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Change of plans

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Life has an interesting way of throwing you curve balls….

Mycah and Travis/Russell/Bradlee arrived and it has been so wonderful to be with them. An incredible relief.

The last three weeks on board Yellow Rose has been difficult for many reasons -which I won’t expand on, but understand that it has taken every bit of my emotional strength to power through. I had hoped that with the kids being there and crewing with me, some of those issue would clear up, but unfortunately they intensified dramatically.

Today the three of us sat together and made the decision that it would be the healthiest decision to leave Yellow Rose, and head back to Utah to regroup. The adventure will continue there.

So many of my blog readers have reached out, asking if everything id ok since I hadn’t posted in a few days. Thank you for the love and support, and know that the fun is just beginning;)

Ray in his element

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As I stepped outside Yellow Rose this morning, I was greeted by a beautiful sunrise. The air is calm and colors, so warm and vibrant.

Morning light intensified over the Hudson River, bringing with it the feeling of hope mixed with melancholy, as Christmas Eve Day begins. My heart is with my family.

The past couple of days have been warmer, so I have soaked up as much sun as possible. I’ve sat on the bow and watched flocks of geese noisily reach across the sky, then come in to land close by in the marina.

We met a delightful little man named Ray, who repaired the manifold which was pitted and warn from years of use and salt water erosion. It’s always wonderful to meet people who are passionate about their work and even years down the road, continue to love what they do.

Ray’s workshop is filled with old machines that still run beautifully – all of which he has taken great care in maintaining. He saw how interested I was in it all, and showed us around with a little sparkle of pride in his eye.

Once we had the repaired manifold, we made our way back over the Governor Cuomo Bridge, formally known as the Tappan Zee Bridge. It spans the Hudson River between Tarrytown and Nyack and is quite picturesque. 

New gaskets needed to me made for the manifold, so I got to work making templates.

Captain Stan used blood, sweat, tears and a dremel and was able to produce respectable gaskets, which are busy being installed along with the manifold. Hopefully by todays end, that project will be checked off our list.

Yesterday, we also filled the diesel tanks on Yellow Rose, in preparation for setting out early next week.

Just three more days until Mycah and Travis/Russell/Bradley arrive! In the mean time, there is much to be done, and starting today, high winds and flooding is expected…that will be an adventure!

Christmas will be quiet and my time will be spent reflecting on the unending love I have for my family, hope for the future, and gratitude for my Saviors birth and the significance of that knowledge in my life. Merry Christmas, my friends. I love you all madly!

Don’t be a curmudgeon!

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Today was absolutely gorgeous, with a high of 45!

I couldn’t believe it this morning when I woke up and saw that instead of 14 degrees, it was 34! Check out the temperatures predicted for Thursday!!!

In several places in the marina, bubblers have been set up, which makes it look like sea monsters are exhaling as they ascend from the abyss. Bubblers are de-icers that keep an area of ice open – used to prevent damage to docks as ice pack expands.

Since the sun was shining so beautifully, I went for a stroll while Captain Stan and a trusty helper worked on the engine. A sweet little white haired man, named Ernie, passed me on the dock and asked how my day was going. When I replied he asked where I was from and before I knew it, we were wobbling along the dock together (safe distance apart with masks on!). One of the first things he said was that his goal in life was to never be a curmudgeon. I’d never heard the word. He told me he was 80 and a retired bankruptcy attorney and had met far too many grumpy people in his life – hence his goal. Over the next hour, he told me all about how him and his sweetheart, Mary Ann, had met at a family wedding. He was 15 and she was 16, and that they have been dating ever since. His something something great grandfather was a “horney French monk”, who snuck away to Italy to find women, and became known as Francese (the Frenchman), and his last name became Francize. He bought land, started a vineyard and grew to be one of the biggest wine producers. I loved hearing his stories and his hearty, free flowing laugh.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote by Don Miguel Ruiz:

Far too often, we avoid the truth. But, if we can’t be honest with ourselves – we’ll never trust anyone. It’s important that we feel our feelings deeply, and allow them to be important to us. From there, we can improve, love ourselves and witness personal growth.

Favorites…

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Yesterday the sun came out and from inside the boat, it looked incredibly inviting outside. We decided to seize the moment and go for a brisk walk, and brisk it was! We walked along the Hudson River, and aside from seagulls, we were strangely the only ones out there…

The cold quickly made its was through my jeans and long johns and burned against my thighs, but it felt so good to be out along the waters edge.

This morning I pulled my cell phone under the covers with me to check the weather, and it showed 14 degrees. That explained why my nose was so cold. A thin layer of ice covered the water around the boat, and I’m pretty sure I heard Yellow Rose whisper to me to get her the hell out of here.

Captain Stan is an excellent teacher. He explains everything precisely then asks me to repeat it back to him to make sure I understand. I could tell you all about these cables, where they come from and where in the heck they are going, if you just ask. Be prepared though, I might have you repeat it back!

Those of you who know me, know that I am crazy about tools (and fishing lures). I now have a new favorite tool: Wire Strippers!!! Using this contraption is the absolute most satisfying thing ever. Place a wire that is covered in plastic into its gaping mouth, squeeze the handle on that sucker and miraculously, shiny naked wires appear before you, all ready for their next purpose in life. I thought about placing an ad in the paper while I’m here but decided against it because it may attract the wrong crowd: STRIPPER AVAILABLE FOR HIRE…

Each evening, Captain Stan and I talk about our ‘to do’ list, and its exciting to see it growing shorter. Today we had to add one on though – thanks to a burst water pipe. Too bad we won’t need the wire stripper for that one!

Mycah and Travis-Russell-Bradley will be arriving just one week from tomorrow, and today marks my one week mark on the boat. I’m learning a lot, about Yellow Rose, as well as myself. George Eliot once said, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” I hope to be better that I ever envisioned.

Frigid Thursday

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This morning I awoke to the sound of howling winds, creaking dock lines and snow covered windows. The predicted winter storm had raged through the night and was breathing its icy breath, leaving a frigid mark for all in her path. The warmth of my electric blanket held me captive until finally I grabbed my clothes, and pulled them in to bed with me to warm them up. There’s nothing like sliding ice cold jeans onto warm legs…

When the snow first started falling last night, Captain Stan took a photo of Yellow Rose as she lay braving the cold:

This morning the docks had about a foot of freshly fallen snow on them.

Once again we hunkered down inside and began working on projects. Yellow Rose has hydraulic bow thrusters, so we filled the hydraulic fluid,

and after that, filled the fuel filters with diesel. Stan ran new cables to the big beautiful Perkins engine and fixed some other wiring in the engine room.

Yesterday I tackled the galley – reorganizing cupboards, consolidating and cleaning. She’s a happy galley at this point, and I now know where everything lives.

As the day progressed, the sun came out and the wind stopped howling for a short time.

After a while it picked up again, but in the meantime outside lines had a chance to thaw slightly and create beautiful images for us to admire…all while listening to John Denver as we worked.

I read a thought provoking quote this morning and have been contemplating it through the day:

It’s frightening to take leaps of faith. Change is difficult and can be so intimidating that we are often left unchanged because of fear. But, what if with each baby step into where we want to be – emotionally/physically/spiritually etc, we consciously take note of our strengths and growth, and focus on it rather than discouragement and fear. Before we know it, giant strides forward are made and we become powerful due to our newly grown strengths…despite fear.

Star gazing

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Last night I lay in my berth and looked up through the hatch above me, and the Big Dipper looked back. There’s something magical about that. It’s so cold outside, the heater is on inside, I’m deep beneath my blankets, and the stars are above…

Yesterday and today it has been especially cold, and tomorrow the forecast calls for a foot of snow. While walking down the iced over dock last night I promptly removed an unaccomplished item off my bucket list for the first time in my life. I wanted to sail to the Arctic and dive with Belugas. My thinking has changed and the new bucket list item says, “fly to the Arctic and dive with Belugas.”

So here’s where we are, in a marina on the Hudson River.

The original plan was to set sail in about 3 days. One of our crew members messaged and has chosen to pursue another opportunity, then just yesterday an amazing thing happened…one of our creatures (the Mycah one), and her boyfriend, Travis, will be coming to crew! Travis is working on his captains license and needs sea days, so it works out fabulously. They will arrive on December 27th, and we’ll set out just after that.

FYI: Travis’s name is actually Bradley (which his mom calls him), but he goes by Russell, which is his 2nd name. When Mycah first met him a long time ago, she mentioned him to me. The next time we spoke, I asked, how’s it going with Travis and she said, “Mom, it’s Russell!” Ever since then I’ve called him Travis. So, to make it simple, Travis is Russell who is really Bradly…

The last couple of days we have been working on all sorts of projects: Captain Stan designed a stainless steel enclosure for the oven and cook top, on a gimbal, and we’ve been assembling it. We reset the screws on the pulpit and sorted through anchor chain and rode, organizing the anchor locker. It feels good to be accomplishing so much.

I’ve had lots of time to think, and while reading, came across a quote from one of my favorite books:

I’ve been thinking about how it’s so easy to become lazy and develop poor habits. Some of these habits may be no big deal and some may lead us to have damaging character flaws which end up hurting those around us. It’s too easy to be slave to that and forget that we have control…complete control of who we really want to be, and what our values and boundaries are. We have to be true to ourselves and master our minds – it’s the only way to truly be able to love and to have self respect.

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Before going to bed tonight I’ll walk out on deck one more time, stand beneath the dark sky and take a deep breath…who knows, maybe I’ll catch a glimpse of the Geminid Meteor shower. Feel free to meet me out there under the night sky.

Leap of faith

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Yesterday my journey carried me 2200 miles, to a marina on the Hudson River. 

The air carries the perfect amount of humidity, and 50 degrees feels colder. 

 The road I am on has brought me to a beautiful boat named Yellow Rose, where I will be crewing for a while. I’m not sure how long I’ll be here, but I do know I will learn much as I get my sea legs back and help with projects on the boat preparing to throw off the dock lines. Captain Stan’s plan is to head down the East Coast to warmer weather, explore Florida…Bahamas…Cuba…

Yellow Rose is is a Gulfstar Sailmaster 50, built in 1983. Her teak interior is warm and inviting – just as a mothers arms should be. 

Our boat, Tanda Malaika, felt like a mother to all of us on board. She carried us through beautiful waters, troubled storms and hurricane force winds…and in the end, even with hulls breached on a reef in French Polynesia, she kept us safe until the coast guard lifted us from her and carried us off into the night.

Yellow rose has the same motherly warmth, and I look forward to feeling her move through the water as she carries me…holding me close as I call into the wind and once again feel salt spray on my face.

Ebb and Flow

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Hunter S Thompson, said, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

For those who have read this blog from the beginning, you have seen my tribe and its bounties. Beautiful souls, full of adventure and a constant thirst for more. Though my children are now grown and on their own, we are still very much a tribe – an even larger one now as more have joined. For this reason I have decided to not change the blog name, for now…you just never know when one of the creatures will join me as I adventure on.

Life is a constant ebb and flow of experience and energy. Sometimes its incredibly painful and overwhelming, and sometimes its exciting and hopeful. Either way, we always have a choice: An opportunity to choose good over evil, hope over despair, love over hate. I choose love.

Take my hand and join me, as I walk the path less traveled…

The Great Wall

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We recently explored the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which is in the Huairou District about 70 kilometers NE of Beijing City Center. It felt so good to be out of the city and surround ourselves with mountains and fresh air.
At the entrance, several vendors sold dried fruits and nuts, as well as clothing, hats and scarves for souvenirs. When you’ve traveled as much as we have, the souvenir stands don’t capture our attention like they did years ago.

What did get our attention though, was Burger King!!! Who knew that clear out here in the middle of nowhere, we could buy a burger and fires and enjoy tastes that don’t include fish sauce, and soy sauce!?

We hiked up to a platform where cable cars took us up the mountain to the wall.

A dry river bed lay below us and dormant trees covered the mountainside. Even though the sun was shining, it was so freezing cold.

The site on top was impressive!

The Mutianyu Wall was built in 1368 by Xu Da, who was a general in the Northern Qi Dynasty.

This section was the military hub, defending the capital and the imperial tombs, and has several famous watch towers – all well preserved.

Built mostly of granite, the wall is about 8 meters (24 ft) high and about 5 meters (15ft) wide.

The 22 watch towers along this section still stand tall and solid, and some are larger than others with multiple sections inside.

Mutianyu is surrounded by woodland which covers 90% of the land, and the closest village (Mutianyu Village) is known for its glassware.

Once we were thoroughly frozen we worked our way back to the cable cars, descended and enjoyed our meal at Burger King, then returned to Beijing with fresh air in our lungs and bellies full of good old American fast food.

The Summer Palace, Beijing

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Lauren and I decided to brave the cold and venture out again – this time to the Summer Palace.

The grounds are an ensemble of gardens, lakes and palaces covering 1.1 sq miles, and were used as an imperial garden during the Qing Dynasty.

Many of the buildings are on Longevity Hill, which is about 200 ft high. The rich colors of paint stand out so beautifully against that drab winter surroundings. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in the summer time.

We climbed many flights of stairs, which were surrounded by beautiful landscaping of rocks and trees opening up to Kunming Lake.

The temples on the Summer Palace grounds are so colorful and and some have statues of Buddah inside.

Ancient round entryways add character to the surroundings,

as well as short tunnels leading to the various areas.

On a small lake, picturesque boathouses stood frozen in time – waiting for the spring thaw when tourists flood the grounds to enjoy the scenery.

Each entry way is elaborate, welcoming you into the next area.

Since the Palace was not built for long periods of stay, but rather a place to be briefly visited and enjoyed, long corridors were constructed with many intricate paintings throughout them.

The Qianlong Emperor enjoyed peaceful walks through these corridors, stopping to rest in various gazebo’s like this one that my nutty niece is posing in.

When glancing up at the ceiling in the gazebo’s, one can see the attention to detail and creativity displayed.

The Stone Boat is 12 meters long and is a replacement of the original wooden boat which was burnt in 1860.

As temperatures plummeted at sunset, Lauren and I made our way along Kunming Lake where monks walked and crowds gathered for beautiful pictures.

Our fingertips burned – feeling frozen, but each minute brought with it another beautiful hue of the setting sun against beautiful buildings.

The Palace, which cost 4.8 million silver taels, can be seen a more clearly from the opposite side of the lake. It rises up three tiers and is surrounded by gardens and walls.

Lake Kunming is man made, and soil that was removed to make the lake was used to create the hill of Longevity where the palace is.

As we made our way to the exit gates, we couldn’t help but notice how quickly the temperature was dropping, feeling the cold reaching deep into our limbs and joints. I jokingly told Lauren that I think the hardware in my lower back was frozen too.

We are proud of ourselves because we are quite comfortable using the metro system now, and after over 7 miles of walking we bought our tickets and climbed aboard – ready to return to the hotel to tell Danny about the beautiful things we’d seen.