Alis volat propris.

O to struggle against great odds, to meet enemies undaunted! To be entirely alone with them, to find how much one can stand! To look strife, torture, prison, popular odium, face to face! To mount the scaffold, to advance to the muzzles of guns with perfect nonchalance! To be indeed a God! - Whitman

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Day Two

Today was insane. Let's start off with that. After yesterday's rambling and weirdness, and Friday's having to wear petticoats to keep the bigwigs happy, Sunday was perfect for a break.

It started out with a spritsail setting on the Godspeed, and as the first time, getting terribly confused in which did what and why wouldn't this work? But eventually Jaie and Kai figured things out, we cleaned up the decks of lines, but there was still more we could do. I'd set the mainsail on the Discovery back on Thursday, so today was bigger and better prizes. In other words, the foresail on the Godspeed. Complete with getting tangled in various lines, the tilting shrouds, and not quite tightening up the lifts proper. Kai and I unfurled the foresail, all while shouting answers and welcoming the public aboard. The rest of the day went rather quickly, until we had to undo what we'd done in the morning, and set everything away. Go figure, furling the sail is more daunting than setting her. For my first time furling the sail, the finished product looked okay, aside from the pregnant belly of sail inboard. Ah well, it was done, and climbing back down the shrouds to the fore castle, feeling the rush of it all, well, I'm starting to think my daydreaming isn't so insane anymore. And after four months of working at Jamestown, I'm starting to find my place among the crew.

Ack.. I't's happened again. 24 hours to find a house for August...


I'm trying to shut out the voices telling me to go back home. I really am. It's just times like this and last month that I wonder why I'm here, and away from Home in Baltimore...

Drop much?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

All in a day's work..

All the applications have been sent out. I am nervous and yet calm. The packing has been started and is nearly finished. A house has yet to be officially found (I'm moving to a condo with a newly from work.).  An attempt to console a friend has failed.  A girls' night planned. Groceries bought, and a roast in the oven.  A job has been garnered, at Paul's Deli, where there is a yummy and flirty waiter. I think I'm in lust. Phone bill needs to be paid. Rent will need to be paid.

I have $1.35 in the bank, and need to go to the laundramat. (Luckily, payday is tomorrow.)

And yet, life is good.

I need to memorize another shantey that I can teach to the public without making them blush.
Music: Pyrates Royale - 'Maid on the Shore'

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


After much pleading, and promises to wear girl clothes half of the week, and boy clothes the other half....


Went through the lines and safety precautions with the Captain, grabbed a harness, and went aloft to set the mainsail of the Discovery. The most terrifying part was making the step from the shrouds of the rigging, to the footropes, and learning to properly balance myself on the yard and footropes, (with the inner voice constantly saying, "And you think you can do this on a daily basis, in the midst of rough waters?! You've gone insane! Get your ass back to the deck while you still have all your limbs intact.") but I undid the inboard gaskets on the port side, then because I was too afraid to head too far outboard on the yard, went back down, climbed up the starboard shrouds, and undid the inboard gaskets on that side as well. Then clutching the yard with not-quite-white knuckles, I waited. And looked. Peered out to the Fort and riverfront, looked behind me to the James River and the passing barge heading to Richmond, overhead to the Ultralight. Waved to visitors below. Watched a fish swimming through the green brown waters. And waited until the heart rate slowed to normal. Then called to the Captain below that I was heading outboard to undo the other gaskets And it was easy from there. Returned to the port side of the yard to undo the last gaskets, then jumped back to deck. The Captain handed me the bowlines and clewlines, and the sail came down, the wind catching with a snap, then we adjusted the braces, tacks and sheets so the mainsail could be filled out proper.

Just in case you were wondering, I have been grinning like a Cheshire Cat all day.

I'm gonna go take a shower now, because I have an Oh-dear-God-what-died-stench.
Music: Rancid - 'Fall Back Down'

Monday, July 17, 2006

Brain mush.

The heat does funny things with one's head. I'm blaming the next few statements on said heated brain mush.

I'm getting aggravated with Jamestown. Specifically, the management at the ships.
Specifically the fact that I'm female. Why oh why couldn't I have been born a boy? Being a boy would put me in slops right away, and not this bullshit "I'll talk to the costume department" I've been hearing for months. Being a boy would put me on the fast track to, oh, I don't know, stopping the yapping about the same thing five thousand times a day, and actually climb aloft and set a fucking sail, and I don't mean from the deck, either. Being a boy would get me of the obnoxious petticoats and the bodice, and into something that won't be in the way, no matter where I stand.

I don't get it. I know I was hired because of my experience at the Constellation. So why on earth am I watching the newlies from the deck, and feeling like such an idiot?

Goddammit. I have so much I want to do, and not enough time to do it.

And the one thing that really bugs me? I had to teach a full-time employee several knots (Turk's Head, crown knot, and crown sinnet), and how to run a gun drill. Two full-time employees, that is, as well as the volunteer 4-H kid that's supposed to be taught by a full-timer. It makes me feel proud and useless at the same time. And to make it all the more interesting, a full-time position has opened up. I figure I might as well apply for it (even though I would be going against much more experienced folk with degrees), but it comes with a promise that I'll be there through 2008. I don't want to do that, even if it is a salaried, $20+k position. But... *bashes head* I'm playing the fool regardless of which way I turn.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Me, sailing? Finally?

A handful of Boston photos here. I've decided I need a new digital camera. Mine's 3 years old now, and I'm not happy with the photos I took.

Life's changing again. So far, I've decided I'm applying to aid on the SSV Tole Mour out of Long Beach, CA, C.A. Thayer out of San Francisco, or the Schooner Virginia out of Norfolk, or possibly somewhere else if that comes up. Leaning hard on the Tole Mour, however, for she has a paid-with-room-and-board training and maintenance program this winter, and the Virginia will not be open until the spring.

Need to overhaul the resume, again. Need to have some recommendation letters done. Need to speak to El Don and James at the ships for their input, then the supervisor, but that should be the easy part, because I'm only part-time, and the winter is slow on needing crew, anyhow. Need to find gear, if this all works out.

But it will. And if it does.. it's a big foot in the door.

Life, love and the ferry wait for no man.

And other important life lessons.

I'd really forgotten how nice it was to spend time with BJ and just talk with him. And laugh. And of all the people in my life right now, he is one of a few that I can say anything to, and feel comfortable doing so. And of all things, feel more stable afterwords. Funny, as we're both in unstable points in our lives right now. He's just that kind of friend.

(For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of knowing him, or working with him, BJ/Pip/Will is an old shipmate from the Connie. In all honesty, much more than merely a crewmate, but I'm discovering that there's something about ships that bond people together, and after having spent a year with him hundreds of miles away, it's a bond that I'm stuck with :)

Monday: Flying and Geekery
But back to my visit thus far. The morning was spent going slightly mad, with alarm clocks not going off, forgetting my pocketknife was in my carry-on, putting the knife in my suitcase, and checking it in.. And then watching the plane take off. Yes, I missed my 0735 flight. Soon finished the snacks I'd packed for the trip, and proceeded to read, then fall asleep for a few hours until my now 1205 flight. Let me just say that wooden-slatted benches drive marks into one's face. But after only having slept for less than three hours, it was comfortable enough.

At 1100, Red calls, apologizing for failing to take me to the airport, but bringing Ann, a college buddy of his that visited the past weekend to her flight, which strangely enough, is also my flight. Met up with them, exchanged hugs and phone numbers with the Maggi (also college buddy of Red's whom I met back in January, and have bonded quite well with). I came back to the security check with much fanfare from the security officers, who recognized me from my mishaps earlier in the day, and then cheered when I successfully boarded the plane. Hurrah for making friends with airplane security.. yeah.

Luckily, I was able to get ahold of BJ and inform him of the change, and he met me at the gate with many hugs. *squee* After the usual fun when the two of us try to find our way, we grabbed lunch at a little pub in Cambridge, then boarded a ferry to Thompson Island, home of Outward Bound dorms, and many, many vicious mosquitoes. He introduced me to various other Outward Bound sailors, and in an unprecedented event, made complete geeks of ourselves in front of Kate and Daniel when we started discussing the Boatswain's Call. Heh, everybody has their vices.

It was the evening that meant the most, however. Kate, a former crewmate of BJ's was visiting as well, and being a spiffy girl, and semi-new to sailing as well (she's got her feet wet; I'm still watching the waves), the three of us made dinner amid much laughter, and talked until nearly midnight. Considering they'd both been sleeping short hours the past couple weeks, it was relatively late, but BJ and I smeared on the bug repellent, and walked out to the shoreline. And just talked and laughed. I can't describe how much I needed that with him. Maybe because he's known me for much of the past couple years, maybe something else, maybe because we're both very much on the same path to.. something, we understand each other. Whatever it is, I'm very glad he's in my life.

Tuesday: The "other" Connie and On Getting Lost
Tuesday morning after cowering under a layer of repellant and blankets, we awoke at 0600 to catch the 0700 ferry to the mainland (they cross the harbor at 0700, 1600, and 1900). I forgot that wonderful thing about being a sailor - free food - but after stopping at a diner on the dock, we rode the bus into town, and split up, I looking around town on my own, and Kate and BJ doing some errands.

First off, I thought Williamsburg's planning was off. Boston is insane! Literally a jumble of streets, curves, turns, and mishmashes that makes DC travel look attainable! After spending until noon following a tour on the Freedom Trail, checking out the Irish Potato Famine memorial (and photographing a wannabe model bum - pictures later), walking along the wharfs, and asking a half-dozen people for directions (as well as asked by two different people for directions), I made it to the USS Constitution. I must admit she's a pretty ship. Ostentatious (albeit not nearly as the HMS Victory appears), with quite a lot of brightwork, brass and otherwise. After putzing around in their building museum, then heading to the ship herself and asking questions of the sailors aboard, I joined on their scheduled tour below decks.

There are two major aspects between Constellation and Constitution that jumped out at me. One, our docents/crewmen are so much better, in many ways. In Baltimore, there is a major focus on accuracy of mid-nineteenth century shiplife (more on that later), whereas our white frock and trousered, sunglass and a plastic flat cap (should have been tarred..?) wearing docent showed little care in presenting life aboard ship. He was quiet, stumbled on some questions, and erred on the side of being one of the more dull docents I've ever watched. In all honesty, he made me all the more proud to have served on the Constellation's crew, and not the "other" Connie's.

The latter difference was the vessel's vitality. On the Constellation, the educators were the Crew, and acted as such. Attention was given to every detail of ship life, and there is a certain care for the ship, as Home, that comes from that, as well as when one has invested care and passion into the ship, she still breathes with life - not only from those that served before when she was a commissioned ship, but now as well. The ships at Jamestown have the possibility of having the same life, but I think that because less time is invested in the ships, and less focus that we are the new crew of the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, they are merely shells, ready to be filled with life, but they have yet to be given the chance to breathe. And on the Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship still afloat in the world, she is only a monument to what she once was. While I hope that there are those that care for and give her the respect she deserves, she is merely a reminder of past times. So much could and should be done to breathe life back into the old ship, but I don't see that happening the way she is now.

Regardless, she was a pleasure to see. Now to finish the last leg of the three-ship-tour, the HMS Ship-of-the-Line Victory. One day.

I eventually met back up with Kate and BJ to see his old ship, the Roseway, and we grabbed lunch at a little café nearby. Soon it was time to catch the ferry back to the Island, and to bid Kate goodbye. Interesting girl, and fun in the time I spent with her. That's the thing I'm discovering about the sailing community; everyone knows everyone. Like a small town, one makes a name for himself, and then a reputation is shared amongst the vessels, all over the coast. As much as I hate living in a small town and being unable to disappear, this concept appeals to me when it comes to tall ships.

Wednesday and Thursday: Finding Home
Wednesday dawned early again, with a 0700 ferry and a 0517 internal clock, but rather than head to the mainland, we spent the morning searching out waiver papers so I could go out on one of the pulling boats with BJ and a fellow shipmate and her family. As time went on, however, the breeze disappeared completely, and when it finally picked up again, the rain and lightening came with it. So much for sailing, but I don't have any doubt that we soon will, this time together. In the evening, we were ferried back to the city to explore a little more, including seeing the exquisite city library (next time I visit, I plan to spend at least a few hours there), checking out the library's map exhibit, and talking an interesting fellow that "was waiting for us."

Thursday came too soon, and instead of trying again to sail, even with a 100% chance of rain, and foggy to boot, BJ was called into the mainland for an emergency errand, so we split up again, I to see the Godspeed sail into the harbor, and find myself soaked to the bone in the process with the morning rain. After we met up again for breakfast, we went to see the Longfellow Bridge (just watch Boondock Saints for reference), and to the markets downtown for fresh fruits. (Cobbler tonight!) Sleeping a ridiculous small amount the past four days, and he only having just finished a 14-day expedition the day before I arrived, we'd exhausted ourselves, and failed miserably at staying awake. Soon enough, I had to head home, and we made our goodbyes.

As the plane floated over the islands and Boston Harbor, and the sails of smaller craft became tiny flecks against the blue-grey water, I felt I was leaving yet another piece of myself behind, but at the same time, felt still whole, and more so, more relaxed. I'm finding my way to Home. Finding that Home, while she is yes, a place to lay my head down, and have a hot meal, and feel at peace, Home is also those I surround myself with. BJ's part of home. As unstable as life has been, and is becoming, I'm feeling steadier on my feet.

I dozed off, and awoke to see the lights of Virginia's tidewater homes sparkling amid the trees. No, Virginia's not Home. But I don't feel anywhere near the cold misery of leaving Home that I felt last month after Baltimore.

I'm finding my path in life. Perhaps a small sail this autumn with something nearby. Then staying at Jamestown for their spring sail for the 400th anniversary, and through the summer. Then where? I want to sail. I want to explore, push myself, do things I've only read and daydreamed about. Prove myself, to me. And amongst all of this, try to finish as many credits as possible - autumn through the summer, because at this point, I see my education as the one obstacle I cannot pass over. Where I'll be come summer 2008? Who knows? But at least I'm figuring a course of action, and if it took sarcastic Bostonians, a crazy map, killer mosquitoes, "calcium"-enriched water, and a tucked-away island, I think I can handle that.

O, to sail to sea in a ship!
To leave this steady, unendurable land!
To leave the tiresome sameness of the streets, the sidewalks and the houses;

To leave you, O you solid motionless land, and entering a ship, To sail, and sail, and sail!

O to have my life henceforth a poem of new joys!
To dance, clap hands, exult, shout, skip, leap, roll on, float on,
To be a sailor of the world, bound for all ports,
A ship itself, (see indeed these sails I spread to the sun and air,)
A swift and swelling ship, full of rich words—full of joys.

- Whitman

Music: No Doubt - 'World Go Round'

EDIT: A handful of Boston photos here. I've decided I need a new digital camera. Mine's 3 years old now, and I'm not happy with the photos I took.

Life's changing again. So far, I've decided I'm applying to aid on the SSV Tole Mour out of Long Beach, CA, C.A. Thayer out of San Francisco, or the Schooner Virginia out of Norfolk, or possibly somewhere else if that comes up. Leaning hard on the Tole Mour, however, for she has a paid-with-room-and-board training and maintenance program this winter, and the Virginia will not be open until the spring.

Need to overhaul the resume, again. Need to have some recommendation letters done. Need to speak to El Don and James at the ships for their input, then the supervisor, but that should be the easy part, because I'm only part-time, and the winter is slow on needing crew, anyhow. Need to find gear, if this all works out.

But it will. And if it does.. it's a big foot in the door.

Monday, July 10, 2006

So have I mentioned I'm going to Boston yet?

No? Well I am.

Like.. now!

Enjoy your week, guys.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

From Wide Eyed

"There's something evil about a world in which I can think of a thousand jobs I'd like, and none of them will support me. Puppy rancher, wild mushroom collector, designer of fantasy postal stamps, incense critic. I'd like to run a sticker museum, where I'd curate shows: The History of Scratch and Sniffs, or Great Designs: Stars and Rainbows. But who would come?"

-from Wide Eyed by Trinie Dalton