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.

Chanel, Cigarettes & Natural Fabrics

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Chanel

I’ve been talking about my company Ocean SF, a sailing apparel line that has recently launched the first product, a Merino wool sustainable mid layer jacket that retails for $225.00.  In doing so, I have realized that many, many people do not understand how wool or any other sustainable product is superior to polyester.

Firstly,  I am not someone who seeks out wool products.  I am the type of person who drools over quilted $2,700 Chanel handbags.  I’m not going to lie, as much as I love sitting on mountain tops and sailing, I also love fashion.  I own a Louis Vuitton satchel that I bought in Seattle on my first business trip after graduating from college.  It cost $425.00 plus tax.  However, I’m proud to say, I used that bag for 10 years, I never bought anything else, and enjoyed the hell out of it, I still have it in my closet. One day, my daughter, Paris showed up in the city using it.  As I don’t like to share, I bought her a gorgeous bottle green Dior bag for her 18th birthday. Today, I own five bags, a white Italian Furla, as well as a kelly green Kate Spade bucket bag for the summer, in the winter I use a black Kate Spade satchel and a black woven Bottega Veneta.

So wool, was not necessarily my priority. However, as I started sailing and getting very cold and very wet, it became extremely important to me. Like many adventure seekers, I am good at preparing for the outdoors, I have many jackets and understand the advantages of layering.  One day, I was wearing a Gill Foulie jacket and under that a Helly Hansen polyester fleece.  I was perfectly comfortable, until I took a wave down the back of my jacket at 8:30 a.m. on a sunny, though not warm, September day in the San Fransisco Bay.  At the time, I had no idea I would be shaking and unable to drive when I reached my car 3 hours later.  I had spent hours in the wind and cold soaked to the skin.  I couldn’t go home just because I was cold.  In fact, I was in the middle of the Bay, so I couldn’t go home at all, for any reason.

You see, you can wear wool and get wet without being cold.  In the same way you would not wear a cotton tube sock skiing.  Skiers and boarders wear wool, or their feet would be frost bitten. Most boots leak.  Feet get wet. Cotton is not an option, polyester isn’t even a consideration. All ski socks are made of wool. Why wouldn’t a jacket be made of that as well? The fabric that we use has been custom milled with new technology designed to keep you even warmer than wools of the past, and it uses longer fibers that make it softer.  It also has the added benefit of being beautiful.

After I became educated in the pollution caused by polyester fleece – yes, it’s true scientists are finding polyester fleece in the tissue of human cadavers – it became a mission for me to educate others.  Washing polyester fleece in your washing machine releases nano-particals into our water systems that supply drinking water.  This is not a speculation, but a fact.

I often wonder why anyone would wear polyester for a bike ride?  Do you know how many chemicals are used to make a piece of fabric out of polyester, which is petroleum, which is gasoline?  The toxins that are absorbed into your bloodstream as you cycle and perspire into this toxic jersey are astronomical.  We wonder why there are so many diseases today.  The studies have not been done, but it is a foregone conclusion that wearing petroleum next to your skin is not a good idea.  Similar to cigarette smoking, by the time the studies are in, it’s too late.

Wool, cotton, linen, cashmere and other natural fibers are non-toxic and non-polluting.  They become a part of our ecosystem and absorb back into the ground they came from.  They are also breathable and comfortable in addition to being very soft and beautiful.

Need I say more?

Love and blessings to all.

Whatever Happens Next is Happening Now

I often ask myself, what’s going to happen next? 

I’ve spent the last several years planning. Even before my husband died, I was searching for my next big thing. I started teaching at UC Berkeley’s International Program. I took a series of interesting jobs, one with an art gallery, another with an online retailer.  I learned to sail completing my basic keelboat training at OCSC and passing my written American Sailing Association test. 

The summer my husband died, I had just started Ocean SF and our nonprofit the Trident Project. We were in development for our product line and had planned our first fund raiser. It was a rocky time, but we stayed the course, and now our online store and Ocean SF website is up and we are in full production. 

My business partner Andrew, was very understanding of what we termed, “the situation,” and protected me as much as possible. Most notably, the week I was spreading my husband’s ashes and our boat was going to be towed off the guest dock.  Andrew’s common response to me when we spoke was, “no worries,” when in actuality, there was always plenty to be worried about.

From the very beginning, I made the mental health of my daughters the priority and dominant focus. It’s paid off, and all is well.  Now, everyday I watch my life move forward, in positive ways. All of the plans, and hopes, and dreams I had for my future are coming true. 

The other night, I had my sailing friends over, we sat in our tree house and drank wine. It was a beautiful warm night, tranquil and calm.

Love and blessings to all. 

Passion, Determination and Philanthropy

Me and Siena, San Francisco Bay

Be determined, this is what I tell myself every morning.  In the face of much adversity, I have accomplished more than I could have dreamed possible.  And I am proud of myself.  I have never worked harder than I have in the last two years.  I have started a business, went back to school to get my adult teaching certification, have continued to teach, and create classes at UC Berkeley’s IDC (International Diploma Certification Program), consulted for some amazing companies AND co-founded a nonprofit called The Trident Project.  I’ve also lost my husband of 22 years to a sudden heart attack and have been raising my very busy, and more often then not mischievous, teenage daughters.

Needless to say, I am exhausted.

However, I am determined to not just endure, but to thrive.  I remember being so thankful that my daughter could drive, so I could work more, then she crashed and totalled her car after only nine weeks, and I was back to carpool duties.  I founded The Trident Project with Andrew, and my younger daughter Siena, last summer and weeks before our enormous fund raiser, my husband died, so it was cancelled.  Obstacles large and small have been in my path, but I have not allowed them to stop me from achieving my goals and dreams.  No matter what happens I remain determined.  My days are a whirlwind of activity as I lay a foundation for my future and work to support my family.

The Trident Project is my antidote to the constant philanthropy work I have done since I was a child.  I have never not been involved with charitable organizations.  From Girl Scouts to National Charity League.  However, this nonprofit speaks directly to my heart as it works to reduce pollution caused by plastics in our oceans and eradicate the commercial distribution of microfibers that pollute our drinking water.

I love everything about the ocean and knowing that in 20 years it will be full of more plastic than fish, is not something I can stand by and watch happen without taking action.  I will do anything to help our dying oceans because without healthy oceans nothing else I do matters.  Nothing.  I will not go into all of the research I have done and the studies I have read, but I will tell you, it is startling and the most urgent problem of our era.

When I was a girl I would spend at least part of every summer in Vancouver, British Columbia, and for a few years my uncles had a boat.  We would cruise around the beautiful waters and I would play backgammon on one of the many pristine beaches with my Uncle Basil.  Those summer days rank as possibly the high point of my childhood and early adulthood.  Later, I would spend most of my time in the snow, skiing Mt. Bachelor in college, and then Tahoe with my family, and more recently I’ve fallen in love with the melted snow and sailing in San Fransisco Bay.

Spending so many days of my life in the natural world, in melted or unmelted water, has made me the person I am today, strong, calm, and focused.  So, it is my mission to preserve this for myself, my children and their children, and it is what I will dedicate much of my life to in the future.

We are looking for members, board members and partners.  Please send a message through our website via our Contact Page by clicking here.

Love and blessings to all.