Tag Archives: sailing

PreClearwater II

It’s 11:57 pm and I should be sleeping. Probably.

I leave to begin my week as a volunteer on the Clearwater in 7 hours and I am so excited. It will be really nice to reconnect with the boat and the organization, and to meet some really cool people. I’ve realized how important it is to have a network of awesome individuals, and this definitely helps me to meet tons of truly amazing people.
I have to admit though, I am a little anxious about returning because I don’t know what to expect. Almost everything changes with time, and I can expect everything to change. However, I get the sense that the Clearwater is something of a time capsule, and I suspect that maybe, in this case, things may not change that much. I mean that would be fucking awesome…if things didn’t change, because it was absolutely amazing last summer! So yes. I am super super excited about spending some time on the Hudson again, but I am just really curious to see how everything is the second time around ;)

Suds in the _____; _____ of names.

I’ve developed such an appreciation for people who don’t let unnecessarily negative criticism affect them. If you know me or have been reading this for a while, then you can probably guess that I am always working on that. The only thing that I still struggle with, however, is disregarding negative judgements from people who I admire or care about. I always want to impress those people, and make them proud of me, so I feel like I must respond to their every criticism, when I actually don’t. People will always tell me what they think is best, and what they think will make me happy. And that’s great, because many times, I agree with them. But they do not KNOW what will make me happy, or what is right. But when I know that something will make me happy or otherwise, and someone else is trying to tell me differently, well I can’t just listen. I can’t. I am the only one who will directly deal with those feelings, so I am the only one whose opinion matters in those circumstances. If it turns out that they were right, then I have no one to blame but myself. But if they were wrong? If I listened to someone who supposedly knew me better than I knew myself, and they were wrong about happiness, and as a result I was unhappy because I listened to their advice? Well, then I will be a little pissed at myself for not taking my own advice, but I will mostly be pissed at them for giving me shitty advice. And I will blame them. It’s what I do. I blame. I have to work on that.
I made a bucket list, because I think it’s cool. It’s good to imagine yourself as the person that you will create yourself into…not only does it give you something to look forward to, but it gives you goals, and inspiration. I have a Wall of Stuff (if you get this reference then I love you) where I put the clichéd ticket stubs, pictures, letters, and postcards, but I also put pictures of things that I will one day do, or places that I will go, and people that I will become. That wall makes me sad sometimes, because I look at all of the wonderful things of my past that I miss oh (ehem. oh) so much, and I am just genuinely sad that those times have ended. But then, I see the pictures of the places and people and things of my future, and I am just inspired. I am inspired and excited and renewed, and I just feel so happy that I know I have a future. If everything in this world fails me, all I will have is myself, and as long as such wonderful things as the futures in those pictures exist, then I know I will be fine.
I made a bucket list a few months ago. It’s just the verbal presentation of the ideas that have always been in my head, so I figured, hey- I love lists. I’ll make another list. Then someone close to me told me that bucket lists are stupid. And I was like, “Oh, of course they are. Why did I make a bucket list?! They are so stupid!” But then I realized that I don’t think they are stupid at all. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and if you can change mine, then go for it. I’m pretty malleable in the hands of logic and reason. But if not, then my opinion is the only one that will determine my happiness, so mine is right as far as I am concerned. Thus, ladies and gentlemen of this strange ball of chaos that we call Earth, I present to you, my bucket list.
(Note: This is just how I wrote it, and I did not edit anything from how it was written when it was originally intended for only my eyes. I promise.)
(Another Note: Things will always be added to this bucket list. That’s how they work! THEY GROW!!!)
  1. Write a book.
  2. Make a seriously awesome work of art that I proudly display somewhere in my home.
  3. Bungee jump.
  4. Sky dive.
  5. Go on an adventure to climb some real rocks.
  6. Run a marathon.
  7. Go to India.
  8. See the Northern Lights. YES I KNOW it’s a cliché. But…you know…I believe that the truth lives in the clichés.
  9. Learn how to play the guitar. I think everyone should be able to play the guitar. When you can truthfully say, “Yeah, I play the guitar,” then you automatically gain like 50 life points.
  10. Have a real job that I genuinely enjoy.
  11. Go scuba diving. Finally.
  12. Ski in Switzerland again.
  13. Learn how to ride a motorcycle.
  14. Learn how to save money, then apply that newfound knowledge to my life.
  15. Have a permanent residence in Spain or Italy. Mint green Vespa with tan leather seat and big black furry dog required.
  16. Learn how to play the drums.
  17. Wear the same t shirt every day for an entire summer. This does, however, exclude The Clearwater and Special events. This is thanks to UT. So, thanks.
  18. This one is inappropriate.
  19. This one is also inappropriate.
  20. Go to Mardi Gras in NOLA.
  21. Be a mother and give my children badass names.
  22. Write something awesome that someone else will read.
  23. Dye my hair an unnatural color.
  24. Be in a movie.
  25. See Rufus Wainwright perform again.
  26. Take dance classes again.
  27. Go on a kayaking/rafting adventure vacation and pretend to live in an L.L.Bean catalogue.
  28. Eat a lot of grapefruit.
  29. Record every day for one year.
  30. Not wear makeup or hair products for one month straight. (obviously excludes deodorant, nail polish, and perfume…but no tinted moisturizer.)
  31. Learn another language. Italian and Spanish do not count.
  32. Sing karaoke.
  33. Always be able to run 2 miles straight through.
  34. Bike across the US or some part of Europe.
  35. Travel on the cheap. Biking, perhapsably. #35 will suffice if done luxuriously (as in slowly- no time limit. luxuriating in time!).
  36. Splurge on a pair of power jeans. They will be known as my awesome pants. And when I wear them, I will become exponentially more awesome. If that’s even possible.
  37. Go on a volunteer/mission trip. Or join the Peace Corps. Same thing.
  38. Go to a Pride. Preferably NYC Pride.
  39. This one is also inappropriate.
  40. Be vegan for one month. Or six. Or twelve. Or however long I want.
  41. Buy a really expensive pair of sunglasses that I love, regardless of whether or not anyone else likes them.
  42. Cut my hair off. All of it. Well, not ALL of it. But a lot of it.
  43. Follow my 37 rules for parenting. Or at least read them occasionally to remember what it’s like to be a child.

Idiocy, Starbucks, & The Hunger Games

Thismorning sucked. It just…sucked. And I cannot tell you how surprised I was when I found out that “thismorning” is not a word. “Tonight” is a word! What the hell. And lately I find I have been combining words like that, and putting an “e” on the ende of everythinge. I am not sure why. I noticed that everytime (again, should be one word. “everyday” is a word!) I type the word “whom” I put an “e” on it. Not good. Not good.

So, this morning (ehem- thismorning). Well actually I have to back up to yesterday, when I had sailing class on the Hudson River in March. Yes, this is the warmest the Hudson has been at this time of year in decades, but it’s still really cold. So during sailing class yesterday, I was wet and really cold and every single person was sniffling and shivering and the instructor was wearing SHORTS. The guy was wearing shorts and not shivering at all. I couldn’t help but start shaking after, oh, I don’t know, the second hour of watching him forget to attach the main halyard before putting the mast up. Really? Really. I know how to do very few things with certainty, especially things of the “assemble this thing!” variety, but I do know how to properly rig a small sailboat. I was a little surprised. I was wearing spandex pants and sweatpants, plus a tank top, a tshirt, a long sleeve shirt, a hooded sweatshirt, and a windbreaker and I was legit freezing. He was wearing shorts. Blew my mind. He forgot the halyard. Blew my mind.

I mean, we all make mistakes, and I am probably the most forgetful person you have ever met. I am not kidding. But…the halyard? I mean…it’s a little boat. There aren’t that many things that we have to do to rig it. Whatever…I will stop now.

So I froze. And I then went to the gym, and I noticed that I was sniffling while I was running. Then I went home and showered and my throat started hurting. Which sucks. Then I was feeling pretty crappy, and I went to see the Hunger Games with Marielle. It was alright. I’ll talk about that later. But during the movie I got so much worse and I kept sniffling. Then I got home and showered and was in bed by 1am, which is not good when you’re sick. It’s actually really stupid. But this is me…This is only one of the eleven extremely stupid things that I do on a daily basis. At least I met my quota.

This morning, I woke up, and I felt so much worse. It’s the kind of cold that really destroys your throat and your ears as well. So I woke up and saw the alarm clock- 7:28 am. My class starts at 7:30. I typically leave my house at 6:55-7:00 to make it to class on time. Shit.

So I threw on a tshirt and a fleece and some jeans and got in my car and started driving to school, then I stopped. I ran out of gas. I RAN OUT OF GAS. WHO DOES THAT. Ugh my God…I am such an idiot sometimes. It kills me. And…oh look a that- MY CELL PHONE IS DYING. Legit dying. So I turn on my phone and call my mom hoping she will answer, and she does, and becomes very angry (and rightfully so) at my forgetfulness and stupidity and drives to me and I eventually get gas and drive here, to Marist.

I have a gold card for Starbucks, so I get free drink post cards, and so do my dad and Sam. My dad gives me his sometimes, and so thismorning (ehem) I had two of them sitting in my car. I save them for really crappy days when I want a really large sugar free latte to make me a little happier. Today, however, my throat was hurting, so I got an iced latte. Oddio they are so good. It’s like…liquid ice cream. With caffeine. I swear…it makes a sucky day suck a little less. I now have 1:20 before I have to go to Calculus, then I have sailing for 3 hours. I hope I don’t freeze today. I am not in a freezing mood.

So I am going to write a mini review about the Hunger Games, both the book and the movie. I read The Hunger Games in one day- I just sat down and kept reading. I do this a lot actually…I’ll just start reading something and if I don’t have any plans I’ll just keep going and going and plow through it. I think this kind of takes away from the book though. I feel like if I took my time I would soak in a lot more of the development of the novel. Like Suzanne Collins did not write it in 6 hours…I don’t know. I just thought it was worth noting that I don’t know if I should to that so often.

Basically, it was good. I would recommend that you read it if you are looking for some interesting light reading, but I didn’t get super absorbed into it. Like Harry Potter consumed me. Twilight took over my life. Those two series really became something that I just could not put down. I don’t think I took more then three days to read any of those books because I simply could not put them down. Those books accessed me emotionally and really pulled me in. The Hunger Games? I don’t know. I just feel like there are two reasons that they are so popular: 1) Everyone can read them and mildly enjoy them and 2) Twilight and Harry Potter are over.

I believe that the mainstream literature of my generation will be defined by Harry Potter and Twilight. I don’t know a single person who read the Harry Potter books and didn’t like them. It’s just such a complete world that it’s hard to believe that it isn’t real after a while. I remember I was reading the sixth book around Christmastime one year and I was under the Christmas tree (don’t judge me) and it dawned on me that NONE of that is actually true. As in, magic is not real. There are no wizards. Wingardium Leviosa will never help me. And I was sad, because that world seemed so real to me. It seemed six books worth of real. And it’s not like it happened in some other magical universe, it happened in the UK. So HP really created a new world for the readers to attach to, but the Hunger Games just kind of…I don’t know. I guess I should finish the series (I only read the first two books) because apparently the ending is really crazy and maybe it will be more interesting then, but it didn’t really seem that great to me.

I think everyone can enjoy them because there’s a little taste of everything for everyone. There’s some romance, some action, some wilderness/survival stuff, some political 1984ish stuff, and a badass 16-year-old girl who shoots squirrels through the eyeball and eats them, and I think everyone likes badassery (aaahaa- that Autocorrected to brasserie) in their novels. But the problem for me is that it is spread too thinly- there is not enough of any one appeal to make it really attractive to one particular kind of audience. So everyone will like it, but I don’t how much someone can absolutely love it. Like in Harry Potter, there was SO MUCH action, SO MUCH magic, SO MUCH romance (well, romantic things that happen…), SO MANY different subplots that drove you crazy and sucked you in no matter who you were. And Twilight? There was basically just ROMANCE AND LOVE AND HEARTS AND HOT VAMPIRES AND WEREWOLVES AND SEX THAT LITERALLY BROKE HOUSES. That’s pretty much it, so the audience that Twilight appealed to (everyone’s inner romantic) just absolutely devoured those sappy stories with happy endings.

But with the Hunger Games, it just seemed a little formulaic for me. Like, “romance + political theory + murder + badass teenage girl + adorable little sister + survival = enormously popular novel.” The second is better in my opinion, but so many people only read the first one. Also, I know this sounds silly, but the first one doesn’t end with a happy ending. Every single Harry Potter and Twilight book ended with some kind of a cathartic (is that even a word?) resolution that made you feel happy. “Well not everything ends with ‘Happily ever after’!” Yes, that’s why I read books. I don’t want to hear about problems without some happy solution. That’s what real life and political science classes are for. So I think the Hunger Games just kind of ended with too many questions to make me feel happy about it.

About the movie- I think it was a lot more helpful in explaining things than the book. For example, in the book you don’t actually know if Seneca is creating the fire or how Haymitch is getting them to alter the rules because everything you see is from within the arena, and it’s all just Katniss’s speculation. But in the movie you see Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman) and the hot plastic bag guy from American Beauty (Seneca) explaining things and shooting Katniss with fire. Maybe I’m a little dim, but I wasn’t so sure about how all of that was happening. It was to seeing for some concrete explanation. (I don’t know how that sentence made sense in my head, but it did. Hmm.) However, the one scene that I did find a little disappointing was one of the last scenes, when Katniss and Peeta are about to eat the berries. In the book, you know for sure that Katniss is just trying to be awesome and get one past the game makers. But in the movie, I don’t think I would have thought that if I hadn’t read the books. It looks like she really just loves Peeta. Idk, I guess it just doesn’t really matter but I think so much of the book is about how Katniss thinks about things that the book and the movie become being of different stories, so I can’t really compare them. Idk. I guess it doesn’t really matter anyway. Lots of people loved the movie.

I now have to go to Calculus, then I have to go freeze my ass off at sailing. Absolutely not looking forward to that. I love sailing, but please not today. Please.

Oh well. I guess I will just have to suck it up. Maybe I’ll get there early and rig it myself. I’ll be sure not to forget anything such as the one line that is responsible for making a sailboat a sailboat. Oh yes! And I am going to Minnesota tomorrow! That’s going to suck- being sick on an airplane. Oh, God. I really hate being sick for so many reasons. But it will be nice to explore UMTC, hopefully I will really like it. I think I will…

Adios, amigos. Stay healthy and do not go on a river if it is too cold to wear fewer than 4 layers (unless you are rowing. in which case as long as there is no floating ice, you’re good).



A Sailor and A Screwdriver

Anyone who says they are completely happy is either lying, or lacking an incredible amount of depth. Everyone has issues. Even at the times I remember being so over-the-freaking-moon happy, I still felt a little messed up – a little off kilter. But, guess what? I think everyone always feels that way. You just gotta adjust you’re sails, man. When it gets crazy, you gotta sheet’em in tight and go with it. And guess what? The wind is still going to change. Then, you adjust your sails yet again. Eventually, the wind will die down a little. We are not in Pirates of the Caribbean, folks. There are always times when we don’t have any wind, any excitement. But guess freaking what? You just keep going and wait for the wind. It will come. If we are talking in terms of smaller boats here, you could always rock it or pump the rudder. Worst case scenario, you wait a while. Play the guitar. Enjoy the sunshine. Take the active, productive approach.

However, recently, some poor soul was caught in a dead zone. This guy just didn’t know how to sail. He didn’t get the concept of the necessity of getting from point A to point B. This guy is three quarters of the way done with his voyage. He was doing great for the first half, tons of beautiful wind. The crew was happy, the ship was in tip top shape. But now, the ship is starting to fall apart. It’s wooden, and they didn’t salt the deck. Thus, it’s rotting.The crew is cranky and tired, and they are so not having it. Oh, oh no! The wind is dying! Now, only a gentle breeze remains. No thrilling waves. No precious white caps. There’s no excitement. Then, wait for it…THE CAPTAIN GIVES UP. He turns around! And guess what. There’s wind! Lots of wind! Oh sweet baby Jesus…there’s wind and waves and white caps! The sailing is so smooth and fast! (some would argue that it’s too much for a rotting ship sailing in the wrong direction) But…but, oh. OH, MAN. Oh this isn’t good. The captain realizes that he is going right back into the same situation! After having headed back for a while, the wind dies again. By now, the crew has abandoned the captain, it’s too late to try to complete the initial voyage, and the poor captain is stuck with a bunch of stupid newbies. He’s accomplished nothing. Wasted time. Wasted energy. Never made it to his destination. The sailor was impatient. Immature. He didn’t realize that he could have made it to his destination so happily, enjoying a happy crew, calm waters, good food, and nice music. If he only had adjusted his sails properly.

This is a sweet link. Click it?

I tried letting what is going on just go, and telling myself that this does not affect me. It’s not my life that’s being screwed up beyond return here, therefore, I should just ignore it. I tried being indifferent, but I failed. I couldn’t figure out why I had such a hard time not caring; why I couldn’t let go of the hate. Because, honestly, I do hate every cell of every tissue of every organ of that body. I couldn’t figure out why I had such a hard time letting go of it, or at least why I always had the impulse in the back of my mind to just do something. Not only something as in harm (mostly), but something as in help. I am not exactly sure how much help I would have even been in this case, but I could not understand why I would feel like I needed to help such a person who I hate with all of my being.

Then, I remembered that someone once told me that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. I then understood. I do hate, and I am well aware that hate is a very strong word, but it is also appropriate. What I understood is that I also love. As much as I did not want to believe it, I do also love. I hate some, and I love some. Therefore, I feel some, because I most definitely cannot remain indifferent. Which is unfortunate, of course, because I feel pretty torn. I want to use words like “TOOL,” “DOUCHE,” and other things that I will not publicly post. (Although “tool” and “douche” are personal favorites of mine. I also like “screwdriver” and “jackhammer” for when my mother asks me to not use the word “tool.”)

In the midst of all of this hate, love, and unfortunate lack of indifference, there is also an incredible sense of disappointment, and true sorrow. The disappointment really kills me, because I know that I am not nearly as disappointed as others (and rightfully so). The disappointment is particularly potent because it was 100% preventable, and contradictory to the formerly overwhelming presence of love. There was so much love, and so little hate. “I feel the love.” So many smiles, so many hugs, so may wonderful greetings of embrace, so many moments that I never wanted to forget. Now, I try to forget. I am trying all I can to forget those moments of happiness and love, because without those, without “feeling the love,” it will be so much easier to be indifferent. I will be less torn, and I will be less hateful. I will achieve the ultimate indifference of not giving a single shit about what is happening.

But, the sorrow. The sorrow won’t go away. I know it won’t. Everyone is sorry. I am sorry for those who are experiencing the utmost sorrow and betrayal, and the ones who had even more love. Where there was more love, there is only more hate, more disappointment, more feelings of being torn, more a lack of indifference. If even I, a relative outsider, am so torn with so much hate and (regrettably) so much love, how must the insiders feel? That’s why I am sorry. The sorrow in my heart is for the insiders. And as much as I want to feel no sorrow for the jackhammer, I do. Unfortunately, I do. I feel sorrow. Oh, there is no idea. No clue. This soul thinks that happiness and love are just around the corner. “As they say in my country, love is just around the corner. There were a lot of prostitutes in my old neighborhood.” So, have fun with that.

And then the sailor defriended his niece. What a screwdriver.

El Clearwater

OK HMMM…let’s see. There HAS to be something I can write about. I guess I’ll just start explaining the course of events this summer.

Readyyyyyy . . . . . . GO.

The first big to-do this summer was a youth internship aboard the Clearwater! I believe I made a pre-boat post, and let me tell you…I was way more nervous than I let on. I was going to live on a boat with a bunch of strangers (all but one of whom were significantly older than me) for two weeks. I literally had NO IDEA how awesome it was going to be.

The entire experience was just magical really. That sounds so cliché, but there were just so many moments that I will never forget, and so many experiences that I will value for a very long time. After having experienced such an incredible amount of natural beauty while I was in Switzerland, I was so bored by living in the Hudson Valley. I would look out my window or across the street and just imagine the view that I used to have from our apartment in Montagnola, and miss it so badly. I felt trapped in my dull, grey life in the suburbs, and I wanted out.

On the Clearwater, I found my out. My…attainable out. I now understand why the Hudson River Valley is referred to as the Napa of the East, and why so many people love it. Most importantly though, I remember why I used to love it. I’m not quite sure where I put it (i.e. on the blog or not) but I am positive that when I first moved to Switzerland, I wrote a post about why living in NY is so wonderful. How it’s so beautiful and how “everything I need” is right there. Well, what I needed then is certainly different than what I want now, but I at least was able to refresh the appreciation that I used to have for the Hudson by means of spending some time with it.

The Clearwater also introduced me to an entirely new spectrum of Homo sapiens. I have been exposed to many a kind of person in my short 17 years of life. I was talking with my dad after my wonderful experience aboard (kind of like abroad, but not really), and I was telling him how I developed such a sense of admiration for so many of the people that I met, and I really liked them. I really liked these people and what they were all about. He then said, “Well, sure you did! They’re like intellectual pirates!” And, he was kind of right. Everyone was so genuinely NICE and COOL and nothing really go them in a tizzy, which is something I have quite a bit of respect for. Although I was one of the youngest people there and I could definitely feel the age gap at certain times, it felt nice to be a part of something that I admire. It’s kind of like being on the winning team: you’re so proud for your team for doing something great, and it just feels really good to know that you’re a part of it, too. So, yeah. This sounds a little mushy. I will leave it at that.

I kept a pretty detailed journal of my days onboard for the first 8 days or so, but then it kind of crumbled when I would choose to listen to a pleasant strum with some interesting conversation over writing in my journal. I planned on posting the journal, but there are far too many things in those pages that I would like to keep to myself. There aren’t any insights into my deepest thoughts, but there are some things that I would like to keep just for me to know. So, I will just end this post about the Clearwater by saying that I will be back next year, and hopefully the year after, and so on and so forth. =]