Sunday, June 10, 2018

Just hanging out

Oh my, I've finally achieved it.  I am not sure it is something that our culture values a lot, and I think in many ways we're mixed about it, but it is lovely to be able to just sit and not feel you have to do something.  To just sit and listen to the birds or look at a beautiful view.  I get caught up and start feeling that I should be making use of my time (how protestant is that!)  So if I - oddly - have nothing to do I should read, or paint or listen to a podcast...something!

And this is good, striving to improve is important, but it is also important to sometimes just be, to just hang out and not do much of anything, and we have finally gotten to a place where I can do that for a while.  There is nothing I have to strive for or organize, and it is lovely.

I've been making short audio files of what I am hearing and it is a marvelous way to just be. 

Here are links to three audio files, I hope this works.

Sounds below when we are sailing in calm water with a light wind

Gilleleje at 3am

The Church bells in Gilleleje with an echo.



I have struggled with this for a few years now, not in the sense of not personally feeling the emotion, I am happy the vast majority of the time.  But our culture views it as the key goal in life, which on one hand I agree with, and on the other a protestant austere anglo element feels like we should have more worthwhile goals.

I was reading a book the other day that said, “you can only be as happy as your saddest child.” and while there is truth in that we also need to not depend on others for our happiness, and as parents we have to try, at some level, to separate our emotions from our children’s.  It doesn’t serve them to do otherwise.  Which is not to say that you are never enraged by the poor treatment of your child by others - I look at my youngest child’s school right now which makes me so angry I cannot even write about it - but it cannot define your own level of enjoyment.

And then there is the question, what do we want for our children.  We tend to say that we want them to be happy, and of course we all do.  I think though, that I need to recognize and they need to do so as well (not my children specifically, but children in general) that when we say this a component of this happiness, indeed the necessary base for it is that they have a basic sense of competence in themselves, which leads to adequate levels of self-confidence, they need to have the capacity to make and keep friends who are truly friends and who have their best interests in mind, who are able to make enough money in order to get and keep a job, hopefully one that is not soul destroying, so that they are not dependent on others for their survival.  All of these are precursors to happiness.  But I am not sure that all kids growing up hear this when we say we want them to be happy.  Sometimes that gets interpreted as simply being happy, taking the easiest and simplest route to happiness. 

But I believe that happiness, really long term happiness lies in confidence in ourselves, friends and hopefully family who love and care for you, and an ability to have a reasonable level of control over your life and the financial resources to provide for yourself.  From there it springs.  This is of course assuming that good mental health is in place, because even if you have all of these elements in place, mental health problems can and will undermine the entire edifice.  That said, there are few among us who would wish poor mental health on anyone else.

So yes, I want my kids to be happy, but it also means that sometimes we all have to do things that do not make us happy to get to the conditions that allow for long term happiness.  It’s a balance, but an important one. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Still don't have a name for her, we'll have to work on that

We got an inflatable kayak to go with the boat.  We were scrambling around for what to do, cause we need a way to get to shore - well mostly to get Chuck to shore - for a week or so now, and then for a couple of weeks in the fall.  After that we’ll be in canals and mostly won’t need a dingy.  In a couple of years when we get out of the canals we’ll need a proper dingy, but why build/buy/carry one already.

First we thought about an optimist sailing dingy, but honestly, there a little too big and it was going to be a nightmare going to pick up the one we wanted. 

We looked at all sorts of options and then came across an inflatable kayak.  Not too expensive, not too heavy, it seats 2 adults and a child (or dog) and we can pack it away in a small space.

We ordered it and after considerable trouble with Sweden’s utterly useless UPS (really, those Swedes need to work hard on efficiency!) we got it.  Launched it and the man HATED it.  Really deeply hated it.

Fast forward to today, we had to launch it to get his chunkiness to shore to attend to his business, we pumped it up, this time pumping up the floor MUCH harder, and doing it first.  Well, that was a whole different boat!  Alright, it is not a dream kayak, but it is pretty stable, it’ll steer and paddle, though we could do with longer paddles, the boat is WIDE…..

And Chuck?  The first time we blew it up, not so enthusiastic.  Now that it’s his ticket to shore?  All about it. 



Ok, the Danish and the Swedish are well known for a sense of style, for goodness sake, most of us have more Swedish designed furniture in our houses than anything else (Ikea anyone), and the Danish have a lovely clean clear tidy elegant style, lots of open spaces and horizontal lines.  It is calm and light and delightful.

But they also have this weird thing about ceramic dogs in their windows.

Paired ceramic dogs

Big paired ceramic dogs

Big ugly paired ceramic dogs.

I am baffled.

Here’s a sample:

I have seen MANY houses with these.  What is that about?????

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Chuck was sick

Poor Chuck was sick…he had the runs.

Woke us up at 3am cause he needed to go.  Thankfully this didn’t involve getting in the crappy kayak!  We were at a dock at least.  The man, wonderfully, took him for a walk.  Then he woke us up again at 5.15 or so, I took this walk…it was pretty much full day at this point.  I took him off for about an hour and a half walk.  He then spent pretty much the entire day asleep.  Not scratching, not responding to noises around us, not eating breakfast, just sleeping.  Hard. This is why we stayed in place today, the next harbour we need to get to is at least a 5 hour sail away and with a dog that HAS to poo, that is a problem.

He went for a walk again around 4pm, and was doing better, kinda limp and uninterested and went to sleep, hard, while I was using wifi over by the harbour master’s office.  Came back and slept.

He did, however eat dinner, mostly rice with a little kibble mixed in and we went for a walk for over an hour and he was more interested in the world and fighting me to try and sniff things, he even ran a bit. 

Here’s hoping we have a quiet night and a nice sail tomorrow.  At least we're in a lovely place, and it was not too pricey.

Yoga mat, who'da thought

When you are packing up your life and sell off a bunch of it to make a big move, like onto a boat, sometimes you have to guess about what is going to be useful and what you can kind of do without.  I debated about bringing the yoga mat with me, thinking it would take up a lot of space and not be super useful…really how much yoga would I do?  I wanted to do a lot, it’s good for me, but I wasn’t sure I really would.

Well, I was right in some ways, I haven’t done any yet, though maybe today as we are having a rest day as Chuck has diarrhea and the next stop is a minimum 5 hour cruise….but the yoga mat has proved to be worth it’s weight in gold. 

It’s primary use has been to cover over the dog’s bed at night.  This started the first night when it was absolutely PERISHING on the boat and the dog would have been very cold, so I stretched it over the gap, lay a folded blanket on top and he had a cosy cave that was draft free, or mostly. 

See?  Kinda like this:

Then, the other day when we were sailing, well motor sailing into a fairly good sea, Chuck was fairly unhappy and was moving around like an fragile old man who finds the sidewalk he’s standing on covered in ice.  Pretty much exactly like that, so I laid out the yoga mat on the floor downstairs, it is designed to be non-slip, and Chuck was so much happier!!!!

So, it’s new second role in life, non-skid flooring for the cabin when we are underway in a sea.

You never know what’s going to prove useful.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Disappointment (mild)

I bought this:

Now, in a lot of Eastern Europe they make the most outstandingly delicious sour cherry juice, so when I saw it I got a little excited.  I poured out a glass and it was surprisingly light coloured and clear....and I tasted it...

bleaaaaaahhhhh, sooooo sweet, as in koolaid made by a 10 year old who doubled the sugar sweet. 


The Swedes seem to have a bit of a sweet tooth, super sweet juice, sweet mustard (?!?!? it is good)  the pickled beets were very sweet......even the muesli is sweetened.

Sailing finally

Well, sometimes things move slowly.  We had hoped to get the boat down near Amsterdam by now, but we are still in Sweden, indeed today is the first day we have managed to leave the harbour for more than an hour or so. 

It has, however, been lovely to get a sail in.  And to visit a new place and to see a bit of Sweden and Denmark before we head south.  We're going to be heading back to Canada in a couple of weeks for the summer and will be back here in September at which time we will have to sail rapidly south to get out of the storms in October! 

For now, it is all heat and relaxation. Getting to know the boat.  In many ways she is very familiar, being a sistership to our other boat, Oreneta, but still different in subtle ways.  I cannot say I love her the same was as I do Oreneta, but I am certain that will come with time. 

Some general comments about Sweden, the Ikea maze and restaurant?  In most stores.  Swedes stare like Catalans do. It is slightly infuriating.  Things go slowly here, but very honestly.  This is an example,

This is a fence post, just a normal fence post.  It is capped in copper.  Does anyone have any idea how expensive copper is?  REALLY expensive.  In Spain, this would last a day before it was stolen, and no. one. would use it.  They had it on a good 50 posts at least!  In Catalunya, it would have been, honestly, gone in a day.