Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Juan views Norman Rockwell Exhibit

Juan and Kay visited the Crocker Museum in Sacramento to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit.  Rockwell is one of Juan's most admired painters and illustrators.  We both enjoyed seeing the original paintings.  My, he was so prolific!  If you are near Sacramento, the show is a must see.  The show runs through February 3rd.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

One of Juan's student sailing the world

Dear friends and family,

Sorry about this mass e-mail letter, but I have a lot to tell and so much other work to do, that this seems the only way.  We are now at the Marshall Islands, about a 20 day sail from Hilo, Hi.  We had pretty good downwind sail, fairly comfortable, with a few very slow days with flat seas and going nowhere.  We let the kids swim mid-ocean on those flat,hot days, tied to the boat and with Lee, of course.  I do not swim where I cannot see EVERYTHING (trust issues), so I stood on deck as jellyfish and shark patrol, flare gun ready to fire at any danger.  We have seen lots of cool animals-it makes our day to have a big school of dolphin come swim at our bow with us , sometimes for as long as an hour.  Have also had pilot whales, which are like gigantic ,black dolphins, humpback whales, giant ,beautiful jellyfish, and huge, colorful yellowtail tuna.

Kids have boat chores, household type chores, plus "sailing school"(me too) at 1pm EVERY day. At sunset, we are reading a book that Lee loves called "The Education of Little Tree". These things (are a routine) are mandatory. Lee does well with routine and I rebel-but I'm doing it anyway.We still have the children fighting among each other often, but we had that at the house so…

The Marshall Is. are a groups of atolls and we are at the Marjuro Atoll.  An atoll is a ring of islands  with a lagoon in the center.  Daiva was born on an island in the Cocos Keeling Atoll,which consisted of 4 islands and what I thought a large lagoon in the center.  This atoll is gigantic and has possibly 50 islands encircling the lagoon.  The one town here is about the size of Marysville.  You could easily walk the whole town, but it is hot (85-90 and humid) and taxis are numerous and $1.00 per person  anywhere  The town is a bit like a cleaned up Mexican town with nicer, Polynesian acting people.  I believe there is only one pass into this lagoon and it took us most of the day to motor  from one end to our anchorage at the town.  Lee needed to be at the town to check in with the legal aid office here.  The lagoon water is very clean and clear and we can swim around the boat and I wash our dishes with salt water to save on fresh.

I will back up here and tell you a bit about what I now think I know of Lee's job.  With him being a very humble person and my not asking questions, feeling as though people tell you things if they want  you to know and in their own time, I am just learning now what a important and prestigious (i think), Lee's job is. He is the director of a program of legal aid (family law) that covers 4 countries: Marshall Is. (two offices at different atolls), Federated States of Micronesia (many offices on several different islands with superb diving), Palau, which is one beautiful island and is its own country, and fourthly the Northern Marianas with the main office for all in Saipan. This is a BIG job and frankly I am impressed. I know he can be a very diplomatic, creative and conscientious director/boss. I feel they are lucky to get him. Today he is being flown for one overnight at the other Marshall Is. office, so kids and I will be on our own.

Here is what our day looks like: Get all our of  our sheets and rags ashore to a laundry machine and then take back to boat to dry all over the rigging. It will probably rain on the sheets, but oh well. We also plan to wash down the decks of the boat real good, so that if we get a heavy and long rainfall, we can fill our water tanks. Tank openings are on the deck, so water simply flows in. The rest of  the laundry we will do in buckets on the boat possibly with water from the island that is a little suspect to put in our tanks on board for drinking. Then we will take the dinghy (Yes, I'm finally driving an outboard!) to an uninhabited island spot for snorkeling. Big plans tonight to go ashore with other "yachties" to the main hotel for a Marshallese fashion show.  The weaving of the pandanahs (like grass skirt material) is very unique-different than i have seen in Fiji or Tonga and I 'm hoping this will show up in the fashion show. It is very safe for us to walk about around here at night without Lee.

The weather is around 85-90 with a lot of humidity.  I'm told Saipan is around 78-80 with hot days of 85 sometimes. I've taken to wearing a longish lightweight tunic type dress, sometimes belted, with short sleeves (straps not modest enough). It's cool and comfortable.  I have dress and casual flip-flops. Bright, fun patterns are popular, and i'm getting into it!  I wear my hair up everyday and forget forehead wrinkle concealing bangs-too sweaty! I almost always wear a big brimmed hat. ( BTW Sun and makes a beautiful straw woven hat in different colors that can really be wadded up and stuffed in a backpack and come out perfect looking.) I am the biggest sunscreen nag around here and everyone must where a hat. Daiva will not go ashore (yet) in traditional clothing, but she is modest.  Wilson wears the longest shorts he can find for comfort.  Shorts=little boy.  Lee cannot wear shorts or a tank top. However, he wore flip-flops with his business attire (khakis and white button-down) to his introduction meeting at the other Marshall island this morning. Frances is young enough to wear anything or nothing.

I need to stop and get on with stuff to do today. I plan to send off this e-mail at the hotel fashion show which has wifi.  Our next stop is Pohnpei,  an island in the Federated States of Micronesia, a 10 day sail but we are in the doldrum area where we could sit for days twirling around going nowhere.  I'm excited about Pohnpei because it is a real dirt island where they can grow food (Atolls are sand and NOTHING grows all produce is shipped in. We are talking cabbage, carrots, apples, and a few grapefruits. Period!)  Also Pohnpei is supposed to have beautiful waterfalls with giant fresh water pools for swimming.Lee admitted he's worried I will like Pohnpei too much and not like Saipan as well.  But Saipan is also a big garden island , even sending out produce to their other Mariana Is that can't grow anything.And I think the weather is a bit cooler in Saipan.

Now, I'm rattling on.  May add a few more words before I try to send it off tonight at the hotel.

Yes, this is hard, fun, terrible, weird,exciting and very challenging. I am glad we are doing it, but if I had known how hard it would be with the kids and such a big boat, I don't know where I would have found the courage.

Love you all and feel free to pass this along to anyone you think might be interested.

Love you and think of everyone often wishing I could share some of the beauty i see daily,

 P.S. please pass this on to Monet,Aunt Deann, Big and little curtis, Terrence, Jennifer, David, and Robert and Aunt Chris Jensen? Can't find their e-mail address. Anyone? Help?