How To Get Everything You Want And Less

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My faithful companion is curled up next to me, she smells like a dead salmon.  The smell of a freshly lit fire wafts through the air, its cold as hell out today but not where i’m sitting.  There are many things I should do today but doubt I will get half of them done.  Its quite possible that I am one of the laziest human beings on the planet.

The minimalist

Of all the traits in my genetic code laziness is by far the most responsible for my success in this world.  It doesn’t mean I don’t get things done, it just means I don’t engage in useless shit like making lists and constant wheel spinning.  My brain functions as seamlessly as a solid state computer drive, so much in fact that I have great difficulty in dealing with people who have to think and process things before they can make a decision.  A while back I was caring for my 6 year old room mate and needed to pick him up from the library, It was cold and raining and happened to be an hour and a half round trip walk.  I asked my other room mate who has a car if she wouldn’t mind picking him up as its about a 4 minute drive each way.  What ensued was a 30 minute conversation turning the whole debacle into a midlife crisis.  All I wanted was a fucking yes or no answer but it was never going to come.  Rather than waste any more precious thought I walked out the door and picked him up.  Would you want this person running your company or your life?  In literally a third of the time the conversation took she could have driven down picked him up and we all could have gone about our buisiness.

I will never understand why life is so difficult for some people.  If you want something take it or make it.  It is said that Albert Einstein never memorized anything that he could easily access in a book preferring to save his brainpower for processing information.  In todays society we have the highest level of education since the beginning of time yet people become more and more incapable of actually getting anything done because there is too much information that needs to be processed before simple decisions can be made.  As a pilot, a sailor and a leader my job isn’t to think its to know.

Knowlgede is the power that rules our lives, not worldy knowledge but the simple power of knowing ourselves, our needs and our wants and being able to distinguish between these very simple things.  I think the problem is so many people are bombarded with external devices and vices that they have completely lost sight of who they are and what they need.  We create obstacles to hold us back because subconsciously we doubt that what we are actually doing with our lives is what we want.  We do it  based of off the most insane things like deciding at the age of 18 what we want to do with the rest of our lives.

The question is how do we know ourselves?  From birth we are conditioned to fail, like drones our children react to bells, go here when this bell rings, go there when that bell rings.  Soon our bells become silent but they are still there, college, punch clocks, commutes, debt, they all happen at the exact same moment in every day for every person.  Rather that follow our own lives choices we let society breed us into fowling the norm.  I was on a farm the other day and everywhere I walked the entire flock of sheep followed my every step, they were following me because they are sheep, they can’t think as an individuals but rather just act in the group mentality.  All but one that is, there was one black sheep that had jumped the fence and was dining in the garden.  Today is Good Friday and I’m guessing that a very large part of the world is out there doing what Hallmark has told them to do.  Today is Good Friday for me too but not because my TV told me what to do.

So to answer the question of how to get everything you want in this world.  If you have to ask you will never have it.

“~Either you get eaten by a wolf today or else the shepherd saves you from the wolf so he can sell you to the butcher tomorrow”
 Ogden Nash

Ocean Tribe

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It all started with tiny muddy foot prints literally seconds after I mopped the house.  This quickly moved to very loud noises in the early dawn hours “thinK” karate chopping wood at 6:00 AM with all the verbal sound effects.  Snot,  Snoogies, tiny germ infested hands in everything, sneeze bombs.  More than one episode of attempting to quietly sneak into the house after midnight was foiled with heinous lego land mines attacking my bare feet, I was losing the battle.

Ocean Tribe

Of all the things I never expected to do this year living with a 6 year old tops my list.  As a writer I need my quiet time to lay my stories to ink.  My personal space was invaded, every request questioned and the mess… don’t even get me started about kids, who needs em!  It was a tough transition, definitely more stressful than being a war photojournalist.  For me communicating with aliens or even women for that matter is a far easer prospect than communicating with a child.  With time the tension eased and life became tolerable, then enjoyable, then it happened, how I’ll never know.

The day they moved aboard their new boat my life suddenly found an empty space.  The quiet was killing me, it was like having a missing arm, life went on but it just wasn’t the same.  Somehow, and I will never know how, that little fucker wormed his way into my heart.  Its easy to go through life never knowing what you are missing but once you know life will never be the same.  They are still filthy little monsters but not so scary once you pull the mask off.

I’m not saying saying I would be a perfect leader for a little ocean tribe but I did manage to take 120 boy scouts on the New York City Subway and didn’t lose one of them.  I’m just saying…

“If your kid needs a role model and you ain’t it, you’re both fucked.”
~George Carlin

Voyaging On No Budget

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Its happened to the best of us, sooner or later, usually at the most inopportune moments we have a WTF did my cash go moment.  Case in point, I just found my wallet after 6 months of not really looking that far or hard.  When it turned up it had no cash, a drivers license that is worthless to me as I have no car and a ATM card that I haven’t used in over two years.

Emily Richmond

I discovered Emily Richmond and her blog years ago. I fell in love immediately, single girl sailing the pacific, who wouldn’t; it didn’t hurt that she is beautiful, brilliant and a talented sailor but hey…  She has an article in the Billfold today that is a must read.  Next time you have to ask yourself why you aren’t following your dreams, the answer just may be because you don’t want to badly enough.

It was a simple system that had nothing to do with wealth or status. It was a system of camaraderie and kindness, that approached life like it was a big pot and everyone was only expected to toss in whatever they had. And I loved it, you know? This way of living that systematically acknowledges that we’re all in this together – a currency I can really get behind.  ~Emily Richmond

Hair Of The Dog

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“Hair of the Dog” is a colloquial expression in the English Language predominately used to refer to alcohol that is consumed with the aim of lessening the effects of a hangover.

Salty Dog

When it comes to boat maintenance that same Hair of the dog mantra reins true.  I’m not a big fan of actually doing the routine maintenance that it takes to keep sookie at her finest but I do it religiously regardless of how I feel about it.  The end result brings me much satisfaction not only after completing each job but also throughout the year.  In 25 years I have rarely had a failure of any mechanical system on my boat.

Knowing that the boat is not only safe but incredibly reliable makes the tedium of each springs outfit tolerable.  Each morning I set out to hitchhike to the boat shed to work on other peoples projects and each afternoon I take a bit of the hair of the dog and find my way to Sookie to make her right.  I’m exhausted to no end but this remedy will render yet another worry free cruising season.  On every trip I set out on I do it knowing that I am the weakest link.  When the weather turns foul it isn’t my ground tackle I worry about, or my rigging, or my sails.  The only thing that can go wrong is user error.  The beauty of this system is that ever year I become a better, more confident and safer sailor.  In over twenty-five years on the water I have yet to take a single trip without learning a better way to do something.  Thats one of the things I love most about sailing, you never stop learning.

When people ask me where I find the motivation to keep Sookie is such pristine contrition I answer their question with a question.  Whats your families life worth?

Procrastination is like masterbation.  Its fun while your doing it but in the end your only fucking yourself.

Log Of Sookie April 2014

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The warm sun beat down on my pale skin, the hum of insects fills the air and the smell of freshly cut grass overloads my senses.  Spring has arrived in the islands.  I’m 4 coats of paint on my rudder cheeks and an overhaul on my motor away from launching.

falmouth cutter 22

Year to date I have made less than $300.00 but somehow the boat is coming along right on schedule.  My new foulies are hanging and ready for battle and my brand spanking new oars are ready to kiss the water and pull me anywhere I choose to go in my new rowing dingy “Potato”.

San Juan Sailing

Sookie is still in rough shape after the long winter but each day she starts to look more like a sailing ship and less like an abandoned derelict.  I’m feeling pretty rough these days too but new running shoes are on order and I just started my 200 pushups a day regimen.  To celebrate the spring I shaved my head bald, gone is 15 inches of hair and it feels great.  The search for work has turned up very little but the season is close at hand.  Once launched my spring projects are to add lifelines and a real heater.

boat heaters

Its tax season and once again somehow I stretched my $11.000.00 annual income into a year of living the good life.  Fortune found its way into my life this year and my new computer is loaded with editing software and I’m slowly learning how to get along with the video on my new Nikon D7000.  The minimalist life, although relatively new to me really seems to fit me like a glove.  Chris from San Juan Sufficiency sailed in yesterday and taught me how to harvest and cook kelp.  I still struggle with feeding myself a regular and heathy diet but I’m learning a lot about harvesting from he sea and shore, this year I expect to eat like a king.  My new cookbook Man Cooking is well on its way and I’m seeking cooking lessons in every direction I can.

sailing the San Juan's

It was a cold lonely winter but I’m hopeful spring will bring warmth into my life.  I’ve found a short bit of work painting a new wooden mast and even though I work only an hour to two a day the work is well received, I’m working along side a master shipwrite  and feel very fortunate for the experience.  I hitchhike to the south end of the island every day.  My journey through fresh farm fields is backdropped by the Cascade Mountain range the float planes are back and fill the air and baby sheep are in all the fields.  This island truly is as close to heaven as anything on earth for a simple city boy like me.  I don’t know how or why I am so fortunate to live this life but every day is a miricle.

climbing the mast

“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.”
~ Deng Ming-Dao

Finding My Sailorette

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Of all the marina’s in all the world she sailed into mine.  In my minds eye I would think everybody would want to take that magic carpet ride known as sailing.  Its the best of both worlds, you get to travel free as a bird and everywhere you go you are home.

sailorette

Apparently, this isn’t the case.  I have tried it all, the organic way of just meeting people, Nope.  Internet dating, FAIL.  Trying to convert a landlubber into a sailor, almost but… I tried the racing scene, nothing I did got me any closer to finding my Lin Pardey.

You don’t have to look far to find droves of single male sailors all searching for that one in a bagillion bilge babe, desperate is an understatement.  I was one of those guys until recently I just said fuck it, I’m done searching, a guy can only take so much.  If you do enough solo sailing you will soon learn that it can all be too much.  Not only is it a pain in the ass but those special moments are always best shared.  So I threw in the towel and turned my focus on much more fruitful endeavors like beers and boats.  Once I got this monkey off my back the world started to open and unfold for me.

In life we have many simple choices and while I rarely make the right ones I am a sailor.  I could never fall in love with a girl who doesn’t love the sea .  So I joined the rank of the masses and became the single guy on the boat, not searching but content with all that life has graciously given me.  Life became good again, simple and free and then it happened, she sailed into my life….

“True love will triumph in the end—which may or may not be a lie, but if it is a lie, it’s the most beautiful lie we have.”
~John Green

The Good Life

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At 7:00 Am sharp I had a prowling kitty and a bouncing dog playing a rousing game of steam roller with me.  This is my daily alarm clock.  Like the Pied Piper, these two little fluff balls follow me wherever I go tripping me at my heels always excited and ready to start a new day.  Its easy to trick humans into believing you are something that you are not but animals are different, they don’t judge you they just want to be loved, they choose you.

the good life

Love is an interesting thing, its the shortest commodity out there and unlike any other desire in the world love can’t be earned until after it is given to you.  I was that guy the classic dog hater, they drool, bark, snot, eat my stuff, shit everywhere barf in my new sleeping bag… They are filthy creatures always demanding love and attention and touch, they shed their fur on everything and drag the whole forrest into your house every time they come home.  When I adopted Chloe from rescue in Nevada almost 13 years ago I didn’t want a dog, I wanted children and figured if I couldn’t care for a dog I was completely unfit to care for a child.  I’ll never forget that first day I took her home, I was with my sister and we stopped for lunch, Chloe took a crap in the plants and…

Deb, Pick up her shit.

Me, I’m not touching that nasty shit.

Deb, PICK IT UP!

Me, No effing way.

Deb, Look dude you are going to be picking up her crap and cleaning her messes for the next 20 years, GET USED TO IT!

That little puppy has been there through thick and thin with me.  She never complains about my cooking.  Is always up for a few more miles on the trail, and is good for treeing a bear in my campsite.  If a treed bear is what you want in your campsite.

For 13 years I have never left this dog alone, she goes with me or has a sitter to keep her company.  By the age of 12 weeks I was the third person to take her from the rescue and while it has been a challange she has taught me more about the ways of the world, patience and comiitment than any other life experience.  She has given me the one thing I have never experienced in life, unconditional love.

A friend shared this video link with me today and it really touched a nreve.  There are only two options in life.  We can go through it being selfish assholes or we can live the good life.  The best of all is that its never too late and the good life is by far the easier route.

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
― John Bunyan

Journeys

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What the fuck are we doing here?  I was screaming at the top pf my lungs trying to be heard over the 80 knot winds that threatened to blast us off the top of the mountain.  My hands had a death gip on the tent trying to keep it in control while it tried to beat me to death in the process of setting it up.  Out of nowhere a guy appeared offering to save us from the storm and we readily agreed.  We were in one of the most secluded spots on the planet earth.  Making his gestures by hand backlit by the sun in heavy fog made the whole situation seem that much more surreal.

bucket list

This is how my trek to Nepal started out, I get sidetracked easily and somehow while sitting in the hot steamy jungle at the edge of a perfect lagoon I got the bright Idea that I would walk straight to the top of the mountain I was staring at. In the early morning sun while lounging with a hot cup of locally grown coffee this seemed like a brilliant idea.  On my list was climbing Mt Everest and while this dinky 14k peak is nothing more than a dot on the map it seems like a good training idea. A very short walk led us to the observatory, expecting a warm welcome we were shocked how cold it was inside.  Turns out that they use climate control to keep the inside temperature the same as the outside temperature to keep the lenses from fogging.  We laid awake late that night talking about life, mostly focusing on how stupid bucket lists are and questioning our motives for climbing a mountain that has a road straight to the top.  We didn’t use the road going up or down but we could have and clearly should have.

The next morning we were allowed to top off our water bottles and started walking down the maze of craters in the think fog.  We didn’t have a compass and our only map was a small tourist cut out of the whole island but it didn’t matter, all we had to do was go down.  Later that day nearly out of water and frying in a barren desert we stopped for a snack and again the whole WTF are we doing here conversation came up.  Tired and thirsty we both wanted to call it a day and make camp but without water in the blistering heat we decided to push on, we could easily see the deep blue of the Pacific was only a few miles away and between that and us was a Hwy, our salvation.  We watched the sunset from the sea wall dining on cold cuts and cheese with a homemade paper bag ice chest chilling a six pack of beer.  Chatting with tourists who questioned how we got so filthy we recounted our adventure.  You guys are real mountain climbers they said.  Just because you climbed a mountain it doesn’t make you a mountain climber.  Being short roped up Everest lost all its appeal that night.  Clean and tired in my sleeping bag I fell asleep wondering where the next day would find me.  If I run one marathon does it make me a runner?  If I pay a guide to pull me to the top of the world am I an alpinist?  If I travel by commercial jet to all the most beautiful spots in the world just so I can get a snap shot of myself standing there clean in my no shit I was really there pose does it make me an adventurer?

There was no way I could have known it that night and I did eventually cross every item off my list but the trip and my life took a huge turn the very next day.  That dinky little mountain taught me about the journey through life.  The hardships suffered prepared me mentally for the many bone headed situations I would find myself in as my journey progressed.  Somewhere on the top of the that mountain I decided to live.  Three weeks later hopelessly lost in the wettest spot on the planet earth losing all my gear to a flash flood didn’t seem to matter.  Getting in was the challenge.  Getting out was the end game, but what happened from A to B was that little thing we call life… the journey.

Survival is simple be-it escaping an impenetrable jungle or being laid off from your job.  The challenges  that life throws us in our journey from birth to the grave are nothing more than a free learning experience that better prepare us for that big Oh Shit moment that invariably lies around every corner.  What we do with that challange is what separates of from the flock of sheep.  Right now  I’m caught in a hurricane and my sails are blown.  I could push my epirb and let somebody come save me or I can mend my sails, ride out the storm and continue my voyage.

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
~ Confucius

SOLD

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I will never forget the first time I rowed away from Sookie in the early morning light, I stopped for a few moments to take it all in, she is impossibly perfect.  The last line of the last email I sent to the proud new owner was “I’m envious”.  Today my only job is to get one single piece of paper in the mail, one that just may turn out to be the most precious thing Jim carries aboard his new boat.

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Its amazing how two boats from the same drawing board can be so different.  Dora Rose is a world class example of excellence.  I have been on many falmouth cutters in my life but never one as nice or well laid out and equipped as Dora Rose.  We spent hours just sitting and chatting during the survey that Jim did himself.  He is a resourceful guy and didn’t need a stranger to point out the obvious, that Dora Rose was built for him.  When you own a boat like the Falmouth Cutter the world is limitless, she will get you there safely and in grand style.

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All new boats need personalization and tweaking but this boat needs very little.  She is strong, simple, safe, beautiful, and has everything necessary for long distance cruising including a heater.  Having spent so much time aboard I have already started drawing out the changes winter will bring to Sookie but thats a long way off.

building a falmouth cutter

I have been fortunate enough to have spent the last week in company with a master shipwright with what Lyle Hess could only describe as perfection.  Wood, sawdust and the beginnings of a new ship.  I have been blessed with one more week in this little boat shed and then its back to splash Sookie.

You have the most beautiful bowsprit I have ever seen.  Girl in the boatyard April 4th, 2014

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