What Would it Take To Give Up Your Polyester Fleece Jacket?

Sustainable 100% Merino Wool Fleece by Ocean SF

Dear Readers,

Please complete the poll below to help our company Ocean SF understand what it would take to rid the world of polyester fleece jackets that currently pollute drinking water by leaching tiny particles into our water systems at every washing.

Yacht Racing and The Midwinters

Aboard the Bobbi Tossi

I joined the Race Committee in July of 2016. Yachting is not what you think, but simply a group of people who love the water, sailing and competitive sports.

It’s a cross between golfing and skiing. The people are down to earth like my fellow all-walks-of-life ski and snow board buddies, from my ski instructor days in Tahoe. Racing is similar to golfing as rules and handicaps apply, and mean that even if you win the race, you might not win the race.

The people are young and old, and from all over the world, with an incredible array of personalities and politics.

On Saturday, I was on the Mark Set boat, to set the race course before the race. We traveled a mile out and dropped a buoy with an anchor and then headed a mile down wind to set the second and watch the race. At lunchtime, we joined the rest of the committee on the committee boat sitting in the sunshine eating sandwiches, chips and dip, and lots of cookies. Sailors like cookies it appears.

I spent the entire day on the water in the sun and wind. Afterwards, the Race Committee convened to the bar. I changed out of my foulies, and looked in the mirror, my eyes were an even clearer blue green then they were before. There is always this feeling of lightness in the air near the water.

From the Yacht Club, I watch the sun go down, and sit with Bobbi and John, and talk about their nine PAC Cup races to Hawaii. Then, my friends join me, and we leave together to go to dinner.

A day like this is a cure for almost anything. I woke up this morning with a sense of happiness, grace, and gratitude.

Love and blessings to all.

Barbie Dolls & Fighting Plastic

Santa Cruz, 2004

Recently, my daughter brought up how much I hated plastic and how I wouldn’t allow anyone in our family to wear polyester when she was a little girl.

This is evidenced above, on a typical summer day, we are all wearing linen dresses. Nothing has changed, as I still wear only natural fabrics.

San Diego, 2017

I wear linen, cotton, silk, wool and cashmere primarily. I have many linen dresses and a host of white linen shirts, plus cotton shorts as I’m wearing above for the summer. In the winter, I wear long sleeve cotton T-shirts, cashmere sweaters, and skinny jeans with suede ballet flats or boots.

I always disliked polyester, even as a little girl, I disliked my polyester bedspread fiercely. I was so relieved when I bought a down duvet at Mark & Spencer’s in London and a cotton duvet cover for my bed in East Finchley in my 20’s. Today, every bed in my house has a down duvet, along with a percale cover.

As an adult raising children, I resented the plastic Barbie houses, the plastic toys and especially the baby and children’s clothing that was made with polyester. It frustrated me beyond repair that I could not buy Children’s pajamas, that were not made out of polyester and covered in fire retardant. Naturally, polyester will melt into your skin if heated necessitating extreme fire retardant laws to protect sleeping children exposed to fire, but more likely than fire, is the harm caused by toxic substances near the tissue of delicate children.

As a result, I spent a great deal of time, sourcing French children’s clothing by Petite Bateau, ironically meaning “little boat” in French, when my kids were small, not to impress, but to have my children in natural fabrics. All of this long before co-founding Ocean SF.

When my daughter brought this up I asked her if she would talk about it in a video and when she came down to see our boat, Solana, and she did.

Join me in necessitating the change that must happen in our homes, our lives and our environment.

Love and blessings to all.

Small Town

From Sanctuary with the Ocean SF crew

When I first moved to the Bay Area and began working for Bank of America as a Systems Analyst, my boss, a Sr. Vice President at the time, told me, “Sydney, San Francisco might look big, but it’s a small town, don’t burn any bridges.”She’s long since retired, but a trip through my LinkedIn account confirms her wise words. We are all connected here. Even before LinkedIn became a part of our lexicon, I experienced this. All of the Wells people had formerly worked at Bank of America, all of the Voice Over IP employees had worked together at AT&T or Pacbell. Everyone knew everyone. As tech took over employees were tapped from these industries, or they formed their own start ups, and worked together again. I would get calls from people I had worked with years before to join them again.

It was always important to me, that I worked hard and maintained my excellent reputation, so I could return to my consulting practice as was necessary while I raised my family. Luckily, I never really stopped working, and I’ve gained friends and contacts galore along the way.

Now, I have my own company, Ocean SF, and if I need anything, I have a rich network to call on, and the reverse is also true. I’m always here to help my students, friends, and colleagues as they start businesses or change careers. I’m willing to help in anyway possible. This is the culture I have lived in for most of my adult life, and I’m very proud to call this my home.

In the Bay Area, it’s how we do business, we connect with and help each other, no wonder LinkedIn (click to read their history) was founded here. Of course they tapped their friends from PayPal and other networks, in the same way my friends; Craig Nomura, Mike Hession and Seth Freeman, experts in their disciplines have joined Ocean SF to form our Advisory Board.

As always, thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.

Love and blessings to all.

Always My Baby

Paris called on Saturday morning and said she wanted to come home.  She boarded a SW flight a few hours later, and by 4 o’clock she was in my arms again. Even though, she’s eighteen now (it’s her half birthday today), she will always be my baby.  

When I pulled up she was standing curbside in a cream colored fur coat and a pair of clear orange sunglasses. Her body language and demeanor prove that she is a strong and powerful person in her own right now, and obviously no longer a baby in any sense of the word. 

I’ve watched her over the past year demonstrate tremendous strength and determination.  I wish I could say that I’ve seen major strides as she’s faced adversity, but honestly, she has always been this way.  A person of character; confident, smart and a very beautiful soul with a powerful intellect and sense of justice.

She has essentially not changed a whit since the first day of pre-school when the other little girls wouldn’t let her play house with them. She told me that she didn’t care because she wanted to be President of the United States instead.

Hold fast to your dreams…

Love and blessings to all.

 

Teens & Drinking

My precious daughter, came home from college and she wanted a glass of wine. Then, her little sister wanted one too. As I didn’t have that much wine, I gave them each an inch.

I remember fondly my evenings in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with my mother’s beautiful family. My uncles were much younger than my mother who was the eldest of twelve. So, at every family gathering there was always music, alcohol, friends and often a trip to the clubs downtown for more drinking.  I found myself in bars with my aunts and uncles when I was fourteen. My mother’s little brother was only ten years older than me, making him 24.

One of my favorite girlhood memories is of drinking champagne with my mother’s little sister, Ellen, when I was six. We sat on the sofa in her beautiful three story home in North Vancouver, and she gave me the tiniest aperitif glass full of pink champagne.

Refusing my eighteen year old daughter alcohol feels conservative in comparison, but there was also alcoholism in my family, and the consequences of those addictions were not as pretty as the people who had them.

I’ve never been someone who could drink very much. Days on houseboats where people drank all day were not for me. I’ve always abhorred bars, crowded places, and drunk people in general.

Now, that my daughter is in college and the holidays are coming up, I find myself in uncharted water.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic. I welcome any insight. Please comment below.

Love and blessings to all.

 

Yoga & Healing Trauma & Finding Balance. 

I went back to yoga after a several year hiatus. I started six years ago at a studio in Walnut Creek. At the time, I knew I needed more self care, and it was a start.

It was the first time in my adult life that I became aware of my body as an observer. I would watch my hands as I planked, or watch my knees and ankles to ensure my bones were perfectly aligned. I was instantly good at it. My first class was a level two and I went through the motions with ease. Those classes were an hour and a half long, and the entire process of finding parking in Walnut Creek and so on, took almost three hours, or the entire morning.

It was a commitment to myself that I quickly gave up as the demands of my family intervened that first summer, making doing anything for myself, an impossibility. People have the illusion stay-at-home-mothers have all the time in the world, but they do not. They are staffing hot lunch, or organizing the back to school cake walk, or driving carpool for the volleyball team, or having kids over after school.  Finding time for yoga was priority #25, or lower in those days. After that first winter of going regularly, I went only periodically, if at all.

Last summer, I broke my wrist, but I promised myself I would return to yogo when I had healed. This week I took my first class from Esther at Humble Yoga. With my business partner in Montreal, I had a little more time, and more flexibility.

It’s been a stressful time in my life. Some of that stress was negative, and I had to dig deep to with grace handle the demands on me, now however, those demands are mostly positive. Having to meet with large banks who are interested in my company, or going to events where I meet tech billionaires increased my blood pressure like you would not believe.

Staying up all night preparing decks was just part of it, even deciding what to wear tested my cortisol levels. As an environmentalist, I didn’t want to go buy anything new. It seemed an oxymoron to pitch a sustainable clothing company wearing a polyester dress made in China. So, I went to the consignment store and bought a vintage dress by American designer Nanette Lepore. It was not cheap either. It was black, sleeveless and beautifully tailored, perfect for the warm October day.

This particular meeting went well, but all of it landed me by the end of October deeply depleted. I did all of the things I usually do in times of stress. I carved out time to be alone, I stayed home instead of going out. I walked my dog in serene settings, I cleaned up my diet and lowered my caffeine intake, I went to church, and yet even sleeping was stressful. I would wake up and not be able to go back to sleep. Then, because I would be afraid I would wake up, and not be able to go back to sleep, I couldn’t fall asleep.

Recently, I read that yoga heals trauma. They are teaching it in prisons and it’s having an enormously positive impact. It teaches so many good things, to breath oxygen into every part of our being is not even the most beneficial aspect, it teaches awareness and the ability to control the mind body continuum. Trauma is trapped in the body and yoga, studies show, is the antidote to releasing it.

As a single mother trying to support my family, I still feel guilty taking this time out for myself. But, when Esther asked our class to think about why we were there, the dominant thought I had was to find balance. After three classes, I do feel more balanced. I also feel rested and relaxed. If I can heal the trauma of the last year or so, that would be an added bonus.

Namaste.

Love and blessings to all. 

Searching For Love

I’ve been on nine dates and all but one have asked for a second date.  It feels a little like Oregon State sorority rush, and trying to find the most compatible situation.  I remember wanting so badly to be a Kappa Kappa Gamma, but didn’t want to walk that far, plus they were next to the PIKE (Pie Kappa Alpha) house where all of the boys I went to high school pledged, so I might as well of stayed in high school.  Or, maybe it’s like job hunting, although, usually when I had a second interview, I took the job and didn’t have seven other options.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been fund raising for Ocean SF.  And trying to raise 1M (one million dollars) in capital is no small thing, and I’ve rehearsed my pitch one thousand times, so much that in everything I do, and everywhere I go, I am in capital raising mode.

Recently, I had lunch with an investment banker, this was a romantic lunch, and he was very handsome and sweet, but I could not stop talking to him as the CEO of a company that could invest in my business.  When I say that Ocean SF is my passion, this is no understatement.

I’ve decided I need a few days to rethink all of this.

Love and blessings to all.

 

Addicted to Plastic 

Did you know that every time a polyester fleece jacket is machine washed up to 250,000 plastic microfibers are shed into our water system? These nano-particals can’t be filtered by municipal water utilities and they end up in the ocean, the fish we eat, and most importantly our drinking water. 

Our company, Ocean SF, based in Berkeley, California is putting a stop to this. As avid sailors and adventure seekers in general, we began as a performance sailing apparel company, that focused on using natural fibers, especially Merino wool, because they are warmer and more comfortable. 

As founders we can make our products out of whatever we want, but we were drawn to a new type of technical wool fabric, not because it preserved drinking water, but because it was gorgeous to look at and looked even better once we made a jacket out of it. Wool is self regulating and can be worn year round. It’s wonderful to have on when the temperatures drop and the winds picks up, which is mostly all the time on San Francisco Bay.

The first studies on water pollutants and the impact of polyester fleece came out around the same time we decided to mill our own Merino wool fabric using state of the art fabric milling technologies. We were aware that what we were doing could potentially provide a benefit to the environment. Now, with so many studies in the news, it’s apparent we are able to create sailing apparel with a much higher calling. 

Sailors have worn wool for thousands of years because of it’s unique properties that keep you warm even when the fabric gets wet. Wool, cashmere, and other natural blends, outperform synthetic materials, which dry fast, but fail to keep one warm if they get wet. 

Our textiles themselves are very sophisticated. We’ve been able to weave and knit multiple textures into a single piece of cloth. The interior side is meant to trap air between the garment and user’s skin to keep body heat in, the outside is tightly woven to keep the wind out. This is not the short fiber, itchy and inexpensive wool sold in the 1970’s. 

It takes four months to create a single bolt of the fabric we use. We are one of very few companies dedicated to this, and we do it for our love of the ocean and our desire to keep our customers, ourselves, and our friends warm and comfortable while they are outside doing what they love most.  

OCEAN SF will convert the entire old world order of adventurewear polyester to our idea of the use of only natural fibers in the natural world.

The big players in the adventure apparel market now know the risks their garments pose to the natural worlds that they are supposed to help people enjoy, and to us these inconsistencies are completely disqualifying. They are addicted to plastic based fabrics because they are easy to manufacture, light weight to ship, and highly profitable to their shareholders. 

When you start wearing natural fibers in these beautiful natural places everything about the experience improves. The idea of wearing and obsorbing the chemicals used in production of a petroleum based polyester garment in contrast seems absolutely absurd. 

Wool, linen, silk and cotton feels more honest, and more pure. It’s more than obvious, they are a better choice for the outdoors. 

Shop our site for an alternative to the polyester fleece midlayer OCEANSF.CO.

 

563 Miles Away

Austin and Paris, Los Angeles, California, Halloween 2017

I left my precious daughter in Los Angeles in September to start her first year of college. I’m relatively calm in these types of situations as I’ve endured a great deal of loss, so I walked away from her relatively dry eyed. The next day, my younger daughter injured her knee in a soccer practice. This incident resulted in my 16 year old daughter needing ten times the care of my two daughters combined the year before. 

I’ve been distracted by doctors visits, surgeries, and driving the little one around again. Because of this, it is only now, that I am beginning to feel the absence of my eldest. 

Paris has left a giant hole in my life. I miss her, I even miss her boyfriend, who is appropriately named, Austin. My girls and I share city themed first names, thanks to my late husband. When I resisted these names, he would offer alternatives like the name Brenda, or his favorite Billee-Joan, the combination of both of our mother’s names. He was a very funny guy. Eventually, I acquiescenced to the city names, but for the record it was not my idea. The nameology suits us now that we don’t go everywhere together acting as a walking geography lesson. 

This morning, I called and texted Paris without a response, but it was before noon on a Sunday, so I didn’t panic, however, I did locate her in her dorm room on Find My iPhone. While doing this I discovered she is exactly 563 miles away.  

Recently she sent me a photo of her Halloween costume. And, by the way, Austin is not in costume, he really is a basketball player. When I got it, I realized for the first time, in a real way, that she truly does now have a life that I am no longer a part of. I don’t get to weigh in on what she’ll wear or help her get ready, or anything else. None of it. Even as I trust her to make wise decisions and care for herself, I miss being there for her. I miss sitting on her bed watching her put her makeup on in front of her mirrored closet doors. I even miss how bossy and demanding she often was. All of it. 

Thank goodness for the little one. 

Love and blessings.