Commitment Is Freedom

I’ve had a stressful week with the news of my Ocean SF partner resigning on Tuesday, but luckily it’s been another peaceful weekend.

I love living in the Bay Area. There is nothing more beautiful than San Francisco Bay. The azure water, the beautiful San Francisco skyline, and the many Islands and coves from Richmond to Redwood City never cease to fascinate me.

The way the sunlight plays on the water, the combination of the working harbor, and the recreational sailboats that go by proves the multi-cultured diverse ecosystem that is my home.

I spend a great deal of time on the Bay and recently on Treasure Island, but it is ever changing and never the same from one day to the next. It is always a different experience due to the dramatic role the weather plays.

Being on the water for the Friday Night sailboat races and then on Treasure Island for the Treasure Festival is in my opinion the epitome of bliss.

I especially enjoy spending time with my Treasure Festival boss Chaz. It was nice to have another entrepreneur to talk with about Ocean SF and the challenges ahead. Plus, I am treated so well there. I came home with arm loads of flowers, desserts and more food than I can eat in a week.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about commitment. As someone who values freedom above all else this is an unusual train of thought for me.

For many years of married life I found this deep commitment liberating, because I could focus on my career, and other interests knowing I had support and love to back me up every step of the way. My late husband supported everything I did. It made going out into the world that much easier.

It was during this time that I was the most successful in my career, my watercolor paintings hung in galleries, and he constantly encouraged me to write. He read everything I wrote and would tell me that if he could write like I could that he wouldn’t do anything else (he was a very fine writer as well I might add).

Because of this idea, I committed to Ocean SF 100% from the start. It’s been my baby and number one priority apart from my kids for the past two years. I’ve literally loved it into existence. Now, even people I don’t know have heard of Ocean SF. I’ve devoted myself 100% to promoting it on all platforms and it’s starting to pay off.

I feel so blessed to have had the resources to commit to Ocean SF full time for so long. I look forward to working with others who have deep roots and decades of experience in the retail industry who have committed to helping me to finally bring my vision to fruition.

Today, I committed to staying at my side hustle for an entire year, the last weekend of every month. My boss and I will meet monthly and talk about entrepreneurship and my Ocean SF progress. These conversations which will include all of the details of the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur will make a wonderful book for other entrepreneurs to learn from.

Commitment is freedom.

Love and blessings to all.

Action Is the Alchemy

Action is the alchemy of success. Recently, I’ve been out earning money to support my kids and further my company Ocean SF. There are easier ways to do this than the road I’ve taken, but I get so much out of working with other entrepreneurs that it has been well worth the effort.

From this experience, and others, I can tell you that nothing trumps hard work.

I’ve recently realized that a good idea supported by actionable steps, careful planning and execution, but specifically hard work is better than any brilliant idea.

Everyone has great ideas, but without the hard work they are only wishes.

Yesterday, I worked for six and a half hours on a catering team. Our small group worked diligently, heads down, and with very little talking. The owner was scrubbing a pan with steel wool. The company prepares meals for private jets among other things. No one works harder than those in the kitchens of the food industry.

The day before, I spent three hours driving to pick up and drop off the graphics for our sailboat and the nonprofit I am sponsoring. I had to make time to do this, and yes it was inconvenient, and I had to pay for it too, and it wasn’t cheap. But, this is what you have to do to be successful. Next, I will scrub the sails, and help afix the one foot logos to the mainsails of our sailboats. Soon, my Ocean SF logo will be on the Ocean SF sailboat, Solana and on the Sailing Initiative sailboat, Chomp and it will be due to my efforts, the efforts of the Chomp team, and our hard work.

After working in the kitchen, I went home and wanted to stay there, but I had promised to help with the Berkeley Yacht Club Race Committee, so I made a coffee and went. It’s important to show up, and not disappoint other people. It’s easy to get involved in our own personal issues and not realize how we impact and burden other people. I didn’t want my friend to not have an extra set of hands when he set the marks for the sailboat race, so I showed up, even though I was tired.

Today, I was at the Treasure Festival working for my friend Chazz. I love working there, a family run business, where all the kids show up and help. At one time, this festival was just an idea. Now, it’s an enterprise that supports a family.

Action and hard work are the Alchemy of success. There is no substitute for putting in the time and working hard.

Ideas without action are just wishful thinking, they do not bring into existence thriving companies or monthly festivals with 180 vendors and 20 food trucks. And guess what? The food on those trucks doesn’t cook itself.

If you want to make an impact on the universe, get on it.

Love and blessings to all.

Sailing, Yacht Clubs, and Race Committee

Although, in relative terms I am new to sailing, I do have my Basic Keel Boat Certification which took 40+ hours of hands on training, and I studied for and passed the American Sailing Association test for certification.

I took the test four times as I am dyslexic and I have to turn all of the problems around in my mind to get the correct answers, otherwise they are reversed and since this is a multiple choice test, therefore, incorrect. Although, in practical training I was the only student to get the man overboard back on the boat on the first try, not once, but four times in a row. Please, don’t ask me to explain how I do this, but it is very difficult.

I joined the Berkeley Yacht Club and that first summer the Race Committee. Race Committee runs and officiates the yacht races for the club. There are many flags, and a complex system of whistles and gun shots to conduct the races.

There is a lot to do on the committee boat, but it is exhilarating to be so close to the start and watch the finish. The best part, however, is working with the most amazing women sailors, who have incredible histories in the sailing world.

My business partner and I own a sailboat, or more specifically our company owns the sailboat. Solana, was lovingly restored by mostly Andrew. I want to say I helped, but I did not. I saw the potential and encouraged him, but Andrew and his friends did all the work.

We recently started racing and our Santa Cruz 27 really is as fast as they are known to be. It’s true they move through the water with agility and grace.

Recently, Andrew told me he was surprised by how good of a sailor I was. We were having drinks with my sailing instructor Tom Dryja at the time. Tom and I were surprised that he was surprised. Andrew said that he expected me to be competent, but was surprised I could steer as well as I could and that he could trust me. He was after all putting the spinnaker up at the bow during a race in a good deal of wind.

When I did my man overboard training I thought of the person overboard as my child, and I had no problem turning the ship around and pulling my baby out of the water. I think that is essentially what makes me a good sailor.

Sailing is a very intimidating sport that has an emphasis on merit as evidenced by the skill witnessed during the recent race series.

Although, I have so much to learn to become a sailor like the legendary Bobbi Tosse and her friends, I am willing to try and hope to one day race in the PacCup. Maybe I won’t win it like she did, or do it a dozen times, but someday I hope to try.

It’s been an honor to be on the Yacht Club Race Committee for the past two years. I hope for many more memorable races and the amazing people and friendships that come with it.

Love and blessings to all.

The LA Fashion District

When I was in a little girl I wanted to be a fashion designer and of course I wanted to be a writer too. Which is funny, because I was dyslexic, and didn’t learn to read until well into 2nd grade. When I did learn to read proficiently it certainly caught my attention.

I spent the rest of my childhood and most of my adulthood buried in books. And I’ve always loved clothes. Beautifully made clothes.

So now, I am a clothing designer, I don’t do fashion, I do performance wear for sailing for our company Ocean SF. I wear my first production run orange jacket every time I sail. I also wear it skiing, walking, hanging out, and to outdoor concerts. I’m excited to make more garments, and one day we will have shirts, shorts, pants and dresses. For now we’re dedicated to doing this one thing well. It’s time consuming to do things well, we made seven prototypes before we got the design right, and we’re proud of that. We milled our own fabric which took six months, we’re proud of that too. Making something beautiful takes time.

While I was in LA last week, I stopped into our factory on Maple Avenue in the Fashion District. This may sound glamorous, but it is anything but. The factory sits under the freeway and every window of every building on Maple Avenue has bars on it. The streets are littered with dumpsters. I’m thinking twice about even getting out of my car, when I get a phone call instructing me to park and come in the ally entrance. I find the ally and walk in.

My mother wanted me to be a nurse, this would have been so much easier as it has a predictable career path to follow. And everyone doesn’t want to be a a nurse, but almost everyone I meet wants to be a clothing designer.

Inside, the factory is completely different then you might expect from the outside. The large rooms are painted a crisp white, there are soft benches and sofa’s to sit on, a station to make tea or coffee, and everyone is very warm and welcoming. People are sitting around sewing, and there are bolts of fabric everywhere.

I’ve not met Jesus who runs the factory before, but he has kind eyes and a musical laugh. He shows me a pair of yoga pants he is making for the brand Hard Tail. In their office Ben, his partner, and I go over the money. They take care of their seamsters and it shows, but it’s not inexpensive.

Our mutual goal is to get our numbers up, so they will lower theirs, as we want to be fair on both sides. My partner and I are committed to being U.S. made, but the cost of making clothes in the U.S. is exorbitant.

I’ve come to the clothing design world late, but I will tell you this; anyone can design clothing, it’s the making the clothing and what comes after that is difficult. There is much more to it then I could have ever imagined. I use every business skill I’ve acquired. It’s anything but easy, and there is nothing I would rather be doing.

Love and blessings to all.

Sailboat Races & The Corinthian Yacht Club

My business partner was racing today, and in 30 plus knots of wind, I might add. So we went to the Corinthian Yacht Club in Belvedere, California to meet him. This is a stunning place all around. I walked upstairs and there was no one around except a man drinking a margarita and talking on the phone. I took a seat and we both looked out over the San Francisco Bay. There were maybe 100 people in the bar and deck below, but it was supremely peaceful and comparatively quiet on the second floor.

Sailing has become my life. Not just the sailing, but the lifestyle and the people. After the Corinthian, on the way home we stopped to put the tags on the boat, however the wind made this task better for another day.

I went into the clubhouse and there was a Jazz band playing. Several friends were there, so I joined them. The jazz band played on as the winter sun slowly set over the San Francisco Bay.

Love and Blessings.

Love

Midwinter

Happy belated Valentine’s Day. I apologize for my recent lapse in writing. I’ve been writing a book titled Love and Blessings and it will soon be available on Amazon. It is a collection of writings from my journey. It chronicles the 12 months after the sudden death of my husband with an epilog at the end.

I often wondered why there were so few grief books and now I know. Once we pass through those difficult days the last thing we want to do is relive them, and you can not write about them without reliving them. However, I have been encouraged by so many people to do this, so I’ve taken the past six weeks and I’ve worked very hard on it. If it helps just one person than it will be worth it to me.

But, the book is not just about grieving, although it does cover a good deal of that, it is about using the challenges in life to strengthen our own character and to become better people through our suffering. If we do not do this then the sufferings is of no value.

Being a highly sensitive person who likes to think about things, the experience of this loss provided so many lessons that allowed me to grow. It has enabled me to deepen my wisdom.

Things that in the past I once thought difficult come to me now with ease. I am finally the person I always hoped to be. I feel incredibly fearless and this courage is not something I needed to develop to help me deal with further challenges, but this characteristic is helpful in achieving my dreams. I am confident that I can overcome the many obstacles that present themselves as I continue to pursue the things I love.

No one gets through life unscathed. We all have our heart aches. I am fortunate that mine are now far behind me and I can look toward the future with optimism.

I spent the past weekend at the San Fransisco Bay Midwinter Yacht Race. I was on the Mark Set Boat for the Berkeley Yacht Club where I am a member of the Race Committee. We were setting the marks for the race course. It was stormy with high winds and it could not have been more fun for me. I love the beauty of the water, the people and the competition. It has taken a long while for me to be in this place of happiness and calm and it didn’t just happen. I worked very hard at it and it took all of my faith and courage.

Now, I am doing meaningful work I love, I have a sport that I love, and I have so many people in my life to love.

A few days ago, I took the time to send friends text messages telling them how much I loved and appreciated them. The responses were more meaningful than I could have imagined. Then, I followed them up with Valentine’s Day messages. Gestures of appreciation, kindness and love are never a bad thing.

Last night for Valentine’s Day, my bf gave me a 17″ vintage replica model sailboat instead of flowers. That and red velvet and chocolate cupcakes surpassed any expectations I might have had. A perfect day with many more to come.

Love and blessings.

Moon Lit Path

Yesterday afternoon, I met up with my business partner, at our Santa Cruz 27 sailboat. I’m writing a book about my painful, although transformative first year of widowhood, making this meeting a welcome distraction.

Initially, we had little wind, but we put up the sails anyway, and as happens in life, the simple act of doing this somehow resulted in the wind picking up. It’s been a long time since I’ve rigged a boat to sail, usually the boat is ready when I arrive, so, it was nice to go through the motions of setting the lines, and raising the sail, especially since this is my own boat.

When we got out on the Bay we had the perfect circumstances for a sail and we headed north toward Tiburon at a fairly rapid pace. We listened to music and talked about all that we had accomplished over the past year. Our company Ocean SF is on track to have a very profitable year, our nonprofit The Trident Project has a year of events and activities planned, and our sailboat participated in her first race. Albatross, Andrews company, has had month over month of record sales, and my blog has a loyal following.

The book that I’m writing is my personal story about being strengthened by tragedy. The journey I’ve had is one of transformation. Undoubtedly, we are all transformed by our experiences. The choice is then ours to decide if it will be for the negative or the positive.

I’ve been reading my journals from the past eighteen months. It’s been anything, but easy, I only wish I could go back in time and reassure myself that everything would be alright, because I was full of so much fear. What I noticed most, however, was that although I was fearful I walked straight into that fear.

One of the authors I read during this time was Danielle Laporte, and one of her famous quotes is:

“Your life unfolds in proportion to your courage.”

As I sat on my sailboat I reflected on my courage and resilience, and the adversity that has brought me here to this perfect place of happiness, peace and calm. The word grateful doesn’t begin to describe how I feel.

As we headed back to the Berkeley Maria the moon had risen and it lit our path. How fitting, to have a well lit path now after so much darkness.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.

Love and blessings to all.

Solana’s First Yacht Race

If you’ve been following the story of Solana, or the “sunshine” boat, owned by our sailing apparel company Ocean SF, you will be happy to know she has her first race on Saturday. It will be a double-handed crew of Andrew Lacenere and Hawkeye King.

“The course is defined by the Golden Gate, Richmond, and Bay Bridges, and racers must pass by or sail under them in order to round each mark and head back to the finish line. Over the years it has grown from a modest gathering to the monster it is today, earning the title as the largest single- and double-handed race in the United States.”

I would love to be crewing this race but I will be at our nonprofit event for The Trident Project with Save the Bay.

It is so gratifying to see the dreams we created and the plans we made on a dark December night in 2015 finally coming to fruition. I am grateful for those who have helped us along the way.

Love and blessings to all.

Newfoundland, Sailing & Gooseberry Jam

I’ve had a walk down memory lane recently. My cousin, and I have been chatting, he’s twelve years my junior, but we’ve always had an affinity for one another. When he was six he would hide from me, but I could always hear his laughter and quickly find him. When I was twenty I spent a summer in Vancouver B.C. and I spent a lot time with him, and his little brother Jeff and their dog, Lucy.

Now, he’s the father of three little girls and he calls me every so often to check in. No two people could be less alike. Mostly, we talk about raising our girls, or our favorite topic business. He’s also a very successful entrepreneur. And I’m not surprised, he was wicked smart as a kid. Now, he has a beautiful wife by his side, and they work together building their business and raising their children.

We talk a lot about the large family we come from. My mother was the oldest of twelve, and his father was the oldest son, Daniel, named after our grandfather, landing at number five. My cousin has a different perspective being younger and having grown up in Canada, in both Newfoundland and Vancouver, British Columbia.

I love to hear his stories of the things I missed. Not only is he wicked smart, he’s wicked funny as well, and everything he says carries our ancestral shared sense of humor, which is our birthright.

Talking to him recently made me nostalgic for Newfoundland, my mother, and her people. I pulled out the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Shipping News, by E. Annie Proulx from my bookcase. She writes there is no place like Newfoundland, six thousand miles of coast blind-wrapped in fog, snow in May, a place of ghosts and magic.

That’s the Newfoundland that I remember.

However, what I miss the most is the language of Newfoundland, when Proulx wrote the novel, she said she went to sleep with the dictionary of Newfoundland under her pillow, for over a year, to get it right. But, it’s not the same to read it. I wanted to hear it. So, I watched the movie, it brought back memories of my grandmother’s house and her fresh bread, warm from the oven, smothered in butter, sour cream, and gooseberry jam, and the way they spoke there was almost musical, a melody to their words that can’t be explained.

Of course, there were always parties, and it was so much fun, with so many people around, and everyone inevitably gathering together in the warm kitchen drinking tea or whiskey from a tea cup with a saucer, no less.

My grandmother’s house was rambling with five bedrooms upstairs, and three below, she always kept it in perfect condition with freshly painted walls, and fresh wall paper in the hallways. It had a stately mahogany staircase and even a tiny telephone room at the second landing, where you could talk in peace, the floors were covered in red and blue rugs, the furniture in velvet.

My mother’s room was small and cozy at the front of the house, but my grandmother put me in my grandfather’s room the last time I was there. It was large with a fireplace, and a view of Portugal Cove Road, and the Memorial University Medical School Campus, and beyond the sea. My grandmother slept on the other side of the house overlooking the pond where the children ice skated in winter when they were young.

Last night, I went to sleep dreaming of Newfoundland, the icy tundra, the hypnotic crash of waves on rock, the smell of fish, weather and salt. It felt so strange to wake up to sunny California, my Meyer Lemon tree and the Christmas party I am planning.

Somethings remain in our blood forever.

I know these roots are what made me a sailor, I knew this the first day. I felt it immediately, I was completely comfortable, and at home on a sailboat.

The past always informs the future.

Love and blessings to all.

Boyfriends, Mountain Tops & Being an Environmentalist

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Mt. Bachelor, Bend, Oregon 1986

My high school boyfriend taught me how to ski by throwing me down the face of Mt. Bachelor. He took me down a treacherous black diamond trail, ironically called Texas, that ran from the top of that mountain straight down to the Lodge. It was one of the most terrifying episodes of my life, but I soon mastered the basics and was hooked.

At Oregon State, my then boyfriend, took me on a ski trip my freshman year. There was nothing about it that I didn’t like. I loved spending time in the cabin with friends, skiing all day with the snow falling, and sitting at the top eating lunch overlooking a vast and pristine valley.

Many ski trips followed, including one to Whistler, Canada with my Alpha Phi Big Sis Susie White, also an avid skier.  We could not of had more fun.

I didn’t think of myself as an environmentalist then.  I only knew that I loved nature.  And there wasn’t anything I enjoyed more than skiing down a snowy mountain with the people I loved.  I realize that what I valued most was the serene and unspoiled beauty of these landscapes.  I was blessed to be able to share this love with my own children who spent the majority of their childhood in Lake Tahoe, winter and summer, either skiing, hiking, or paddle boarding.

When I found sailing, I felt the same way about it.  I love the beauty of the ocean, the gorgeous Islands that sit off of San Francisco, the inlets around Tiburon and the incomparable beauty of sitting on a boat as the sun sets behind the Golden Gate Bridge. These settings and the people I am with have combined to create some of the most priceless moments of my life. So, that is why I am an environmentalist.  I think in many ways, we all are environmentalist, we have to be, it is no longer a hobby, but a necessity of this life.

The Trident Project, our nonprofit, has an Ocean clean up scheduled for the end of January, 2018.  We will be partnering with Save The Bay, and will provide an environmental education component geared toward the elimination of plastic usage, as well as a clean up effort to remove plastic and other garbage from San Francisco Bay (I will share more as we get closer to the date).

Along with all the other environmentalists, or nature lovers, I will dedicate my life to preserving these beautiful places for the people I love, my own children, and all the children that come after them. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my life.

Love and blessings to all.