Thursday, June 24, 2010

Trying on My Sea Legs

I have always been a boat person. I remember my first sailing trip in New Hampshire when I was 8. I loved it and from that time on I wanted to sail in a regatta. Sail around the world is my answer to "what would you do if you won the lottery?" So I was ecstatic when my dad out of the blue bought a 27 foot Watkins sailboat in January. Joe gets two weeks off in June so I decided we would sail to Key West and back, stopping and snorkeling along the way. The one problem: I didn't know how to sail.

In March I went to Charleston to take the American Sailing Association's Sailing 101 class. I passed the test but the most important thing I learned is that I was in no way ready to sail to the Keys. So we decided that our summer vacation would be a week on the boat, sailing around the river and the waterways, getting used to the boat and teaching Joe what he needed to know to be my first mate.

We headed down to Stuart with absolutely no idea what to expect. We had never seen the boat, never lived on one and Joe really doesn't have any experience with sailing at all. Our motto: It will be an adventure. Well, it is Thursday now and we have successfully lived on the boat since Saturday night. I'll save you all the details of our comedy of errors week, but here are some highlights:

  • We can't, nor really want to, figure out the toilet on board, so I have to walk a quarter mile each way to the bathroom. This is only a pain since I currently get up 2-3 times a night. The worst night was after a night of drinking so I had to get up every two hours. Total mileage for that night: 3.5 miles.
  • Trip 1 was ended after an hour of floating instead of sailing. There was absolutely no wind. We still had a good time, saw a dolphin and spent a good Father's Day with the entire family. As we docked, Joe fell in (with a tiny assist from me screwing his balance), lost his glasses and scratched the hell out of his hand on the pillar.
  • Trip 2 was the first time with me at the helm. We went out in low tide with the goal to teach Joe how to work the sails. We ended up accidentally jibbing (when the sail swings from one side to the other, my fault), almost throwing Mary Beth into the water and losing two of my mom's decorative pillows. We headed back on a time crunch, but we were heading against the current, directly into the wind and the engine spewed out black oil and smoke. I dropped the sails too quickly, we lost momentum and certainly had a moment of "hhhmpf. Now what?" Mike and I recovered and were able to slowly, but surely, make it back to the marina and Joe made it to his eye doc on time.

Things I've learned:

  • I know close to nothing about sailing.
  • Living on a boat at a marina is at the same time lonely and very social. Every night the people who are anchored come into the marina and hang out. They watch movies with each other, cook out and try to entertain themselves. One night "English John" brought out his guitar and sang songs while a group of 15 or so listened for over two hours.
  • Two things that are now a necessity for marina living: AC and quarters.
  • If you've heard the saying that BOAT stands for "Break Out Another Thousand", I'd believe it. We now need to get the hull scraped, the engine looked at, as well as a ton of other little things. Every encounter with a fellow boat owner is a conversation about what is currently wrong with his/her boat.
  • Set Plans and Sailing do not go together. We planned to sail each day. We sailed twice and are now unable to, due to possible engine issues. English John had engine issues and was told it would take a week to fix. Four weeks later, he finally got his engine back and was underway to the BVI. I may be a planner, but I am flexible when things change and can go with the flow. Joe is bothered by any change in plans. He has been great so far "making the best of it" but I know it is wearing on him and not what he really wanted for his vacation.
  • Despite using essentially a lawn chair cushion for a bed and a decorative pillow, I have never slept better or harder than I do while being gently rocked all night long.
  • Even with all the issues and not being able to actually sail, I was genuinely very happy and content as we sat on the back of the boat, eating dinner, watching the sun set. It would have been perfect if we were in the ocean doing that, but even in the marina, it was exactly where I wanted to be at that moment.

I don't know if living on a boat will ever happen for us. Right now we can't even agree on what kind of boat we would want. I still love sailboats and Joe wants the speed and flexibility of a powerboat. This week has been a glimpse of what life would be like and even with all the hiccups, I honestly think I could do it. Until that day happens, I know I have my dad's boat that I can use any time I want to practice using my sea legs, and right now that is enough of an adventure for me.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

May Music Favorites

I cannot believe it is June already! Here are my favorite songs in May:

Song Title - Artist
Hannah - Freelance Whales
Ramblin Man - Laura Marling
3 Words - Cheryl Cole/Will I. Am.
Rill Rill - Sleigh Bells (This was also in April - so if you haven't checked them out yet, do it now!)
Sleepy Head - Passion Pit
Colorful Day - Alan Pownall
Pencil Full of Lead - Paolo Nutini
Sticks and Stones - Jamie T.
Counterpoint - Delphic
After Hours - We Are Scientists
Turn It Up - Pixie Lott

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Movie Review- SATC2

Sex and the City 2 - Sarah Jessica Parker - All The Other Girls - Max Ryan- **
I used to love SATC and watched it from day one. In the beginning it was groundbreaking and inspiring and I saw each of my friends in one of the girls. (I was always Miranda). Towards the end I fell out of love with the show, though still watched. I liked Aidan. I wanted her to choose Aleksandr. But I still watched. The first movie came out and even though I was anti Mr. Big, I still went on opening night, with 10 other girls, laughed and got a little teary eyed.

So SATC 2 was released last Thursday and even though the reviews were horrible, I still wanted to go. I just felt like after watching so religiously for so many years, I had to keep up with these girls, so I lowered my expectations and went with Erin on Friday afternoon.

The movie starts off at the wedding of the two main gay guy friends of Carrie and Charlotte. The wedding is over the top, the outfits are over-over the top. Carrie's hair looks like a bad 80s crimper went crazy. So yeah, basic Sex and the City. It's been 2 years since Carrie and Big got married. Miranda is stressed at work and still trying to be a mom. Charlotte is having a rough time being a mom and having a harder time dealing with how hard it is for her. Samantha is still having sex with anything. Carrie is at that point where she is realizing since she and Big will not have kids, this is her life. At the wedding another couple asks if they are going to have kids. She says no and the couple says "But what are you going to do? It's just going to be YOU?" and then immediately turns around and stops the conversation. Then Big buys her a TV for their anniversary (so they could snuggle in bed and watch old movies) and this throws Carrie into marriage crisis mode.

Samantha ends up being hired as the publicist for a swanky new place in Abu Dhabi and takes the girls on a trip where of course, madness ensues. Samantha oozes sex in a place where that is illegal, Charlotte freaks out because she can't talk to her husband and Carrie runs into Aidan and drama ensues. Ahh the drama. Some of the scenes with Samantha are actually hard to watch. We get it - you are 55 and like having sex, but you don't have to be rude and inconsiderate (In fact, the movie was filmed in Morocco since shooting in Dubai or Abu Dhabi was denied based on moral objections) . Erin actually covered her eyes at times. The guys in it are so one dimensional it is an insult to the actors. Carrie is upset because Big is sweet and romantic? And yet, I have to admit, I did laugh out loud.

There are parts of this movie that seem real, but mostly it just seems like it is a set up for bad jokes and puns, mostly involving Samantha. It is more than anything a chick flick and I would actually say on its own it is kinda cute. But knowing what the show used to be made me a little sad. These four girls were perfectly flawed, strong yet insecure. Their friendship got them through the ups and downs and the stories that played out were relatable to any girl. The closest thing to that is a great moment between Miranda and Charlotte where Charlotte finally breaks down and admits that being a mom is hard and she isn't handling it well. That scene reminded me of the honest conversations that used to happen on the show. In this movie the girls are caricatures of the characters they usually played and that made the whole movie seem a little pathetic. Maybe I've just grown up and the SATC girls haven't. They make fun of Miranda for planning excursions and learning the speak the language. The thing that Carrie fears most in the world is becoming an "old married couple." I actually asked Erin "what's wrong with being an old married couple?"

If you were a SATC fan, lower your expectations and go see it. You will think it is cute and you might even want to hug your friends. Just don't think too much about what it used to be or what it could have been if the writers had stayed true to what the show was great at: showing women struggling with everyday life and getting by with the help of their friends.