Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Study Time

The learning curve for becoming a cruiser seems very steep. George and I know how to sail but there are many, many things we do not know about our new boat. There are systems that are totally new to us: fresh water system, "gray water" system, "black water" system, electrical system, battery banks, Diesel engine, navigation system, refrigeration, through hulls and more. It would be easier if we were near the boat and could get to know it gradually. But, it is in another state and it hasn't been convenient to go and visit this winter. We have been studying the material that came with the boat in an effort to prepare. Most of it, though, goes right over my head. I have also been reviewing the material we used when we took classes in the BVI three years ago.

It has been really hard for us to motivate ourselves to study the material so we set up a schedule to work on it together three days a week for an hour. Yesterday, as it was snowing once again (in late March!!!), I got out the study materials and put in another hour.

Snowing again!

I belong to a wonderful FaceBook group called Women Who Sail. The women in the group are knowledgeable, supportive and kind. I recently learned through the group that a two day workshop called Cruising Women will take place next month just an hour from here. I am so excited to be able to register and have an opportunity for more hands-on learning.

 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Downsizing to Digital

When we were in the process of downsizing last fall I was amazed at how much space our photo albums and loose photos took up. We had stashed photo albums all over the house in closets and on bookcases. I had a drawer full of loose photos that had been waiting for years to be filed. When I finally compiled the albums and loose photos I filled four and a half boxes! Since we were moving from a house with 10 closets, a full attic, full basement and garage to a condo I knew storage space would be at a premium. I SO did not want to depend on keeping some of our belongings in a storage unit so I worked really hard to make sure everything we moved could fit into our new condo.

I was not a fan of digital cameras and photos when they first became popular. It seemed that the photos became "lost" if they weren't on paper. Several years later I much prefer digital photos to paper ones. They are easy to find (generally), share with others and view on a digital picture frame.

So, I developed a plan to convert all of those 4 1/2 boxes of photos to digital. It is a HUGE project and will probably take me years to complete.

First, my husband and I removed the photos from the photo albums.

 

Next we organized them into boxes labeled by decade.

Photos after they were removed and organized by decade. They take up much less space than before
 

Then, I took each decade and organized the photos by the year, and then by the date.

Organized by year
Photos from the 90's after they are organized

 

Some photos are not labeled and I just guess what year/month they were taken.

Once they are all organized the scanning, uploading and labeling will begin.

I am not entirely sure that the organizing was necessary but I think it will be easier to put them in albums by the year now that I have organized them. I am learning about digital photos, labeling, tagging, etc. as I go.

 

 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why a Blog?

Until very recently I was not a fan of blogs. Friends would ask me to follow their blogs. I would have very good intentions and really wanted to support them, but I just didn't want to read blogs. I would much rather read the newspaper, or a book. Then I discovered sailing blogs. I became obsessed with reading sailing blogs. There are A LOT of blogs written by cruising sailors. Who knew? I especially enjoy reading about people who are very early in their cruising experiences. I will read the blogs from beginning to end, as if it were books. I learn from them and relate to them. Sailors love talking about boats and it feels as if I am in the company of fellow sailors when I read the blogs. I started by reading a blog suggested by my husband. He thought the author of the blog, Skipperette's Log, sounded a lot like me in her struggles with downsizing the contents of her house. I moved on to Zero to Cruising about a couple who had no sailing experience but decided to move onto a boat and live in the Caribbean. Then I found The Retirement Project. It is about a couple who developed a plan for early retirement that involved buying a boat, learning to sail and becoming live aboard cruisers within 5 years. I now follow about 20 blogs and can barely keep up. I learn from each one and hope that maybe my blog might help someone else someday. In the meantime I am enjoying recording my thoughts.

 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy Birthday

Today is my 60th birthday.

 

I decided to give myself the gift of a blog. It was not easy to give this gift. I have a lot of mixed feelings about writing a blog and putting myself out there in cyberspace. Part of me wants to hide and part of me wants to document my life and share it with others.

My husband and I have gone through a lot of transitions in the past several months. We each retired, sold our home of 22 years, downsized to fit into a condo, sold one boat and bought another and moved from Connecticut to Maryland. Phew!

We are now preparing to move the new boat, a Hanse 415, from Mamaroneck to Cambridge, MD. I am often overwhelmed by the prospect since I know very little about cruising or this boat. It is a very steep learning curve but I am confident it will all be worth it.