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Beth Caldwell - The View From Here

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Life is an old family recipe

First of all, I wish I could say I invented the title of this column, but I did not.

I opened the cover of the August edition of “O, The Oprah Magazine” and there it was in an “IKEA” ad. Sometimes my themes cook up that way, like instant potatoes, they grow into something really good from nothing more than flakes.

I’m at a bit of a standstill with my sailing adventures in that my rather antiquated six horsepower motor continues to gum up and give me angst.

Catching up on other things in life

There’s a downside to throwing all of myself for months into a passionate hobby like sailing. Nothing else around here gets done.

The grass grew eight inches, and dust settled in thick layers on windowsills and end tables—reminding me of what an abandoned house must look like.

The laundry was ignored until I ran out of underwear and was forced to dig out the dreaded “thong thing” I swore never to don again.

Garbage day was missed so many times that I needed to buy “bag tags”—and used the whole package in one day.

This one is for the books

If I would have known ahead of time exactly how it would all play out on Saturday afternoon, I’m pretty sure I would have chosen to stay safe at the dock and polish the stainless steel screws on my sailboat.

But that’s not what boats are for, right?

June 16, indeed, was the first time I sailed my boat. June 27 was the first time I did it alone—as in I was the only human on board. The only other living creature was the big fat-backed spider that crawled out of my mainsheet.

Here’s to the journey

Well, folks, I can sail. Yes I can.

I raised my own mainsail and my own working jib and, as forecast, headed out for my very first sail on my own sailboat last Tuesday (June 16).

It was a defining moment in my life.

Granted, I did have a consummate sailor friend on board who ensured my success by being there with good advice. But it was I, I Captain, who sailed the vessel.

Raise the sails and let go

By the time you read this in the newspaper on June 17, I will have left the dock on my own boat, raised sails by myself, and used the wind as my journeyman.

That most awesome event happened after work last night (June 16).

But I’m writing this on June 15 (for deadline purposes) and only can imagine, in my wordy mind, what it will be like to be in the moment I’ve dreamt about since February.

Launch date stalled by fear

My sailboat still remains in my yard on a trailer—far from the wind and waves.

The grass growing underneath the boat trailer, which I cannot reach with the lawnmower, grows tall and thick.

I now lament each day that I watch it grow unfettered because it defines the one more day—and one more day again—that I am not on the water.

For many years I have subscribed to “Notes from the Universe” and every morning around 5 a.m. (and without fail), I receive a philosophical message in my e-mail.

A boat name to proudly sail on

Since the moment I made the decision to buy my sailboat, I’ve dwelt a lot on what defines me as I sought out a name for it.

I’ve brainstormed names, picked one, then another, and second-guessed them all. It’s been nearly a daily think-tank for three-and-a-half months.

However, I’ve made a final choice. Quite simply the best name ever.

I was nicknamed “Little Miss” by a friend of mine who understood me and my journey through some tough hardships. “Little Miss” is the name of a 2010 country hit song by the duo “Sugarland.”

A few words about motherhood

When my daughters were “littles,” I would show them their reflection in a mirror and had them practice saying “I love you” to them.

At bedtime, when it came time for prayers of gratitude and lists of whom they loved, I cued them in as first on their lists.

There are countless philosophical quotes that preach loving yourself first. But I can’t write a better one than to encourage you to look in the mirror at yourself, really stare into those eyes, be you man or woman, and tell yourself “I love you” until you believe it.

Always stop for a time-out

I looked out my kitchen window earlier this week and there was my black cat sitting like a statue in the driveway—staring at me with her telepathic flat stare that said, “You must let me in.”

I think “Millie” is feeling the pinch of neglect these days as I race around here like the human version of racehorse “American Pharaoh,” winner of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Living life in more than one gear

Charles Schultz once penned, “Life is like a 10-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.”

I think I’m a few gearshifts ahead of the game at this point.

In the past 29 days, I’ve learned about electrical panels on sailboats, deep cycle and “AGM” batteries, pintles and gudgeons (which are not names of fairies from a fantasy movie), what contexts ay good bilge sponge, and what the real definition of “premium” is.