I heard about the terrorist attack in Madrid on my way to a dentist appointment yesterday morning. My brother lives in Madrid with his girlfriend, so I was concerned. I figured the chances were slim of either of them being on the trains, but I was still worried. In the dentist's chair, with a pair of hands and a scraper in my mouth, I gasped as I heard the death toll over their canned radio station -- in the short report I heard in the car, they hadn't mentioned the number of fatalities. Now I was sweating a little more.

I assumed I would have an email waiting for me from my brother when I got to work, saying that he was fine. There wasn't one. I emailed him, asking for an update. I called my folks, who by now had both left for work. I waited for a few hours for an email from him, then tried to call. It went straight to an automated message, either because I had the wrong number for him or because their cell networks were down (later, it turned out both were true).

I finally found out when I called my parents again at 5:45 pm, that my brother, and anyone he knows, was okay. Both of my parents had gone through their days without hearing anything about the attack. My mom came home to multiple voicemail messages from people wondering how my brother had fared. In a panic, she called him and woke him up. Of course, everything was fine, and it hadn't occurred to him that people would be concerned for him. Typical. Anyway, this morning I got a message from him to all his friends and family with the subject line: "Bennett is Alive in Madrid." Kinda funny. Kinda sad.

I am going to be spending the month of April in Madrid, and then W is going to join me and we'll be traveling around in Spain for the month of May. It's a weird feeling for me -- I used to feel so far away from international terror, but this time I was affected. And will be affected still. It's strange, but familiar -- after September 11th, despite the fact that I was on the opposite coast, there was still a fog of fear that didn't lift for a long time afterwards. When will they strike next? How likely will it be that they strike near me or my loved ones? And whether or not I know anyone affected, where is the justice? There will definitely be an air of caution and mourning that will arrive with me in Madrid, something I didn't expect two days ago.


So, I'm back. At least I didn't set your expectations too high.

So a few facts about me if this is your first introduction:
- I am an editor at Microsoft, for about 34 more days now. I just put in my notice.
- I live on a sailboat (a Westsail 32, to be exact).
- My partner W and I have been scrimping and saving for a few years in order to quit our jobs and sail to faraway places. Preferably in the little lattitudes (that means warm places, dork).
- Hablo espagnol, un poco.
- I am a big fan of anything that arises from Joss Whedon's mind.
- I listen to indie rock, mostly, although now that I think about it, I buy more hip hop on iTunes than anything else. Anyway, in heavy rotation these days is Hot Hot Heat, Imperial Teen, Black Eyed Peas, Missy Elliott and Henry Raymond (hot producer of tracks like "Learn Spanish in Your Car, Level II").
- I'm 29.
- I live in Seattle.
- I'm a Scorpio.


So what is it like to liveaboard? I don’t know if that question even occurs to most folks, because it’s such a foreign concept. When I say I live on a sailboat, most people do that weird switcheroo-in-their-minds thing and start regaling me with stories of their friends who also lived on houseboats. I have to stop them and say, “Actually, it’s a sail boat.” Their response to that is usually, “Oh …” with a kind of confused look. They’re probably thinking, how the hell do you live on a sailboat?

Good question, dude. I am freakin’ WITH you on that one.

For anyone who has ever told you how freeing, how liberating, how zen it is to live so simply – they must have a Kool-Aid iv going.

Here are I-kid-you-not examples of comments I have made recently about our living situation. Mind you, I have almost been living aboard for a year, so you think I would have just given up by now. But my will to live is strong.

- “I just. Want. Some. Water pressure.”
- “When we were at the restaurant, I was washing my hands in the restroom and the water was warm. It was really nice. It reminded me of taking a bath.”
- “Ow!” (just knocked my head on the shelf that hangs one foot over my pillow)
- “Ow!” (just knocked my entire right side into the door that closes a two-foot wide doorway)
- “When was the last time we put vinegar in the head?”
- Me: “The comforter stinks!” W: “What does it smell like?” Me: “Brie!”

W and I gave up a huge apartment that overlooked downtown Seattle, the Space Needle and Elliott Bay to save money. Hey, it worked, don’t get me wrong. That's a big reason why I'll be leaving a kooshy job in a month. But sometimes, I think that I could have saved my sanity by spending $500/month on a crappy, tiny little studio in some basement somewhere. Seriously, that seems so much more appealing to me.

I miss being able to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to crawl over another body. I miss flushing the toilet and running tap water, those things we take for granted basically anywhere in the world except in Namibia and on a sailboat. I miss a sofa. God, do I miss a sofa. And I miss refrigeration. Lugging all your groceries six hundred feet to the end of the dock is one thing. Having to add 30 lbs. of ice to your already aching back sucks even more.

Okay, enough whining. I am sacrificing now for major payoff later, right?


I've never been much of a journaler.

As an English major, for some reason, half of my professors required we keep journals throughout the semester. Funny thing is, they didn't have to be about the reading material (although the reading material would be a convenient topic, if I didn't feel like regaling my prof with tales of sorority sacrificial rituals and how I wimped out and didn't do the beer bong at the party the night before). Anyway, I would never write in my journal when I was supposed to, so in the week before finals (and hence, journals due), I would hole up in a study carrel with a few different colors of pens, and write the thirty or so journal entries that were due, in one sitting. Ouch, my crampy hand. Kind of like a mini NaNoWriMo (although you'll never catch me doing that; I don't like things that are difficult).

So, basically, what I'm trying to do is set your expectations low. How very unlikely this is to be regular.

: : : :

I will now express to you the myriad reasons I want to share my experiences, my feelings, my plans and my hopes with you. When I was a young girl, I told all my teachers I wanted to be an author when I grew up, because I loved to read. Now I'm all grown up and ... ugh, this writing thing takes time! And I have a yoga class I have to get to. Hmmm.

I think this IM conversation pretty much sums it up. Meet my friend Scott.

(preceding IM conversation deleted)
Scott says:
Awesome! Welcome to the world of blogging. I'll add your site in my blogroll.
Scott says:
er, "to my blogroll".
Stephanie says:
I am a little afraid I won't be regular, but then when I look at John's I see that he enters something about once a month, so I guess I shouldn't put too much pressure on myself.
Scott says:
Scott says:
Yeah. I'll give you the same sage advice John gave me when I started blogging: "Fuck everybody."

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