Friday, August 29, 2014

Hurricane Marie



I like writing in my journal everyday if only to physically record the date. Putting it down in pencil with my hand makes it seem more like that day is actually happening and that time isn't counting away without me knowing it.

Today, 8/28/14, the morning air is cool. The sun will chase it away soon, but it makes me feel like fall is creeping in, slowly swallowing the summer from the bottom up. 

I drive the coast looking for waves. They're everywhere today, it's just about finding the spot for me. My car has been at the train station the last few days because of a bunch of boring details related to me and Scott getting to work on different days at different times. Before he dropped me off, Scott asked me where I thought I'd surf this morning, since I was out and about now at 6 a.m. with so many options. "Probably at home," I told him and it was true.

When I get to my parent's backyard Kevin is sitting with a towel around his shoulders waiting for Kelly. We talk and stretch and then she arrives, suiting up quickly and waxing her yellow board next to him. I linger and stretch and watch the waves some more. As I descend the stairs to the beach, I can't hear my footsteps over the sound of the waves.

There's a mist hovering about the bluff that makes me feel a little like I'm in a dream. The air, quickly becoming thicker, and the warm water combined with a large swell reminiscent of winter makes it seem that way too.

I paddle out right when a set pours in, but the current pushes me to the spot I'd like to be. There's another guy next to me. I recognize him, but I don't know his name. We both wait anxiously, nervously to see if we're in the right spot for the sets. He takes a few waves right away even though I'm closest to the peak. When I take one, I'm a little late and as the white wash hits me in the back, the nose of my board catches and I tumble over the front. Now I'm determined instead of nervous, which is a more familiar feeling.

I make the next drop and carve around on the wave's big face. Backside cutbacks feel like slicing butter with your feet. I hit the lip on a sucky section. I think I have it, but then my tail releases on the landing and the wave rips my left shoulder around as I grab it for support. I'm glad I hit my arm on the way down though, just to know that I did everything I could to make it. 

I recognize the ocean again now. I'm tempted to say I recognize my ocean again, but I know it's not mine. 

For what seems like most of my life at this point, surfing has been one of my main focuses. But I'm scared lately that I'm coming to the end of that. That in the next season of my life I will focus on family and kids, my kids maybe, and I'll be different. 

My friend Stephanie just had a baby. But she had a dog first. She told me she was really worried that she wouldn't be able to give the dog the same attention after the baby was born. I don't have a dog or a baby, so I don't know how it would feel to try to love both, but I think I understand why she was worried. I think I'm worried I won't be able to love surfing the same when I'm loving so many other things so much. 

But today, out here, I can feel that being a surfer isn't something that goes away. It's a part of who I am, and I know it's actually a bunch of work trying to be someone you're not. So I don't think I'm as scared anymore, wondering about surfing being in my life.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

August Sponsors Described in One Word



This month I've asked all Tale of a Mermaid sponsors to give me one word to describe themselves. What word would you use? I'm having a hard time coming up with one for myself, but I'm leaning towards passionate.

CHeCKemOUT>>


JettyGirl : Authentic // Roxy Daring


French Pemberley Katie : Content // Daphne's : Healthful


Matsumoto Studio  Jen : Innovative Jes : Thoughtful // This, Too Kari: Inquisitive 


Pom Pom : Exploring // DakineQuality




{If you are interested in sponsorship for your blog or business, please contact meThank you all for your continued support!}

Monday, August 25, 2014

Welcome Waters (and company)

matt

I met a dog named after a Grateful Dead song at our community art and music festival this weekend. She was called Maggie, but her full name was Maggie's Farm: Flower of the Sea. 

It was nice having Scott's youngest sister Lindsey and her boyfriend Mike in town for a neighborhood event, but we really spent most of our time at the beach. We haven't had many south swells this summer. San Diego, due to the bend of its coast, gets better, bigger waves in the winter, while swells that come out of the south in the summer have to make an extra effort to come to our shore. But we finally got a bit of SSW swell thanks to a hurricane in Mexico named Lowell. 

Sometimes I wonder if my boards get excited about a new swell too. Like they're all out in the garage listening to me get ready, hoping I'll pick them to bring along for the ride. No one can be sure if that's true or not, but I did make an effort to ride a different board each session since Lowell's waves arrived. I rode my 5'6" squash tail my neighbor shaped for me on Friday, my 5'2" Firewire 'Dominator' model Saturday morning, my 5'0" twin fin Scott shaped Saturday afternoon and my Nezzy quad Sunday morning. Maybe I'll have to give the other boards a chance to feel the summer water later this week when the next big swell arrives. People in the lineup like my friend Todd and all his Finnish snowboard friends were already buzzing about it this morning. Someone said to me "Get stoked! Get freaked out!" Maybe I'll have to ride my 5'10" big wave board. It's been a while.

To wrap up the subject of surfing, one nice thing about this weekend was that pretty much everybody went out and tried it. Lindsey's boyfriend is from New Jersey and hadn't had the chance to surf before and Danielle, my middle sister, and her boyfriend Matt both paddled out Saturday to join Kevin, my dad, me and Scott. It was fun talking about our session together when we got out.

Today I'm icing my shoulders, putting away air mattresses, missing company and looking for my Sonicare toothbrush that I somehow lost in my room. Hope you had a good weekend, too. 


p.s. thank you for all your sweet thoughts for my friend. I am lucky to have this community of kind hearted people who will think happy thoughts for a stranger.
{surfing photos taken by my dad}

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Peace

(photo by Hayley Gordon

I haven't wanted to turn the lights on all day. It's dusky out and there are the craziest thunder storms overhead, but something about this lighting brings a peace I'd like to stick around.

My foot's mostly healed and I'm back to surfing. I'm taking a skateboarding lesson tomorrow to try to learn how to fall, because apparently there is an art to it that I don't know about yet. It sounds like something you could easily learn on your own, falling safely, but I still like having teachers sometimes. I like to know how they teach and I like getting to know who they are, plus the awkwardness I worry about when meeting new people easily slips away because you both need each other and there's something specific to talk about.

I think everything you said helped me get better. Thank you. Now knowing that someone I love is very sick, I am comforted by the fact that the loving thoughts of others might carry some weight against illness.

Scott and I have been playing Chicken Foot with Dominoes lately. Next, Mexican Train, but the directions were confusing, so we'll have to give it another try once we take a break from the chicken game. We have this version of Dominoes. Do you know any other fun games to play with them? 

This morning when the thunder was cracking I was looking for peace in my house away from the storm and then I was looking for peace again in the ocean after I got the bad news about sickness and a family friend and then I want peace to find us at night with the TV off and the game out. And I know I just said peace in the same sentence three times, but I'm just going to leave it because it seems to be the word of the day.

Here is a bit of a poem I wanted to share on the subject. I saw it on instagram the other day and I'm still trying to absorb its possible meanings, but the first line is what got me.

THE WANT OF PEACE

by Wendell Berry

All goes back to the earth,
and so I do not desire
pride or excess or power,
but the contentments made
by men who have had little:
the fisherman's silence
receiving the river's grace,
the gardener's musing on rows.

....

Monday, August 18, 2014

An Interview with Crystal da Silva




My first memory of CJ is when I saw I had drawn her name in a heat at a Sun Diego surf contest in Oceanside. I didn't know her face or how she surfed or the warmness of her smile. All I knew was that she was to be feared in the contest scene because she had a crisp backhand attack and an amazing bottom turn. We had the same surfboard shaper, but had never met. Our shaper would tell me "She goes for the gold at the end of the rainbow."

My second memory of CJ is how she encouraged me to take a nicely lined up right, two minutes before our first heat together ended because she was going to go left. She came first that heat and I was third. We both advanced. The announcers howled "That was bold of Crystal, giving the competitor in yellow that right, but when you can crack an off-the-lip like that, you're not that worried!" What I didn't know at the time was that CJ didn't hear any of that.

It was a little while before I learned that Crystal was born deaf. We would lay our towels out next to each other and write messages in the sand. I would signal to her when the horn blew, signifying the start and end of heats, and how much time was left. I'll never forget how upset she was when I was given second place instead of the first place she thought I deserved at an event at Scripps Pier. 

CJ went on to win many contests. She moved to Hawaii and surfed big waves on the famous North Shore of Oahu. She met her husband and now has a two year old named Anela. I'm always stoked when I run into CJ, which I'm pretty much guaranteed to if I surf the harbor. When she was five months pregnant she began sewing swimwear as a hobby that quickly turned into a successful online shop. Check out CJ's swimwear and get to know her more in the interview below. I am so excited and honored to share this friend with you. 

What was your life like growing up?

My life was pretty normal as I went to regular public schools and college, but with interpreters. Most of my hearing friends would learn sign language for me or we gestured or wrote things down. I dated mostly hearing guys.

Tell us about your surfing roots. When did you start?
I started surfing in 2000 and joined the Carlsbad High School Surf Team in 2001 with many local talented surfers. I've surfed consistently ever since.


What did it feel like when you rode your first wave?
I remember I stood up on my first wave on a 6'1" in white wash for a few seconds in the middle of spring season. I practiced at the warm water jetty after school until I was ready to advance to Tamarack. I remember the many gnarly waves that broke between Tamarack and Maple Street. I had to be quick to catch waves in a crowd of wave hungry groms!

What is your experience like being a hearing-impaired surfer?
I think it was pretty much normal, like I've surfed in many contests. I can’t hear the horn so I have to look for the flags. Also it was a bit difficult in pro contests as I couldn’t hear the place I was in during the heat or what score wave I needed to advance. That was a bit of a disadvantage. When I surf local spots, I see mostly familiar faces and they wave or write in the sands.

Tell us more about your Etsy shop. What inspired you to start creating swimwear?
When I was pregnant with my daughter I felt creative. I stopped surfing after five months pregnant and decided to design attractive bikinis that stayed on in the surf. I opened my Etsy Shop a year later after my daughter Anela was born. This was a way for me to earn extra income as the job market can be difficult for those who don’t hear or speak.

What makes you happy?
My healthy family, the calm ocean and a clean house make me happy.

What’s your favorite food?
I try to eat mostly organic food. I love tempeh with rice and salad. I eat mostly Mexican food too. I love Pitaya Bowls for energy snacks as well.

What's your favorite surf spot?
Oceanside’s South Jetty or the middle of the harbor, Silver Strand and Oxnard is a favorite spot too.

What was the last gift you gave someone?
I gave a gift to a special friend before she had her heart surgery. She's doing well now.

What would you like to pass on to the surfers of the future?
Surf because it’s healthy, creative and a great stress reliever. Compete if you enjoy it, but the gift of free surfing is a wholesome lifestyle.

What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
Being a mom and a wife is a really busy life, but worth it!

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us CJ! Don't forget to check out her shop: KalikalaCJ Swimwear 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lemon Sesame Kale Salad


I had something like this from the prepared foods section of our local grocery store the other week and since then I've been wanting to re-receate it. Here's what I've got...

Servings: 2-3

Ingredients
1 head of kale
2 leaves and of rainbow chard, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped 
1/4 red cabbage, chopped 
toasted sesame seeds to taste

optional
avocado

dressing

the juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon flax seed oil 
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Lawry's seasoning salt (or sea salt)
1/4  teaspoon pepper 
a pinch of cayenne pepper (I did 1/4 teaspoon, but it was pretty spicy)

Remove the stems from the kale and place it in a bowl with the chopped leaves and stems of the rainbow chard. Start massaging the leaves with a little bit of salt until it starts to "cook" them (i.e. break down the leaves so that they are "wilted"). Keep going until you see juice start to come out of the kale. Add the red cabbage and red onion. In a separate dish, whisk together the lemon juice, flax seed oil, seasoning salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Combine and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Add avocado if you're in the mood. 

Besides the dressing, the best thing about this salad is that it has a ton of antioxidants and is said to promote lung health. 

*allowing the leaves to soak in the dressing for a bit is not a bad call.
*if this is your first time cooking with swiss chard like me, you might want to check out a 101 video on You Tube. 
*My friend Roberta has swiss chard in her garden. She said it grows like crazy and is hard to kill, which appealed to me, but I wasn't sure the taste would. Now I might consider it.
* 8/18/14 revision... I've recently been adding avocado to this and it's been awesome. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Devon Heals Quickly"


My eyes are on the ceiling. I've got that couch-bound feeling. 

My computer broke on the same day I found out my ankle was either sprained or broken (luckily I have my MacBook from college). That was last Friday. I'm still waiting on the X-Rays to come back. I hate even saying something in my foot could be broken, because I know it's not. I never thought it was. I just want to be sure it's not so that I know for certain that I'm taking care of it the right way. And most of all, I want to make sure I can get back to surfing and skating in an amount of time so short, I won't barely remember it someday. Although, I guess being laid-up is not the worst thing to remember because it makes you appreciate normal things like being able to lace your shoes up tight or being able to run back in to the house to get your sunglasses or being able to surf little waves all the way to the inside where the sand is yellow. 

The truth is, I've been surfing anyways. Only once since I found out my ankle and heel bruises could be more serious than I thought, though. And it was totally worth it catching a few little insiders while our friends Ross and Jenny swam around next to us (sometimes it's about mental health, too). 

I took my computer to the Apple Store today. I wrapped my hard drive in a baby blanket Nonny made for me, but when I went to unwrap it in the store, I realized it smelled like my halloween costumes did that time I left gourds, soon to rot, in the same box with them for a whole year (kinda like musty old garden dirt that's never seen the sun). I need to find out why. 

The doctor gave me some physical therapy exercises for my ankle. One of them is to try to write the alphabet with my big toe. That was boring, so I started writing sentences like "I think some of 'Shark Week' is totally fake" and "Devon heals quickly". Let me know if you have any other ones (exercises or sentences).