Archive for August, 2009

Sailing the San Juans: Days 1-3

As some of you may know, Zach and I went to sailing school this August.

What we really wanted to to was charter a sailboat and live aboard, but our basic sailing skills weren’t quite up to the task, so we chose a learn and cruise sailing class from San Juan Sailing. It was a great experience – a lot of work, but very rewarding. We finished up the week with three levels of US Sailing Association certification – Basic Keelboat Sailing, Offshore Cruising, and Bareboat Chartering.

We departed Saturday, August 22, from Bellingham. Our boat was the Sundance, a 37′ Jeanneau cutter – a beautiful, late-model, three cabin boat. Our instructor, Captain Leslie Senn, was excellent – very knowledgeable, patient and supportive.

The below was, eventually, our course through the San Juans – and it was beautiful, sunny, warm, and breezy every afternoon. (Although I would have preferred more wind in the mornings – Zach and I both share a distaste for operating a sailboat under motor just because you have a destination to reach.)

San Juans Map

Day 1: Bellingham Bay to Sucia Island

We arrived in Bellingham the first day at 11am, ready to take our first test – which we passed. :) We loaded our gear on our beautiful boat, stored our provisions, and headed out to the sea and sun. We began learning immediately – close handling, maneuvering under motor, sail handling, and learning the points of sail.

At night, there were about fifty other boats anchored in the bay as well. The sailboats all turned on their white anchor light, at mast-top. Combined with a clear sky thick with stars, the glassy water, and the dead quiet, it was spectacular out on the water – I could could have stayed up in the cockpit to drink it in for hours.

Sucia Sunset

Day 2: Sucia Island to Stuart Island

We took the dinghy ashore in the morning for a hike, since it was foggy out in the strait, then raised anchor and headed further west.

We began in earnest to learn more about sailing and boat handling. We started man-overboard drills, practiced more sail handling, and each assumed what would be our rotating daily duties – skipper, navigator, mechanic, deckmate/chef. (I love navigation – makes me an odd duckling, I’m sure. I plan on taking the advanced and even-more-advanced classes.)

Sucia looking north
Reid Bay sunset

We made our way to Stuart Island for the night, found another peaceful spot to drop anchor, just offshore of an osprey’s nest.

Day 3: Stuart Island to San Juan Island/Roche Harbor

Our instructor kept us very busy, from 9am-ish to 9pm-ish, every day. After breakfast we did classroom work, practical drills, ship’s system work, and then set sail. My only down time was early morning, when I’d take a cup of coffee up above deck and enjoy the sunrise on the water – utterly lovely, and food for the soul.

 Reid Harbor
Jeri and Zach

The afternoon of the third day we reserved a slip in Roche Harbor. The initial plan had been to anchor in Garrison Bay so I could do an open water swim, but we had great wind and decided to sail for the afternoon. Still, Roche Harbor was a priority because we wanted real showers. The ship’s head had a tiny handheld shower nozzle on the bathroom sink, with only a main and reserve 20 gallon holding tank, so showers onboard were really not a great option. We all were looking forward to that first long, hot shower on land!

To be continued, with days 4-7, here.

For more pictures, go to my Flickr photoset.

Posted on Sunday, August 30th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: Puget Sound | 3 Comments »

The Boys in My Life

When I was in the Anchorage office last week, I was talking with my colleague Karen about our respective adult children.

She made a comment that surprised me and made me smile. “I am so glad to talk to another parent who really likes, really enjoys their kids.” She’s right!


I do really enjoy my boys. They are good company, smart, funny, solid conversationalists with great ideas, wild imaginations and interesting insights. They’re courteous, caring and goodhearted. I enjoy hanging out with them for an evening, or going out on a dinner or movie date with them

It’s not all Polyanna prismatic rainbows – there are times when I bite my tongue or lock myself in my room and count to 100. No, 1,000. Still, they’ve grown into good people I’m proud to know.

Posted on Saturday, August 15th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: family | Comments Off

New Glasses

My new glasses were so inexpensive via Costco and online, I got two pair, since I wear them hard with my frequent travel, commuting, and bedtime reading habits. Here they are:

Burgundy Glasses
These are burgundy wire frames, with earpieces inlaid in white pearlescent metallic. They’re more conservative, perhaps even a little middle-aged? Karen Kane from Costco Optical (awesome quality and service)

Brown Glasses
These are brown, lined with orange. The metal lower half earpiece is copper. They are striking and funky, but perhaps a bit retro and severe? Vogue from Frames Direct online (awesome service and order speed)

I’m working on trying to look more professional and feminine, need to wear glasses a whole lot more of the time now, and would enjoy hearing any honest and constructive feedback.

Posted on Monday, August 10th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: consumers | 8 Comments »

Counting My Blessings

Earlier this week Janiece and I had a brief twitter and IM conversation about being tired of sad and stabby writing subjects – and she decided she’d post about her blessings with one of the best blog titles of 2009: Count Your Blessings, You Stabby Bitch.

I’ve tackled this subject before from different angles:

      Simple Pleasures
      Giving Thanks

It might seem odd to feel like I’ve had many blessings in such a tragic year, but I have; it’s been a surprising silver lining.

I’m grateful for the blessing of:

  • the amazing resilience of the human spirit. No matter how crushing the loss, how devastating the blow, how black the pit, each one of us has the strength and the unique ability to keep going, one step at a time.

  • my physical, mental and emotional health, which is amazingly stable so soon after such a major cataclysm in my life. Thanks to those who have supported me as I’ve made taking care of myself a priority.
  • my sons – who have grown into really good, caring, bright young men who I’m proud to claim as my own and enjoy spending time with as they grow into adulthood. I genuinely like them!
  • the truly tremendous, fabulous friends and family I have in my life, from every walk, location and source. Just a few months ago, I took them for granted, but now I treasure the time, the shared adventures, the caring and the support.
  • my employer, who fully understands their current place on my priority list and supports me anyway as I rebuild my life.
  • my intense creativity, which colors my personal and professional life and always drives me to choose color and texture when simple black and white would do.
  • the abundance of America and my family’s middle class lifestyle – there is nothing we need that we cannot easily obtain in this country, from medical care to food to (lots of!) shoes to high-speed consumer broadband.
  • my husband’s continued presence in our lives, even as defined by his absence. He cared a great deal for us and prepared well for this day. I talk to him often, and while he certainly cannot answer, I do feel him there. As I look around there are many signs of him woven into our lives: books, papers, food, art, videogames.

There are many more blessings as well, I’m sure, but right now my primary focus is the people in my life. They make me beam with gratitude, sleep soundly at night, feel fulfilled and happy and grateful every morning. My thanks to all of you!

Posted on Saturday, August 8th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: friends, inspiration | 4 Comments »

Cat Blogging Friday – Finally!

Because this week I stayed at Huntington House which is owned by many cats, who in turn have domesticated Paulette and Justin, I can make a contribution to cat-blogging Friday. Yay, kitties!

Pudgy was waiting for me on my bed the first night, and was a faithful sleeping companion.

As was the extremely affectionate Pepper.

Frisky Misty required that I keep my blinds open far enough that she could greet the sunrise in the mornings.

Bossy Sassy, alpha cat, ran the household with an iron paw. She is naturally blurry; this is a good picture. ;)

Pudgy also helped me get ready in the morning. Would you believe that I brushed my teeth over the tub so as not to disturb him?

Paulette also has white medium hair cats Princess, Pixie and Rugby but they were still asleep at photo time – so I let sleeping cats lie. Thanks much for the hospitality, and the blog content!

Posted on Friday, August 7th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: Alaska, cats, friends | 4 Comments »