuire [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H1WPZ3Emug], is a Trop-rock favorite of ours.  Back in the late 80’s, he and Captain Chameleon became friends while living at the same marina in Kemah, Texas. A sailor and dreamer, his music strikes a chord with us because it is entertaining, inspiring, and familiar.  Turn Around and Run is about going on vacation to a tropical paradise, the inevitable end of vacation, and then a last minute choice to skip the flight back to Rat Race Central; turn around and run back to the sea and the sun.

The Captain and I left San Diego Harbor last October (October 28, 2013) and after many highs and hardly a noticeable low (breaking my ankle January 2, 2014), our time of fun and folly of cruising aboard Seamore Pacific comes to a seasonal close this week.  This next Monday I return to work.  It is what I refer to as collecting sand dollars.  Get it?  Our last week of 24/7 companionship, simple living, and being aboard Seamore Pacific couldn’t be better spent than being at Marina San Carlos.  We arrived last Friday to begin the long, arduous process of hauling our boat out of the water and putting her “to bed” in Marina Seca (dry dock).  It is a pretty amazing site to behold, hundreds of white sailboat masts rising from a field, a couple of miles from the ocean.  Hundreds of cruisers each year go through the same routine; floated onto a hydraulic trailer at high tide, their boat is pulled out of the water and up the hill to dry dock.  It’s quite impressive and so far, we have never heard anything but raves about the whole process.  Safe and secure, she will be waiting our return for more Sea of Cortez cruising.   That is, once we have collected enough sand dollars to spring her bail.  Get it?

Just to jar the memory, we would have preferred putting Seamore Pacific to bed back in late January.  But with my injured ankle, I was not capable of dismantling her canvas, plugging her thru-hulls, running lubricants through her systems, stowing the outboards, stowing the inflatable dinghy, and shrouding her in tarps while she is perched 12 feet off the ground.  Turning limes into margaritas, we instead let my ankle heal by changing up our plans and traveling to Missouri to visit family.  After several large- square meals of delicious country cooking and doing little but sit and visit, my ankle was given the chance to heal.  I’m oh, so happy, so very happy to report that I went for my first run today.  Literally, I turned around and ran…back to the sea and the sun.

To keep with the theme of turning around, running, the sea, and the sun, Captain Chameleon just reminded me of the two black kittens that I happened onto this morning.  Hunkered under a car, one of the little cutie pies, turned around and ran, just as I came up to feed him some left over roasted chicken.

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Besides our love for the sea and the sun, the other reason we are reluctant to return to Rat Race Central, is that we have been able to shelter ourselves from news.  We both disdain superficial drama.  Seeing last week’s headline of “Kim Kardashian’s Has Buttocks Implants” had me running to the closest latrine to upchuck.  Fortunately, I don’t have to do that.  Choosing to not follow 99% of mainstream news, we are instead graced with real-life celebrities, like Jeanne Socrates [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2362101/Jeanne-Socrates-70-oldest-woman-sail-solo-round-world-non-stop.html].   At 70 years old, she is the oldest female to solo-circumnavigated, non-stop.  Last night, she quietly sailed into Marina San Carlos and is berthed next to Seamore Pacific.  This afternoon, eagerly excited for my inaugural run, I stopped off at her boat to lend a warm handshake and tell her how much I admire her accomplishments.  Genuine and real, she brushed off the praise, and rerouted us back to being simply neighbors.  Can you imagine Kim Kardashian doing the same?  She actually might, but her publicist probably wouldn’t.  Having approximately 1400 nautical miles under my belt (With Captain Chameleon to lean on), Jeanne’s accomplishment has my complete and profound respect.

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That wraps up this post, except for one last important point; my work.  I am blessed to have the life that I have and a job that I truly enjoy.  When I’m not sailing, I’m a nurse.  Collecting sand dollars is both an honor and a privilege.  Satisfaction has less to do with how many sand dollars I collect and more about patients and their families having a caring outcome (high-quality care).

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Living The Dream: A Cheap Motel Tradition

1516After two wonderful weeks of visiting my family in Missouri, it was time to say our goodbyes, squeeze our stuff and Francis into our Honda Civic then quickly slam shut the doors, else have everything spring forth onto the garage floor.  Captain Chameleon and I travel relatively light.  Francis on the other hand, could use a U Haul.  His carrier, travel size litter box,  scratching post, window perch;  overnight bag; basket that holds stuffed animals Momma Kitty, Rosebud, Reindeer, Aardvark, Ghost, and Badger;  three fleece blankets;  and a  cosmetic bag containing hair twisties and trinkets for him to plunder through qualifies him as high maintenance.  Adopted at 2 days old without a mother cat and siblings, he has written his own rules and created his own traditions.  But that is another story.  1510

Approximately 1200 miles from Springfield, Missouri to Phoenix, Arizona we make it a two day trip, staying a night in Tucumcari, New Mexico.  That tradition started 11 years ago when we ran out of energy on our move from Florida to Arizona, by way of Springfield, Missouri.  The memory is as vivid as if it happened yesterday.  In a U- Haul without AC or acceptable acceleration up the hills, Captain Chameleon reached his dehydration limit at Tucumcari.  Hot enough to cause the coke cans to explode; he looked pitiful climbing out of the cab of the truck.  Following in my VW Beetle, I and the girls (two Siamese cats) arrived at Tucumcari in far better shape.  That is how we came about the tradition of staying in Tucumcari.  Over the years, the vigilance for bed bugs, changes in management and cost of overnight accommodations have kept us open to finding the cleanest hotel for the least amount of money.  Our list of needs is short: no bedbugs, clean sheets and bathroom, ice machine, and cable TV.  Not ever having cable at home, an evening with cable  is crazy entertainment.  Simple and enduring, the other half of the tradition is a Rum and Coke that Captain Chameleon mixes up in a tiny flimsy plastic hotel cup.  Paired with a party napkin brought from home, it’s what we call, “Living the Dream.”  Traveling on a slim budget need not be a downer in spirit.  Limiting what we spend on lodging makes some hotel stays an adventure.  Looking back in time, it is the reason we felt like locals, staying at the Rain Tree Inn instead of the Hilton, on St. Johns, USVI, and why we passed up a $100/night hotel along the Pacific Coast Highway, just south of San Francisco, only to stumble onto a Hostel in a Lighthouse (Point Montara http://www.norcalhostels.org/montara/photos ) overlooking the Pacific-$36/night.   Our cheap digs on Cape Cod…another fun story. Silly and simple, our traditions connect us to ‘living the dream’, every single day.  Francis’ traditions?  Well, he seems to think he needs to stay at a Hilton.

Just a little side note: the U-Haul Captain Chameleon drove from Florida to Arizona without AC, broke down just one mile from our new house.  107 degrees, a long day of driving, and 7 pm at night, we were not amused, especially after waiting 2 hours for a tow truck to cart the U- haul, not to our home, but to the U-Haul Dealer.  U-Haul wanted us to off load the broken down truck and reload to a new truck for a 2 mile trip.  Captain Chameleon in his usual polite way, helped them see the benefit of excellent customer service.  In the end, U-Haul refunded the cost of the entire rental.

Francis and his playmates

Francis and his playmates

Old building.  Northview, Missouri

Old building. Northview, Missouri

Northview, Missouri

Northview, Missouri

Fading

Fading

Tin Cup: Once Runneth Over

Tin Cup: Once Runneth Over

Traveling down Mimosa Lane.

Traveling down Mimosa Lane.

Land Sailing

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Deep in the heart of the Ozark mountains, nautical spirits abound.  Eager to visit family, despite swearing off another winter in Missouri, we aimlessly swapped sand encrusted flip-flops and faded shorts for barely used, old boots and coats to go land sailing.  Arriving just ahead of a winter storm, our trip to Missouri is somewhat like foreign travel. Two sun rats with stocking caps pulled down over the ears, we are in vacation mode.  Soaking up warm Midwest hospitality, sleeping under an electric blanket, indulging in country food, watching birds feed, and reminiscing about days gone by.  Reminiscing and milling about my parent’s house, items with a connection to the sea are popping out, claiming my attention in a new way.

Mileposts mapping my childhood, select pictures, photos, and stories that I grew up with were familiar to the point of going unnoticed.  This week, I re-discovered them: plaster of paris busts of sailors that once hung in my grandmother’s home; watercolors by my father; and concrete pelicans my grandmother gave my mother as a souvenir from Florida.  My grandparents were so attached to their farm, that I never noticed or considered they might like the ocean.

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Aside from visiting family, I was also excited to see my kitty, Francis.  A desert kitty, he has thrived at winter camp.  Not so sure my parents can say the same thing.  He is quite the handful.  We will be taking him back home and keep our fingers crossed that time has helped him mature into a boat kitty.

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Happy Valentines Day

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