I am a lot of things but naive isn't one of them. Self-delusional isn't one of them either...I am facing e few TRUTHS tonight that I fear are undeniably FACT in my case.

I honestly am really struggling this evening because I am beginning to think and feel that perhaps I  would be wise to avoid all romantic relationships now and in the future. I do not think that I am built for them and they never end well. 

I am really struggling with trust...not trust in terms of being faithful or fearing unfaithfulness but because I cannot accept being mislead, deceived or lied to...whatever the reason. I do not deal well when people are not honest with me...it is a show stopper, period. No matter how hard I try and I cannot seem to succeed.

I don't feel lost or angry or lonely or anything just different then everyone else. I just feel like I cannot deal with this continuing situation...it is not healthy for me or anybody else.

Perhaps the time has now come to consider going at things differently....I know this post will kick off a fire storm but I am hurting tonight and there is much I can do about it.

No Control...

I will say that most of the time I am pretty good about dealing with unpleasant things that happened in my past but there are occasions when stuff will come up unexpectedly and catch me by surprise.

A couple of people that I am very close to are upset about some things that are bothering them from a long time ago and they want to try and rectify the situation. It is stuff that has happened to me that they are upset about but I really don't want to be involved...in fact I have refused to even discuss this subject with either one of them. It just upsets me more and IT is something that I have learned to let go of because there is nothing that can be done about it

But in spite of my wishes they have informed me today that they have gone ahead and gotten involved even though I asked them a long time ago to not to do so. It is very upsetting and just brings back a whole bunch of bad memories and hurt feelings...I know they care about me and think that they are protecting me but I wish they had just stayed out of it because it will only make things worse. And I dread what may happen next...

And I guess the point is there are elements of this life that we have no control over...and what other folks do or say is definitely one of those things. Now I am feeling all turned around again and it pisses me off because I really do not want to think about this stuff anymore.......but guess what? Here I am stuck in the middle all over again


the birds they say
the break of day
start again i hear them say
it's so hard to just walk away

the birds they sing
all a choir
start again a little higher
it's a spark in a sea of grey

the sky is blue
dreamed of light til it's true
then take it back the pause shall through
my arms turn wings
all those clumsy things
send me up to the wonderful world
and then i'm up with the birds

5 hours in january i spent reserving our seats for this april 28 coldpl*y concert. 18,000 people. sold out....four seats, in a row...up high and to stage right. but being there was enough. being present in the midst of energy and musicality, raw talent and phenomenal stage presence, with three of my favorite people. so thankful we made it happen. so grateful for the memories. my first concert holds a special place. i hope this one did too, for them. 
lasers. confetti. painted pianos. drum pads and reverberation. thousands of voices rising in unison. magical din. 
acapella all the way home. 
i have not stop singing...

photo credits: drew falabella, arcaneartist

NIGHT Fall On The Island

Nightfall...still an odd and somewhat interesting time of the day for me. It is often a trigger that makes me think of the partying days, spending time up north or over at my good friend's place in New Richmond, MI. I have always had an certain kind of affair with the night...with darkness specifically and I am certain think that is NO coincidence.    

I know that during my days of active addiction I just always felt like I was hiding something, I felt like a phony even when didn't have anything to hide and night-time was just the natural choice because I didn't feel so noticeable...I wasn't really a "night person", actually I am a morning person and always was...nobody is around to notice you early in the morning either so I comfortable then as well.

Now that I've found myself struggling to sleep as of late, I have come to appreciate and despise the night in equal parts! I take advantage of the time to read, to write here on the blog and so forth...but obviously that only goes so far and a person needs to sleep!

Well we shall see because I am very near to turning in for the night right now. I think I am going for a short walk...then stretch out and try to sleep. I definitely miss having Kim around for these short, impromptu walks in the evening but her situation is so good right now that I cannot complain. And realistically she needs the rest because of her work. Our time will come! Good Night every one....                                                                                                               

The Promise...Of A Nice Warm Week.

When you live in the North Country, you figure out pretty quickly that Winter can last between December and March...or more likely between late October and early May.  It is definitely the later here in Michigan though this winter and spring have been remarkably warm and nice.

The problem was we've had the better part of two weeks of 70-80 degree days in March and early April. Everyone thought summer was here...boats and dock got put in, lawns are being mowed a full 6 weeks before normal, the golf courses were hopping, etc..etc.

Then it became more seasonal...not really bad but lows in the 30's and highs in the 50's with some wind...well, actually a lot of freaking wind!. But even though it got chilly and windy we still  really didn't get the usual rain fall.

Now it is slowly warming up and this week we have some 70's, even some 80 degree temps promised so I think we are swinging back toward sustained warmth again. My buddy Marty who runs the Iyopawa Island Golf Course here where I live, will be a very happy man!

So I'm gonna venture out on this 59 degree day and at least get some golf in if possible...it's pretty crowded and with my disability affecting me I usually play only when it's slow, so we shall see...

My Perception Shifts On Sunday, Sunday!

Sunday used to be the worst day, by far... of my week. I worked in production and Production Management at Herman Miller Furniture Co. in Zeeland, MI for nearly 24 years, the last 6 in management on 3rd shift. I absolutely despised the shift, I never could really sleep and Sunday was a day where you basically woke up in the morning and waited around all day to go into work at 7, 9 or 11p, whenever we were starting.

It was the absolute worst decision that I made my entire career, to take a third shift management position but I was told it would be for a year. But the economy went soft, then the bottom fell out and I was just fortunate enough to hang on as over 50% of my peers were down-sized....it was an employment bloodbath and a very scary time when you had two children, both making decisions about college and approaching their High School Graduation.

The shift, by it's very nature was de-humanizing & isolating, which was really the worst thing possible for someone working 60 plus hours a week and a functional (but quickly deteriorating) alcoholic/addict. And I basically received little to no support or understanding from my wife at the time. I can now see that she clearly wanted out of the marriage but I was clueless about it any of that then. I was overwhelmed with working long hours and raising two kids from a previous marriage. I wasn't paying attention and should have been...Ultimately she used my isolation, my own obsession with alcohol and my being out of touch most evenings to deceive me and covertly go to counseling, initiate a divorce and buy a home before I really even knew what happened. I was told we were getting a divorce and that was final, I was not given a choice and I was devastated. 

The worst humiliation was talking her into going to a counseling session but again she refused to even consider working on saving the marriage...I felt like a piece of human..no...less-then-human trash, one of the worst feelings I've ever had in my entire life. Today I not only am not bitter about that (But I sure was at the time) but I am happy it occurred, because looking back in hindsight it is obvious that the marriage really didn't exist and there was never any hope that it could be saved. Still,Sundays tend to trigger the memory of the "bad stuff.

Today...Sunday once again is an enjoyable day, peaceful and usually reserved for quality time with K and family. It's always a busy day around here in the summer so it would really suck if I had to go to work in the evening like I used to while everyone golfed, drank/partied their way through Sunday afternoon while I would be forced to try and get some sleep, more often then not...failing.

I even start of my Sundays by going to early church at 8:30a, which I never would have dreamed of in the past. ironic, eh? Speaking of church...you guessed it, gotta get going so we'll catch up with you later, my dear readers...if I'm not too busy enjoying myself!

(PHOTO: K. Tomson)

A Quickie...Post, That Is.

Saturday morning again, another visit to THE LADIES at The 'VILLE...as in Masonville House (Assisted Living) where they live. As sore, tired, un-enthused, lethargic and ill as I happen to feel at the moment yet I am actually STOKED to be going to visit the GALS at the HOUSE. It is not a cliche, or mumbo-jumbo...the real rewards in this life most often often given to the GIVER, not the TAKER.

When I first heard the Recovery Philosophy that for one to keep what they had (sobriety, a new life, happiness, etc) they had to give it away (IE: share yourself and your gifts with others) I thought it was absolute nonsense. I couldn't have been more wrong. It absolutely is the truth.  Of course there bare exceptions but overall I will mostly find that when I choose to do something for someone else...no strings attached, I tend to benefit the most in the long run. 

Plus...let's face it folks...giving FEELS GOOD, it just DOES! See 'Ya Later...

(Photo: KT)

Daily Blog Fodder

I don't actually know how long it's actually been but I have posted at least once a day on Shell Shock Serenade for a year and a half, perhaps two years or more with out missing even one single day. Now it's an obsession to post. But it's more then that really...I feel that if I am committed to doing a blog, in real time about the EVERY DAY LIFE (There's the key, folks) then I need to represent at least once every 24 hours.  And typically I'll post more then once a day anyway.

And I will be honest here...though I'll admit I have FORCED a post or two once in awhile to meet that commitment...most of the time I have something really legitimate I want to write about. And that is the part of all of this that truly surprises me..because I never thought that my particularly boring life (these days anyway) would be interesting enough to provide fodder for a daily, public journal...yet it does. Of course I am sure some find it absolutely a bore...but hey, to each his own.

We (K and I) are dealing with another issue with her car. Yes it's a Toyota and they have an excellent reputation for quality but this baby has nearly 250, 000 miles on it and certain things like the radiator and front brake shoes are going to wear out in that time...plus it's 16 years old. Such is the way it goes in life.

I am going to take advantage of a sunny yet cool afternoon and hit that little white ball around for awhile. We shall write to y'all...LATER!
Day one in Georgetown was all about the regatta. Have a look at some of the excitement.

Good times at Galliot Cay

Life was looking to be a fun time at Blackpoint settlement, but the weather was going to be nasty. So we searched the maps for a better anchorage, one with protection from the west, room to drag, and few boats.... Ha! Fat chance, but we found one near Galliot Cay, so away we went.

Getting there was a short sail of maybe 3 hrs, actually we motored into the wind. When we were passing Little Farmers Cay on the bank side, we ended up getting ourselves into 7 ft of water. Tensions were high. We made it into the anchorage and tucked in behind Galliot Cay for protection from the easterlies. We snorkelled and chilled on the beach, Dexter found trees and bouys to chew on, Jennie sun to bath in, and Dave some small coral heads to swim by. As dinner came we, were debating on what to make. Suddenly Dexter went crazy barking at a boat. I looked up to tell Dex to shit it, and it was a boat with three Bahamians returning from fishing. This boat looked like a beat up 14 ft boston whaler with a 6 hp motor on it. They had taken this boat three hrs south to fish and three hours back. No wonder there was nothing around. The boat pulled up and we had noncash, but we traded beers for some conch. They were super chill guys and, of course, loved Dexter. Dinner was cracked conch, yummy.

Over the night the winds picked up and were more southerly, so we moved to the opposite side of the channel. The weather was to swing around from the west and get bad, 30 knots plus squalls. We sat it out and read some books.

The night wasn't to bad, but when morning came the winds really picked up. A squall started coming towards us, and we started to drag, I started the motor waiting to.see if the anchor took again. I decided to put out our second anchor. Jennie and I donned our rain jackets she took the helm as I stood on the bow managing the lines and snubbers. We winched in the anchor, got ourselves set, and decided to set two anchors in a row, one infront of the other. Jennie had just read this in her Montesier book. I set the rope rode anchor first. I had never used this one before. It is a 40lbs supermax, and it held the boat well. Then I winched it in so the scope was real short and started to set the chain rode 40 lbs delta behind it. It was blowing 30 knots with gust and raining like crazy so we didn't need to put the boat in reverse, mother nature did that. Our anchoring comunication skills were tested. I let the rope rode run free and we set the delta. Then I tried to equalize the tension on both rodes and put snubbers on them. Success, Cypraea held fine. Just in time too.

All of a sudden the huge squall hit us, a wall of rain where you could barely see the front of the boat. Luckily Jennie, Dexter and I were safe inside as the boat listed a good 20 degrees. It was windy. The anchors held and we carried on reading. After the morning torrents, the afternoon was quite light, and sunny and calm.

The next day the wind was still blowing pretty good, so we waited another night. We were all.ready to go, but entering a new harbour with a.direct wind and all the books saying how tricky it is,.what was one more day.


Boy are we glad we waited. We left Tuesday morning around 7:30 am and motored out Galliot Cut, then we opened the jib and sailed to Georgetown. Other than the wind changing abruptly from south west to northnwest half way, we made an average of 5.5 to 6 knots under a various array of sails. Cuttersnare great. With 10 knots of south west wind on our beam we made 6 to 7 knots under full canvas, what a dream. Then with 15 to 20 on our quarter we made 5 to 6 knots with only our jib. Cypraea loves sailing down wind, and surfing the wabes with her full keel. We made it into Georgetown harbour which wasn't so bad following the waypoints and directions. Now we sit peacefully off Volleyball Beach and the Chat and Chill. What a great day, good things come to.those who are patient.

Well Being is a Human Being

I have been posting about physical pain and having to learn how to  live my life while dealing with it on a daily basis. It is just like anything else ...you adapt to the circumstance as best you can. For me the saving grace is being able to modify my my physical body position and get horizontal at any time almost in an instant.

My disability and pain is such that I can do certain activities, like walk or play some golf sometimes but the issue is how my body reacts and what I have to do to re-claim my mobility...At times it is impossible to know how how long I can be on my feet or when I lose all ability to function at all. Other times I can be active but for only short spurts and then have so much pain that I cannot sleep much at all for a week.

The key really is to live life to the best of my ability and do my best to do what I want to do. You just have to accept the consequences and do the things you have to recover and stay as healthy and well as possible.

That not only means physically but emotionally, psychologically and most importantly...spiritually. That is what overall wellness is really all about. 

The picture above is of my oldest Grand Child, my Grandson Mason. Talk about an incentive for living well. I used to literally not care what happened to me and I accepted things in almost a nonchalant way because I expected to get hurt, to hurt myself in the process or not live to see tomorrow...it was a fatalistic outlook for sure.   

When I think about my (2) Grandson's, how much I love them and enjoy seeing them and my whole family...it just plain feels good. Life is good and as good as I can make it...that is a challenge I enjoy rising too each and every day.                                              

Tonight, our Footballers Become Fantasy Players...

Tonight's the night when you take a deep breath, wipe a tear from your eye, and realise that your boys are about to get all growed up.

This weekend, the boys who were worshipped for three to four years between the hedges, under the horseshoe, surrounded by the white, blue, maize and green and celebrated like gods (but not paid like them, mind!) become walking advertising hoardings for 32 teams....and Nike.

I still can't understand why the draft is so big. It's simply a lot of guys in the room making an announcement. Of course, there will be Jets fans booing in the room. Of course, there will be other sets of fans cheering. Of course, Vegas will be betting. But really, who cares?

The guys who support their teams will care. After all, they've paid enough into their teams' future NOT to care. They've bought the season tickets, the NFL tickets, the merchandise and wasted enough time talking endlessly about Ryan Tannehill is going to be bigger for their team that Jesus.

Those who like to gamble will care. A lot. After all, the NFL's worth a lot of money to those types of people. They don't have a team, but they bet a crap load on the outcome. The college football bettors will probably also care - but no so much -  they are more interested with Mike Gundy's announcement that freshman Wes Lunt's getting the Cowboys starting QB job than who's going to the Ravens.

But the biggest guys are the guys who spend all the time on their sofa and never tire of it. They are the guys who become know-it-alls and check team news way, way, waaaaay too much. These guys are the fantasy guys. For their future with all the other boys in the cubicle on the office or the street on the Information Superhighway, this matters. Bragging rights matter*.

* For the record, we've played our share of fantasy sports. We were involved in a baseball league (not this year), a fantasy college football league (match-ups and a great ESPN fantasy football game when you can pick any player and see how they perform (it didn't go so well after Week 2), and for one season only, a NFL game.

It Isn't...OK, OK?

Maybe I would have been better off had my head actually just gone ahead and exploded like I wrote about in a post yesterday

Today...well saying that things are just slightly "outta balance" in my world today would be a huge understatement. I don't like to talk about this or write about it but I am really struggling with physical pain.

I can't even come close to describing the pain that I am in and how you can start to feel like you will NEVER get relief from it. People will look at me and since I don't exaggerate or try and ham it up, they cannot have a clue how much I hurt and how limited I truly am physically. 

I hate living this way and I just mentioned to K in a text that feeling this much pain really causes me to start thinking crazy sh*t. It always kicks in my old thought process of wanting to self-medicate which I have not given in to but it bothers me.

I'll have more on this subject this afternoon....

(PHOTO: American Battle Monuments Commission)

My Head HURTS...

Skull shot through glass.  Nikon D3,45 mm Copyright Nikki Sixx
Photo Copy Right: Nikki Sixx

There are times when the inside of my head feels like it is going to explode. KAPLOOEY in one big sticky, bloody mess...Then there are other moments, equally disturbing where there is so much pressure...physical, emotional, psychological built up inside that it feels as if whatever inhabits that region (my brain, perhaps) is slowing being pushed by the pressure through any possible escape route and it is seeping through all those various little portals, cracks and crannies...only to find it's way eventually to the floor. Nice thought image, eh?!

And then I think...why did I just write that...I  must be out of my mind or full of crap or something and could care less about my brain or any potential "seepage". But on the other hand...my head indeed hurts so perhaps there is cause for alarm, tee hee. To quote Alice Cooper of all people: "Welcome To My Nightmare"...such is my life these days...
Actually the headache is but a figment of my vivid yet restless imagination but was it truly is...is that I have a fully occupied brain today and when I get that way I think there is a bit of short circuiting that takes place. In other words I've had a lot on my mind today and instead of taking  the time for meditation and prayer as I typically do...I blew it off and figured I could handle it.

And what do I get as a result of that behavior?  Well...I feel out of balance and really, I am not kidding...out of sync with the world around me and with myself. All that because I tried to rest control of my life and it's worries from a CREATOR who was and is more then willing to handle that crap for me today or any other day. Why I must always persist on repeating past mistakes when I know the outcome of that behavior...well, I'll never learn I suppose. Maybe it's habit...actually I do think habit has something to do with it but I suspect there is a part of me that is lazy and doesn't want to take the time or make the effort to meditate. 

Which is ridiculous because I always feel refreshed and glad I did it when i do take the time to pray and meditate. I need to to take heed of that lesson I believe...                                    

Why Is College Football Taking So Much Time Over a Play-Off Decision?

In Hollywood this weekend the superpowers of college football are getting together to discuss whether college football should have a four game play-off, starting in 2004.

It seems inevitable that that will happen, because everyone wants it and the Joke Known As The BCS needs to do something, especially with what happened with the Fiesta Bowl scandal.

The big stumbling blocks are all green.

Green 1: The play-off gods don't want there to be a home field advantage. They'd prefer to play them at 'Neutral Field Sites', citing - absurdly - hotel rooms.  "What happens if TCU finishes No. 2 in the country and hosts a semifinal game?" the source said. "TCU finished No. 3 two years ago. Are they really hosting No. 3 Ohio State in a 45,000-seat stadium? Where are people going to stay if Oregon hosts a semifinal game? In Portland?"

Of course, this is one of the stupider remarks in this whole bunch of stupid remarks, because TCU's based in the Dallas Fort-Worth area (over 6m population and a crap load of hotels - remember this place hosted the Super Bowl in 2010), which makes this 'source' seem like an idiot.

And while the VFA can understand where the guy is coming from, we certainly don't agree. If you are the top team in the country, you've earned the right to play the fourth team in the country at your place. Why SHOULD you go to a NFL stadium to play? Oh, because the BCS can then charge a gargantuan amount for game seats and price the proper fans out of the game (or is that just us being cynical?).

Green 2: The Rose Bowl organisers want to make sure the Rose Bowl's involved and not 'forgotten' in the place of one of the semi-finals. Can we suggest that the major BCS Bowls host the final - which should make the Rose Bowl happy? And of course, there can be a college football game there on Jan 1 or Jan 2nd (or one when the final is) involving the Pac-12 and Big 10 Champions - if they aren't on the Top Four. The Rose Bowl wants to get its dollars worth - and it doesn't mind ruining the party for everyone else to try and maintain this.

Green 3: The whole situation is making everyone sick. Get on with it, people.

Work in Progress

In the past few weeks while managing this new revolution that I’m working on, I’ve had some ups and downs – as I guess I should expect.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to just let some things go. Normally, every second thing I do or decision I make in my life causes me guilt to varying degrees. I have been making a conscious effort to recognize the guilt when it starts up. I would say that I have been “letting go” of the guilt but it feels more like I’ve been cutting it off. I feel it start to creep in and it actually pisses me off and I reject it.

*Pfft! Seriously, Guilt? Fuck off! 

Being able to do that is a pretty cool feeling. I have felt guilty over the most ridiculous things in my life – mostly things that involve me enjoying something, or my kids. (My therapist would have a hay day with this.) In refusing the guilt, I’ve found it not only easier to enjoy myself, but also easier to make decisions (except for what *shade to color my hair, that one plagued me for weeks! Darker or lighter, darker or lighter?!). Decision making and going with the flow is easier when I’m not worried about unnecessary guilt as a consequence.

Another thing that I am starting to enjoy is that I really, truly am caring less and less what people think of me. Having an arm covered in tattoos, two young kids, being a gal who likes to enjoy the occasional cocktail and always wearing my damn heart on my sleeve – there is an abundance of things that people can think/judge me for. Take your pick, it’s all out there – the biggest one probably being the kids. People love to judge how others raise/handle their kids, always assuming they could do a better job. I’ve long touted that "I don’t give a shit" what others thought of me, my tattoos, my parenting, my lifestyle, but I realize now that hasn’t been true - even if it's what a I really wished. Turns out I do/did care, and it affected my anxiety levels and my self worth. I only realize it lately because over the past month there have been several situations where my life or my choices may or may not be in judgement of another (valid or not) and I GENUINELY think, WHO FUCKING CARES! (Yes, I swear like a sailor in my head too). I have noticed a decrease in feeling the need to explain/defend myself (although it’s still a work in progress). I KNOW I am a unique, good person and I’m a great mom. I’m certainly nowhere near perfection but neither is anyone else. Think or say what you want about me, I care less and less about it every day and that feels great! I recently read a quote that said:
“When someone has a problem with you, remember, it’s their problem, not yours.”

One of the biggest things I have noticed is a difference in my relationship with others – most notably the one with my husband. He seems… happier and we seem happier together. I like to think that he’s also going through some sort of self transformation and has realized his own issues and is working on them…



Yes, I know that with me being more easy going and laid back it has affected him and our relationship in a positive way – I didn’t see that one coming.

With that all being said, I have found the past several weeks very **busy and I’ve not run as much as I would have liked and not eaten as well as I like to. In return, the scale is up three pounds. That affects me more than I would like on a mental health level. I remind myself though, that it’s really no big deal in the grand scheme.  Since it does bother me I am the person who will make a conscious effort to run more and eat less and those stupid 3 pounds will come back off. I do rely on physical exertion to balance my mood, and running twice in a two week span doesn't cut it. The beauty of it all though, is that I recognize it and will tweak it and make it better. It’s all part of the process.

At the beginning of this month, I sat across from my friend Shannon at the lunch table at work. I had been struggling with so many things and was damn tired of it all. I told her that April was my birthday month and it was the month I was going to make change. I readily admit that I haven’t mastered anything yet, it’s all still a work in progress and maybe it always will be, but on Monday when I turn another year older, I will be in a better place than I have been in all my 37 years.

*I went darker
**Canucks were the playoffs and we were "busy" drinking beer and eating appies during the games. Fortunately/unfortunately that's over now.

No Wind & The Cost Of Suffering

It actually is not windy this morning...after 4 consecutive days of high wind it is actually calm and serene out there. Naturally that gets the wheels turning and has me thinking about trying to play and little CG (Crippled Golf). I don't know...it has really been a difficult couple of weeks from a physical standpoint. 

That is the most common pattern with me...I'll get a stretch where the back is almost tolerable but my feet and legs are shot. Then they (my legs) will respond and rebound a bit and my back really takes a nose-dive. Pain is an everyday reality and it is the learning to live in spite of it that is the key to having a fairly active life. But there always is a trade off....a price to pay for everything I get. 

If i am active...i will suffer for it later...that is a fact of life. And the severity of the suffering often seems out of sync with the actual activity I participated in to create the pain. It never seems to make sense and I can honestly see how people who suffer from severe chronic pain get to the place where suicide seems like the best or only alternative. Pain will mess with your mind...it will control you.

Well i need to at least try and walk today for a little while...see if I can loosen up sufficiently...   

More later...                 

When Foolish, Nonsense Rules The Day!

November and the Election is a long way off and I already want to puke after continually reading and hearing the awful rhetoric, distortions and judgmental name calling/finger-pointing that is going on. And I am not talking about the politicians, TV pundits or anyone else famous. Nope I am talking about the so-called self-appointed experts on Face-Book and around town...many of whom I accepted as friends.

I have always voted for the best candidate and am not and have never been a member or believer in either party. Yes I realize there is more then two party's but let's get realistic...those are the only two that are relevant...at least for now. But I respect people and their right to choose....that is why we are called "free" when we enjoy "freedom"..we have the right to choose our leaders. I may not agree with you...I may debate the different candidates but I will not call anyone stupid or a fool for watching a certain news channel or having your own beliefs.

There is so much ugliness to this campaign stuff that it is sick. There is a gentleman on FaceBook who I used to respect who persists in calling everyone who happens to think differently then he does stupid...it's disturbing, complete nonsense and insulting. I have no respect for anyone who behaves that way and I certainly have no respect for him or anyone else like him. Does he actually believe that belittling people will get them to agree with him?! In fact I think he's lost his mind the way he rails on, foaming at the mouth...er, keyboard as it were. This is a grown adult (supposedly), a retired professional person....it absolutely blows my mind.

It's incredible to read his accusations of how intolerant everyone is who is Republican or watches Fox News yet he comes out calling everyone a stupid-idiot who disagrees with him. At first I thought it was a joke, that he was kidding and acting this way on purpose to make a point. Nope...unfortunately it isn't a joke...it's all to real.

I get discouraged when I see what politics are like today. How people blindly follow Ideology instead of doing the work themselves to figure out for themselves who should be the next president. Peoples reliance on the Media to do their thinking for them is nothing short of frightening. It scares me to no end...

Staniel's Cay

What do feral farm animals, James Bond, and poorly stocked grocery stores have in common? Staniel's Cay. We anchored in a crowded anchorage (east of big majors) in ten feet of agua. We had mega yachts and little power cruisers, to large sailboats and little ones. It was a scene.

First thing we did was take Dex to see the pigs. We started feeding these things carrots that managed to not mold for two months, very odd. They were so greedy, you had to watch they didn't take a finger with them. We pet the baby ones, and one of the big pigs almost drowned a baby one on purpose... pigs. One big pig took a charge at Dex and gave him a snort and a big chomp, Dex backed off, he knew they were gross carrots. Then Dex tried to chase the little pigs, while keeping a safe distance from the big ones. We put him on the dinghy. It's amazing how so many attractions here in the Bahamas deals with feeding things. Anyways, those were some greedy, spoilled, and very domesticated pigs. They would even swim out to boats trying to anchor and expect handouts, they were more agressive than the pan handlers in downtown Vancouver.

The next day we got up and dinghied over to Staniel's Cay, we were off to the store. We went to the big one first, but the proprietor was on a mid morning hiatus, so we left to walk around. There were too many grumpy north americans standing around complaining, come on it's an island.

We were impressed with the high level of airport security, a sign saying "keep off runway" we walked in to have a look, no one was around. Then we went to the blue store, it was fairly empty, Jennie and I were.starting to wonder what the locals eat. We got back to the dinghy, couldn't find free wifi and boated back over to the first store (we walked the first time) this time it was open and we bought a few essentials.

We got back to the boat and decided to visit the Thunderball Grotto, from a James Bond film, I think it was called Thunderball. We got there to see immense crowds of dinghys and speed boats. We tied up and I jumped in, there were so many fish, I popped my head up and said "too bad I didn't bring my spear." as a bit of a joke, there were a few to many neoprene fat fish floating around. This ten year old kid anchored in a speed boat while his parents or baby sitter was snorkeling said, "You're not allowed to fish here." Ten year olds these days, so conscious of the rules, what will be of our future. He also asked Jennie to fend off his boat from the seven dinghies tied to a mooring ball as he sat at the helm, what a puke. We swam it, and it was pretty cool, not as big as I thought it would be, but tons of fish. We came out and met another younger Canadian couple who spent 3 months cruising Cuba and loved it, they tore apart a lot of the hear say, and it sounds like a decent place to cruise on the cheap. Just as we were about to leave a 30ft scarab pulled up and tied to the dinghy mooring. A large black Bahamian started throwing fifty year old silicone sweet hearts off the boat, what a scene. One needed to float with a life jacket, I guess she lacked the floatation the others had.

Back at the boat we sat down and watched a movie until the sun went down, our plan was to burn some garbage at the fire pit on Pirates Beach. Well we popped our heads out to see people already there, so we threw in a few beers and headed over. They turned out to be a pretty roudy crowd, there was another couple who owned a Union, there must be something about people who own unions, maybe they have a high tolerance for pain, but it was a good time. We had to wait to burn our garbage, no need to add extra flavour to the burgers. We dinghied home a little buzzed. The next morning, feeling a bit rough, I got up and listened to the weather at 6:30 am. We decided to head down to Black Point.

Windy Waderick Wells

Windy Warderick Wells

Jennie and I had great time in Waderick Wells, the headquarters of the Exumas Cay's Land and Sea Park. The park was set up in the late fifties to preserve the rare flora and fonna above and below the water. The park currently has two employees managing a few hundred square miles of protected area, and a couple hundred cruisers, of varying adolescent integrity, requesting mooring buoys and skirting rules. The other task they have, which is aided by 4 Bahamian military marines, is the constant fight against poachers, as the park is a no fishing zone, who are usually locals trying to make a living. We got a sense of hopelessness from park warden Darcy, she even let us know about a time they caught some kids on Facebook who had bbq'd an iguana (an endangered species) and caught a ton of fish and conch, there was outrage on the internet, the punishment was a $1000 fine. The park is one of these rare protected zones in a developing country with very little resources. They have signs up asking for rope, buoys, paint, dive gear, really anything one can donate. I'm gonna put it out there, anyone who has fat pockets or a job (most cruisers that come down here do not) donate something to the park, they desperately need help.

We had a wonderful stay here. We left Hawksbill Cay around noon, and motored through glassy still swimming pool waters for a few hours. We managed to pick up a ball in the north mooring field, the one everyone tries to get into, i think by luck. When we got to the anchorage, it was full except for our ball, lucky number 7. We went up to the office to check in, and grabbed our snorkel gear for a look at the reef. Wow what an amazing place to snorkel, in 7 to 10 ft of crystal clear water and tons of colourful coral and tropical fish. Jennie and I swam along, when I noticed Jennie swimming towards 3 big baracuda, their large round eyes fixed on us. They looked a little nervous, or maybe just cautious of these big flippered things in the water, or maybe they heard Dexter wining in the boat. We eased off and watched them and the fish for a bit and then climbed back into the dinghy.

Back at the boat we relaxed mostly, days slipped by, the wind picked up over 30 knots one day and we managed to sleep well in this protected anchorage on a sturdy mooring. We had aquatic visitors to the boat, a 9 ft nurse shark, a couple large eagle rays, and these funny looking bread loaf shaped fish. It got a little cooler through our stay and the winds were fairly rough, we had no need to leave our secured spot, so why venture out. Jennie and I hiked up to the top of Boo Boo Hill where we placed our piece of driftwood with Cypraea on it, among countless others. The only one I recognised was the Slapdash one. I guess a hurricane must have wiped out anything pre 2008.

The Exuma Sound looked rough, and the sky was ominously grey, squalls passed frequently while Jennie and I caught up on some reading. As by suggestion of my sister, I'm reading Don't Stop the Carnival, a book about a guy from the city who tries to run a hotel in the Caribbean. If any of you day dreamers are thinking about living down here or doing something similar, read it. There is more to the book than just humour, there's truth.

Dexter wasn't allowed on the park trails, just on leash on the beaches. We got around this by sand bar shuttle running. Dex loves this, but he will only run if you run; Jennie and I are being worked by our personal trainer. Dexter also loves running/wadding/almost swimming in the shallows, especially on the hot days. I also have to take him on dinghy rides as fast as it will go, he stands up with his elbows on the bow and a huge grin on his face, to the amusement of many passer bys.

On the Saturday night, the cruisers get together for sundowners on the beach. The military provides ice, which we didn't know, but for future reference. Free ice on a desert island, what a gesture. The gathering was very fun, and interesting. One thing about the islands is a lot of prejudice gets forgotten. There were the young cruisers, Jennie and I, and older cruisers, poor cruisers and cruisers with chefs, but everyone was sitting around the same table swapping stories and having fun. Jennie and I always get the question "how do you afford to do this at such a young age?" The most appropriate reply back is, "With the world as it is, and on the path it's going; how can we afford not to?" I must say that I have left a lot of my young cruiser prejudices behind, it doesn't matter how old you are, or how much money you have; everyone out here cruising is out here, living. I do think those who go fast pass so much good stuff and are missing out, and those that charter large motor yachts and seadoo around the anchorages are rude. However, they are here to spend money, where as cruisers are here to live, to experience, to rest. No one is really ever that open with why they are truly out here, but it definitely is good medicine.

Another event that occurred was an eye opener, and a reaffirmation of double up everything. On the radio we heard about a boat in Staniel's Cay losing their dinghy, a major bummer. Luckily Nassau has super cheap outboards, half of the north American price... the only cheap thing here. So if you plan on buying a new motor for your dinghy, wait till Nassau. Back to the story, so as a precaution we put a second line on our dinghy. Well one day Jennie says to me "The dinghy looks a little far back." What had happened was that after months of the stainless steel clip wearing on the aluminium eye, it had worn through about an inch and was free. Lucky we put on an extra line. So make sure you use the same metal to wear on each other; rope on rope, aluminium on aluminium, steel on steel. And no sharp bends. I fixed a rope using the stainless loops on the tubes, and it is working better. We now always keep two lines on, especially at night. A loose dinghy might float out and up to England here.

As usual, Jennie and I are itching to get moving again, we have a slight break in the weather where we will be going to Staniel's Cay. There are feral pigs, the Thunderball Grotto from James Bond, fishing is allowed again, internet, and some food. What a place it sounds like, we best make good of it while the winds stay down, back up to 30 Sunday (shutter) the wind not the temperature.