Letting Go

Truckee River

I took a quick trip to Truckee again. This has been the theme of the summer, back and forth to Truckee, but this time I didn’t feel compelled to go and check on the place where we spread my late husband’s ashes. Instead, I hiked the Truckee River with my friend Susan and talked about the future. 

It’s interesting that I’m not the only one in transition and facing an unforeseen future. Yes, we all have plans, but not like we once had when we thought; settle down, buy a house, have a baby, and save for the future. Well, the future is now. Having the road ahead open to so many possibilities is in itself stressful, but the flip side is the excitement of not knowing what comes next. 

When I came home last night from Truckee to the Bay Area, and my home surrounded by fog and flowers, I realized completely and with utter clarity that my husband really is gone and he’s never coming back. Never. I sat on my white sofa eating cherries and let this thought burn into my heart. 

I’ve reflected a lot on my life as a wife and mother and all that entailed. I will always be a mother, of course, however, now I am often alone with my books and notes, which I entirely love. I missed my own company during the busy and hectic days of raising a young family. 

I know my life won’t always be this way, but it feels good to let go of the past and spend these days with myself living entirely in the present.

Love Is The Third Thing

During the second year of working as a ski instructor, I was called in to teach a private lesson to two children on Christmas Eve, previously I had these days off to spend with my own children, but if you don’t show up for your classes the resort will pull your ski pass and those of your entire family, as they are issued as a perk of the job. 

Reluctantly, I arrived to find myself with a three year old boy and his four year old yellow haired cousin, Olivia. 

I am very warm with kids, first of all they scare me a little, and because of this I have a great deal of respect for them, secondly, I have no boundaries with them, and I’ve never taught a class when they were not all sitting in my lap. 

This day was no different, and from the time I met them they were holding my hand, and on the gondola the three of us occupied a foot and a half of the seat, if that. 

I had been a ski school favorite my first year, earning the highest return rate of children they had ever seen.  I would make sure all the boys got to ski their first black diamond, and for the girls I braided hair and tied knots in cellophane to secure the ends. If I only had one girl or boy in my class, I would take on an extra child so my student would have a friend, and of course I stopped for hot chocolate and cookies more than was necessary. After the first year, I was promoted to privates, but mostly taught adults.  

These children skied very well for their age and were both teachable and naturally coordinated. We spent the morning on the lower runs working on our stops and turns. After an early lunch they wanted to build a fort, which I discouraged, telling them, we wanted their parents to be proud of them and see how much they had learned.

It was at this point the little boy told me his cousin’s mother had died. He said she had died of a disease in her blood. 

This news shifted my focus entirely. As I spent the next four hours with them, the three of us cuddled on the lift, the three of us cuddled in a row on the bench outside drinking hot chocolate. I let them hug me, and pull my hair, and ski over the tops of my ski’s and so on. At 4:30 on the gondola down, they said that they couldn’t  believe it was over, the day went by so fast, and I felt the same. 

Of course, I had fallen in love with both of them, and my love for them spun around us, making the snowy Christmas Eve magical. 

I’m starting to see love as the third entity in relationships. It is what is made when we love each other. 

The next day, I saw them as I walked through the village with my own happy family. It was Christmas Day, and the little girl was out ice skating with her Dad. I passed by silently,  grateful for my intact family. 

And now here we are. I’m in Tahoe again, sorting through my storage bins. Sorting through my memories. Love is what lives in the space between us all, not something you give or that is taken from you. It is the subtle alchemy that exists when we open our hearts to each other. 

Love and blessings. 

Falling In Love & Starting Over

Everyone I’ve ever loved, I have loved instantly from the moment I met them. Even several of my closest friends came with that moment of clarity where time stood still, and the predominant thought was, “finally, there you are.”

This was true of my husband, who watched me sit at the pool below his balcony, then left a post-it note on my front door inviting me to dinner. Or my first fiancée, who smiled at me in the 7-11 in Woodburn, Oregon, as I walked out and he walked in.

I knew immediately from the moment my husband opened the door that I would marry him. It was the first thought that popped in my head as I crossed the threshold of his apartment. 

I remember, he was wearing penny loafers and when he told me he was from Texas, I thought it a contradiction in terms, but he had many opposing sides to him which made him from the very beginning, interesting to date, and over time fascinating to know. 

The same is true for my friend Tom, I knew instantly that he would have an impact on my life, and he did. He taught me to sail, and it completely changed the tragectory of my future.

Now, I’m meeting new people, and people I’ve known in the past are reentering my life. I’ve had some interesting offers already, but as they say in the sailing world, I’m staying the course. I’m honoring the commitments made to my children, and my business, and my classes at UC Berkeley.  

We never know exactly what the future holds, but it’s going to be interesting, that much is clear already. 

 Love and blessings to all.

After The Ending, But Before The Beginning 

In SF on the boat Sanctuary

I feel like I’m at the ending of things, but before the beginning, dwelling in a peaceful and calm no mans land.

The door behind me has shut, and the next door has yet to open.  It’s a wonderful place to be, and I can’t say I’m not enjoying it. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my friends lately, and just for the fun of it. And I’ve been sailing and that brings with it a sense of calm, peace, and joy as always.

My foundation is well laid now, my next major task is to get my daughter off to college in September, then I have two years with Siena to teach, write and run my business.

My past is now behind me, I did the best I could. I could not have tried harder than I did. And, now the hard work of that is over, I look forward to the growth of all the seeds that I’ve carefully planted and have worked so hard to cultivate. But that is for the future, for now all things are peaceful and after a year of constant upheaval, I am very grateful for that. 

Love and blessings to all. 

Grounded

Manicotti

I’ve finally started to feel grounded again, after a busy few weeks, I thought spending time alone in Tahoe would make me feel better, but it didn’t. 

What has helped me has been to come home, water my pink and white flowers, and pots full of impatience, pansies and daisies, tend to my basil plants, and trim my beloved Meyer Lemon tree and cook for my children. 

I should have known this, because nothing comforts me more than the fog rolling in and cooling off my creekside home in the summertime. I love the wildlife that thrives in our beautiful town, and the way we are so close to the city, but feel so far away. 

There is no better feeling than puttering around barefoot, watering the plants, and making dinner for the kids.

Love and blessings. 

The Inner Circle

When I was a little girl, my mother would routinely forget to pick me up from school or leave me waiting for an hour or more in the parking lot with my furious girl scout leaders.

So, when friends let me down or family left me at the airport, Toronto, Vancouver B.C., or Oakland, all was quickly forgiven, as this was not unusual in my world.

Yet, these were offenses that would, for most people, have earned a line through your name, in the words of my friend’s mother, you would be crossed off the list.

It causes chaos to be surrounded by unreliable people.  I’ve learned it takes a lot of energy to wonder if your relatives are going to show up for you or not.

Overtime, I learned to manage with or without them, and found ways to protect myself from the disipointment of birthdays left unacknowledged or milestones unattended.

In my family of origin, I became a good giver, but not a receiver, thus blocking the natural and healthy flow required in good relationships, both core components for deepening trust and love.

Even, in my marriage, my husband was very reliable, but most of my circle was not. Leaving me with a very skewed sense of where to put my energies and loyalties.

Now that I have a fully reliable inner circle, at the very least it is luxurious to have friends to remember my birthday, or make my children homemade ice cream when we visit, or never leave me stranded at an airport, but having people to count on is necessary for a secure, happy and productive life.

When I met my friend Jeff, he came to my house to cook me dinner, and then he cleaned out my refidgerator. When he returned to LA, he sent me an entire set of pots and pans, because, in his opinion, someone who has written a cookbook should own better cookware. And, he’s picked me up from the airport on time, plenty of times.

Additionally, I spend a lot of time with my business partner and our circle of sailing friends, and they are the same way, they are reliable, not just sometimes, but all the time.

Of course, in sailing and in life, there are times when you must show up for each other. After all, if you miss castoff you will be left behind.

Stable and predictable relationships make the hard work and time consuming efforts of following your dreams that much easier, and once achieved, that much sweeter.

Love and blessings to all.

The Many Forms of Love

Over the last days, I’ve been thinking about what I want to write about moving forward. 

Yesterday, after one year of grieving, I put my husband to rest, and it is very much time for me to move on. I believe to dwell on anything is unhealthy, and this sad chapter is especially so. 

I know I want to write about building my company, Ocean SF with my team, and the work our nonprofit The Trident Project will do, but I woke this morning, thinking I would like to write about love.

Love comes in many forms, and over this past year, no one has been the recipient of more love then myself, and my family. 

Thank you to my dear friends Debra, Rosalee, Gina, Christina, Denise, Susan, Melissa, Tonya, Maureen, Kim and Sue for supporting me through this difficult year. 

Thank you to my husband’s best friends Dan, Chris, and Jeff for being there for the girls every step of the way.  

And to Austin Clark and the Clark family, and the families of my daughter’s friends, particularly the Melohn and the Hoover families who have helped in so many ways and taken such good care of my children. 

Thank you to my Ocean SF team, Andrew, Mike, Craig, and Seth for helping to lay the foundation for our company over the last year and a half. And to Tom Dryjax who shared his passion for the sea with me, and taught me to sail, and introduced me to Andrew. 

Thank you to my Auntie Pat and Auntie Deb for sharing their wisdom and always being a phone call away.

Thank you to my community, neighbors and friends of many years who are always there for me Julie, Kim and Sandy. And especially, Tina, David, and, Toes and Eden, the dogs I walk twice a week. 

Thank you to Jeff Withoft who held my hand through everything, but has now flown off to foreign lands to find his treasure like the protagonist in the Alchemist.

Thank you to anyone I might have missed, and to all of the people who read my words and comment and message me. I am so appreciative of your prayers, good wishes, and support.

Love and blessings to all.