Beauty in the Sea

Many moons ago I was in this Bible study that spoke of beauty.  While this really didn’t touch my heart all that much (I’m a tomboy at heart), they asked a question during one of the sessions that has resonated with me through the years.

“When do you feel the most beautiful?”

I struggled with this question.  I oscillate between “Why am I in the medical field when I should be modeling swimwear” and “When is it socially appropriate to put a bag over one’s head in public?”  But realistically, I’m somewhere in between.

Even when I get all dolled up, I always manage to find flaws in myself upon reviewing the pictures. It’s the perpetual let-down of, “Oh, I look fantastic, except for the fact I look bloated and my eye-make up smudged….”

Then it hit me: I know where I feel the most beautiful.

In the ocean, with hair down, bikini on, and nearly 8 feet of plastic strapped to my right ankle.  I feel even more beautiful with those big powerful waves with clean faces are headed my way – or as I like to put it – the Lord put the tokens in the wave machine.

Here there are no cameras, any make up would be washed away after taking a wave on the head.  My hair is perfect because it’s covered in salt water and my skin turns a beautiful shade of pink under the sun.  I was made for summer days.

After a bit more digging in my genealogical past, I found my ancestors on my mother’s side originated from what is now northern Poland, on the Baltic Sea – my father’s mother’s family is from the shores of Normandy, France – the sea is in my blood.

And that’s as beautiful as it gets.

My mom snapped this picture of me last summer, heading back out to where the waves are breaking.

My mom snapped this picture of me last summer, heading back out to where the waves are breaking.

Dreissig

I must say the best way to turn 30 is overseas…..or on top of the sea for that matter.  My birthday cruise (Charleston – Freeport – Nassau) was 5 days of awesomeness.

This was the 1st cruise for both of us, so it was quite a learning experience.  We spend a ridiculous amount of money on zee boat, but it was all worth it.  Alcohol is expensive even when there is no tax in international waters.  The biggest take away from cruising?  It will be the best sleep you have ever had.  Our stateroom was in the stern of the boat; between the hum of diesel power and the boat rocking, I had the most intense dreams of my life and my REM cycles were basically comas.  It was amazing.

Our adventures included (but were certainly not limited to):

  • Running a 5k at sea on their running track
  • Driving a stick shift jeep around Freeport and the country roads with a couple from our dinner table
  • Dressing up in formal wear for an evening of elegance (and yes, I wore a dress I bought at the age of 15 — spandex gowns always fit)
  • Hitting up Taino Beach and experiencing the crystal clear blue waters of the Bahamas
  • Eating the finest food I’ve had in my life
  • Gaining 6 pounds from said food
  • Best mixed Long Island/Bahama Mama ever
  • Getting marooned in Nassau due to engine trouble for 4 hours
  • Reading a Clive Cussler book on deck
  • Going down a waterslide on the ship
  • Saw a reef and snorkeled for the 1st time (even though I dropped 2 snorkels in the reef 15ft below so I eventually just gave up and just put my masked face in the water to take in the beauty of the fish and coral)
  • Had my 1st ever catamaran ride
  • Thoroughly enjoyed my marriage (as my pastor would say)
  • Ate my birthday lunch at Senior Frogs.  I know, there’s on in MB, but here was way awesome.  I would go back, the veggie fajitas were perfect
  • Finding out one of the ladies from my bible study was also on the cruise and we ran into them in the cafeteria
  • Saw a live show on stage — I had “notes” for whoever the TD was due to their lighting choices (the entire grid was freakin’ technobeams. Seriously?!?! Rail was intel with ETC parcans with odd gel holders) — but actor/singing wise it was well done – women dancing in thongs and fishnets for a scene can be tasteful if done right, believe it or not
  • Learned how to play roulette – and lose.  Did the same with the 2 cent slot machines – I was up by $5 – but I kept going and lost it all.  The game of craps was explained to me but it was way over my head, so I didn’t play that.  I lost about $30.  How fitting, eh?

Dinner was fun – not only was it a 3 course gourmet meal – but you had to dress nicely, which meant no flip flops.  So to dinner every night I wore my 5″ Guess peek toe patten leather pumps.  Oh yeah, finally had a reason to wear them.  Our dinner companions were all from South Carolina and it was quite the motley crew.  Even though I was a sophisticated 30 year old for half of the cruise, I was the youngest there by 10 years.  2 of the couples were on their honeymoon: a super-Christian couple (they were so cute) and a couple from MB that went with us on the jeep adventure.  They were so easy going and we laughed a lot.  One couple was hit or miss – they only showed up a handful of times.  The oldest couple there were obviously wealthy and cultured — and very interesting.  When everyone was exchanging “how we got engaged” stories, they were mum.  “We’re getting divorced,” the man said.  How odd, I thought, to get divorced and cruise with your soon to be ex-wife.  I brought this up to The General and he laughed.  What they meant was they were divorcing other people to be together.  And this was their celebration.  Oh.  Wow.  How I missed that context clue, I don’t know.  Nonetheless, we all gelled and had excellent dinner conversation.

And the service?  OMG.  I’ve never had such wonderful examples of customer service than on that boat.  Wow.  They even turned down our bed at night.  It would just magically happen!  We’d come back, and tada! complete with pillow chocolates.  I suspected gnomes.  We have gnomes in our house, but instead they leave crumbs on the counter, sand on the floor, and stuff all over the place.

To quote The General on my voicemail during his 1st day back at work, “I want to get back on the boat.”  Indeed.  We’d totally do it again, now that we know what to expect….and spend.  I’m already planning a Mediterranean cruise for my 50th.

2 things really hit home on the cruise.

Kure Beach is still my favorite.  Sure the waters were clear in the Bahamas and the reef made me want to be SCUBA certified, but there were no waves.  It was like a giant blue lake, even thought it was an ocean.  I ❤ my KB.  That didn’t change.

The General has joked (half joking, I believe),  that he would buy me boobs for my 30th birthday if I wanted them.  I’m a 36B, but the “B” stands for barely.  Since I’ve started packing on the pounds with the cruise and then my parents had to go and spoil me rotten with Harry and David goodies (cookies and truffles) — so needless to say, I got some boobs.  Unfortunately I got the free hips and thighs too.  And I lost my receipt.  The pavement and I are going to go on a lot of dates in the next few weeks. <sigh>  I really do want to tone everything.  And no, I’m not getting a boob job.

The most awesome gift came from my mom and husband – Rosetta Stone for German.  The General and I are planning a Berlin adventure for next summer and my German consists of what I remember from my freshman year of high school and bits of Rammstein lyrics — I really do want to learn the language of my ancestors.  So far, it’s been quite a challenging study plan.  My next goal is to start reading books in German — but I don’t have a firm enough grasp of the language for novels just yet.  I asked The General to get me the book “Twilight” in German for Christmas – it’s easy language and I know the story.  It’s hilarious: in German that title is “Biss Zum Morgengrauen,” which literally translates to “bite of the daybreak.” I guess that would be twilight, huh?  It’s going to be an amazing ride and I hope I can speak it well enough to say, “Ja, Ich sprache Deutsch” – yes, I speak German.

And so there it is: dreissig (which is 30 in German).  This decade is gonna rock.

Beached to be beached

My face is sunburn.  There’s salt sticking to my arms as the water dried.  I have a ridiculous amount of ice cream in my stomach and dinner is just a marinade and a grill away from being fabulous.  Oh, and one of my good friends J, and her boyfriend D, are here for the weekend.  Unfortunately, my General had to work.

This work-free weekend has been brought to me by Kure Beach, Slush, and my alma mater.  Yay!

We spent the day at Kure, soaking up the sun and catching up, talking about cars and my love affair with the new 2011 Camero.  OMG.  I’ve never been so in love with a car before. And an American one at that!  And crabs!  Did you know there are baby hermit crabs out in the bottom of the ocean, about 30 feet out? I was having a blast picking them up with my toes and holding them.  I think I have a crab problem.

The adventure continues tonight with drinks and board games after dinner, as they leave tomorrow for home.

I’m leaving too…..for home, in a way.  Monday morning I set sail via an aeroplane to Illinois to meet up with my mom and start our roadtrip, “The Knuckle to the Thumb Tour.”  Confused? We’re going to Michigan (Look at your left hand.  See the lower part of Michigan?  LOL.)  We’re heading to Deeeeeetroit and then up to the thumb area by Lake Huron.  It’s a very nostalgic trip: Detroit is where my family is from and I plan to research a bit more into the past.  If all goes well and I can trick my mom, I also want to go to the cemetery where everyone is buried…..on the wrong side of town.  I’m actually a little miffed I don’t have a conceal to carry permit.  I’d feel much better if I was packing some heat.  We’re also going to see some live relatives, too like Austin.  I’m really excited to go back to the cottage of my youth.  And to top it all off, we’re going to hit up my mom’s hometown, where she hasn’t been to in over 30 years – and I’ve never been there.  It’ll be great to be there with a narrator!  I’m so excited – I’ve yet to pack, I should probably get on that – and I plan to blog from the road.

I’m breaking a cardinal rule of flying on this trip:  I’m taking my rollerboard suitcase instead of packing a week’s worth of stuff into compression bags in my back pack.  I may end up taking my back pack instead, but since I have a direct flight both directions, I feel better about it.

Oy, my back is burnt too.

I guess this trip answers the age old question: Where do people who live at the beach go on vacation?  Answer: The Rust Belt.

Run, don’t walk

….to Britt’s Donuts!  I’ve lived in the Cape Fear region for 5 years now and I have never been to Britt’s Donuts in Carolina Beach at the Boardwalk.  That all changed this morning.

The General and I headed down to Kure Beach this morning to hang out.  The waves were nice, but I didn’t bring my board because he said there weren’t any waves on the beach cam.  We took the boogie boards out, but my board rash from yesterday’s awesome session on my 6’2 short board (that I can stand up on if I squat down – it’s really pathetic surfing wise, but I had a blast!) kept me from boogie boarding properly.  So we sat on the beach awhile, as I was still half awake.

We decided to get breakfast and get some espresso in me.  Our 1st stop was Majik Beanz, a hippy-dippy coffee shop off the main drag in CB.  I got a latte with some chocolate vanilla in it and I am in heaven.  We then walked to the boardwalk for donuts.  Now, I’m not a big donut fan.  It’s the one sweet treat I can say no to.  I don’t crave them.  I usually am very picky (chocolate) about what kind (chocolate) I like; no glaze (chocolate), no cream-filled stuff (chocolate).  I was skeptical, but everyone I know raves about this place so I had to try it.

Oh. My. God.  Amazing.  They melt in your mouth.  My mouth wasn’t watering, it was crying for more Britt’s Donuts.  I told the General we had to leave before I bought another one.  And other one.  I could have finished off an entire dozen myself (if only it all went to my boobs…..).  It’s a good thing that they are only open during the tourist season and only take cash – I rarely carry cash.  I will be back!  And they’re 85 cents a piece.

Another fun spot introduced to me by Samantha was The Fuzzy Naval   The Peach Belly Button  The Fuzzy Peach.  They have one up off Racine, downtown, and soon to be Monkey Junction.  It’s heaven.  All sorts of flavors of frozen yogurt with EVERY TOPPING YOU CAN IMAGINE!  From fruit to crushed up graham cracker to anything with chocolate, holy cow, it’s an amazing experience.  You pay based on weight, you get to fill yours up!  I joked they have one in heaven, but when you get to the cash register, Jesus shows up and says, “No, it’s okay.  I got this, it’s paid for.”  Samantha, Charlotte and I sat around eating these amazing creations and catching up since it had been forever since we chatted.  We just need our Miranda and we’d be all set.

I live in paradise.

A bad day of surfing is still better than a good day at work

While the waves were breaking this morning, they lacked some umph…..I blame the low tide.  My bruise count is now up to 5.  I got caught “on the inside,” where you get stuck where the waves are breaking and so you are constantly getting knocked over and gulping for air.

The General joined me for the 1st time this season and he didn’t do too well either.  The lack of umph was especially difficult for him, being much larger than myself.

Next time, Gadget, next time!

Onto the next: brunch in the breakfast nook, downtown farmer’s market

 

Stoke forcast for today: High

Spend a good part of the morning riding some amazing waves at Kure Beach.  It was drifty and rough, and I got pwned a few times by the Atlantic, but overall awesome.  I had a few great rides, which is huge for me.  I just rode the white water, the waves were breaking too hard for me to drop in (at my current skill level).

I escaped with 3 bruises.

Daybreak, 1 July

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My goal for today was to relive my early am walks I did in the cornfields, watching daybreak arrive.

I got here just as it was in full swing, @ 0530, and I’m mad. The Lord woke us up @ 0300 with a false smoke alarm and I haven’t been to sleep since. Instead of coming to the beach, I tossed and turned. My alarm went off @ 5. I did a random genealogy search online before I realized the time.

It’s been so long since I’ve been out I forgot how fast daybreak arrives and I’m really upset with myself that I didn’t come out here straight away.

::sigh::

Maybe I’m not seizing the moments like I should and I’m procrastinating too much on stuff like booking trips, sunrises, talks I need to have, days off, and life itself.

I keep “waiting for the right time.” What if that right time isn’t on a clock?

Lots to ponder this morning as I watch the breakfast flock of pelicans….

Stat R&R bolus to be transfused over a summer afternoon

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After spending 2/3 of my weekend (read: 32 hours) at work, I can officially say I’m burnt out. I was a frustrated mess yesterday, I didn’t play nice with others. Today I was bound and determined to get out of my work-induced funk.

I ran 2 miles, breakfasted with my General, and headed to one of my favorite places on earth: my secret spot at Kure Beach. The sun was out, the water refreshing, and the book I’m reading about the civil war is nearly finished. I’m also reading “The Lonely Sea,” a collection of short stories by Alistair MacLean, one of my favorite authors. (St. George + the Dragon is my all time favorite.)

Dehydrated and still feeling the stress, despite the beach, I stopped in Carolina Beach at The Treehouse Bistro for a mid afternoon cuppa white chocolate iced mocha. They put mocha ice cubes in it! How awesome! And now I’m sitting on their balcony, watching CB go by. Birds are singing and the soothing ocean breeze is slowly calming my soul. I have a high tea time with Jesus followed by straightening up my house and dinner with Samantha.

I’m hoping to watch the sun rise on the ocean sometime this week, maybe from the pier. My friend J will hopefully come down this weekend to celebrate 10 years of friendship and catch up on life.

This will be my 1st weekend off work since before Memorial Day. I’m going to enjoy it, cuz I’m back to my 32 hour weekend the following week. And thus the cycle begins again….

Rum? Check. Gin? Check. Grenadine? Check. Grapefruit and pineapple juices? Check. Triple Sec? Check. Amaretto? Check. Okay, I’m ready!

The Cape Fear region is under a tropical storm warning.  Fantastic.

The General and I hit the waves this morning mainly because we got our new 6’6 and were dying to try it out.  It’s a fast little sucker and it will definitely take some getting used to.  It wasn’t as big and blown out as I thought it was, but there were some waves with real teeth — I managed to get under them at the wrong time.  It’s been 3+ hours and my nose is still dripping ocean water.

It was a blast and half riding the whitewater, there was no way I was going to make it to the outside alive.  Stoke factor was as big as the waves.  Tomorrow is suppose to monstrous with Hurricane Earl headed this way.  Luckily it will miss us, or at least that’s what they’re forecasting.  Hurricanes are like virgos: completely unpredictable until the last moment.

Oh, and we are totally driving to Pennsylvania this weekend: nothing like getting out of town for a huge storm.

So I got all my ingredients — I’m ready for a hurricane.

((I love how this blog went from real estate to a surf report….))

Wavey, with a chance of clams

I hit the surf today, which was minimal, despite having 3 major storms churning in the Atlantic.

It still kicked my butt.

Most of the waves broke hard and fast and about 3 feet….and I somehow always managed to be in break zone.

My next surfing feat is to go down the face of the wave while remaining on the board. So far, as soon as I realize I’m heading down the wave, I bail.  I curl up into a ball and protect my head with my arms from the seafloor or my surfboard (which sometimes thinks it’s a kite) – I look more like a grade school student prepping for a tornado than a bonafide surfer.  I’ve pearled really hard a few times (like today) and that feeling of being at the mercy of the wave with no control is a very scary thing for me.  I struggle cruising down waves on a boogie board – its much more terrifying when you’re on a 7’6 piece of plastic!  Maybe next year that will be my goal, since this year was all about getting comfortable in the ocean and with my board.

It may also help that The General and I are adding to our quiver — our 1st short board should arrive today: a 6’6 turbo fish.  It might be easier to take on those steep waves with something a bit smaller.

The General and I traded boards today, too – I got to try out his 8’0 longboard.  It’s so freaking stable and big compared to my narrow funboard, a very nice ride.  I really had a blast with it in the whitewater when I wasn’t being tossed about by the waves.

One of the many beach treasures I find once in awhile are clam shells that are still connected and open.  The organism has been long gone, but an intact shell remains.  I’ve only found one; I super-glued the ligament (I’m not sure what to call it….) and keep it as a knick knack.  I found one today and put it in my board short pocket and figured if it survived me surfing, I’d take it home.  It did.  Once I got it home, I saw it had a little baby clam inside it, hanging out.  It was still alive!  It had that cilia stuff on the outside of it and after while, it made itself at home, hanging from the top of the clam.  How crazy is that?

I’m debating on weather to take it back to the beach before work.

Surf Naked

Here’s what I got to surf today!  I made the picture large so you can see the beautiful glassy face of the wave right as it’s about to break.  I got lucky on this shot, due to my lack of photography skills and the camera I am using has a whopping 3.2 MP.

It was a perfect morning for surfing here in the Carolina coast.

After a rough night of machines malfunctioning (ah, to accidently change the set points…) and learning that I have my very own ova and parasite farm in my house (read: cats got fleas from the porch and now they’re in my dream home), I was in desperate need of some relaxing ocean waves on my 7’6 epoxy.

Despite how nice these waves look, some of them packed some serious punch.  I pearled pretty hard a few times and even managed to get caught in the break zone, stuck on the inside during a couple of sets.

I was amused at how I was almost down the face of a wave and it would lift the back of my board up and *ker plunk* I was in the soup.

Nonetheless, it was so awesome, a very high stoke factor today!

I think I will have to go back to board shorts – even tho thong bathing suits are banned at KB, I had some pretty ugly ocean-induced weggies.  I’m not sure if my suit is just wearing out or if my butt has shrunk more by jogging.

This problem could be so easily solved by just surfing naked.  I would contend with board rash on my nipples if I didn’t have to worry about my suit going every which way. And no tan lines!  I have thought about just showing up in board shorts, I have whatever is less than an A cup is, so I figured I could pass for a guy.

Surfing naked is on my bucket list.  I’m just not sure when – or if – it’ll happen.  It could be never, or the next big wave that hits me and knocks my suit off.  Tequila makes her clothes fall off, why not the ocean?

Updating….

Wow, 2 months have escaped me.  Where does the time go?

It would be too much for me to go into detail about all our adventures, so here are the highlights:

  • Had 24 hours, 8 dedicated to work, to unload our POD before it was due to be picked up.
  • Painted the guest bathroom a dazzling shade of blue
  • Painted the guest room a beautiful sky blue
  • Painted the hallway a beachy sand color
  • And all of the moulding.  Stark white.  Did I mention 3 coats of paint to cover the awful almond color?
  • And all of the doors.  Stark white.  Did I mention the 5 coats of paint to cover the awful almond color?
  • Discovered primer half way through the painting process and have embraced it
  • Painted the master bath a seagreen color that came out darker than I had envisioned, but it is so nice now
  • Oh, and the moulding.  And the doors.  It still needs a top coat.
  • Got couches, end tables, and a kitchen table.  It finally looked like people lived here and not nomad college students.
  • Had a girl’s nite complete with frozen drinks and poker ’til 0200 and it was awesome!
  • Had our 1st quasi-formal dinner party with a friend.  On the menu: mahi, king crab, and potatoes.
  • About to have a house warming party with random people stopping by.  This should be fun!

My new favorite surf spot is Kure Beach.  No paying for parking, no surf zones, less crowded.  Perfect.  I never thought I would find somewhere other than Wrightsville.

Life is good.

1st

Breaking news: I’ve decided to start blogging again after a 2  year hiatus.

I find myself longing for a beach day that involves more sun and surf than bundling up and gusty winds that seem to blow off of Michigan Avenue directly to my little slice of paradise here.