2021 Life Logs, Day 103: All About Books . . . and Richard Simmons

2021 Life Logs, Day 103: All About Books . . . and Richard Simmons
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Weather: Partly Cloudy, Still Windy; High 53, Low, 40 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Remember Richard Simmons? Evidently my children do. This afternoon I got very delayed birthday present from Justin and Jo. It was a Richard Simmons Chia Pet Planter. In the mid -1980’s when Heather was 10 or 11 and Justin was 8 or 9, Mark was diagnosed as having high cholesterol. The doctor told him to exercise more. My solution was to buy a couple of Richard Simmons exercise video tapes and get the whole family dancing and exercising. Heather, Justin, and I danced with Richard Simmons every day, but Mark never joined us. But the memory of those daily dance exercise sessions has caused more than a few laughs over the years. Thus, the Richard Simmons Chia Head. It was delivered to Heather’s, so I opened it when I took Ollie home from school. The boys didn’t appreciate the humor, but Heather and Jed both got a bigger laugh than I did. I sent an email to Justin and Jo telling them I have the greatest tacky gift party gift ever!

Now to the books. Last night after I sent my log, I did my every night bedtime reading. I am 487 pages into Barack Obama’s 700-page book, The Promised Land. Last night I was reading Chapter 21 that began like this: “At dinner one night, Malia asked me what I was going to do about tigers. “What do you mean, sweetie?” Malia replied, “Well, you know they’re my favorite animal, right?” And then Malia continued, “I did a report about tigers for school, and they‘re losing their habitat because people are cutting down the forests. And it’s getting worse, ‘cause the planet’s getting warmer from pollution.” She went on, but basically, she thought that because her dad was the President, he should try to save them. This introduction led into a great description about the role of the United States in the fight against climate change as seen through the eyes of the then President of the United States. The chapter ends when Obama returns from ten hours in Copenhagen in 2012 when the Copenhagen Protocol was signed. It extended the 1992 Kyoto Protocol which led to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. But the way the Obama team got the world players to sign on to the 2012 agreement was a fascinating story. When he flew home to Washington and returned home to the White House, it was late at night and the girls were asleep. Michelle just looked at him and said, “Malia’s probably going to ask you at breakfast whether you saved the tigers.” Obama replied, “I’m working on it.”

I had my book club meeting today and after that I continued writing my book. I went from reading a book to talking about a book to writing a book. That was my day.

2021 Life Logs, Day 102: Finished Another Chapter

2021 Life Logs, Day 102: Finished Another Chapter
Date: Monday, April 12, 2021
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, Misty Rain Off and On; High 48, Low, 39 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

For me, today was a repeat of yesterday. The north wind is still blowing making it feel colder than the temperature indicates. And like yesterday, there was one brief period when the sun tried to shine through the clouds, but that was quickly beaten back. I spent the day writing and finished another chapter. It was a shorter chapter than others and might have to be combined with another later on, but for now I am writing about each new island group in a separate chapter.

This afternoon, friend Jane Woodin stopped by for a visit and then I went to pick up Ollie. Things are starting to pick up in terms of sports activities, so Ollie had to hurry inside and get ready for his first soccer practice of the season. His knee is much better with the swelling way down. The doctor said he can go to soccer practice but should not participate in the thirty-minute scrimmage at the end. His next appointment is next week and then he has an appointment at Children’s Hospital in Boston for follow-up the first week of May. Jonah has soccer practice with two different teams starting this week, and Sam has soccer practice starting this week and adds rowing in two weeks. Games are on Saturdays, so Heather said Sundays in the next two months will definitely be days of rest.

Tomorrow I start writing about our passage from Rarotonga back north 700 miles to American Samoa. Tonight, I counted the days we were in American Samoa and it was thirty. We spent an entire month there and then twenty more days in the ‘other’ Samoa, sometimes called Western Samoa. Justin and my niece Lynn came to Samoa to visit with us, so it will probably take at least two or three weeks to write about our time in both Samoas. Then it is on to Tonga and finally to New Zealand which will end the first year of the Voyage of Windbird. Only five years to go!

2021 Life Logs, Day 101: More Writing

2021 Life Logs, Day 101: More Writing
Date: Sunday, April 11, 2021
Weather: Overcast and Cooler, Winds from the NE; High 50, Low, 42 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

It felt like winter on Cape Cod today, not spring. I had to put on my winter coat and hat to do my Morning Mile walk with Shadow. At least I did not have to wear gloves. Other people were out with winter hats but only a sweatshirt. I guess I’m just a wuss. Tomorrow and Tuesday look the same, but there might be some sunshine on Wednesday. So, I am going to continue writing tomorrow and Tuesday and take Wednesday off to do other things. Falmouth students are out of school for spring vacation next week and I figure the Goldpebbles might want to come launch the kayaks. So, I am also planning to take off most of next week. But the writing is going well and I will continue as I can.

I am now writing Chapter 14 about our time in the southern Cook Islands. Before leaving on the Voyage of Windbird, I had never heard of the Cook Islands. I had read about Penrhyn and Surarrow Islands in some books about sailing across the Pacific. They are in the northern Cook Islands, hundreds of miles north of the southern Cooks. But Rarotonga and Aitutaki. I had never heard of them. But our friends Michael and Linda Stuart and their thirteen-year-old son Garrett were flying to Rarotonga to be with us for a couple of weeks. So, we headed the 700 miles from Bora Bora to Rarotonga. The weather in Bora Bora had been horrible and totally unpredictable for the time of year. And the weather only got worse the further south and west. we went.

It is a good thing that I wrote logs each day of Windbird’s trip around the world. Otherwise, the book I am writing about that experience would not be correct. When people ask me if we had rough seas in the Pacific, I always say that we did not. It was in the Atlantic Ocean that we had rough seas. I have always said, and believed, that our travels in the Pacific were peaceful and passive as the name suggests. But now that I am going back and reading my logs, that was just not true. It was not as rough as the North Atlantic, but we had some very rough sailing conditions in parts of the Pacific. I’ll end this log with one instance from a sail from Rarotonga to Aitutaki in the southern Cooks when the Stuarts were with us. They had never been sailing before and, after that sail, they never wanted to sail again!

“We left Aitutaki just before sunrise hoping to get back to Rarotonga before the stationary front/trough/low (the weather forecasters were referring to it as all three) could be pushed east by a strong high to the south of us. That black wall that we went through on our way to Aitutaki was the front/trough/low and it had just been sitting there, waiting for us break back through it. That happened in the early hours of that morning when we definitely broke through something. Garrett and I had been below sleeping on the settees in the main cabin. When I got up, I decided to check to see if we had any weather information coming in as emails before going up to the cockpit. I was sitting at the navigation table down below when, all of a sudden, one of the folding cushions from the cockpit came flying down. I, along with the computer, went flying across the cabin. Garrett woke up with eyes as big as saucers as the boat kept heeling further to starboard. He was looking up into the cockpit and watching Mark being thrown across from port to starboard and onto the cockpit floor. I did not see that because I was looking out the starboard ports. I was not seeing the sky. I was seeing nothing but rushing water. Whoa! I knew we had been hit by a very strong gust, but we had never had such a hard hit before. This was the kind of sudden wind gust that could cause a real knock down. Afterwards, Michael, Linda, and Mark, who were in the cockpit, said they saw a black cloud coming our way, but before they could shorten sail, the gust of wind knocked us down. Somehow, I held onto that computer and did not hurt my already broken leg. I landed on my good foot with the computer, still in my hands, going into the kitchen sink. One food cabinet at floor level flew open and cans of food flew everywhere. Windbird righted herself and we all took a deep breath. We were more than a bit shaken, but thankfully everything was fine.”

2021 Life Logs, Day 100: More Writing

2021 Life Logs, Day 100: More Writing
Date: Saturday, April 10, 2021
Weather: Partly Sunny; High 58, Low, 47 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

What a boring human I must seem like to Shadow right now. I spend most of every day sitting at the dining table at my computer. I take breaks to take him for walks or to play ball. I’m sure he wonders what happened to that person who used to sit on the sofa with him. When I watch television now, I am on my exercise bike. So, I feel a little sorry for Shadow, but I continue to truly enjoy writing about the Voyage of Windbird. I am now writing about the eighteen days we spent in the southern Cook Islands of Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Our friends, Linda and Michael Stuart and their then thirteen-year-old son Garrett visited us while we there. Tomorrow I will write about the crew from the Survivor series who rescued us when we unsuccessfully tried to enter the lagoon on Aitutaki Island. Garrett was so excited that Survivor was rescuing us. He is now married and he and his wife Katie became parents last fall. Wow! Time does move on. And it was while we were in Rarotonga that we got the email telling us we were going to be grandparents for the first time. Now that grandchild is fourteen years old. Such wonderful memories.

Today is Day 100 of 2021. I looked back to see what I was doing on Day 100 of 2020. It was Thursday, April 9, 2020 and I was with the Goldstones packing up the last bits from 60 Vidal Avenue. The next day, Day 101 of 2020, was April 10th and the day Heather and Jed rented a moving van. The big move to 43 Grasmere Drive began. And it was on that day that I leaned over to get a box out of the back of my car when I felt the ‘pop’ in my lower back that ended up to be a herniated disc. Not my favorite memory, but at least it is a memory for now as it healed nicely over the next summer. Hard to believe it has been a full year since the Goldstones have been in their new home. We should plan some sort of celebration for tomorrow.

2021 Life Logs, Day 99: Taxes and a Scavenger Hunt

2021 Life Logs, Day 99: Taxes and a Scavenger Hunt
Date: Friday, April 9, 2021
Weather: Sunny; High 60, Low, 41 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

The day finally came when I had to stop everything and do my taxes for 2020. Somehow by the time I gathered everything and finally hit the complete button on my computer, the morning was gone and a little of the afternoon as well. It was a beautiful day which made me sorry for not doing this sooner. I could have played outside today. But at least that task is done for another year. I also realized in the process of filing my taxes that my driver’s license is expired. So, I spent the next bit of my afternoon filling out the online form to get a new license.
Then it was time to go get Ollie and head to Woods Hole. Yesterday I told him about the Woods Hole Library Spring Scavenger Hunt where you look for specific bells and weathervanes in the village. He loved the idea and wanted to go this afternoon. So away we went. There were six bells and seven weathervanes to find. We found the bells more easily than we thought we would, but the weathervanes were more challenging. The library flyer has photos of the weathervanes and we eventually found six of the seven. Since photos of the weathervanes are in the flyer, we can share the weathervane photos. We will return to find a grasshopper weathervane and take a better photo of one that was camouflaged in the branches of a tree. We found Cricket Lane, but there were no grasshoppers there!

Ollie had great fun taking photos of the finds. He commented that it has been a very long time since we have been out and about due to Covid. And he said he has missed that. He also said he had forgotten how much he loves taking photos with my camera. I really enjoyed the hunt and the fact that I did not need to take the photos. I did take a couple of Ollie with some of the bells, but I can’t share the bell photos until May when the Scavenger Hunt ends. We wouldn’t want to give away the secrets to fellow scavengers. This is a great activity for adults as well as kids. Ollie and I spent an hour and a half of intense searching. The section of Woods Hole included in the hunt is not that big, but it really takes an eagle eye to find the treasures. And the clues for the bells definitely need an adult’s knowledge, as well as some inside Woods Hole in-the-know.

2021 Life Logs, Day 98: Puzzling and Editing

2021 Life Logs, Day 98: Puzzling and Editing
Date: Thursday, April 8, 2021
Weather: Mostly Sunny; High 57, Low, 39 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

All winter, and now into the spring, I have kept a jigsaw puzzle on my dining table next to my computer. I write, get up and put in a couple of pieces of a puzzle, write some more, take the dog for a walk, write some more, put a few more pieces of the puzzle in place, and on and on. But today I was close to finishing the puzzle and spent more time puzzling that I should have. I finished Chapter 13 last night and today I have finished doing the first read through of that chapter, making edits as I go. Editing is a slow, tedious process, and this chapter about our time in the Society Islands in French Polynesia was even more tedious because of the spelling of the mixed French and Polynesian words. When I wrote my logs at the time, I did not have Google at my fingertips to check on the various spellings of the places we visited. Now I do, but it takes time. I will do one more read through tomorrow morning and then move on. In number of days, I am three-quarters of the way through Year One of the Voyage of Windbird. Only five and one quarter years to go!!!