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38hrs, 1.2 skeins purple, 1.1 skeins orange, .80 skeins red. For sale, please inquire.
18hrs. For Skylanth
One small Gryffindor scarf, for The Frog.

Lots of hrs. For sale, please inquire. :D

LJ Idol entries:
00 - Introduction 63/206 voters
01 - Dragons 38/307 voters
02 - Deconstruction 36/258 voters
03 - 'It's a trap' 57/180 voters (1st in tribe.)
04 - The elephant in the room - Bye #1
05 - Afterthought 36/239 voters
06 - Not of your world
07 - Brouhahah
08 - First World Problems
09 - Marching Orders
10 - Icarus
11 - Haute - Bye #2

12 - The Sincerest Form of Flattery
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I don't plan to disappear.

I have a life, here on solid land. Well, mostly on the internet. A pretty solid social life, good relationships with a few tight friends and a few dozen amicable aquaintences. The people I interact with every day.

(Though I wonder, because we all do, how long it would take them to notice if I stopped turning up. A few days, at least. A month, at most? But that's not the type of disappearance I'm talking about.)

I can't take the internet with me on my Cruise. Oh, it's possible, thank the technology race. There's satellite internet and a host of other options. Expensive options. Options that cost more than my little boat, more than my college tuition. So no, I will not be dragging this series of tubes with me across the wide empty expanses of ocean. For months at a time, this Cruise, this choice, will cut me off.

But I refuse to be invisible. Every port, I will bring updates and pictures and a hundred new little stories. Expect tales of sea turtles and visiting birds, of passing strange debris and chance encounters with other trekkers like myself. Even the daily minutia of a logbook, if anyone cares to read it.

June 7, 2014, 1325 || 0 0' 0.0" N / 147 40' 59" W || Wind WNW ~20kts Gusty swells and slight chop. Unlimited visability. || Crossing the equator at last! I threw myself a party and ate the last orange from Hilo, 1400 miles ago. I'll never complain about the weather back home again. I think I am going to melt to the deck. Saw one bird today. No clouds. Tomorrow will maybe be laundry day if the wind dies down. Kind of roaring along right now.

October 1, 2016, 0721 || 35 59' 31" N / 5 41' 22" W || Wind nonexistant, big queasy swells moving west, fog/rain, visib ~100yds || Think I saw Gibralter, but the rain closed in on me again. Everything's gray and wet. I just want to spend tonight in a hotel in Spain, but the wind may not get me there until tomorrow. One liter of fuel in the tank won't get me there. Sounding the horn every 3 minutes, no sleep. I think I'm on the edge of the shipping lane.

And those would be the exciting days.

I expect to write. All alone, with only my reflection and my boat to listen to the stories I know I can tell. I'll bring fiction ashore with me too. I expect stories about the end of the world to come as naturally as autobiographical fragments, made-up histories of everything I pass. It will all pass from my boat to the internet until I am trailing a flotsom raft of communication, a big banner of 'Listen to me! I still exist!' to wave proudly whenever I meet another human being out there in the blue.

I'm not going out there to disappear.

I'm going out there to write my way around the whole damn world.

Reader Participation
If you were following my blog while I sail around the world, what would you like to read?

  • Log entries, like the ones above, full of trivial data and on-the-spot remarks?
  • Narrative, memoir-style entries?
  • Simply accountings of daily life at sea?
  • Fictionalized, sensational narrative entries that make the months at sea much more exciting than they really are? (Zombies! Pirates! Sea monsters!)
  • Just the highlights?
  • Internal reflection a la Walden?
  • Other, which you will expand upon in the comments?

[This entry was written for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol, a livejournal-based write-off competition. Voting is up, so read everyone's entries here and vote for me your favorites!
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[This entry is nonfiction, but not an accounting of a true event. It is a mashup of the conversations I’ve had with various people since I began declaring my intent to sail around the world.]


I'm going alone. )


This entry was written for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol, a Survivor-style LJ write-off. Voting starts tomorrow and will be a weekly thing until there is Only One. Wish me luck.
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The day the hummingbird attacked us on the island, I had been whistling. I was thirteen, with long skinny legs and cut-off shorts, harper-blue leather hiking boots, and a tie-dye t-shirt, and I was hiking along a narrow sandstone bluff whistling the finale from the Firebird Suite. My dad, puffing behind me, kept laughing, and every time I turned back to ask why, he waved me onwards.

"Only my daughter," I heard him mutter. He was proud, and I had faith in his pride and myself. And the day is sealed jewel-bright in my memory, as detailed and perfect as the tiny lichen-and-spiderwebs nest we found by the trail, the two tiny breathing bodies within defended by their jeweled dart of a father.

I'm not that daughter anymore.

I pay lip service to it, of course. I still whistle classical music. I own a sailboat of my own. And I have plans, big plans. The world is at my feet.

But I don't go sailing with Dad when he asks. He rarely asks anymore. I bought a new mattress, instead of a mainsail. I'm saving for a laptop first, not the new rigging my boat will need. The world, literally, is at my feet, open to me and my little boat, and I'm not taking those steps.

It's winter, I tell myself. Next weekend, I tell myself. I need this time to rest, I tell myself.

I don't tell myself to maintain my self. To put in the effort, strap on my boots, and go back to that island by myself, and climb that bluff again and again until I have shaken years of sloth out of my lungs and my long skinny legs.

I don't tell myself to maintain my boat, to finish the projects I start. Two weeks ago, I spent two hours with Dad trying to free the old fuel tank from the bilge, wrestling with block and tackle and ten gallons of ancient diesel in the narrow, grimy confines of the bilge. I didn't feel like his daughter when I was the one to call it quits for the day, knowing it would be for the week at least. The tank is still in the bilge, and it was chastening to feel how weak my legs were from just a few trips up and down the ladder.

And I don't tell myself to have faith. Faith that I can do the work if only I make the choices. If only I can get out of bed, step up, and step to it.

Have faith.

This entry was written for <lj user="therealljidol", a Survivor-style LJ write-out. If you want to enter too, do so today! Voting starts tomorrow and will be a weekly thing until there is Only One. Wish me luck.
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I hereby declare my intent to win the heck out of LJ Idol this year!

... Man, I haven't even changed my default icon since last year.
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The Lady Washington that I served aboard is made of tar and iron and fir and oak, but she is not a relic of the 18th century. She's a replica. Most tall ships still sailing these days are: The Lady, the Bounty (All three of them), or the HMS Surprise; all replicas of one sort or another.

The original Lady Washington was built around the 1750s, in Boston, at the time a British colony. There's no knowing what name she was given first - those proto-Americans kept horrible records. But in the course of the American Revolution, she was re-Christianed, despite the renaming of a ship being bad luck. But there was a war on. These things slip through the cracks.

Whether or not she was involved in the war, we don't know. I kind of doubt it. There is a Letter of Marque from the time for a ship named the Lady Washington, of her approximate size, but 'our' Lady Washington was a squat little thing, built wide and round to hold as much cargo as possible, and not the sort of ship to be privateering up and down the coast. In all likelihood, the only guns she boasted were a pair of six-pounders and a stern swivel or two to scare off small boats of nefarious intent, all four manned by only one gunner among her twelve-man crew.

Bos'un-gunner Sara touches off the starboard gun in its usual roar of flame and
smoke. Poor Sara, everyone else in the picture is wearing rain gear, but she's in
period-appropriate wool, kneeling on a rain-slick deck. Now that's dedication.
(Picture credited to Alabama Holman, the "Pixie Pirate.")

Our replica doesn't have six-pounders, but we do have a pair of threes, which throw up a fine enough blast, especially when you can echo it off stone walls or the glass faces of buildings. Prefabricated warehouses, also, toss back a perfect reverberation. We don't load shot, of course, not even for our ferocious battles with the Hawaiian Chieftain. (Not even when they fling moldy bread.) We judge whether or not a shot was true by the echo off her steel hull. You can really hear a good shot; the report comes right back to you, sharp and clear.
The battles were, in many ways, the best part of the job. Frantic and ponderous all at once, we put our two ships, nearly 300 tons between the pair of them, through their paces, spinning them around each other by changing sails, stealing one another's wind. Our captain's favorite move was box-hauling the spars, putting them at right angles to one another to effectively stop the Lady in her tracks. Chieftain, hot on our quarter, would be forced to fly right past, and all we had to do was swivel towards the wind to not only take a good shot at her stern, but take the weather-gage.

On the left, the Lady Washington heading towards the camera, and on the right, the Hawaiian
Chieftain in profile, approaching a buoy in very, very crowded Lake Union, Seattle. That little
electric boat in front of the Chieftain harassed her every time we went out to fight.

In a good three-hour battle, each ship would fire twelve to twenty shots, generally in twos (Although the Chieftain, with her modern deck layout and enormous bos'un and mate, could occasionally muscle all four of her guns down to her main deck to rake us with a broadside of four), wind depending. On a calm day, we might sit with our sails slack most of that time, trying to entertain three dozen passengers, all asking why our battle isn't more like the broadside-to-broadside cinematic fights of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Well, that's a movie, folks. At sea, real battle was slow. Two ships on the open ocean might take days, even weeks maneuvering for the perfect position. A chase could take you halfway from the coast of Spain to Brazil before you'd get close enough for a single shot. Very, very good gun crews might shoot three rounds in five minutes, but the wind was everything. And you didn't want to be shooting them while leaving your boat where they could shoot you back. You wanted to fire with your boats at right angles, either into their bow to take down spars and crew, or up their transom and hopefully destroy their rudder, their means of steering. Either one meant a disabled ship, with the right shot. Firing into their broadside, the best you could hope to do was kill a few crew and maybe destroy a gun, or maybe sink their ship, your valuable prize.

That's me, in my period costume and not-period (not flattering) safety harness, watching
the Chieftain try to take for position across Bellingham Bay. If I remember right, this
was a nearly perfect sail, sunny with a moderate breeze. Just look at those waves.
(The Lady won, of course.)

So our battles are not as exhilarating as they could be. We don't board, we don't damage, we shout friendly invective. ("Rufio! Rufio!" always gets a response, in the same cadence, of "Movie quotes! Movie quotes!") But we have three hours, not three weeks, before we have to set our spectators back on dull dry land. We want to give them a little taste, just a flavor of something real in our imitation.

[This post was written for [info]therealljidol  Week 12, and is part of a series of entries looking back at the time I spent last year on the Lady Washington. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and please come back for more. I also delight in explaining terms, so please ask away. Thank you for being here.]
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The tradition of setting coins under the mast of a ship is an old one, older than Rome. A sailor stands a good chance of dying without a grave, of never being buried. Never would a sailor be laid to rest near the graves of his family, with the ritual coin set under his tongue to pay for his passage into the afterlife. The coin under the mast is that coin, surety for the afterlives of all souls aboard. Under the foremast of the Lady Washington, in the hole in her keel for that sturdy timber, there are three such coins, one for each time the mast has been set in place.

Tar and twine. )

The Lady at her home dock in Aberdeen, WA.
The Lady Washington at her muddy dock in Aberdeen, WA,
sails all furled and flags flying, taken from the bridge above.

This entry was written for [info]therealljidol . More information about this part of my career can be found in this entry. Thank you for reading!
i_id: (Voyager)
On board ship in Astoria, or, Here's what you were missing in the foc's'l, Kris. )

This entry is nonfiction, and was written for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol: Week 9: Marching Orders. Constructive criticism is always welcome, and I'd love to know if anyone is interested in a series of posts like this, detailing daily life on board a tall ship.
i_id: (House - Holmes)
This morning, I almost slept through my doctor's appointment. My alarm went off at seven, again at eight, chiming unattended in the silent, sleeping house until eight-twenty, when the right two neurons finally connect in my brain. It's pouring outside.

Under the cut lies medical stuff. It was scary for me to go through, and I'm not all the way over it yet. Be gentle. )

This entry is nonfiction, and was written both to document this morning for myself, and for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol: Week 8: First World Problems. Constructive criticism is welcome, but be sensitive of the content please.
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My dad is a good dad. Not just a good man, but a good dad. When we moved into this house, when I was in second grade, he built us a playhouse. It was a nice big playhouse, though he never quite finished the roof, or mounted a door. The windows were sheets of clear plastic. We dealt with a leaking roof by cutting a hole in the floor for drainage. It was so blue it hurt to look at in the winter, and it sat right outside my bedroom window. It was a space station, an orphanage, a restaurant, and a den for lions and wolves together. Briefly, it was my bedroom, when sharing eighty square feet with my little sister got too offensive to an adolescent's sensitivities. Its last gasp of usefulness was as a house for three rabbits, who thoroughly destroyed the linoleum floor.

I had no use for it through high school, of course, and neither did my sister in her turn, four and a half years younger.

But Mother did.

She hung a velvet curtain for a door, and painted over two of the three windows, built rickety shelves along all the walls, and turned it into her own workroom. She ran an extension cord out under the back door and around the corner of the house, and hung lamps inside and out the little shack.

It's been ten years, now, since I left high school. The playhouse is dilapidated and ugly, painted one inadequate coat of green over that old blue paint. It's listing to the north, decidedly trapezoidal. It's a blight on the property, even with the new roof.

I can't see that roof without feeling a certain discomfort. It shouldn't be there. The rest of us, my sister and Father and I, want the playhouse to be gone. We'd like nothing more than to tear it down, as we did the old garage when it was its time to go. But Mother, through years of persistent battle, convinced Father to put up the trusses and sheeting. There's a pile of mouldering shingles under five years of cedar fallings that she means to use to waterproof the plywood, and no amount of reason can convince her otherwise.

And why is she keeping this shack? It's no longer her workshop. When we remodeled, the largest room in the house was given over to her, the entire upstairs of the large new addition. But that space is full. So too is the attic of the original part of the house. And a corner of the garage. And the room she shares with my father. And the space that will be our linen cabinet, if it's ever empty long enough to be finished.

In what used to play my playhouse, now, the remains of those rickety shelves are filled with molding magazines and snail-eaten boxes full of ruined fabric. But those magazines might have an idea in them she's never heard before. And that fabric might be saved if she can only wash and sort and iron it. Someday. And that playhouse might endure as long as the one that her dad brought home, the one that still, half a century later, sits in her mother's yard at the edge of the wood. Full of discarded things that might someday be useful. For it to be torn down would be a waste, an unendurable waste, the destruction of her own memories and plans. She's ready to fight to keep hold of those; she always will be.

I want to look out my bedroom window and see the trees of our back yard. We have a small forest on our small city lot. We have cedar and madrona, douglas fir and laurel, lilac and holly and dogwood and apple. Just like her father's playhouse, ours is set against a background of beauty. But all I see, sitting here at my desk in my old bedroom and typing before the window, is my childhood squatting there beneath the cedar tree, mildewing and filled with scraps and could-bes.
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Go sit inside a minivan. Take the seats out of their places, line them along the sides. Build a counter, a cabinet, a bed in the back. A bathroom the size of a washing machine. Cover the windows with duct-tape, except for narrow spaces at the top. Climb in and out through the sun roof. Now you have a model of the inside of a small sailboat.

Bring in your food. Enough for two months with no ice or electricity. Canned goods, rice, beans by the bag. Become friends with tuna, with Spam. Fresh fruits and vegetables for the few days they'll last, just enough for one person. All the onions you can stand to keep up your health, and vitamins for when they run out. Eggs coated with oil so they don't need kept cold. Water, forty gallons of it at the very least. Find places to put it all.

Bring in everything you need for three years. Bring your clothes, your tools, your books, your life. Pare it down until it fits, and then eliminate more until you have space to breathe. Remember to worry about weight.

Bring a spare of everything important. Don't forget four spare tires, an extra steering wheel, an extra radio and axles and an alternator. A whole spare engine, if there's room. Where you're going, you will be the only mechanic, and there will be no stores. You'll be as far off-road as it is humanly possible to get. Be prepared for everything you can imagine, and then read disaster books so you can imagine more.

Do you feel ready? You're not. But it's time to go. It's time to sail around the world.

This is my entry for LJ Idol Week 06 - Not of Your World. All of my competitors' entries can be found here; please do go and read them. This entry is inspired by my oncoming trip, sailing around the world in a 25-30' sailboat. Con-crit is always welcome, and I hope to answer further questions about this cruise in upcoming idol entries. Thank you for reading!
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I had a good job, in North Carolina. Well, it was a reliable job. It might have become a good job in another three years, four, five. I was being groomed to become assistant manager, given the long shifts, the late shifts, put in charge of the store's yearly Inventory. It was heady responsibility, really.

I took my lunch breaks alone. There were never enough of us there to have more than one person in the back room at a time, nor was there really room. It was a tiny place, a closet behind the stock room with a broken TV on a shelf, an unclaimed box of pizza rolls in the freezer that no one dared touch, a filthy microwave and a table with a rickety top. The chairs were all various faded shades of orange and had stuffing poking out of them.

I brought books to read each day, for that precious thirty minutes. Feeding my imagination was more important than feeding my stomach. For two weeks, it was House of Leaves, and I scared myself silly. For another week, it was Wicked. And then it was Maiden Voyage.

Maiden Voyage is a book about Tania, an aimless girl in her late teens who is given a choice by her frustrated father; go to university, or take the tuition money and sail around the world. The book reduced me to tears. Here I was, earning easy money telling teenagers they can't buy beer with fake ids and old women they can't buy perfume with food stamps, earnestly looking into moving up the ladder, out of the store and into the corporation, and this book, this travelogue of a scared young woman sailing alone (save a cat) across the Equator and into adulthood made me a sobbing wreck in my own break-room.

I was late getting back to work that day. I spent an evening doing the math. And twenty days later, I quit. I quit and moved across the country, out of my the apartment that sucked my paychecks dry and back in with my parents. Since then, jobs have been scarce. I made the decision to escape a career right at the ultimate downturn of the economy, and since then, I have worked perhaps eleven months out of twenty-five, two of that for room and board and sailing experience alone.

I scour the want-ads, looking for a boat. I need one sturdy and small, with a narrow full keel, a full-stepped mast, and a stern-mounted rudder. I need a steering vane and a storm jib, vaccinations and visas, a life raft and an EPIRB. I need charts and a compass and a nest egg large enough to fly me home if I destroy it all on a reef in Tonga, distracted by blue whales and a storm. I will risk my life, and live in a space smaller than most minivans for three years or so.

When I get back, maybe I'll think about a career again. But it won't be selling beer and perfume.

Links are for those who do not know what these parts of a boat are, as I know I have some landlubbers on my flist.

This is my entry for LJ Idol - 05 Afterthought. Thanks for reading, and remember to vote on Saturday!.
i_id: (Here's Matt!)
I nearly chose to abstain entirely from this round. But two people, independently, suggested I write this entry, and a third jumped in with a generous, open hand. I got the hint. It still wasn't easy to write, and it doesn't say everything I wanted to say. My viewpoint is limited, and much of this is opinion, both mine and my friend's, but I make the effort to support it with reason. And it is all true. Thank you, Tod, for being such a good interviewee.

Trigger warning: Below is, among other things, mention of rape and violence.

Imagine that everyone's very first reaction to you is that you are lying to them. )

The 20th of November is the International Transgender Day of Remembrance. Worldwide, candle vigils and moments of silence will be held to remember transgendered men and women who have died in the preceding year due to ignorance, violence, and self-violence. Please remember this day.
i_id: (G is for Grue)
The Yellow Dream is my favorite nightmare. My dreams tend towards the cinematic, high-adrenaline blockbusters full of action and narrative and geography. Yellow Dream is abstract, a little art piece, three minutes and ten seconds on youtube.

When I was small, we had four bowls. They were made of plastic, lightweight and thin and so smooth that when you touched them, you expected to find oil on your fingertips. They were the precise yellow of powdered cheese. I have not seen any of them in years, since I was nine or ten. I remember them being in the playhouse, for a while, but it's a storage shed now, and nothing comes out. They're still here, somewhere. Nothing ever leaves.

The Yellow Dream takes place inside those bowls. There is nothing but dry oil and that yellow, all around me. I can feel it before I even fall asleep, against my knuckles and the backs of my eyelids and between my teeth. If I'm smart, I get up, move, escape and stay awake.

If I'm not, I see the threads. Just two, at first, trailing from above. Two threads, and they're crossed. Messy. Unacceptable. I lay them straight, and the world is right again, tidy and clean and bright.

But over there, four threads are knotted loosely together. They itch at me, pull at me, threaten to trap me. I lay them straight, and this place is perfect again, so clean and smooth.

Then a dozen. I begin to shake, I know what's coming. I lay them straight.

They don't stay straight.

They knot.

The world is wrong.

Then there are a hundred. A thousand. I try to lay them straight and my arms get caught in the knot, fingers twisted and tied, tourniquetted by the threads that escaped my control, that threaten to crush me.

I wake up, sweating and swearing in this house, this home that is not perfect and smooth and never will be. I lie back, force my breathing calm by counting stars. One, two, three, ten, twenty, forty-one. Above me is the tangle, waiting. My hands are tied.

This journal entry was written for LJ Idol: Week 2 Deconstruction. Constructive criticism is always welcome. LJIers, feel free to friend me or watch my LJ IDOL tag.  
Thank you for reading!
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My father likes to walk into my room, look around, and say, as if impressed "It's like visiting the Museum of Beth." Apparently, my room speaks volumes about me.

Welcome to the Museum of Beth. )
i_id: (Here's Matt!)
All right, fate, I'm trying to tempt you.  I have now signed up for NaNoWriMo and LJ Idol. Between these and rp, I will be insanely busy all of November. Now is the time to pile on more stress and find me a job. You've always pulled through for me in the past, I believe in you.


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