Monday, January 19, 2015

Girls Just Wanna Have...

Sure, Cyndi Lauper was right when she sang “girls just wanna have fu-un”, but, oh, there’s so much more girls want, isn’t there?  And, alas, all girls are not created equally, are they?  Thank goodness - no.  My group of friends back in Colorado is as varied as the items on the shelf of the general store we walked into yesterday, where the toothpaste shared a shelf with a lonely, last sack of locally grown tomatoes.  Some days I need toothpaste, but other days I’m relieved to snatch up those last few tomatoes.  Our wants and desires are what make us different from each other, and they are also how we connect and contribute to those around us.

Some women want love and belonging, while others want independence and solidarity.  Some want calm, while others crave a bit of chaos.  Some want to be cherished, while others want to be challenged.  Some want quiet, while others thrive in a crowd.  I’ve realized in this stage of my life (why I’m still wresting with this now, I’ll never know) that I’m not sure what I want sometimes.  And sometimes I want it all!  But thinking about the desires of your individual heart is an important part of living life to the full.  What makes me tick?  What do I feel good at?  Where do I thrive?  What can I contribute to humanity based on what I value?  When I dig deep, maybe Cyndi Lauper was way off… fun?  Really?   THAT’S what girls want??  Oh, contraire!  I want depth, meaning, purpose!  (cue music - to dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe)

But then… (it seems there’s always a ‘but, then’ in life, just when you think you’ve solved the soul’s dilemmas).  But, then… one of my Colorado girlfriends patiently listened to me ranting about homeschooling woes and preteen drama and the hardships of nomadic life, blah, blah, blah on a Skype call.  Finally I took a breath, and she asked a loaded question, disguised as a simple inquiry.  “But, are you having fun???”  Suddenly, world’s collided, the sky fell, and I was forced to consider this element of life which I flippantly dismissed only days earlier as a ridiculous notion!  Am I having fun?  Well, that little nugget of gold led me searching down deep into the mines of myself all over again.  I’ll spare you the journey (you’re welcome) and just bring you to my latest quest.  To recognize my need for fun as I follow my soul’s desires.  Simple, right?  

Winery Tour with California Girls!
Well, I quickly identified that I deeply desire friendships - any kind, any place.  Just give me someone to relate to in some way, and I’m good.  But life aboard doesn’t always make that very easy.  In fact, friendships look and feel a lot different when you are living a nomadic lifestyle in isolated places or in the middle of the sea.  Most of my friends around me are only around me temporarily.  Neighbors don’t stick around long - plans change, forecasts change, tides change.  So, just when we’d gotten past the “happy hour” chit chat, someone’s off again.  I would feel like a kid at a playdate, when mom says it’s time to go home, right at the exact moment we’d finished building the fort to beat all forts!!  Leave, now?  We were just getting started!

Living on board doesn’t give me the luxury of ‘fort building’.  When there’s potential for a girl’s night out or sharing a cup of coffee with another female, carpe diem!  I pick up the VHF, make a call out to boats in the area, and organize it.  Inevitably, women come crawling out from their cockpits to connect with someone, anyone without a Y chromosome.  So, come on, cruising gals!  Women aboard, unite!  See a boat anchored next to you?  Paddle over and say hello.  Chances are, if there’s a woman on board, she’d love a friend.  And maybe even a little, dare I say, fun???

In the last month or so, Field Trip have been fairly stationary for once in a long time - maybe forever, come to think of it.  I’ve stretched outside my inhibitions, and had a great time with some of the ladies living aboard around me.  Sometimes it’s as simple as a group grocery store run, other times it’s required a bit more planning.  Either way, my cup has been filled with deeper friendships and a lot of fun

How many groceries can four women buy?  Let's just say, we drove a low-rider home!

Turns out one of my boat gals does hair!  Not sure she's ever dyed hair in a wharf
bathroom before, though!  Goodbye gray!
"Cruising Gal Hair Salon" now open for appointments!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Blustery and Blowin'

Boats battened down out at anchor off of the Opua Marina in New Zealand

Well, it is the epitome of a blustery day here in New Zealand.  All of my moanings that the warm New Zealand summer in December didn't really feel like Christmastime have been put in their place.  The wind is howling, the sea is swirling, and the sky can’t decide if it wants to cry or just weep constantly.  Anchors are dragging out in the anchorage, causing havoc, while we are lolling back and forth with the swell in the protection of a marina berth.  It’s one of those days when I can’t get warm no matter how much soup I sip or how many mugs of tea I steep.  But as I sit here in my coziest wool socks and glance at the tree, I realize something is missing… hmmm.  Surely I can find it online, I can find nearly everything online these days (except instructions on how to delete annoying tags and game invites on Facebook, that's impossible).  I hop on Google, and find this link in a wink - just what this gloomy day is missing…   

Now, it looks and feels a little bit more like Christmas!

But darn, I can’t keep this song from playing over and over again in my head… 

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the (Youtube) fire is so delightful.  And since we’ve no place to go - Let it blow, let it blow, let it blow.  It doesn’t show signs of stoppin’, biosecurity confiscated my corn for poppin’, boat batteries are running low - Let it blow, let it blow, let it blow!”

Kiwi Coffee

Let me introduce you to my new friend, the flat white.  After my recent blog about my instant coffee routine on board, I must say that I’ve indulged in many an afternoon flat white to get that much-needed caffeine fix after a morning of boat schooling.   Who knew that New Zealand was so into its baristas and brews?

Kate, Johanna, Denise and I enjoying some girl time.
I was first introduced to this coffee creation on the island of Niue, when a few women and I met at The Crazy Uga Café  to celebrate a birthday.  I was anxious to have a professionally brewed cup of joe after many months of my Via instant coffee packets.  The word ‘latte’ could hardly wait to escape my lips.  But as I reached the counter and looked over the menu for pricing, there was not a ‘latte’ to be found.  What?  A café that doesn’t serve latte?  Is there such a place?  Should such a place even be allowed to exist?  

Thankfully, before I threw a complete adult tantrum, one of the sailing gals from New Zealand chimed in with a Kiwi translation of the unfamiliar coffee terminology on the menu.  Turns out, my precious latte was disguised as a flat white in the South Pacific.  Tantrum diverted.  Okay, this café can continue to exist.  I’ll allow it, I guess. 

Cup 'o Foam with Marshmallow Fish
Since that educating trip to my first New Zealand-inspired café, I have confidently ordered many more flat whites.  The kids even tried their first fluffies recently (see below for description).  The frothy goodness came in tiny espresso cups accompanied by the chocolate-covered, pink marshmallow-filled fish that most cafés here serve with their brews. The kids' favorite part of New Zealand coffee, however, is the fancy designs that the baristas create in the foam - ferns, hearts, swirls.  Each cup is a unique work of art.

Java Art
Below is a cheat sheet that I found online to help avoid Kiwi coffee confusion.  Next time I need a little pick me up, looks like I need to try the affogato - yum.  What’s the Kiwi name for your favorite?  Move over Starbucks, New Zealand’s coffee culture is coming full steam ahead.  They take their coffee and rugby very seriously down here.  As a matter of fact, I can’t believe they haven’t created an All Blacks brew yet!

New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team performing the traditional Maori "Haka" War Dance

NZ coffee guide 
Zest Food Tours explain New Zealand coffee terms:
espresso / short black - basis for all coffee styles, espresso is full-flavoured, fragrant, with a velvety body and lingering after-taste; single serving in a demi-tasse (small cup)
macchiato - a single or double espresso shot, just stained with frothed milk
long black - single serving of espresso, with the same amount of hot water added; served in large cup filled to just under the top, or sometimes with the water provided separately
flat white - one third espresso, two thirds steamed milk with a touch of swirled froth
cappuccino - regular espresso with equal parts steamed milk and foam, sprinkled with chocolate or cinnamon
caffe latte - regular espresso, topped with hot milk and little or no froth
mochaccino - one third each of espresso, steamed milk, cocoa
ristretto - (‘restricted’) is 15-20ml of espresso, the essence of coffee
piccolo latte - miniature latte made with ristretto and 70ml of steamed milk; delicate flavoursome drink
affogato - espresso served over ice-cream
espresso Romano - espresso served with a twist of lemon
latte macchiato - steamed milk with espresso on the side
espresso con panna - espresso topped with a dash of whipped cream
cortado - Spanish version of the piccolo served in a 60ml demitasse cup

fluffy - for kids, a demi-tasse filled with foamed milk, sprinkled with chocolate and served with marshmallow on the side and a small chocolate fish.