A Seagull Ate My Homework



“How is your daughter? Is she excited to be out of school for the summer?”

“Arhggg,” my co-worker replied.

Oh no, I thought. “What’s up?”

“She was making A’s and then stopped turning in her work. She is super grounded, is now enrolled in summer school, and…”   Her life is ruined.


The conversation went on for a bit longer, but I had checked out. Still nodding my head in empathy for a mother whose daughter had gone wayward, and half listening to know when to nod, but mostly I was tuning out.   I could relate to her daughter. I had walked in those same flip-flops. There was a time when my better judgment could not possibly let me complete a “busy work” assignment. As a result, here I am 30 years later and my dream of living in Hawaii or New York City never came to be. It must have been because I didn’t hand in those two assignments. Damn Seagull. If he hadn’t eaten my homework, my life would have been different.

DSC01966Like many seniors in high school, I couldn’t wait to get done with school and start living. That last year was painful. However, a silver lining to growing up in the Midwest during the 80’s was that Home Economics and Vocational Agriculture were as important as math, science, and reading. Dreaming of living in New York City as a fashion designer or in Hawaii as a hula girl, I decided to take Wardrobe Planning my senior year. The class was a two for one deal: plan and sew a wardrobe. The bump in the road happened when we were assigned to make a sewing-sampler.  What is a sewing sampler you ask?  Well, I admit my understanding is based solely on what I read in Laura Ingle Wilder’s book, The Little House on the Prairie. So, I chose to pass on the assignment and didn’t really get much information or details about the homework. Not a choice my teacher liked. She threatened me with lowering my grade. I was sorry to make her job rough, because she was one of my most favorite teachers, but I didn’t budge. It was B-U-S-Y W-O-R-K. No one in New York City or Hawaii would give a flip about a Sewing Sampler.

DSC03060Fortunately I was allowed to graduate from high school, sans the Sewing Sampler.   One week later I was enrolled and attending summer school at Southwest Missouri State University. All was well. Finally, I was out of high school and getting a taste of real living. Being on a large campus was exhilarating. I told myself that navigating around a large campus of strangers was preparing me for when I moved to New York City or the Big Island of Hawaii.  It was smooth going until English Comp. 101. Giddy and shallow, the instructor explained that 1/3 of our grade would be based on keeping a journal and handing it in weekly. In the third week of class, I realized that the sole purpose of keeping a journal was to entertain our instructor. Her nosiness was creating busy work for me. Nope. Not going to do it. I got a C in the class and a huge amount of satisfaction for not going along with busy-body work. The next semester I fell into one of the best teachers in my whole academic experience. He was genuine, inspiring, and practical. Besides being a terrific American Lit. Professor, he was a master story teller. He told us stories of his tour of duty in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands during World War ll.

Back to my conversation with my co-worker about her daughter whose life is in shambles for not turning in homework assignments; “She can’t even give a reason for why she didn’t turn in her work!”

I know why. A seagull ate it. Probably the same darn bird that ate my homework. Seagulls, they are pesky and they keep up with the times: pencil, paper, and sewing samplers in the 80’s. Excel, Word, and I Pad in today’s classroom.

SeagullIf you are out there Mr. Seagull, I have one thing to say to you. Thank you for eating that silly sewing sampler and TMI journal.   It’s ok that it knocked me out of my dream of living in Hawaii or New York City. But hey, I learned enough to sew tropical linen halter dresses, and I am equipped (more or less) in formulating complete sentences for SeamoreNauticalSpirits.com. The End.

PS.  Another co-worker this week shared that she grew up  in Hawaii.  I could have sat there all day listening to her talk.  I suppose she turned all her homework assignments in on time.





From Los Conchas (Puerto Penasco, Mexico):



Osprey with a fish



Sitting on the Patio in Phoenix this morning:

save orange





Francis appears just as I pull out dress material:


Trying to sew

Francis in the middle of my sewing



Last weekend in Puerto Penasco, Mexico:  We walked along the beach near the Mirador.


Day sailor last week in Mexico








No Running Back

beth4Once both feet are outside the door, it’s anybody’s guess as to if the short 3 mile run will free up my thoughts. To keep it simple and because it’s one less thing to have to make a choice about, I always leave my house, turn right and run to the end of the park.  When the park meets the road, I hop from the sidewalk to the asphalt pavement, twisting left, in one smooth Nike leap.  I am now heading south.  Once I reach Circle K, I pause, cross the street, and head home.  Maybe it’s the predictability of my running route, or maybe it’s because I grew up on a farm with two brothers who joined me in “make believe” in the alfalfa fields, but today’s 3 mile run took me back to the day I graduated from nursing school (25 years ago today), then to how much things in nursing have changed, over to Florence Nightingale, eventually to Pitbull, and finally…this is where it gets strange…imagining Pitbull singing about Florence’s accomplishments in the advancement of professional nursing and healthcare improvement.  Sure, I’m bias because I’m a fellow nurse, but Florence rocked it!




Florence drove change.  She saw the value of making rounds at night to check on her patients, to modifying the patient’s surroundings to promote healing, and to lead a reform for improving sanitary conditions.  She is a hero for saving lives and believed, heart and soul, in the vocation of nursing. Wikipedia Florence Nightingale

Today, it took only a mere 3 short miles to figure out that Pitbull and Florence are a complimentary match.  They understand each other.  The Queen of Nursing let herself imagine what would happened if nurses mixed art with science.  She termed it: The art and science of nursing.  It’s what fuels my passion for nursing. Pitbull on the other side of the century is what I love to dance to.  I appreciate his musical talent.  I smile that often times his vocals and influence are meant for back-up to the main artist, but in the end, without Pitbull it isn’t much of a song to dance to.  Wikipedia Pitbull

When I left the house for my typical 3 mile run, I wasn’t thinking of Flo or Pit, but rather how some nurses in healthcare are dismayed by ever constant change.  I’m challenged with that notion.  Why on earth would one remain in Healthcare and be reluctant over change.  At that crazy moment a new song started and I had my answer….”To understand the future we have to go back in time.”  Pitbull, strutting the lyrics were an easy leap for my highly imaginative mind….he might as well be singing about nursing, the fight against germs, saving patients, and the Lady with the gun…I mean lamp.

Music video by Pitbull performing Back in Time. (C) 2012

Wouldn’t you have made the same conclusion?



Pictures from the past:

Yardsale find

My Lamp


Old vice

Faded Icon


Wasted Caffeine Fein


The same yesterday, today…and hopefully tomorrow.

Found on Spring Break

Found this while walking on the beach


Pretty doesn’t mean perfect

No Shoes No Shirts on Spring Break

Leave your shoes at the beach, please.

Nurse Graduate 25 years ago

Nurse Graduate 25 years ago



More or Less is More

boat great one!

It’s been 10 weeks since we left Seamore Pacific and returned to work.

Maintaining a healthy balance is stressful and it requires a lot of effort. An attempt at 45 minutes of Mindfulness meditation and prayer, 45 minutes of running, extra time for wholesome food preparation, 30 minutes twice a day for sitting on the patio with Francis, Ruby, and Capt. Chameleon, early to bed and early to rise, consume 8 glasses of water, go to work and give 110% effort, and it’s no wonder there isn’t enough time to complete my core strengthening exercises. That alone is discouraging because my understanding is that core strength helps with resilience and physical balance. What will happen if my core strength fades away? And so I begin to fret on how to fit more harmonious activity into the day. Can’t I just take a pill for this? Like a multi-vitamin is to disease prevention, isn’t there a pretty multi-balance capsule that erases the oxidative damage of rat-race living and fools us into thinking we are balanced? 6 months ago I didn’t fret over such things.   Without hyper fixating on how to create it, it simply evolved. My theory is that less is more and balanced living isn’t necessarily equal parts work and recreation.

The live-aboard cruising lifestyle when it is off the grid, small on space, and slim (emaciated) on spending, seamlessly forms mind, body, and spiritual balance. Want water? It’s easy. Just pull off the settee cushions and wood covering to access the water maker, go topside to hoist a 40 pound gasoline Geri-jug over to the Honda Generator, holding on tight so as not to drop it overboard, then lifting it gently, pour it slow and easy through a 2 inch hole, pausing frequently to peer down the hole and gauge how much more fuel before it overflows. Crank up the generator and water maker, and then pull out a good book to pass time. For the next 3 hours the rumble of the generator, the hum of the water maker, and the disheveled interior sole is salt water becoming 99.9% pure water; 60 gallons for drinking, bathing, cooking, and laundry.   Depending on how extravagant or conservative I am with this precious resource, we will repeat the process in 2 or 3 days.

As inconvenient as it may sound, managing and producing water aboard Seamore Pacific gave us a sense of accomplishment, tremendous gratitude, and respect for natural resources. And without a second thought, the physical work strengthened our body, the reading enriched our thoughts and minds, and the omnipotent power of the ocean made us silly with happiness. We sometimes needed to reach up and slap ourselves. How did we ever get here, living our nautical dream 6 months out of the year? Was it from looking into the eyes of Captain Morgen plastered on the label of his name sake rum, trying hard to imagine the days of rum running via an old wooden schooner? Was it from listening so closely to the melodic ballad about Caroline Street that I honestly could smell the shrimp, the bars, and the air? Or, did I believe that every boat in a marina stood for adventure, balance, and mystery?  More or less, I think it was all of these.

Maintaining balance: Captain Chameleon and I spent the weekend at Corona Del Mar (Puerto Penasco, Mexico) enjoying the wind, sun, and sea.






Good times


Beach huts and board



sail boat

Francis a.k.a. Neighborhood Watch Cat

Francis a.k.a. Neighborhood Watch Cat