After the Rain

I love the rain. Always have, always will. Probably because it was greeted with some joy, some vital need recognized by all living in the semi-arid coastal plain of Southern California. The transformation it brings the area, the grays, the greens, the sounds of staccato on the doghouse roof and decks. I love it all. Especially puddle stompin’!

We had a pretty good downpour overnight, but Willow stayed nice and dry for me. It was good being up listening to the rainwater pound the boat. I know my rigging is sparkling clean, decks run clear, and canvas covers free from bee pollen. I’ll put those covers away later today and hoist the sails here in the slip. I’d tell you I was hoisting them to dry them out, which is true, but I really want to see if I can still do it! Andrew’s coming down to help me take apart my propane fireplace element. Every now and then it needs a good cleaning to keep it running, and part of that is using a compressor. I ain’t got no compressor and Andrew does, so it’ll be good! (Turns out I fixed the burner accidentally before Andrew arrived, so, we had to have a Happy Meal at Gen Kai instead. Curses, sushi!!!)

I’ve been playing with getting a different care plan started. I was frustrated leaving UCLA with a “See ya in 3 months” wave. What am I doing here? Is 90 days with no intervention gonna cut it, especially when you keep telling me how sick I am? I’ve done some homework, with help from amazing friends like Linda and Erich, and I found a new oncologist down here. No more driving 2 1/2 hours each way to Westwood numerous times a week. This new doc is UCLA based, and has direct access to my patient file, as well as some new ideas. It seems as my taking the crizotinib is spot on, but perhaps more monitoring should have been taking place. Maybe even some new drug therapy? Last week, I went to get an updated PET scan , some lab work and another echocardiogram. It was scheduled for a week and a half, but the day before the scan, the insurance denies the PET. What the? I was on the phone with them for over two hours but no luck. Cancelled. The follow up appointment the next day was cancelled, too, but not the echo or blood work. A request was resubmitted for plain ol’ CT scans with contrast, but that would take another 2 days for approval. With the end of the year winding down, my follow up to my follow up appointment is now the 30th. I’ll just be hanging in, waiting for the new year. With that taking up the end of the month, I was looking forward to enjoying some of the sunshine that comes after the rain…

Missy, Andrew and I drove on up to Lake Arrowhead for the weekend just to get outta Dodge, as they say. It’s been cool, overcast, but pretty dang silent, and everyone we’ve been in contact with has been way friendly. The cabin belongs to some friends of Missy’s, and is a simple, beautiful A-frame with lots of warming, natural light. It’s clean, neat, and furnished with beautiful old pine pieces from many childhoods. Mom came here this last year for her 80th birthday and loved it. Easy to see why.
We’ve cooked, taken the dogs for walks, had fires, chatted, nested, taken the dogs for walks, gone snow stompin,’ eaten waaaaaay too much food, and taken the dogs for some more walks. Missy prepared a tender rib roast last night with some roasted veggies, and it was all that was needed. It was a beautiful meal with beautiful people.

Beauty. I’m gonna wax philosophical now, but what happened to our beauty? Our simple beauty, nothing complicated, just simplicity, just beauty, just daily. I find myself making excuses that, oh, I’m only one person, and what the heck can I do? There are government entities exterminating forty three prospective teachers getting in the way of a socialite having a party, for pete’s sake. One hundred and forty eight students and teachers are assassinated in school because their fathers fight ‘for the wrong side.’ A fourteen year old girl stands up for education and is shot in the head for it. By the order of tribal elders, no less. We here in the US are so much better. Are occurrences being reported quicker with ‘better technology,’ or are things happening with more frequency? As for being held hostage by a stoopid movie, well, that was just brilliant. And it cannot happen again.

Over the years, whether it was at work or play, I remember one term that was repeated over and over again: basics. Simple. Basics. How hard does it have to be? Can I tap into that childhood vault, pulling those time-worn but infallible premises out to present day? Do unto others, you get what you give, turn the other cheek, don’t do that or your eyes’ll get stuck, respect your elders, water off a duck’s back, thou shalt not steal, covet, kill, etc… Can some of these old adages come back to haunt me into being a better person? Whenever I was stuck at work, or on the court, the only thing that bailed me out was sticking to the basics. I always liked to think skill and treachery did it for me, but nope, it was the basics! I think I’m gonna try the basics for awhile again. Slow things down, go a bit retro and take a step back. When things get complicated for me, I have found this to be pretty beneficial. Finish the year simply, and begin another one basically. I’ll be trying to fill them in ways that are meaningful for me, my family and my friends. If we all were to do that, wouldn’t at least our neighborhood be a better place? Simple. Basics.

I love you all.

Moving Along…

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Hi Everyone!

The sun is shining, the breeze is breezing, and it’s a typical Southern California, late November, Santa Ana-y day. In other words, absolutely beautiful. I’ve been feeling pretty sporty the last two weeks, and I owe it all to you! The phone calls, visits, texts, emails and blog comments are so very uplifting to me, and I love each and every one. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have increased my walking distance daily, and that feels good. For those power walkers thinking in terms of miles, hah!!! I’m talking in terms of feet and yards! It’s all good though, because I can really see an increase in distance on a steady basis. I’m tempted to do the Turkey Trot 10K tomorrow here in Dana Point. Really, okay, not really…

My physical strength and endurance grow daily, and of that, I am grateful. I’m not ready to just lay down in bed. I’m able to do a little more here on Willow, like stay ahead of some of my daily chores. I am impressed at how low this illness can take you. I am equally impressed that I’m slowly rising above those low depths and moving on up the line. Mark, a friend from the fire department, paddled by one day. He came aboard and we must’ve sat and talked for at least 4 hours. We made overly optimistic plans to do an early morning SUP paddle in a day or two. Uh, I had to cancel that one. What in the heck was I thinking? BUT! Give me a couple of more weeks of feeling like this, and maybe a short, slow paddle could be an incredible Christmas present to me!!!

I’ve been gardening, meeting with lots of friends for lunch, taking care of appointments and errands, and generally just hanging in there. I don’t do dinners because it’s dark by five o’clock. And dark means bedtime. I know, such a dork… Sitting down below on Willow all day long is one of the worst things I could do. I need the sunshine. I need the people, the conversation, or just plain outdoors. One of the more fun things to do is to listen in on some conversations. At one local beach, I was listening to one homeless man instruct the other that the bible “tells us to beat and murder women.” He was adamant, and apparently, was quoting specific verses, though I can tell you, the nuns never taught me that one! It must be in the (very) Old Testament. At another spot, I heard a man convincingly tell another that Costa Rica is a sovereign state belonging to the United States, and that’s why gringos can own property there. That one I had to look up, and the man had the info half correct. Costa Rica is a sovereign state, but it doesn’t belong to anyone. It’s a member of a Caribbean group, and that’s about it. I’ve listened to my boat neighbor talking about Mexico in ways and in terms I’ve never heard, and none of it was good. I won’t even comment on my participation on a board of directors of a nearby mobile home park. What I hear at those meetings is mind-boggling to me. All of this makes me remain grateful for having a working brain, and the ability to listen to some of the common sense it bombards me with. Note to self: Not only do you have to take care of your body, but your brain’s pretty dang important, too! I’m happy to have its capabilities, and will try to heed its warnings!

That said, I hope you all have a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving! For those of you working the holiday, I’m grateful to you, and may the leftovers be plenty, and the creamed turkey on puff pastry be just as good as Mom used to make!

Best Fishes!

The California Riviera

The California Riviera

I’m sitting aboard Willow, feet up, computer on my lap, cannula prongs making my nose itch, and I wonder what to write. With this blogging stuff, sometimes it’s difficult to figure out. You may become inspired, but in my case, it’s usually at the wrong time when I’m doing something else, and then I forget the inspiring theme. I look to my friends’ blogs, usually voyaging themed, and find I lose myself for hours imagining the places they’ve been and things and people they’ve seen. I’d counter with a similar type entry, detailing my latest passage, repair, or cat-wrangling story. No more passage-making or repairs, and the cats are enjoying the leisure life at Mom’s.

The last week or two have been very difficult for me. I really thought about not writing about it, but then I figured, what the hell? I’ve read about so and so’s courageous battle or graceful journey against or through cancer. I absolutely cannot speak for anyone else, but I see nothing courageous or graceful about it. Cancer absolutely sucks. I am scared spitless (insert sound alike word here) of what the future holds. I have had so much trouble breathing, and it wasn’t really bad, that when it does get bad, what is THAT gonna be like? I have termed it the ‘drowning fish’ and I want no part of it. The body part affected most right now are my lungs, which I use only about 5-6 thousand times a day. Now that use is very conscious to me. When it’s a bad breathing day, I am aware of the effort for every single breath. Put a cold on top of that, and it’s downright exhausting. Last week, I caught a cold, and was laid flat. Tired, with nothing else on the list but taking the next rattling breath, I found myself in quite a rut. Family and friends reached out, but I just couldn’t grab their hands. Fully aware that I need to take those hands, I continued denying their reach.

Friday, I finally went out and met with Mom. She needed some cooking items, so we went out looking for them. It was good to be out and about. Saturday, Missy and Andrew had me up for dinner. After a great meal, it was good visiting and talking with them. They both came down to Willow Sunday morning to help with some chores. That afternoon, Sally drove down from Ventura to visit, and it was GOOD. We spent the afternoon at Aliso Creek Beach, sitting in the sun, enjoying a shaved ice, and walking slowly on the beach and walkway. It was so good for me to get out amongst the living; watching small toddlers chasing seagulls and pigeons, listening to the screams as swimmers jumped in the very short, steep, and cold waves, seeing whales blow offshore and watching boats and paddlers make their way along the coast. Life goes on, and always will. My little stay here is just a tiny blip, but what a stay it’s been!

I’m getting out of the rut with help and moving on to whatever’s next. This morning I woke up to a bright and shiny new day, and it’s good. I can’t deny it, and frankly don’t want to. I’ll go out and do something, anything, to take advantage of the day. I’ll put off the drowning fish to another time, and be grateful for what I’m doing now. I think for me, at this exact point, today is what matters right now. Think I’ll grab it.

Never forget how much I love you all.

Head to Weather…

Those familiar with the sailing world know what that phrase means, “head to weather.” You’re putting the bow of your boat as close to windward as possible, or into the ‘weather’ that is working hard to send you leeward of your course. This heading sends you into the wind, seas, and usually the swells, so it tends to be a bit more of an uncomfortable ride. It tends to be colder, wetter, bumpier and swellier, adding stress to the vessels tender points, and stress to the sailor, too.

I’ve got my bow pointing straight into the weather right now. September 9th, I wound up in the ER for what I thought was a stupid asthma attack. Turns out my asthma attack had morphed into lung cancer, stage 4 at that. A few days later I was at UCLA, admitted to their cardio floor. There for just over a week, I had a bronchoscopy, lung biopsy, pulmonary lavage, PET and regular CT scans, a few echocardiograms, and was sent home. I returned just 24 hours later in a bad way. My pericardial effusion had escalated to full on tamponade, so I was sent on up to the ICU with a pit-stop in the cath lab for a pericardial centesis. The next day, a couple of PE’s, or blood clots were found in my left lung, so an IVC filter was placed to keep them and any others away from my heart, brain and lungs. The following day saw a lot more fluid on the right side, so a chest tube was inserted to drain that pesky fluid. That night I wasn’t doing so well, and intubation was considered, then rejected (of which I am thankful). 40 lpm of O2 was being sent in a grand vortex of wind down my nostrils to try to keep my body saturated. It was a difficult time. Finally, a decision was made to get me on some treatment to slow this tumor and the pesky fluid it manufactures down. I was started on Taxol IV, and we were shooting for the best. About 10 minutes later, one of the oncologists pretty much ran into my room and told the nurse to stop the Taxol. The molecular findings of my biopsy were finally in, and I mutated! Woo Hoo! Only about 2-4% of people with lung cancer have one or more of these mutations, and I was one of them. What this means to me is, I can be started on a targeted chemotherapy, and the drug of choice at the moment is called crizotinib. I take this big pill twice a day, and it’s job is to target the cancer cells themselves, isolate them, cut them off from moving and nourishment, and thus render them the ineffective little &;$*#2@ that they are. My mutation is an alk4, and this drug has proven to be a very good alk4 inhibitor. So, we started a day or two later on that therapy, and slowly but surely, my condition improved.

I stayed in the ICU a few more days, and was finally weaned off O2 completely, except when walking or sleeping. After moving to the pulmonary wing, I had a more easily managed chest tube put in, one that I was responsible for draining on a daily basis. A few days later, I was discharged.

Being back on Willow is wonderful. Such a beautiful, restful spot for me, full of dreams and memories and sea miles. But it’s hard, too. I find I can’t keep up with the very routine maintenance that needs to be done. My energy is sapped just getting out of the bunk and brushing my teeth. It takes alot of energy to take my pills (12 of them) and drain my lung daily. I’ve found it very difficult to eat anything, and that serves to take my energy. One of the medications that protects my heart drops my blood pressure, thus taking energy. The diarrhea from the chemo takes my energy. I find myself staring out my portholes thinking this isn’t good for the boat and it’s certainly not good for me. After two weeks of outpatient appointments, and feeling worse daily, I was sent back to the hospital, this time Santa Monica.

Originally admitted to the oncology floor, after 10 minutes there, it was clear my breathing wasn’t good enough to be able to stay. I was sent up to the telemetry unit and put on a morphine drip. The next morning, after some CT scans, a chest tube was placed in the left lung, so at least I had a matching set. Alot of fluid was pulled from it, and it made quite a difference. The placement of the tube in the left side was much more painful than the tube in the right side, and it kept me down for a number of days. My last few days on the telemetry unit were quite difficult, and on the last day, after being accused of “pain-medication seeking behavior,” I’d had it. I told the nurses I had no more pain, and was signing myself out AMA. Fortunately, at this exact moment, one of the oncology nurses arrived to give me my chemo pill and asked what happened. Within hours, I was down on the oncology floor. Within 2 days, the pain resolved, and I was off any pain meds. I would pre-medicate when I was going to drain one of my tubes, but that was it. The next day, I was told I would be released and arranged for Linda, my great partner on Rescue 10, to come on down and give me a ride home. All we had to do was drain that left lung and I was free! Except the tube was clogged. ARGHHHHHHHH! Another night in with more attempts, xrays, and CT scans to work on for the next day. I just wanted to go home. 5 of the last 7 weeks I’d spent ‘in the big house,’ and I was ready to get outta there. The next morning found me up early, and the nursing staff was ready to try draining that tube again. After using 3 bottles, SUCCESS!! A big ooey-icky (official medical term) clog finally passed on down the tube, and I was sprung!

I’ve been home for 2 days, and the future has lots of questions in it. Questions for me as to how to organize the next phase of my life, and questions for my docs as to what the heck is going on, and what the heck are we gonna do about it. My goal is to feel just a little bit better than I do right now, and to breathe better than I’m breathing at the moment. Both I feel are attainable; I just need help with the plan to make it happen.

I wouldn’t have made it this far if not for my amazing family and friends, old and new, who bolster me up daily with their love and encouragement. I’d love to try and list you all, but my addled brain would have me missing one or two, and I cannot dishonor anyone like that. Just know how much I love and care for you. You’re the BEST!

What a Strange and Amazing Place This Is…

Okay, this one is a pretty mind-blowing post for me, and I’m still not sure where to put everything. These are the facts as I know them, and knowing them for less than 3 hours is pretty numbing still. A bunch of you know I spent more than 20 years with the LAFD. Okay, I’ll admit it was 20 years and ONE DAY more, but still. I’m dang proud of that one day. After, I worked for the Avalon Harbor Department for 5 years as a harbor patrol officer, and then went on up to Santa Barbara and worked for them for another 5 years doing similar work. Loved every minute. After that, I was DONE! I spent about 6 months preparing Willow to head south, and south I went. Most of you have read of those adventures. Loved every minute of that, too!

I’ve been home about 5-6 months, and noticed recently my breathing was not quite right. Some of you know I spent a few weeks working at The Pile, NYC, immediately after 9/11. When I got home from New York, I was having a lot of trouble breathing, and went for care. Fortunately, I have been followed since then, most recently with the good folks at UCLA. I’ve been doing quite well, and been seeing my doc every 6 months for checks and follow ups. My doctor transferred to Texas and Rice University, so in August I was seen once by an overwhelmed young doctor from the East Coast. He conferred with his attending, and decided to add another special inhaler to the mix. I was to follow up again in October, having a pulmonary functions test first.

Shortly after the August appointment, I began coughing alot, and started to wheeze. The inhalers just didn’t cut it. I called my young physician and explained that with the cough, I was having right-sided chest pain. He shrugged it off to musculoskeletal pain, and still didn’t want to see me until October. Okay. My wheezing progressed, and I denied it, not wanting to clutter an ER with just another asthmatic. Today, I couldn’t hack it anymore, and went on in. They were wonderful, and after 2 nebulizer treatments, I was sent off for a chest xray. I had a third nebulizer treatment and some ‘roids while the xray cooked. An hour or so later, feeling much better, I sheepishly asked if I could go home. The great ER doc came in and said, “Tell me more about your chest, and when was your last chest xray?” I answered my last film was when I got the plate put in my arm after I busted my humerus in 2010, and it was normal. Well, it wadn’t no’mal no mo’. So, I was set up for a CT, and that confirmed it. My right lung is just full of a crappy, big ol’ tumor, and it kinda sucks.

I’m beginning to process it all right now, and have the worst headache doing so. I’ll have a bronchoscopy tomorrow or Thursday, and since the tumor’s compressing my right mainstem bronchus, it should be pretty easy to get a biopsy at the same time. With that information, it should speed up the determination of where I go next. Whew! Yeah, I’ve cried a little, haven’t told my mom, and shrugged my shoulders at the wonder of it all.

A new and different adventure is in front of me now, and I think I’ll just approach it as I did with sailing:
GO FOR IT! Or, with my favorite paddling motto, SHADDUP AND PADDLE!! Don’t worry, I don’t give in that easy…

And if anyone doubted it, I love you all. Keep doing good things!!! (I’ll let you know what happens…)

Present and Past Tense

Stack of Willow's and Zapatito's Logs?????????????????????????????????????

I don’t know what got into me the other day, but I decided to pull the recent logs I’ve had in the ship’s library. Encompassing the time I owned Zapatito and then Willow, the years have flown by. Strangely enough though, I distinctly recall actually writing some of the entries: the time, place, conditions, destinations. It brought so many great memories back to me, and I enjoyed reminiscing immensely.

Handwriting rules the day still.  Initially, I even used Polaroids in some of my entries.  Time flies...

Handwriting rules the day still. Initially, I even used Polaroids in some of my entries. Time flies…

The book that’s in the left lower corner belongs to Zapatito, a Pacific Seacraft Flicka.  I lived on that boat for a bit over 4 years, and loved every minute!  Hull number 7, she sailed from the States to Hawaii, through the South Pacific to New Zealand, and BACK, on her own hull.  She was a simple and elegant sail, balanced and trim, and sailed herself countless miles.  She had a very effective windvane, super simple, that I re-built during a long haulout.  I replaced or restored everything on her, and added a few features along the way as I learned, except for the cushions down below.  I just didn’t get to that point.  I purchased her for $16K and sold her for $25K.  The difference in price was definitely put into the boat in newer and better gear, but how many times do you get to get out of a boat in dollars what was put into it?  ‘Tito cleaned up really well, and the buyer became a great friend as he introduced the boat to his soon-to-be wife.  It was such fun to see something you’ve worked hard on and enjoyed so much find a new owner who really appreciated the same things.  I lost track of Zapatito about 6 years after I sold her.  She had been re-sold a few times more, and I saw her back at the Dana Point guest dock in really sad condition.  After that, I don’t know…

Zapatito in her Christmas finery...

Zapatito in her Christmas finery…

Zapatito's windvane drawing that I used during a rebuild.

Zapatito’s windvane drawing that I used during a rebuild.

Polaroids of the interior refit of 'Tito, fresh paint and varnish on everything...  Polaroids!

Polaroids of the interior refit of ‘Tito, fresh paint and varnish on everything… Polaroids!

In 1993, I sailed from Maui to Victoria, BC, on the Huntingford one-off 43′ ketch Saramin.  I met the Detwieler Family when I took my first boat, Samgeo, up to Santa Barbara for the first time.  My cat’s leash tripped their little girl, Tania, and the rest was history.  Francoise is an artist with a paint brush, and can turn the ugliest craft into an elegant and flowing, graceful boat with a few weeks of intense work.  She’s also an amazing sailor.  If I recall, she met her husband Steve up in Canada, and they married and had Tania.  On the boat, during winter!  Pretty hardcore and pure.  Steve was the second captain on commercial ships, freighters and tankers delivering goods and fuels to the world.  He was also a bush pilot in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, taking hunters and fishermen to their game.  I met them, as I said, in Santa Barbara, and we hit it off.  I wound up crewing with Francoise as Saramin was on her way up to Canada for sale.  Steve and Tania stayed with friends and family in Maui until after we arrived in BC.  I learned so much from Francoise, not just the complete sailing part, but how to be a steward for the seas.  We ate simply and well, sailed the boat well, only had one storm on the way up, and had 6 days of dense fog.  I remember feeling unwell the last few days, and now know I was pretty dehydrated.  I read that Francoise’s back began to give her quite a bit of trouble, and I’m betting being low on fluids was responsible a bit there, too.  This was my first long, offshore passage, and aside from missing my family, I loved it.  Our navigation tools were a sextant and a twice daily satnav flyover, only.  We had an old weatherfax, and an SSB receiver for voice weather forecasts.  We’d tape record those and extrapolate them onto a chart later when we weren’t so busy trying to copy things down.  Ah, memories…

My own written log of the trip from Maui to Victoria BC, doublehanded with Francoise.

My own written log of the trip from Maui to Victoria BC, doublehanded with Francoise.

Then, there’s Willow.  Ah, Willow.  I bought Willow in 1997 in Honolulu.  I was working for the Fire Department still, and had the ability to get some lengthy segments of time off in order to prepare her for the trip home.  Willow’s a Pacific Seacraft Orion 27, and also was featured in various sailing magazines as an ad for Pacific Seacraft.  When I bought her, she was 14 years old, and simply equipped.  She had an Aries windvane, a HAM radio, a radar detector, and a VHF radio.  I added an autopilot and GPS in Hawaii, and once home, she’s had virtually everything replaced but for the mast, and depth sounder.  I get alot of laughs regarding the depth sounder, but it’s simple, works very well, and I don’t see the need, for my uses, for a unit that sees more than 200′ in depth.  There are three and a half logs detailing the maintenance and use of Willow, and it’s enlightening to read of the work done, additions made and deleted from her. 

Willow's logs are the large brown, dark blue, small sketch book, and half of the light green book.

Willow’s logs are the large brown, dark blue, small sketch book, and half of the light green book.

All of this reading has brought me up to today, with Willow now 31 years old.  One of these days, I’ll add up the sea miles she’s shared with me, and tally up the friends I’ve made through this amazing medium.  I’ve saved a drawing and short essay a friend’s daughter made for me after she and her family visited me on Willow.  The text reads, ” The Beach.  Today we went to the beach.  We went to get some furniture from Wendy.  She is a paramedic that works with my dad.  She has a cat that has no teeth.  Wendy lives on a nice boat.  She has lived there for 13 years. I have been there before, and swam in the ocean as well.  It was very cold.  The End.”  On the lower half of the page is Christine’s rendition of Willow, and I’ll treasure this always.  It’s become my page marker in the log…

Christine's essay and drawing of Willow.  Priceless...

Christine’s essay and drawing of Willow. Priceless…

I hope everyone enjoys August, stays cool, and keeps their keels wet and off the beach!  Keep doing good things!

 

 

Bleckhhh…

Mom and Molle at the Beach...

Mom and Molle at the Beach…

Ahh, Willow’s in her new slip for the next 10 weeks, and it’s nice to be so much closer to both my mom, and the boat. Mom’s doing great; she’s driving, taking good care of Molle, her dog, and helping us help her in her home. I’m able to spend a little more time on Willow, catching up on things that need catching up on.

This week was, well, let’s just say I’m very happy it’s Saturday, and tomorrow brings a whole new week. It began with some controversy about me closing my Facebook account. Really? That extended into some more not real fun conversation, and I’m hoping I’m done with that. Frankly, I’m kind of, almost, ready to give up all of our relatively newfangled necessities: social media, smart phones, blogs, computers, etc… Remember, I said almost! With that in mind, the afternoon of these conversations found me losing my phone (again, for the ninetieth time). Subliminal something in there?? Well, crap. After putting my account on hold, I went into the Verizon store and explained my situation. I told the clerk I would like the cheapest, stupid phone available so I could at least keep my phone up and working. I didn’t need all of the other amenities of a smart phone. The clerk informed me it would cost at least several hundred dollars to put a non-smart phone on my account. Huh? Gotta keep those contracts going, right? Oh, and if there’s a new phone put on the contract, that contract gets extended another two years, right? Oooo, I was steaming. Knowing I could do better anywhere else but here, I left. Lucky for me, I remembered my sister had recently upgraded her phone, and since she also phones through Verizon, I asked her if I could borrow her old one until my contract is up and I can change without paying more money. She was agreeable, and I went to a real Verizon store, not one of the independent ones. They were able to activate her phone with my number, and I was back in business. Whew.

After running some more errands with my mom, I dropped her off and went down to Willow. Unloading some of my recent Trader Joe’s purchases, I slid open my food locker, and a few tiny little buggy-type flies flew out. I decided it was time to remove the potatoes that had begun to grow. After I did that, I noted one of the cartons of chicken broth had swelled, and that one needed to go, too. Then more of those buggy flies flew out. I guess ya don’t have to hit me over the head with a 2 x 4, but I kinda figured I had a problem. Turns out, 3 cartons of cream of corn soup had exploded, and said explosion supported various life stages for these buggy-type flies. Yuck. These cartons were not old, but they weren’t packaged in the US. I looked closer at other packaged goods, and noted my non-US cans weren’t holding up well, either. Unfortunately, bags of contaminated or nearly so food went to the trash. Everything was removed from the lockers and I cleaned it well with some bleach. At least it doesn’t smell of curdled cream of corn soup. Yuck. Oh, I already said that. After two and a half hours, I was done and ready for a tall glass of ice water. Actually, it was good to really clean that all out. In Mexico, it’s strongly advised that if you’re leaving the boat for the summer, you remove every single piece of foodstuff you have aboard. Aromas that we can’t detect are delectable to bugs, and the high heat has caused various food packagings to fail. I didn’t think it was all that hot here in Southern Cal, but it seems obvious to me that the foreign packaged foods don’t hold up to time, let alone ambient temperature. Lesson learned.

Memories Of Sunrise Over Banderas Bay

Memories Of Sunrise Over Banderas Bay

This past week has brought a bit of a heat wave to the area, though here at the coast, a cooling marine layer helps to keep us comfortable. A friend sent me a message about 3 boats blowing up on the beach in the Bahia Concepcion area of the Baja after a strong Chubasco hit. Other friends blogged about downpours and lightning in La Paz. Sheesh! Though the excitement and challenge would be fun, the relative quiet here is nice for now. If I can just keep track of my (sis’s) phone, and keep the bugs on the outside of the boat… Best Fishes!!