27 years of joy together, yesterday

James and I met in Seattle, Washington, in 1996. We’ve been together ever since and we continue to establish how well matched we are. Some of the stories are told in previous years’ blogs, so why reiterate when I can link back? But… The way I (Dena) was attracted to James in the beginning was a solid foundation for where we’ve come together. Smart, focused iconoclast with a strong fuck-it tendency and a stronger give-a-shit? Sign me up. Here we are, that much closer year by year to our best selves in great part because James and I work together. My ethical bright lines and James’ energy for getting to the right side of history; James’ deep and thorough musical knowledge and appreciation and my scattered and strong tastes; my hunger for his presence, his body and James’… And Dena, the person on this planet I (James) love the most! Her clarity, her passion, her hunger for adventure. Her willingness to learn and experience everything as it comes makes and keeps me the person I have always wanted to be. Her joy, intelligence and presence are my inspirations and have been for almost three decades now! …And then there’s the music we created together. Not just the harmonies of the bodies and the swells of our emotions but the actual notes from things that inspired us. We bought a digital recording studio on the Big Island of Hawaii at a garage sale for a few bucks (that we could have bought some food with…talk about poor in paradise, word!), we taped the lyrics we loved to the cinder brick walls and marine-grade plywood bulkheads and wrote a bunch of songs around those words, then we made up some more words and adopted those that Dena’s dad had been writing and[…]

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Un-still life in Praia da Vitoria

Autumn in the Azores is a fantastical experience! The weather is the rockstar and you are only there to watch and survive if you can. Our last post glossed over something we hoped wouldn’t be a big deal. When we anchored and went ashore on day one, right after the sail from Angra, the weather was already starting to get a bit overwhelming. As I (James) was getting in the dinghy, I got a gust that blew me hard into the portside solar panel corner and cracked another rib on my body…my 8th as an adult and, believe me, this one really hurt! I’ve done this enough to know that the first day is actually the best for the pain so we continued with our plans and I rowed us in to the marina. We checked in with officialdom and walked up the hill to the grocery store for a much-needed provisioning run. We were back on the boat less than an hour after making landfall. Two days later, we rowed back to the marina from across the bay (about a nautical mile each way), which proved that we hadn’t been doing that kind of rowing for a while. Even the downwind row to the marina kicked my (James’) ass but then again, I do have a broken rib. Dena rowed back against the wind and the fetch and it was kind of a huge deal. But she rocks like that and made it look easy. Really, I (Dena) just kept on keeping on. I’m pretty good at the endurance game when I’m not wearing the wrong (i.e. knitted) gloves. The gales roll through like trains every other day or so, meaning one day you’re in paradise and the next you’re in Dante’s seventh circle with the hounds of hell[…]

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An overnight to another world

We set sail away from São Jorge in the early morning hours, ahead of the catamoron that rolled out backwards to set a main that they didn’t even use to blast ahead of us to Ilha Terceira. We sailed and sailed like we do to a place we’d never been. Again the sailing was spectacular in ways that can not be understood by people who have never done this. There aren’t enough expletives, only images that can only be captured in the light of the sun. The sailing…was sailing… We gybed to a port tack about 45 minutes out of Velas and used that tack all the way into the open Atlantic flow and still didn’t have to gybe or tack, we just adjusted the sails for the wind and loved our planet the way you do. As the local star descended the horizon, Pico winked one last time from the stern of S/V SN-E Cetacea. The open Atlantic welcomed us with a darkness that would not allow a moment of laxity. The local fishers don’t always adhere to norms of lighting, so the radar was a guide of sorts. Like all technology, it lied like a rug! We swapped watches all through the night and watched as the traffic came and went. Somehow we all ultimately missed each other. This wasn’t going to be an extended stay. The anchorage is open to the south and we had some bad southerlies coming, but it was impossible to resist getting a look at the town. And a very good lunch that started with the bread and cheese board. …at the fort that’s been turned into a hotel. Like any good one night stand, it ended almost before it began. A jazz festival in the marina serenaded us on a night too[…]

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