Sunday, December 28, 2008

Is it the New Year Yet???

My favorite day of the year every year is January 2nd.

Such a lovely day she is...The end of the madness and the promise that this just might be the year of all things new and shiny.

So I am holding on and reminding myself that all is well and that She indeed IS only days away.

I am saying this in my rental condo that has been torn apart with construction, and which currently is covered( and I mean every inch covered) in a fine layer of said construction dust, we still have no shower, son Eli (17) is visiting and has taken over the living room complete with all his clothes and dirty laundry strewn all over and loud marathon stints of BBC television shows that he watches over and over and might I mention OVER. There are drills, saws, tools and a toilet sitting where my where my sweet zen furniture used to be. The two dogs are going through some kind of canine co-dependency and separation anxiety ( probably from being in doggy jail also known as boarding for three weeks while I was traveling) they follow me from room to room literally clinging to my ankles at times. I can't go " back to work" to find my way out of my financial mess because the world is still on holiday, ah yes, and the fact the constant drilling and pounding truly makes any kind of conversation utterly impossible and finally ( so that you can really feel my current state of mind) Captain Mark ( my husband) who did fly in for a whopping 36 hours and then jetted off is writing blogs ( one of the only ways that I can keep current on his travels) from the Acapulco Yacht Club where he describes in detail his poolside brunches and all the new yachtie friends he is making. I read these blogs covered in dust, dirty, white knuckling it, attached to two dogs, listening to constant banging and obnoxiously loud Dr. Who reruns ad nauseum, Oh and let me not forget just to round it all out for ya, I am COLD. Los Angeles is going through a freeze of sorts ( for us) and my daily uniform is ugly baggy heavy whatevers, Uggs and a jacket because right now, that's just the best I can do, the heater sucks and right now so does everything else....

Finally let me add here that the economy of the world is crashing and collapsing all around me, which, scary as it is, brings these two interesting and somewhat comforting thoughts, #1, at least I haven't lost any money ( never had any to begin with) and #2, maybe the playing field will be finally leveled between the have and have- not's and we just might all be chopping wood and carrying water together, (which quite frankly maybe the just the collective humbling and healing that we as a society, as a people, truly need!)

To be fair, there is actually a lot of greatness in my life too, so let me add here that I adore my son, dogs husband, I am healthy in body and mind (even if the finances are currently a tad under the weather). And yet, even that could all change if just one of my projects sells, or a big donor comes through for the Just Love Project , or an investor for my film... thus, (I remind myself in my better and brighter moments), I actually have the makings of quite the creative/financial empire -- if only bankruptcy doesn't happen first.

The good news is that I am ( though I may not sound like it) quite surrendered with it all...in fact I hereby give myself one big ass pat on the back for my quite chilled handling of all of this insanity.

My current mantra--'09 Will be Divine..

Until then,

I will enjoy the last few days of the year that was The Not So Great '08

I wish you all a Big Juicy Happy New Year!

And as always, my continued prayer for us all and my own deeply personal, continual and ultimate goal, that being, to...

Just Love,

Patrice

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry/Happy (Whatever!)

For the love of God can we just get through it already!

You can see that my mood has improved immensely. No actually, I am feeling pretty good and having a relatively relaxing ( if you can call it that) time with my immense sales campaign to talk seventeen year old son Eli into moving back to LA with Momma (complete with all manner of bribes, begs and conspiracies to get all his friends involved in the mission) so far not much budging going on over on his end but one can never underestimate the inner workings that may be brewing beneath the surface- or said one can at least hope!. Oh and did I mention having no shower ( finally a toilet) so every 2-3 days we sheepishly arrive with towels and toiletries to borrow our next door neighbors shower, constant banging and drilling as the workers try their best to create a bathroom, getting emails from Captain Mark's various dockings as he has brought Lor-E- Lei up the Pacific Coast- Lucky dog has been in Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and now all up the Mexican Coast. I am jealous and dirty ( not the best combination) oh and it is Christmas or did you forget? Just want it over already. Just a nice fast forward into 2009 would be a blessing. That said however, I will continue on with reality as it stands taking it day by day and meal by meal with son who is now a hard core vegan ( like the vegetarian wasn't enough) can you even imagine? I have no patience calling around the friggen town looking for a SOY cheese pizza to be delivered!

I continue on my new favorite obsession/past time researching online where in the world my next home is going to be! Do I want to live in a conscious community, a spiritual ashram, an Eco- village, a surf ghetto? Will I get a job selling real estate in Costa Rica or work at the shaved ice shop in San Pedro Belize? Is it better to live at the coast, the jungle or the mountains? Would Panama or Honduras make more sense? When will I go? How do I get out of my lease? Should I get rid of everything I own? ( save the dog and laptop!!) The questions keep me happy and pushing on.

I want a big dessert right now and think that I will head out and get it.

Love you all,

and again I really do mean it ( for those of you who get into the whole thing) I wish you the Merriest, Happiest, Jolliest of EVERYTHING!

Just Love,

Patrice

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice and the Travel Bug

Happy Winter Solstice Everyone,

Starting tomorrow we get a little more light everyday-- Yes to that!!

I am feeling much better as a result of many inner and outer occurrences...

#1 Eli my seventeen year old son (who I have not seen in 6 months!) has come for a two week visit and once again, I realize he is the same snuggly boy that he has always been in spite of the fact that he never wants to email or talk to me on the phone while away.

#2 My new favorite past -time is researching online various places around the world where I can travel and or/ move to and this gives me pleasures that know, no end. You will no doubt be hearing much much more about this. In fact....

....#3 Mark and I spoke from his latest marina in Huatulco, Mexico and he is on the same page, he too has been bitten by the loveliest yet most persistent travel bug and we absolutely want to find a way to sell up and ship off...

#4 I have signed up to take a training to be a hospice volunteer-- the fact is that I have always wanted to do this. I am fascinated by death and amazed at how taboo a subject it is in our society...death being the absolute inevitably of Life! Because of my absolute conviction that what lies beyond is the friggen most glorious 5 star resort of the cosmos compared to the Earth Plane- I believe that it will be a comfort to the clients that I work with (all be within the last few months of their earthly sojourn) to have me come and hang. I cannot think of a more powerful in the moment honor and opportunity to spend sacred time with someone and I am thrilled to dive in and fulfill this longtime desire of mine. I've been dying to do it. ( bad pun)

#5 I have given myself full permission to spend the next few weeks as much as I can possibly handle simply, surrendering and enjoying- come January I will deal with all the harsh realities of my financial woes, career hurdles, you know all the crap that certainly can take a two week holiday without becoming any more of a catatstophe than they already are ( you might want to re frame that Patrice!)

Nahh--No reframing because, I also am not giving a damn how politically correct my energy is. F--k it! I am what I am in the moment is what I am - Sick of all the damn analyzing how I "supposed to be thinking" all the ding dong day. So know this, whatever I share with you is how I am feeling in the moment and EVERYTHING is subject to change. Alright are we clear on that-- don't want no more lectures, seminars, ways of speaking, affirmations-- sick of them. What I offer is Patrice in all her misery or glory as the case may be. DEAL.

#6 Oh and I am Remembering on a much needed level that GOD is with me all the time-- and that NOTHING ultimately is as important as that connection- No Really- NOTHING. The rest is really all one big drama/illusion/maya/passing show...

So Patrice, signing off, living in the moment, fantasizing about being an expat at this second in Paros, Greece, getting ready to go buy and tree and a menorah with my precious giant( 6' 3") boy, to sip Starbucks cafe mocha and not give a shit about getting the whipped cream too and allowing myself the tiniest yet most important crack of possibilities to remain open for Divine Miracles, (especially including those that have money, abundance, propserity dripping from them) actually coming on in to this very nice, extremely deserving, sure put enough spiritual elbow grease out there, Patrice Karst's Life!

I have been stuggling so long-- please Universe, I just want to play now... especially in some different parts of the world...K???

And as always-- While doing whatever the heck it is that you are all out there doing, there really is just one thing for us to be really up to all day- every day...

Just Love,

Patrice

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Wayward Child Returns Home

Still Jet Lagged, Culture Shocked, Freezing Cold Spell, Mid Life Crisis, Christmas ( and all the accompanying triggers therein) Displaced, Confused, Broke, World Gone Crazy, Want to Run Away, Depressed, Exhausted by Life, Homesick, Lonely, Lost, I want a Mommy, Overweight, Beating Myself Up, Marriage a Mess,Un- Motivated, Frizzy, No Makeup( why bother?) and well, need I say more???

And somehow amidst it all I completely forgot that....


The answer to all that ails me is a medicine that comes from only one healer, doctor, pharmacy, hospital...I need an RX from God.

So I am checking myself in with Spirit, the angels, my elder brethren, my guides and teachers, my Source, my Holy Family for a while and I am placing myself in His, Her, Their care entirely...utterly--completely.

The Patient is ready...

Again.

Just Love,

Patrice

Sunday, December 14, 2008

On Running Away From Home!!

Okay so day one of re-entry and it isn't looking pretty--Culture shock and then some!!!


After a full day of traveling-- 2 taxi rides= one tram- one bus- 2 planes ( with 8 hour+flying time) I finally drag myself to the motel I had booked to at least have a place to land while I figure out what is next-- So there I was last night in a this miserable dark motel with a suitcase full of wrinkled tropical clothes in Los Angeles which is going through a cold spell. ( Now I know a bad day in LA is warmer than the rest of the country's winter) but coming from the warmth of the tropics, I am shivering inside and out. As drove there, the traffic, the billboards, the people all just looked alien and overwhelming to me. And I always feel the same when I return home-- I never feel happy- Duh Patrice- Ya think that might be something to look at?

I bring myself to unpack and set up shop so to speak and then promptly burst into tears-I can't get to the dogs that are boarded until tomorrow- Mark is at sea, I am feeling really short of friends and family and kind of a loser in that regard, I can't go home and am not sure where home even is anymore and I begin to wonder if there really isn't some kind of message in all of this...For years I have said that I want a different way of life. What then really, I ask myself is stopping me from going and getting it?

I just sort of want to disappear - off the grid--- Call it running, escaping, ditching out, pulling a "geographical" if you will-- I don't care what anyone thinks anymore--- I am kind of in a surreal state right now. at 49 1/2 years old, I am sitting in the motel and taking stock and you know what--it's a mess- just what am I doing here anyway, really?

I am in debt big time, I have been struggling to make it whatever "It" is all my life. Things have never been"normal" for me- I wouldn't know a 401k if it walked over and introduced itself. I just have never felt like I belonged here in the U.S, I seem to march to a distant drum. The values, the pressure, the beliefs, the pace-- not for me.


Though creatively, I have been blessed to have books published and the artist in me has gotten a chance to be heard-- none of that has put enough bread on the table to make much of a sandwich, I am still chasing the " all American dream" which quite frankly as I look around seems to have been more like "the all American nightmare" for many. I am an aging artist in Los Angeles- home of youth and beauty in ridiculous extremes-- It is a big city and somehow I still haven't found my tribe- my gang- my familia...
Is this really where I want to live out my years??? The answer comes back instantly and it is a bellowing NO!

So after calling my son Eli ( 17 and living with his dad hundreds of miles away to my great heartache) I practically beg him to be nice to me as I break down in tears and lo and behold he actually was. I can't wait to see him in a week- even though it's Christmas and we don't have a home to go to-- whether it is motel. hotel, or crashing on the boat- we will be together and that immediately warms the motel room immeasurably.

The fact remains that I would probably see him just as often if I lived in another country as I do now--There really is nothing keeping me here. Mark and I could easily have a long distance relationship-- it might even improve things drastically.

I go to sleep fitfully with all these questions and ponderings dancing through my jet lagged, culture shocked brain. I awaken at 6am to Mark calling from Costa Rica who had a really bad ride yesterday ( even he admitted that it was a good thing I wasn't there- which means it was really bad.) They hit bad weather apparently and it was really hairy for a while with things flying all over the boat-- they are okay thank God- It' funny, I sensed something coming, some slight danger. My intuition is alive and well, which is why I need to start listening and trusting it more than ever. Anyway they are shoving off this morning to make a push to Nicaragua or Guatemala depending on how well they are doing. He too expressed that he really wants to move down to the tropics. However, it is a little easier said than done.

I proceed to do some online research into U.S citizens relocating down there. It is rather daunting to say the least( the paperwork, the legalities,finding work, the shipping , selling, setting up,) and I have much to research- for now I want to give myself permission to go real easy on myself for the next few weeks. I will take everything hour by hour day by day... I will find my home and by God's grace the place where I belong. One thing that appeals to me is the whole ex-pat community thing. It seems that when Americans, Canadians and Europeans relocate, they tend to create their own wonderful families since there own are far away. Something about the common factor of choosing an alternative, out of the box type of reality forms a powerful bond. I can feel something happening inside of me. I can tell that it is indeed only a matter of time before I blow out of dodge and into the trade winds literally.

The adventure of it all is quite compelling. Stay Tuned!

Until then, I am off to get Jojo and Coco released from doggie jail ( boarding) and to be smothered in canine love- I can hardly wait!

Just Love,

Patrice

Going Home ( well, sort of)


The Long Road Home

And then as quickly as it began, it was over and I find myself sitting in the screaming baby section of American Airlines flight 2160 Costa Rica- Los Angeles with a short connection in Dallas.

I can’t go home and have to move into a hotel for a month or more until the hazmat team finishes doing whatever they do to get rid of poisonous mold spores and the construction crew once again creates a bathroom in the place formerly known as my condo. I spent a large portion of the past few days racking up insanely expensive international cell phone bills trying to deal legally/ financially with my landlord, trying to find a hotel that can accommodate me, two dogs and my teenage son who is visiting for Christmas, which has been no easy feat, I found at least a place to go to for the first couple of days but at least then I will be back on home turf and can navigate what to do much easier—still it feels so weird that I am flying home but can’t enter my own home to get things that I need because they have been all packed up and sealed in plastic and to even open the door , I would be exposing myself to deadly air borne spores--- But I digress…


I loved Costa Rica! We ended up finding a slip after a 9 hour run at Los Suenos truly the swankiest marina/resort that I have ever been in. Mark was having a boating dude orgasm at all the multi million dollar sport fishing yachts, we dined, we explored…when the guys were busy fixing stuff and dealing with immigration and customs, I hired Oscar the taxi driver to take me on a tour of the Jaco and Hermosa Playa the cool beach communities chock full of Gringos, surfers, Ticas (the Costa Rican natives) head shops, cafes, restaurants, tour operators, bars, trippy artsy boutiques – just an all-round wonderful scene. He dropped me off and I wandered around, had a chocolate ice cream cone and taxied back to the boat.

Last night, I went downstairs to Marks cabin and crawled in with him for a snuggle which I hadn’t done in quite a while. It felt good. By 6:00 am I was packed and back in the taxi with my new Tica best friend Oscar, who takes me up into the beautiful mountains of Costa Rica for a yummy breakfast with the view to die for and off to the airport in San Jose - back to the expensive, vain, rat race that is Los Angeles, California…back to feeling chubby and broke and never quite enough.

The Costa Rican's have an expression that they greet each other with and it really has come to symbolize the whole Costa Rican belief and way of life-- Pura Vida!!! It means pure life..

I want that kind of life--I want to move to the tropics—I want the chill lifestyle, I want the incredibly inexpensive way of living and I want the warmth in my body and soul. I wonder how long it will take me till I bite the bullet and go for it. For now though I will try to keep the mellow vibe with me as I re-enter.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

Oh and by the way, softie Mark—who still has two thousand miles of sea to navigate the Lor-E-Lei to bring her home, (and whom I truly do adore in spite of how irritated my rants may have sounded,) started tearing up big time as Oscar put my luggage in the taxi and hugged me like he was never going to let go. You gotta love a man like that. And I do.

Just Love,

Patrice

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Monkey Business and the Mold Nightmare


Monkey Business on Every Level!

The highlight of our one-day layover in Golfito, Costa Rica was waking up a 5am this morning to go and see all the wild monkeys down the road. We had heard that hundreds of monkeys come down every dawn and if you bring bananas, you will get the treat of a lifetime. We were not disappointed. These were the most gentle sweet little creatures you can imagine, taking pieces of banana right from my hand is soft, swift movements. Adorable!

I spent the day yesterday mostly on my own wandering around the village while Mark and Joel spent hours fixing crap in the engine room, dealing with customs, and getting fuel. Golfito is true old Costa Rica, a third world sleepy little fishing village. Quaint and peaceful. And the locals are incredibly friendly to us Gringos. Quite a few Americans living here..they all seem to have the same story—came for a visit and never went back. Most of them have been here for 15+ years. I can’t blame them, it is quite magical.

But we are now on the road/sea again on our way to Los Suenos about 150 nautical miles away up in the Northern Pacific region of Costa Rica.

I am not getting along with Mark right now, his male ego is such that the slightest question that I have regardng the boat and the journey,seems to trigger him into jumping all over me. Case in point—I was talking to another yacht captain that was docked next to us and he told me that it took them 17 hours to get from Los Suenos to Golfito. Mark had estimated 10. So I thought that that was important information to tell him.

He went ballistic. Granted I can be very pushy at times, so maybe he just blew a fuse. I don’t do very well catering to a man’s ego especially when said man quite frankly has done very little to instill confidence in me on this trip. But his level of anger was ridiculous--(he later apoloized profusely). This trip and being together 24 hours a day has been very challenging to say the least. I’m not sure what will happen when we return. I love the man but the fact is that we are like oil and water; it is tumultuous, passionate and aggravating as hell. So between having a horrible cold war with my husband and getting really fed up with being on the water... then this great news just in!!!


My landlord just called on my cell phone and notified me that he has NO idea when I can move back in to my condo. There was some mold disaster in my unit as a result of a leak he was fixing while i was away and he has packed up my entire apartment in boxes and sealed everythihg in plastic. I can’t even enter my unit until the inspector comes and gives it a clean bill of health. And then some major construction begins which could be another two months. So now when the trip ends, I have no place to go, can't even get any of my stuff out, I have two dogs, my son is coming for Chrismas-- And I have got to figure the logistics of all this from three thousand miles away !

After all this travel, all I wanted to do was pick up my doggies, unpack, take a hot bath and settle in --Instead I have no idea where I will be staying after I land at LAX. You know what it is like, when you have been traveling all you wnat to do is get home! Needless to say , I am not a happy camper right now-- I know that there is some great gift is all of this, some wonderfu Universal lesson- but honestly right now, I can't seem to find it. Oy Vey!

Trying to Just Love,

Patrice

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Wind at our Back and a Following Sea




Super long post covering several days--( I had a lot of time on the water to write)--sorry for the longwindedness--then again you know me! I never seem to be at a loss for words...

At a beautiful dawn on December 7, 2008, the show finally got underway as we left Marina Flamenco and off into the Pacific slowly making our way up the coast from Panama towards Costa Rica. The day could not be more spectacular. Thousands of birds fishing and the Bonita were literally leaping out of the water in this magnificent spectacle.

The sun is out, the water sparkly, it is hot but with the sea breeze and the occasional spray in my face and along my back, I am convinced that this is some kind of heaven. We are making really good time, clipping along at 14-18 knots. Captains Mark and Joel are totally in their element and in fine spirits as a result.

Joel has proved himself to be good crew so far, fixing things in the engine room, radios, navigational tools tying down the hatches and all manner of engineering/maintenance chores. He even drives the boat when Mark needs time off (like just now as we went down to “captain’s quarters” for a long overdue rumble) So I am choosing to see Captain Joel as an asset, even if he is incredible irritating.


Islands are scattered around this part of Panama like little jewels jutting out from the sea. Once we got past all the big ships in the Canal Zone, I suddenly realized that we are alone in the big blue ocean- not a vessel in site. This is both eerie, ( very big, very blue and very alone) and utterly magical. As the waves lift us up and down in the most rocking natural rhythm, and my seasick prevention patch giving me that yummy drowsy feeling, I imagine that I am being rocked to sleep but Mother God herself.

We have this wild Panamanian radio channel piping in to the speakers on deck. Oley!!! Fiesta music as only the Latinos can do and then the coolest Middle Eastern and world beat tunes. This yacht is so big that we can each be in different parts of it and have plenty of space. I am down in the Salon, Joel is eating fresh fruit upstairs and Mark is going back and forth fishing and looking for things he has misplaced (I can’t even comment on this anymore- it has cost me too much serenity already) so I am choosing to try to ignore his inner chaos (I have enough of my own thanks very much. Instead, I am determined to RELAX and have FUN.

We may carry on through the night if the seas stay calm all the way to Isla Cobeia where we will anchor and finally go swimming and snorkeling and where I keep reading that the whales are thick and playful.

I have no Internet right now so I am composing on my laptop and will cut and past when I get to an anchorage that has a wi-fi hot spot.

7pm
After a full day at sea, we found a safe looking anchorage (this after a couple of hours of searching for the spot Captain Mark had been headed for) when pressed; he finally admitted that he had lost his radar or something. Jeez, there is nothing that this guy isn’t capable of losing! But remembering my new resolution to go with the flow, Patrice keeps her mouth shut.

We did end up finding a beautiful spot on a truly deserted beach, save, one house up in the hills and a couple of thatched hut type dwellings on the sand.

As soon as we anchored we heard something that sounded to be a cross between sea lion and mountain lion howling at us from a small jungle island to our right. The roar continued till we realized it was a bunch of Howler monkeys welcoming (or warning) us to the hood.

Mark and I jumped in the water as soon as we were parked, and it was warm and lovely. I made a pretty yummy guacamole and we amused ourselves looking at fireflies and the strangest weird red bats that were flying around the stern of the boat attracted to our lights. Dozens of them dipping their wings in the water and circling us. Very cool!

Not much on the boat to do at night except eating and reading. I am thoroughly enjoying an abundance of both. I am deep in a hilarious book called The Sex Lives of Cannibals, a real life memoir from a guy that spend two years on a very primitive island in the South Pacific. Fitting and a really good read. Nothing like actually having the time to knock off many pages at a time, which I managed to do today. Twelve long languishing delicious chapters were consumed by a
(Believe it or not) now getting very mellowed, and nicely chilled, Patrice.

December 08 am

The days are all blending together and sometimes I have no idea what time or day it is…We have been at sea for two days, completely off of the grid. I have no idea what is happening in news world. And this can’t be bad! Last night Mark and I stayed up on the top deck, there is nothing like watching the moonlight glow on the water, while grilling chicken and the boat gently rocking in her anchor that makes one forget about all the noise in the brain that usually assaults. It was spectacular. Strange squealing and squalking from deep in the jungle to our right, Joel down below asleep and snoring happily in the salon’s recliner. We felt like it was just us. Only the distant light from a couple dwellings on the coast, the rest was all God—the waves, the birds, the silence….Ahhhh

Sleeping last night, not so good. Mark was paranoid that we had anchored too close to what we now affectionately had named Monkey Island and all the rocks surrounding it, created Mark deciding that a night watch was in order so as to make sure that we didn’t “drag anchor” and wake up to a yacht beached on the shore with monkeys eyeing us for breakfast. He didn’t feel comfortable that our anchor alarm we had set on the GPS could be trusted if we started drifting, so he chose to stay up most of the night.

This decision made me miserable—since I have taken to claiming the large couch in the salon (living room) as my sleeping crook (I just don’t like being claustrophobic down below), I heard his every move—all night snack-a-thon complete with fridges, freezers, drawers, microwaves and cupboards being opened and shut every few minutes, lights going on and off, various, buzzers, beepers and alarms sounding for no apparent reason, his continual marching around the boat, hatches and doors gone in and out of. It was all just unnerving to say the least.

By 3am I was at my wits end and begging him to shut the f—k up and go to bed. I tried sleeping in his downstairs bunk but hated it and was quite frustrated when I came back up to finally see him crashed out on the couch—my couch!

Eventually he decided that we were'nt going to be going anywhere we were'nt supposed to be in the nights, so he grudgingly went downstairs to sleep, the couch was mine once again. I drifted hungrily into dreamland. By 6am we were all up and at ‘em again and by 6:30 we shouted our goodbyes to the monkeys and were on the roll once more. We have a good little routine going on now- we all know our particular duties and all in all we seem to making quite a nice team. We are now clipping along on route to Isle Coiba, which is a national marine park rich with underwater life, whales reefs.

I can’t wait to get there and get deep into the water—I love the world underneath the surface (in more ways than one!)

December 08 3:30pm

After a strong 7 hours at sea with visits from spinning dolphins that were surfing our wake, we anchored at a little cove in Coiba National Park and Marine Preserve. Mark and I swam to shore to discover a little island that time forgot—iguanas of multi- colors, monkeys swinging in the trees, Tito the crocodile (who had his own sign warning people not to swim in his lagoon) and various other creatures. I snorkeled a bit but didn’t see too many fish, just lots of coral, sea anenomies, and crabs etc…

Okay so big adventure moment of the trip happened at around 5pm, we had re anchored ourselves after some locals in ponga came by and told us (in Spanish no less that we needed to move the boat because we were in much too shallow of water. We ended up next door to the only other boat in the middle of the ocean. This funky barge that has a full on bar/cafĂ©/hotel if you will, for hardcore fisherman dudes that come and stay on “Pesca Panama” and Jay the proprietor/ captain and his Panamanian crew and fleet of little fishing boats take these guys out or some serious fishing. Any way the place was so trippy looking that we were really curious what it was all about.

Now here is where it got interesting, I had decided to go for another afternoon swim/snorkel but no sooner had I jumped in the water when Jay and his crew started screaming at me to get out of the water. Mark is turning white as I swam back to the boat. Turns out that not only crocodiles, but bull sharks and tiger sharks are very prevalent here and if I wanted to go back to Los Angeles with all of my limbs in tact then I better get out like NOW.

So Al who is now my lifesaver calls us on the radio, who comes on over by one of his boats to for a visit with a couple of his Panamanian crew. He comes aboard, makes himself right at home and fills our ears with tales of his long oceanic career as a captain and fisherman who has lived out in these very same Panamanian waters for 20 years. I get us invited back to his place and so he whisks us all over to the “Pesca Panama’ introduces his current clients on board, (all different age dudes from all over the US that live in cramped, dude smelling, 4 to a cabin bunks all for the love of “The Catch”)

Jay’s hospitality does not end there as he has his bartender serve us up cocktails, his two Panama lady cooks bring us out this spicy appetizer full of shrimp, squid, octopus, crab and fresh fish…So sitting out of the back of his barge looking at the Lor-E- Lei and realizing that we are really out here in the middle of the sea—I am downright blissed out.

Then the icing on the cake, I mention that I would love to catch a fish and with that Jay calls over one of his fisherman who proceeds to help Mark and I catch two huge Jackfish, which they proceed to cut, clean and hand back to us ready for grilling, which Mark did and we all sat up on the top deck of the boat eating fish that was less than a hour old and gently rocking in the balmy Panama night air.

It does not get better than this.

Footnote: When I was sitting by myself for hours today, I fell into a beautiful meditation/prayer moment with God. What came to me as I started pray was that I clutch at prayer with a panicked clinging stance—I was guided instead to open my palms, my heart, my mind and being—to simply allow goodness to happen, grace, miracles…blessings. It was nothing that I haven’t heard, studied, read for most of my life and yet the metaphor of the letting go of the terror grip I have had with God and instead trusting and allowing just seemed so much easier to understand on a deeper level while being hypnotized by Mother Ocean for hours on end.

As I sat looking out the stern of the boat I imagined leaving behind all the “ painful stories” of my life and as I moved to the bow and looked forward as we sped through the sea, I imagined all the adventures and wonder yet to be had.

If somehow, fate/destiny/God/ My vibration has so created or allowed me being out in the middle of the Pacific in Panama with my husband on a million dollar yacht grilling jackfish that we just caught outside in the warmest most beautiful night air--- well, just what other dreams are might be dropping by.


This vacation is most certainly underway.

Just Love,
Patrice

December 09 7am

I awoke at 4am and decided to go outside and see what might be going on in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the sea—when I looked up, I gasped, the cloudless sky was blanketed with millions of twinkling stars- outrageous beautiful stars. I woke Captain Mark to come see them with me, and before long Captain Joel was out there with us too.

It has always struck me how “star” deprived we as a modern civilization are. The only stars that we seem to care about are celebrities! Meanwhile since time began, mankind has been able to look up at the wonder of our galaxy and the countless others that live out there. To ponder his place in the universe. Then came all the lights of the cities and 99% of the stars we now never see. I consider this a tragedy. To not be able to see the true night sky and therefore our own truth as spiritual as beings in the universe is very damaging, I believe. Why don’t we turn lights off at night? I want my stars back!!

Anyway, I was blessed with three shooting stars before I came back in to crash for another couple of hours.

Mark and Joel got Lor-E-Lei ready for today’s journey and at 6am we snuck out into the early morn watching the sun rising up and reaching out from the horizon.

Next stop Gofito, Costa Rica, Banana Bay Marina!

2:30

After a full 8 hours on the water we are just now rounding into Costa Rica…We still have another few hours till we will reach Banana Bay Marina and finally get internet and some land for a bit. I am craving some terra firma for a decent stretch. Highlight of the day so far: Dolphins, Mark loses a huge Dorado fish but brings in a big Bonita (which he then released) oh and a little thing called. We may be running out of fuel! Now neither one of the guys will out and out tell me this. But how else do you explain after hushed conversations between themselves, complete with odd guilty worried looks and gestures, several hours ago we went from 14 down to 8 knots, turned of the generator which now means that all GPS’s and charts tells me that something is up. When pressed they both have the same preplanned pat answer, we just want to conserve fuel. Well in my mind that is another way of saying “ we may not have enough fuel to get us to our marina to fill up.”

I am trying not to panic by making killer tuna fish sandwiches for us all and sitting on the bridge listening to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin on an ipod.

I am becoming so mellow from all these days being
Rock a bye babied by the water, that even the thought of running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere is not carrying the same level of terror that it would have if I were not feeling catatonically medicated by a cocktail of the seasick patch, the movement, the humidity and the sheer relaxation of it all. And that is probably a good thing.

I am just praying while listening to The Dark Side of the Moon to please let us get there, while stealing all of the M&Ms out of the giant trail mix bag and searching the horizon for whales.

I think that I could get used to this.

post note-- we arrived at the Banana Bay Marina in Golfito, Costa Rica in the dark and with just enough fuel. Awoke this morning to the most beautiful sounds and colors--went exploring in the village with Mark and bought bananas for the monkeys that we are going to visit after breakfast...This beautiful marina is right in the rainforest...God I love the tropics and I have really good HAIR! From all the moisture I finally have the perfect ringlets that no amount of product could ever achieve.

And that is reason enough to move down here. And in 3 years..Patrice will do just that-- live in a place with warm water, warm air and most of all warm people.

More later,

Just Love!

Patrice

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Abandon Ship

Almost bailed ship last night.. and I would have had it not been for a bad Internet connection and the fact that I don't even have a home to go back to since my entire bathroom has been demolished and won't be ready for another week ( see my post " The Great Bathtub Deception)

It had all been brewing for some time as you could probably tell from my updates, but the straw that almost broke the camels back and sent Patrice packing happened when I realized that we would not be pushing off today as planned because somehow we didn't get the right documents to clear port authority and leave Panama. This of course would not have happened if anyone has listened to me when I made a point of telling all the captains that we needed to make sure we were all clear on how to clear. No one bothered to pay attention, and this resulted in a total fiasco at the customs office complete with flailing arms, raised Spanish voices, clueless clerks, even more clueless captains Mark and Joel who started ganging up on me telling me to let them handle it ( yeah right! these two are like Mutt and Jeff) and would have still been flailing if I hadn't threatened to abandon ship if they didn't get our proper ship agent on the phone to sort the mess out. And that no I was not going to hand over my passport to them to take a taxi into Panama City at night to try and get it handled.

Anyway, I got distraught at all the bumbling idiocy going on, the feeling of being out numbered by fools, how long it is taking to finally get this ship a sailing, my own depressive tendencies ( that by the way had not vanished just because I have traveled 3,000k miles away) and the new and hideous roll of fat around my belly that has arrived from massive shoving in for days now of trail mix that I have been using to medicate. No kidding, I finally took a glance at the packaging and I think I had been eating four thousand calories a day in friggen crack trail mix.

Now I feel like a rolly polly just like the boat and this has done nothing to add to my already dicey self- esteem. So in a moment of desperation, I tried to go on-line and make reservations to get out of here. When nothing was working Mark convinced me to go have a bit to eat and something about his gesture and long overdue sweet side that he was pouring on to try to keep his wife from ditching the cruise, the lit up Panama skyline, watching the Lor-I-Lai bobbing so sweetly on the slip, the yummy balminess of the night air, delicious pasta pomador and the fact that for some reason, I couldn't figure out where to fly anyway without my safe haven of home to retreat to-- resulted in me saying WTF?

So I am once again aboard and on board and if the weather window looks promising we will be finally getting underway tomorrow!

Today, we will explore the Marina, clear customs with the right document, may be do a bit of fishing, basic yacht provisioning and what ever else unfolds. In fact, I am off to find some fun, get kissy with Captain Mark who I have been "beating up" pretty bad for his ADD and to seriously shake up my attitude and thus start a whole new chapture of this trip called " When it got fun!"

Oy Vey.

Just Love,

Patrice

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mega Yachts and Tensions Rising



Sitting, drinking "Cola Light" at the swankiest Marina in Panama ( and maybe all of Central America), Marina Flaminco! . The richest of the jet-setting Latin Americans, celebrities and wealthy cruisers on their way to and from the Caribbean are all docked in each one more incredible than the other, multi million dollar luxury yachts. We are parked next to the Princess Mariana one of the most famous yachts in the world that circumnavigates the globe with a full time crew of 25, it's own helipad for the owners who fly on and off the Princess as the whim strikes , and is so opulent she is almost blinding. I am determined to get invited on for a tour and am strategizing my move as they have strict orders to not let Looky Lou's ( like me) on board.

So I am here at the air conditioned Market Place Cafe quite contentedly writing this while Captains Mark and Captain Joel are off fixing radios, filling up on 2k worth of diesel fuel and checking provisions before we take off, most likely tomorrow, for our first bay to anchor in after a 200 mile run somewhere between here and Costa Rica.

The Panama Canal took 2 days to get through as we had to moor at Lake Gatun overnight because of weather and other middle of the night scheduling issues that came up.

Now picture this...we had to get through two days of weird silent and sometimes not-so-silent brooding tension between the owners of the boat- this extremely odd and multi loaded mid-western couple Tammy and Fred and their two attention starved kids who clung on to me for two days and calling me Princess Patrice (which I actually quite liked), Captains Bob and Captain John ( who after traveling 3500 miles with the "the family" are spent and taking no prisoners) Fred's best friend this completely milk toast Oklahomian named Jim, and now Captains Joel and Mark, me and the Panama Canal Adviser that travels with us to get through all the locks okay. Even though this is a nice big yacht , 12 people that are not getting along is 12 too many as we wind our way through the Canal.

At first I wasn't fully aware of just how bad tensions were when Tammy, Fred, the kids and I went on a walk, looking for Howler Monkeys in the jungle near Shelter Bay before we began the transit.

I found plenty of monkeys, as Fred and Tammy filled my ears with how awful the passage with the two soon to be leaving, (as we the west coast crew takes over) Captain Bob and John have been. Apparently not pleased at all ( and who can blame them really) that the family was going along the whole way, Bob and John have been getting increasingly intolerant of the kids, and this created Tammy pulling rank and treating them like hired help and all sorts of dramas have unfolded and continue as we all pull away from the dock a few hours later in the middle of the night in the middle of the Canal with freighters and cruise ships and tankers surrounding us in this kind of eerie parade of lights through the locks and deeper into the canal.

Captains Bob and John also feel the need to tell us their version of the trials and tribulations of their journey with "the owners and brats from Hell" whenever Tammy and company are out of earshot. And how a complete mutiny was only narrowly avoided.

When it is obvious that all twelve of us will now be spending the night on board together, the tension is so thick that even the sharpest of knives could not begin to cut it .

Meanwhile.... I am getting so sick of Captain Joel who is turning out to be a lecherous creepy dude giving me weird little looks and comments like ," oh that sundress looks so nice on you- you really are a California girl aren't ya" and staring at me comlpletely inappropriately-- ICK! He is also really hard of hearing and refuses to wear his hearing aids so I have to repeat everything 8 times. And is one of those people who LOVES to hear himself talk, and talk and talk...He is driving me mad already and we have only just begun.

Captain Mark, meanwhile is just plain annoying and oblivious most of the time to everything that is going on with the various camps on the boat. As always, I am acutely aware of the the whole cast of characters and the odd dance that is playing out before me.

I awaken after no sleep due to Captain Marks incessant, unnerving snoring all night, and we sit idling in the lake for the next 2 and a half hours till it is our turn to head through the last three locks that will bring us from the Atlantic into the Pacific.

And the hours pass like molasses as I switch back and forth from coloring picture book after picture book to keep the kids happy and not screaming bloody murder to wandering throughout the boat wondering why the fuck no one tells you ever that ...

The Panama Canal is the most boring overrated wonder of the world I have ever experienced.

After you have seen tons of big ships and mile after mile of jungle so friggen what....not to mention smelling all the exhaust from the diesel fuel at each lock and the ensuing "fire drill" of way too many men "chiefs" all screaming at each other and scrambling for ropes, and fenders.

Finally some real excitement happened in the form of fast storm that literally came after nowhere suddenly engulfing us, complete with cracks of lightening and thunder that could rival the most over the top B horror film. It was a National Geographic moments as we are entering the locks and the boat is being tossed like a piece of candy and crashes into the sides, the kids are screaming and clutching me because mom Tammy is to busy freaking out as her Nikon camera went flying. Fred the owner gets shocked by the electric charge from the lightening but lives to tell about it- everyone is drenched, and slipping and falling and it is wild and I am loving every sheer moment of it because now finally something interesting is happening.

Then, as quickly as it began, it is over, we grill our prawns for lunch pass through the last locks uneventfully and arrive with Captain Mark who has now taken over the helm, at Marina Flamenco.

I am ready for the white sand beaches, fruity drinks and snorkeling that I had been promised when I set out on this journey. Captain Mark promises me that they are coming. So far nothing has turned out to be the tropical vacation I had pictured.

I have now been in Panama for a week and have yet to put my toes in the ocean, which is way over due.

I miss my Coco ( sausage dog) but little else and so I feel no immediate urge to cut out early. Now that the the old crew and family are gone, we have this gorgeous million dollar floating toy to play with , and play , I plan too. Needles to say, I am eager to untie the ropes and GO!

I'm off to find my husband Mark ( screw the captain crap- it's getting old) and try to expedite things.

No doubt more coming soon...

Meanwhile,

Just Love!

Patrice

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Transitions

Well, the next phase of the journey has begun, we are headed up to Shelter Bay on the  Caribbean side of Panama to join the Lor- E-Lai our soon to be home for the next few weeks.  A plush 63 ft motor yacht, upon whom, we shall make the Panama Canal Transit. Captain Joel has arrived and he seems like an okay guy to be on an adventure with. Made the mistake of accepting an invitation to eat pizza with a bunch of American cruisers ( those that live on their boats and travel the world) that are here in Panama that proceeded to scare the shit out of me mentioning things like the Papagallo Winds and the Techwantapecers--(hugh????) to watch out for that can be treacherous (even deadly!!!) the thiefs that love to rip off cruisers so" never ever let anyone on your boat or leave the boat by itself," all the dicey parts of Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico that are best to say the hell away from unless of course you are escaping the Papagallos and the Techwantapecers-- Great!

Meanwhile they are telling me all of this while, Mark is off doing God knows what afer he recently slipped away from the table and I'm begging them to hold off on all this "wonderful information" till he gets back. Because quite honestly they were making me wonder if I was about to take my life in my own hands My new expats around the table carry on with" oh my God, gosh,your husband is undertaking this with only Catalina experience? What do you mean you don't have a sideband radio? I had not been feeling alot of  faith in him recently anyway. He is an absent minded professor which was quite endearing in the first couple of months of dating but no so cute 4 1/2 years laters when facing a potential death cruise  "what if he forgets his charts? what if he really doesn't know what he is doing ?Maybe he bit off more than he can chew and the machismo in him can't let him admit it?"

But after a lot of reassuring by Mark and now Captain Joel I am feeling confident enough again that we will be "more that fine" and I am carrying on as planned.

This by the way brought up all manner of heated discussion around why I don't have "faith in my man" which I don't have time to go into now--trust me when I tell you this vacation is bringing up more than a sun tan.

Gotto go--

Off to the 8th wonder of the world the transition between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean and more personally for me, between fear and faith.

Just Love,

Patrice

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Raining


Bored, raining, grumpy, sweaty, raining, overeating, waiting, raining, reading, thinking, looking out over the ocean, pondering, sleeping, raining, mellow, anxious, sleepy, balmy, dreamy, frustrated.... did I mention raining?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ships Passing in the Night




The fact is that I am sitting here on the deck of my hotel on the beautiful Amador Causeway on this warm tropical sunsetting over the bay, magical Panama Day.

The other fact is that I am feeling the pressure to blog about this whole trip, keep a commentary up about it, and this being the first traveling that I have done since blogging became my new #1 hobby/obsession 3 months ago. Let me put it to you this way--"Our issues are coming up."

I am that three month mark that is a pivotal turning point in intimate relationships. Seriously there are books and experts galore that tell you that at the three month mark-- the "honeymoon phase" wanes and often is when a relationship will either move forward or die.

So Blog and I are having one of those " no it's not you it's me" dialogues, whereby I am saying that I feel a little claustrophobic, it's all getting to be bit much, I m getting scared, you're taking up too much of my time and getting too needy, I don't know if I can keep this up, maybe we should start to see other people...Before I started blogging, I wasn't letting anyone down if I disappeared for a bit. . And Blog and I are going through that now," you mean you come on vacations with me too!?" Do I have to hang out with you every day, every week? What exactly do you want from me, anyway? You could say that we are setting the boundaries and seeing what is comfortable and just if and how this can work with both of us being happy . I trust that we will figure this out.

I guess this a roundabout way of saying to you that I may check out for a while, as I continue this particular adventure.

(Fact is that I maybe back writing in an hour) You know how that works- once you feel free.....

But

Right now, in this very precious moment, I need to sign off. I am just not sure if I can fully be Here.. and with You at the same time....


Tonight I feel the call.....It is time for me to sink in and soak it up.

So this is Patrice taking her leave to the sounds of sweet Latin music beginning to fill up the street as twilight paints the sky with her shadows and light, I am sitting in Panama watching boats bob in the harbor and the smell of barbecues wafting up from the restaurants all around and I once again feel the embrace that only travelling seems to be able to give me.

What a huge and different world this planet of ours really is , wow, it gives me pause. My joy on planet Earth, is experiencing who I am from different vantage points-- at different spots all over the world. And I have needed this journey for a long time. i have lots to sort out, Ahhh, the balmy comforting air is warming parts of my being that were getting chilled. And in this moment...Lo and Behold!

I feel Alive.

Oh and one more thing, when I was little and living in England, sometimes late at night I would hear the sounds of foghorns blowing. It was a hauntingly beautiful sound to me. My mother used to say that it was the sound of ships passing in the night.

Just now, Mark came over and told me to get my head out of the computer and look up. To which I saw two giant container ships pass by each other each making their transit through the Panama Canal and off to parts of the world unknown. It was truly ships passing in the night. And that made me think about all of us. We are all passing by each other on our own journeys far and wide. Thank you for every moment that you choose to pass with me.

I will be back- you can count on it.


Until Then,

Just Love,

Patrice

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pictures from Panama

Hi Guys,

I am super tired after a long and wonderful day so I will just post these pics for you tonight... more to come

just love,

Patrice







The Sun Also Rises!

Okay guys,

This will be a quickie as the sun has finally come out. This after 3 days of unrelenting rain in Panama. The entire country has been flooded out for weeks- so of course that's when I would arrive!! But being the great travel trooper that I am, I made lemonaide out of the rain soaked lemons.

Highlights so far, one night in Gamboa deep in the rainforest ( did I say rainforest!) at a georgous resort which though stunning, is not how to see Panama. I don't want to be hanging out with tourists so much when I travel ( the comradery is fun and helpful sometimes- you went where and did what?-)Where I get really juiced up is when I get out with the people that actually live in the new world that I find myself traveling in.

We had a great early evening wandering the streets of Panama City in search of a "pharmacia" for my sore throat ( yes I have managed to get sick) - joy!!!

It is a real melting pot this Panama, a true international city, on our walk we saw orthodox Jews in all their gear headed to temple, East Indians in their saris and punjabs, Asian, Europeans, Americans, and all manner of Latin Americans all going about their buisiness in the city they call home. After a great dinner at the hotel Intercontinental Miramar right on the waterfront, I lay in bed looking at the truly beautiful Panamanian skyline...Hundreds of needle thin huge sky scrapes all lit up and magical. Then suddenly Captain Mark ( and let me say that we have been at odds with each other so far- chalk it up to frazzled jet-lagged, rain soaked nerves) yells out "Fireworks!" and sure enough to our amazement an esqusite display over the water unfolded before our eyes. Not sure of the occasion, but a treat none the less.

Awoke this morning to bright sunlight streaming in, so we are off to explore.

More later...

Just Love from Panama to all of you,

Patrice

Friday, November 28, 2008

On the Hellish flight to El Salvador

Okay, it is no secret to any of you by now that I do not exactly have the ability to keep my mouth shut about how I am feeling, especially when I am feeling miserable…. and Oh Lordy, am I MISERABLE… I have done a lot of flying in my day but never have I experienced anything quite like this…

It is 4 am we have been flying for 3 ½ hours now since leaving LAX on American Airlines flight 797 red eye with my husband Mark on en route to Panama and Costa Rica by way of San Salvador the capitol city of El Salvador.

Discomfort has given way to despair as we have been smashed in with 300 El Salvadorian natives, it appears that are used to being literally packed in like sardines (actually, I believe that sardines would have better experience) The seats sit bolt upright with barely any ability to recline even the slightest bit, I am sitting so close to my next door neighbor, a sweet El Salvadorian man named Jose whose entire life story I now seem to know, (even though he speaks very little English and I very little Spanish) as a result of our new found close proximity to one another.

Poor Jose, is going home to visit momma as he does several times a year, since he got his arm crushed at the machine job he worked at. Anyway, the point is that Jose and I have become fast friends as the result of the seats being so tight together that we are honestly almost sitting in each other’s laps. But wait, there’s more….. It is stiflingly hot, I am hyperventilating, the turbulence is out of control, dozing is impossible sitting bolt upright in Jose’s lap, and I am trying to repeat my newly created mind of matter over matter mantra that goes something like,” I will not die, I will not die,” as I gasp for breath.

Said mantra is not working at all. So I have been forced to resort to praying, bitching and begging the overworked and not- moved- whatsoever to my pleas for help crew to let me move up to the one seat that I can see thought the curtain is still open in their version of “business class”. At least up there they appear to be somewhat normal size seats that have some sort of ability to recline, but my sob story of panic attacks, phobias, hyperventilation, and my final appeal to have them let me have the seat if I gave them the upgrade right now on my credit card,
has all been met by deaf ears and the kind of smug smirk that makes me think that they may get some kind of evil pleasure at seeing the “so used to comfort Gringo”, just having to deal!

I swear, I did not think it was even legal to put people through this… not for a five hour flight, not for 799$ a pop and not on American Airlines for the love of God!

The only bright news in all of this is that I have discovered reason #249 of how blogging has changed my life—are you ready? At God knows how many thousands of feet up in the air, in the boiling El Salvadorian sardine flight from Hell, I now feel with a certain confidence that I didn’t have when I started this blog that I will indeed live and be able to write you of more wonderful chapters of this Panama journey that I just know are coming soon. I have managed to get through the panic attack, I have killed at least an hour, gotten all this off of my chest (and speaking of chests, I even managed to free" the girls" without Jose or Mark who is sitting other side of me and trying his best to deal with an out of control wife on an out of control miserable flight), by taking off my bra under the blanket. This, by the way, took some brilliant maneuvering and worked out so well. I was immediately able to breathe better. Bras are torture devices in the best of times and on this flight….well, let’s just say—it was one hell of a smart thing to do! Aaaahhhhh.....

Yeah, I just heard that we are on final descent--- I made it. I lived!

More later,

Just Love,

Patrice

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

T'was the Day Before Turkey...

....and all through the town, The Christmas lights were going up and Patrice was getting ready to fly to Panama!

What? Yes siree, Patrice is getting ready to go on a grand adventure with Captain Mark ( also known as her husband). Mark, who is a boat captain, got a gig bringing a million dollar yacht up from Panama through the Canal, Costa Rica and Mexico to it's final resting spot in Marina del Rey, California. When I first heard about this journey, I told him in no uncertain terms that I was going. He knew better than to disagree, good boy- that Mark.

Anyway, as much as he may of had visions of being away from all things familiar including his often irritating wife, he will have plenty of "solo dude sea time" when I get off the boat after a few legs of the trip ( Captain Joe will be joining us who I have never met- God I hope he's at least interesting)... I will not be going the whole distance, because #1 son Eli ( who you know from prior posts has been missing in action from my life, since he moved to his oh-so-organic vegan and not my favorite person in the world dad's house in Santa Cruz) is coming for Christmas and I will be back for that with bells on!

That said, we bought  a one way ticket for me to Panama and depending on how well the sea sick patch works, the weather, and how much of being stuck on a yacht with Captain Mark and Captain Joe, I can handle ( yes I do love him, but several weeks at sea with him...not so sure... and god forbid I say front and back instead of bow and stern, if you get my drift) I may get off  after a week in Panama, or I may carry on to Costa Rica-- ( oh, who am I kidding? Of course I'm going to go to Costa Rica no matter what!) heck, the boat has three staterooms..I'll have plenty of space ( she says hopefully) So I may just carry on with the journey, if all is going well, through many ports of Mexico until time runs out and I have to get back to Eli. Then I'll find the closest port with an International airport and fly home.

I AM EXCITED! From as far back as I can remember, I have loved adventures. Travel adventures being the very best kind of all. Put Patrice in a place as far removed from anything she remotely recognizes and the happier she is ( not sure why I keep referring to "her" in third person today--weird). This wanderlust has taken her through Europe, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and now she gets to add on Panama and Costa Rica to the list...weeeeeee!!!!

No doubt, I will be blogging from the water to let you all know first hand what is happening...in all it's nitty gritty details. As soon as the trip begins, Mark says that I will then be his crew ( whatever the hell that means to him) 

Wish us luck, Captain Mark ( he just loves being called that- so to keep him happy, I will-- smart woman- me) though a great sailor, has never made a passage of this magnitude before So it is a right of passage for him in the truest sense of the word. His claim to fame prior to this has been Catalina 30 miles away... Panama is 3,0000...so I am kind of taking a big risk here, but what the hey, it's only a bunch of zeros, you only live once and Panama and Costa Rica! on a plush fully loaded ( think plasma screen and leather lazy boy recliners in the salon etc..) 61 foot yacht is good enough for me. He is supremely confident in his ability to not kill us so....I'll go with that. 

So on on this day before Happy Turkey and heaps of Thanks, I wish you all farewell , I'll  be back at you very soon.

 Oh, and my thanks go out to you for letting me share all these little pieces of the Patrice pie with  you ... It's fun to share.

As always....

Just Love!

Patrice

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Complainer That Lives Within

It was occurring to me as I got ready to write this blog- that my ass was hurting from the hard wooden seat underneath me...As you know from a prior post, I have been on the search to find my perfect cafe to set up shop in. An escape from the monotony of being a work at home writer...

So I am sitting here at Novel Cafe take Two--( after my miserable failure a couple of days ago!) Today however is a new day and  I finally have the perfect spot-- wonderfully coolish, by the window, extension chord long enough, signed up for a full day wireless access so no more annoying interruptions every hour to log in all my credit card information. I have already eaten a mediocre but not altogether horrible chocolate croissant, the music is nice and mellow, the crowd the same and.... My Butt Hurts.

 This latest distraction, I have been trying my best to work through as I answered emails, checked out some blog discussion forums ( by the way-- How I ask myself, does anyone have time to blog when they are so busy trying to get followers to theirs and reading all the other people's and I have not come up with that answer yet)

 I am dancing as fast as I can trying to get up to speed in the Blogosphere that I have entered and I still feel light years behind...and speaking of behinds -Mine Hurts!

I decided when I first began to blog a few months ago that rather than sitting around trying to figure out just what exactly to blog about each time, that I would simply write what was on my mind in the moment- go where the energy was so to speak and right now the energy is that what I am sitting on  is a totally uncomfortable wooden chair. What? No cushions?? How, I ask you, is a perfectly lovely blogger supposed to plant themselves down and let the muse take over, when said blogger's ass is on fire???

Didn't they even consider this-  I mean come on--couldn't the owners of the cafe have put a little thought into MY comfort level?

Then I look around.  There are a good twenty other writers here this morning all happily plugged in and pounding blissfully away on their keyboards ...No one brought their own cushion and no one else seems to be as miserably aware of  their bodily discomfort as I am. Then again if someone was looking a me right now, I probably seem to be pretty happy myself. Oh the things that go on behind the scenes of one's thoughts..if we only knew-- actually isn't that what blogging is about!

 Ahhh yes. And so  I decide, actually my gift, my truth, my honesty is EXACTLY what I have promised you in my initial plug to "keep it real" This promise is infact even in the subtitle for  my entire blog. I consider it my duty and my honor to tell it to you ( nothing held back) as it is - at the time- in all it's full glory ( or horror as the case often seems to be)

But why, I begin to obsess about , "Why am I such a complainer??? What is it in me that can just never roll with the punches that life inevitably throws out, with having a big commentary on each and every injustice," ( today's being, the lack of comfortable seating!)

My husband, (who was obviously raised in a non- complaining family--you know the type, they could get served worms on rice at a restaurant and still would quietly munch away--not wanting to make waves!) thinks that I am hell on wheels.

Not only do I make waves, I am a full on Sunami ! And I tell you  this , not because I am proud of it ( ok, may be just a tad-- I do tend to get things happening where others have no luck) but because it fascinates me. Am I simply making up for all the "meekies" that never raise hell or complain, or speak their mind? 

My family was known to try on three resteraunts in the course of one evening until one was okay. I am not kidding, humiliating as it was, my dad would up and drag us out, if the seating was not up to par, or the waitress took a few minutes too long getting over to us, or if there was a draft.... is it any wonder that I'm a mess?

It sure isn't the most attractive characteristic that I posses, this bitchy whiner that lives within. But in the spirit of acceptance , I will try not to judge "her" for the moment.

Here is my truth: I have absolutely no tolerance for stupidity, I wouldn't know patience if it slapped me upside the head, slow service, hard seats, automated voice mail systems "press 22 if you have ever had a cuticle removed in the third week of June"  are only the tip of the iceburg of my list of gripes on this frustrating Planet Earth.

And now I realize that I have spent my entire allotted blog writing time today once again , complaining. Not at all what I had imagined I would be creating when I plopped down this morning.

I am sure that this continuous stream of irritations that goes on within me  needs some prompt attention and I will have to get to that one of these days- until then I am off to find another cafe with a softer place to land.

Now, in my last defense, I must say this-- as much as I bitch and moan, when all is said and done-- I do have a really good heart, really!...I have met a lot of people who on the outside were full of smiles and soft kisses but dig just a bit deeper and you would find a stone cold person, that would leave you lying in the gutter without a thought, while other seeming "gruffies" on the outside, when I searched a little further had marshmallow hearts and the warmest of souls-

What lives inside truly does, in the end, matter.

That said, it is time for me to quiet the complainer that lives within me just a bit. If not for any other reason than because there just might be something grand to learn from it...not to mention having a  kinder more gentle spirit in the world...

Till then-- I will...

Just Love,

Patrice

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Utter Failure at the Novel Cafe

So here I am, tropical iced tea in hand, at a darling little french cafe- The Panini in Venice Beach, California. I have moved my base of operation here after my absolute disaster at the Novel Cafe down the street yesterday.

Here's what happened (not that I really want to relive it but maybe I'll feel better afterwards -- at least that is my big hope)

First of all let me back up a bit. One of the reasons that I moved to this neighborhood was for the creative stimulation. Venice Beach is a place like no other...think-- being dressed up in pajamas with a Mohawk while wearing leopard skin stilettos, smoking a fat doobie, walking down the street with a drum and screaming to yourself while no one sees anything out of the ordinary . Nothing whatsoever is unacceptable here, whoever-whatever you are... you are welcome.

Think-- cosmopolitan. At any given time you will hear snippets of passionate conversations in Greek, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Yiddish, French, Hindi oh and throw in some Cockney English..and yes plenty of good 'ole American sounds too. This is the home of artists, writers, filmmakers, spoken word performers, drummers and dreamers, dancers, jugglers and wandering sadhus all living, working, performing together in what has to be one of the most eclectic, bohemian, avante guarde beach communities anywhere.

And the cafes! At last count there were sixteen of them all within walking distance of my new home. A writers paradise indeed.

So of course when I moved here, I had visions of doing my writing no longer trapped in the confines of my stir -crazy making four walls, but in a groovy cafe with all the stimulation that good cafe writing offers...

That said, I began a search to find Patrice's perfect cafe. Each one, you know, having their own flavor, scene ( kind of peeps I will be chit chatting with over a latte when taking a break), level of comfort ( stiff benches vs. floppy couches) genre of music being played , temperature control and ease of plopping down to write. There was free wireless, paid wireless, minimum orders and maximum stays. Plus truth be told, the closer to my house the better for my lazy ass way of thinking ( one block is sure better than three).

The fact is that it took me six months to actually leave the comfort of home to venture out, lap top in tow for my new writing adventure. Don't ask me why, I seem to have issues, okay?

After one try I gave up on Starbucks-- really chilly and way too generic, and so yesterday I headed to the creme de la creme of cafes--The most eclectic cafe in the most eclectic neighborhood in perhaps the world-- The Novel Cafe. A famous writing hole for all manner of writers and for many a year now. More than a few novels have indeed been penned at the Novel Cafe. Open from 7 in the morning till 1am the next morning, every day of the week, 24/7.

I was giddy with the eager visions of a fantastic blog being debuted from the "Novel". I had finally arrived.

And arrive I did, at 3pm, ready for a good couple of hour writing immersion in my much anticipated funky old wood and used book decorated cafe of all cafes-- The Novel.

However, as always, the Universe has ways of humbling us and showing us what It thinks of our "plans." Things went very wrong from the get- go, in fact, the minute I walked in the door.

Reeking of Novel newbieness, I realized almost every table was taken with the other creatives. First lesson-- you have to come early to scope out your spot at the Novel. I've heard that many writers consider this their office and quite literally eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in between creating, studying, researching, reading whatever project they are working on, here.

Finally, I found a small table in what I will now always refer to as the sauna room. Upstairs from the kitchen , swelteringly hot and without a doubt not the room of choice in the Novel's four different rooms. None of the regulars would be caught dead up here. But heck, it had taken me 6 months to drag my butt here, I certainly wasn't going to leave without knocking out some damn good writing come hell or high water so I sat myself right on down to begin.

Now came the power chord issue- mine didn't reach and a lovely boy half my age came to my rescue and lent me his extension. He and I became fast friends in the sauna, the way people trapped in a lifeboat become friends, every so often commiserating about the heat and the now nauseating stench of bacon grease rising from the kitchen below. I don't care how tasty a BLT can be, trust me when I tell you that burned bacon infused steam swirling around you does not a very pleasant writing experience make!

But being the perfect little suffering in the name of art blogger that I am, I persevered. I persevered despite, really bad Reggae blasting, and the annoyance of continuing each hour to have to re-enter all of my credit card billing information into the computer to keep the $2.99 an hour wireless gods happy. At least from the sauna I did have a nice view of the interesting cast of characters coming in and ordering their beverages of choice and apparently a few BLT's.

So there I was blogging happily along and feeling quite smug and contented that I had finally gotten my Novel feet wet so to speak, when... It happened.

Don't ask me how, because I have no clue. What I do know is that to my horror, after writing what I quite frankly think was one of my funniest blogs ever, I tried to save it and .....Nothing! I got a blank white posting area. My blog and soon after my happy little writing serenity was GONE.

I felt sick, and the bacon heat ( which by the way, I had to shower, shampoo and launder away) only added to my misery.

I was indeed a Novel Cafe Failure.

It didn't help that my attempted bid for sympathy later from my non artist husband Mark, was met with the kind of look and statement that only one who just so does not understand can possibly give, " It's not like it's the end of the world or anything!"

God I have never wanted a divorce more-- actually, that's not exactly true-- that very thought often flows through me-- I think that allowing myself to go there is what makes marriage even possible for me!

 So, I gave "young boy"back his chord, never letting on any of my trial and tribulation( way too embarrassed) and walked the two blocks home, hanging head in some kind of Whoa what was the message in that! shame.

I may try again at the Novel, but not for a while. I need time to get over my sheer disappointment after such a build up. In the meantime, Panini has served me today quite well.

Then again, I haven't pushed SAVE yet...

Wish me luck.

If you are reading this--all went well.

 And so, until next time my sweet ones,

Just Love!

Patrice

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What If We Were Taught That We Were Perfect Even When We Were Miserable?

"Maybe the whole problem, I think to myself tonight, is not so much that I am sort of sad a lot, kind of melancholy and often achy inside. NO maybe the real problem ( and bear with me, I am just trying this on here) is that lifelong, somewhat futile exercise of chasing my own tail round in circles in the never ending effort to be living at all times in the societally preferred,in fact, almost demanded state of "happiness?" Come on- is that even possible- all the time- really?? I mean wouldn't it be a relief of sorts if it was actually okay, allowed, understood, even honored, to be somewhat miserable? Not a crazy, raging, angry, suicidal, take no prisoners, keep every one else down there with you miserable, just a nice, I'm sad again today, mellow kind of blues?"

I have noticed that a prevailing theme in my life is the incessant obsession that the"party" is somewhere else, that the damn grass is most certainly way more green over there, that if only (fill-in-the-blank) then everything would be just perfect, and of course my own personal favorite, when such and such happens, then I'll be good. I think that this silly madness was born out of ongoing endless pursuit and through the seemingly so hard to find drummed in message that " I must be Happy!" This demand of sorts, I have heard as far back as I can remember. The goal of life is to be "Happy!" That elusive, exalted, blissful state of ecstatic warm fuzzies day in and day out.

It has been this search that has been my theme- my quest. To discover the magic trick to it all. And since I still have no answers, I pose this question to you, to anyone who will answer truthfully from their heart...

Is it really possible to just be in your own skin, in your own life, in your own mind, in the sometimes maddeningly boring silence, in the middle of a stressful life, on a crazy planet and truly live in a state of happiness for any length of time? Of course I know that your answer will be yes,( I've been asking this question for a long long while) and YES seems to always be the answer-- it's just that ( and this sums it all up for me right now) I simply never been that girl. And don't even try guilt tripping me into making feel worse like I am a selfish bitch to be feeling sad when there are limbless children in gutters in Calcutta- that only makes me feel sadder--certainly not "happy!".

God knows I have tried to improve my mental/emotional states and I have the books, gurus, medications and meditations, support groups, gratitude lists, journaling exercises, 12 step meetings, crystals, vitamins, workouts, CD's, DVD's, and so forth to prove it. (By way the meds did help but I walked around in a weird state of half numbness that was too disconcerting to deal with for long, that and the constant feeling that even though I wasn't miserable, I was "cheating"somehow). Just my issue, believe me I have no judgement. Oh heck, truth be told if I hadn't had horrific night sweats on them, maybe I would have "cheated" a long while longer too! Crutch- Smutch!

Still, even with all of those tools at my disposal, the long dreamed of and supposedly extremely possible  state of free floating joy, happiness and well being that I keep hearing about, seems to have eluded me.

I question often whether my seeming pre- disposition to a low grade functional and not exactly hellish depression is a result of karma, a bad childhood, an initiation/spiritual test of sorts, nutritional, "oh so suffering creative artist disease", bio chemical, hormonal (and this buried treasure hunt to test and find the perfect hormonal cocktail resulted in thousands of dollars spent! ) geographical (if I was living on the beach in Bali- then I just know I'd be happy!) financial,  after all who can be nice and chilled when they are sweating it out week by week? or a host of other possible reasons why I haven't ever quite managed for any substantial amount of time anyway, to be HAPPY. I am so getting sick of that word right now.

Now don't get me wrong. I have my moments ( thank God). There are times when I am the laughing, bright light and life of the party. Yes, in fact, I will have you know that Patrice has been known to have spontaneously experienced, cup wildly overflowing with good stuff times in my life. I have had extremely profound epiphanies that convinced me that this time- I had found the secret elixir, the potion of joy that will stick, only to wake up again some short time later with the same overall malaise once again taking me over.

Then tonight this funny, far out thought came to me-- maybe I ( we) have never been told that it is ok, that we are ok, in fact we are adorable even if we are kind of sad a lot. And as I mulled it over and sat with this far out idea a bit tonight. I suddenly are you ready?, felt much much much ( did I say MUCH) better? Not giddy, just not miserable, a kind of a lovely warm neutral...Which is a far cry from where I was when I started this conversation.

I think I just may be on to something. I will let myself be with this radical concept for a while longer and no doubt will report back to you on my findings. But I shall leave you with this thought...

How can we sadish types feel truly " happy" when we are being bombarded ( media, "well meaning" friends/family/strangers, books, teachings) throughout our lives with the very consistent message that we are flawed, not okay, in some kind of serious need of fixing, broken damaged goods-- for being who we are fully in the moment, including all those sad, lonely, lost moments too?

After all, we are ever changing, moving, growing beings and no matter what, this too shall pass. So let's all cut ourselves (and each other) some slack. OK? Instead of judging, hows about, we just keep hugging?

Something to think about anyway...

In the meantime,

Just Love!

Patrice