Monday, August 26, 2013

Detour to Detroit: the Darling and the Daring

The boat sits quietly at the dock, waiting patiently for its blue-water debut. En route from inter-office wailing to inter-island sailing, a number of detours have steered me away from the Bay and across the continent.  Not one to sit still for even a minute, I’ve abandoned the boat for now and filled my days since retirement with adventure, intrigue, family, friends, and an extended stroll down memory lane. Some specifics:

Intrigue:  Driving from Washington, DC, on a hot August morning, stopped in the small town of Delaware, Ohio, to chat with cousin Karen, with whom I am delving into the mysteries of family history and genealogy. This visit: a daring attempt to decipher the Parcels branch – my maternal grandfather.

Friends:  In an amazing coincidence, old friend and Department of Energy colleague Penny also retired to Delaware, Ohio!  Both Karen and Penny moved here to be near darling grandchildren. 

Family: Onward to the Detroit area, where brother Brian lives in the family home, with sister Kathy nearby. Our daring adventure: enchiladas at Mexican Village after dark.

Memories:  Renewed old friendships at Hazel Park High School 40-year reunion. Reconnected with former dates for Sadie Hawkins Dance (Doug) and Sweetheart Dance (Leon, photo lower left). Boogied with my darling girlfriends (Gayle, lower right). Pored over yearbooks, class photos, and snapshots of long hair and 70s-style bell bottoms.

Adventure: Just beginning, as I write this on a plane to Vancouver, British Columbia for an intermediate blue-water adventure. A test, you might say, for six months on our own boat, on the opposite side of the continent. If we don’t get scared and seasick on this Pacific adventure, the Atlantic one will be an island breeze!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Leaping into retirement

How does one walk away from a 35-year career?   Not gently or quietly, apparently.

To go long-distance sailing, I first had to leave my job.  I gave myself a few weeks' gap between my last day and departure on my first major trip. Thinking of leisurely, relaxing mornings reading the Post, afternoons biking and strolling around museums, and evenings whipping up my favorite recipes, I turned in my papers in March and grinned all the way to July 31.


It's been nonstop since then. Between routine medical care (never had time to catch up while working), cleaning out the house (to get it ready to rent), sorting through all the paraphernalia that somehow found its way from desk #1 (NSF) to desk #2 (home office), setting up my freelance writing business, preparing for a long absence (utilities, tenants, storage, mail, etc), and helping Pope with boat repairs, get the picture!

Still smiling, though!  Had a lovely send-off with my favorite, fun colleagues. Photos of my colleagues here.

With Tarri, who lent me loyal friendship and support during my years in NSF's Office of Legislative & Public Affairs:

But will it float?

Pope and I tested our "new" used boat. Pictured here passing under Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It was watertight....mostly. One leak up near the foredeck. Unfortunately, trickles directly into our sleeping quarters up in the v-berth. Oh well, add one more thing to our slowly diminishing "To Do" list, now down from 123 to 19, though several of those remaining 19 are biggies...  Progress!