South Pacific Safety Lessons

I haven’t written too much about my sail training expedition aboard the Mahina in the Cook Islands and French Polynesia.  However, I thought today would be a good time to talk about safety at sea.

Crew Overboard:  This was a training expedition in the South Pacific, and you learn how to do important things like how to save your partner if they fall overboard.  This is an important skill especially for women, who may not have the upper body strength to lift their partner out of the water alone, especially if the husband is injured and cannot simply climb aboard..

I volunteered to be at the helm during our “crew overboard (COB)” drill, which is the newer term for “man overboard- or  MOB).”  We were at the French Polynesian Island of Huahine at the time and I believe crewmates Cody or Simon volunteered to jump over the side of the boat and be my “victim.”

As the helmsperson, I immediatedly followed the procedure as taught, turning the helm a half turn, walking back to let out the Life Sling, which is attached to the stern and looks like this:life sling

You then return to the helm to complete your steps for rescue.  If you do it correctly, which I did, it the lifesling line will move across the water right to the COB.  You also instruct the crew to place the lifesling under their arms and around the torso.

09c_2You then pull the COB in by hand towards the boat, or if too difficult, you use a winch to assist you.  Once alongside the boat, you use your halyard winch to lift them up and over the lifelines.  Here is an example of Cody playing the happy rescued victim partner.  Standing next to him is Simon.  It is important to practice your crew overboard skills frequently. I was happy to know I could do it successfully if Joe were to fall overboard.

Tether and Harness– Away from land, it is critical to always use your harness (yellow) and tether (blue), which is being modeled by Angela and I.  If you were on night watch alone, fell overboard and did not wear your harness and tether, it might be hours before someone realized you were missing.  Most likely, it would be a death sentence.   We also used a raised jacklines (lifelines) on the Mahina, for anyone who are into details like this.

mastclimbClimbing Harness– Speaking of harnesses, we also used climbing harness to climb the 65 ft. mast.  Sailors need to climb the mast on occasion for maintenance, repair, inspection, and other reasons.

My thumbs up and smile in the photo might have been taken before my climb- and am I trying to bravely hide my fear of heights?   Or was the photo taken after I successfully met my goal of touching the top of the mast and then getting back down to the deck safely in one piece?  Not sure, but I will guess the latter since the smile looks happy.

MaupitiTropical Medicine– While I am mentioning safety, you can see a large bandage on my right leg.  On the island of Maupiti (see photo, right), we decided to rent bikes and ride around the island.  I took a spill on a coral gravel road, and received a nasty road rash on my leg and elbow.

I cleaned and treated my injuries once I was back on the boat, but didn’t want to be a wimp and tell the team leaders that I had an injury.  However, the pain keep me awake, and by the next morning the leg was seriously infected, hot, and very painful.  Luckily, a fellow crew member was a doctor, who started me on antibiotics, and kept good watch on my leg over the next couple of days.  John, the captain, also did an excellent job tending my wounds, too, with medical ointments intended for tropical injuries.  Plus, I had a neighboring boat with a Tahitian doctor aboard, too, who checked on my leg.

I was surprised at how quickly the tropical wound became infected.  Moral of the story is if hurt in the tropics, especially injuries involving coral, do not try to be superwoman or superman and “suck it up” so to speak.  Tell someone and seek medical treatment asap.

Thanks to Cody and Angela, of the blog, Your Fins Are Showing, for letting me lift borrow some of the photos shown above.  Hugs from Carla

Thinking of Nancy

Nancy is one of my elder friends, who I have quilted many quilts for over the last 6 plus years.  I learned recently from her Daughter-in-law (DIL) that she moved from North Carolina back to Northern CA again.  That’s the good news!

Unfortunately, the good news is tempered with concern.  I learned that Nancy is in the ICU right now, so I wanted to ask you all for your prayers, good thoughts of healing, etc. on her behalf.  Please  think of her when you read this.

Some of you might remember Nancy by her quilts I have quilted.  One of the first ones was this Carolina Lily:

Here is a Wedding Ring quilt:

Here is a 2 alternating block quilt:

Here is my working sketch for this quilt:

Here is another lovely quilt by Nancy:

and another:

Front View:

Plus, I have a few more still for me to do for Nancy, when I recover completely from my spine surgery earlier this year.  I no longer quilt full time, but I still have a few friends (like Nancy) that I quilt for, so long as they don’t mind waiting.

So please keep Nancy in your thoughts and prayers.  Thank you, Carla



Oreo The Cat: Update!

I thought I would update everyone about Oreo the Cat.  In case you are not aware of this heart warming story involving a  sweet black kitty, just read here.

Oreo was severely injured when someone started their car and the engine parts mangled this cat.  The person left Oreo and did not seek help.  The cat’s owner found Oreo, and called my husband, Joe, to help seek treatment.

The owner did not have the ability to pay for emergency or vet treatment, so my husband stepped up and paid for Oreo’s care.  Oreo needed an amputation, and about a week and a half of veterinarian care.  I promised you pictures, so here are some images of  Oreo taken today:

and this last shot:

I have some good news:  Oreo’s owner decided to give him to us so we could follow up with any needed care.   So now we have a new indoor kitty!!

Oreo is adjusting well.  He came out to explore today and comes when I call him.  He jumped up to give me about an hour worth of purring kitty love, it was very sweet.

Last Saturday, Joe took Oreo back to our Vet.  They were touched by this dear brave kitty, who has been through so much and still purrs.  The office staff became so very attached to Oreo during his stay, that they decided to take pictures and make a plaque to hang in the office.

I’m sure they were also touched by my husband, who so freely stepped in to pay for Oreo’s care.    What a man!  I sure did marry a good one!!

And that is my update!  I love a happy ending….

Oreo The Cat

Earlier this week, one evening, we received a phone call about an injured kitty named Oreo.  The owner lives on disability and had no car  or way to take Oreo to the emergency veterinarian.

My husband dropped everything and drove Oreo to the after hours emergency vet.  This poor cat, only about a year old,  had somehow gotten into a neighbor’s car (fan belt area) and fell asleep.  At least that is what the vet thinks.

Later that evening, we received a call from the emergency vet.  He said the kitty needs his back leg amputated it was so badly mangled.  Oreo had other injuries, too, including his front paw, which possibly sustained nerve damage.  Anyhow, the after-hours vet said that in the morning, Oreo would need to go to the usual vet office for treatment.

The next morning, my husband picked up Oreo and drove him over to our family vet for treatment.  Initially, they thought they could save his leg, but it became much worse.  Time for a decision…. euthanize Oreo or amputate his leg?  My good-hearted husband chose amputation,  saying that Oreo had such a sweet temperament.   Despite his injuries, Oreo was purring and very affectionate.

You may ask why my husband is making all the decisions when Oreo is not our cat?  It is because he knew the owner couldn’t afford the vet care, and really wasn’t in a financial or social position to even have a cat.  So, he is paying for all of Oreo’s vet bills, including emergency hospital care, a week or more of board and care, plus the surgery.  My DH is such a kind man, it touches my heart just how kind.  What is amazing is that my DH thinks he is doing nothing special, just doing the “right thing” for the situation.

Update:  Yesterday, we received a call to learn that Oreo came through the surgery just fine.  That is good news!  I will keep you updated about this now 3 -legged kitty.  Oh yes, the front paw that had some nerve damage initially?  Oreo is now moving it normally, too.

I promise to keep you posted about Oreo.

Creative in 2011: Quilting

It feels good to quilt again.  Right now I am working hard to finish up an antique kimono quilt for my friend, Barb.  It will be entered into the Folsom Quilt Show next month, and I am making wonderful progress each day.  That is what I have been doing in the last week, creative wise, as in Creative in 2011:

I don’t want to spoil the surprise for Barb, but here is an early photo taken of just one block that she has already seen:

This is a silk kimono quilt, which is one reason the block just glows in the light.

My goal is to finish this quilt before my upcoming surgery.  Btw, thanks for all the kind thoughts, the short version is I am having an artificial disc replacement surgery, which is the best technology available for what ails me.  This will be done in San Francisco, by a leading spine surgeon whom I trust.    Once I heal, I can get back to what I love doing best: quilting, beading, teaching, traveling, sailing, creating, and doing back flips.   Well, maybe not the last one.  LOL

I already have lots of projects to do while I heal:  writing, new class development, drawing, beading and freeform crochet, etc.  I have a wonderful new challenge to do for, too.  The challenge is to create a beaded piece inspired by “Winter.”    I have it designed in my mind, but I see a freeform beaded necklace inspired by white/blue colors of a winter snow.  I will be using ultrasuede as the base.

I will also be working on a booklet about quilting Theme Quilts, too, for machine quilters.  I’ve had so many requests for this very thick class handout, that I am planning to expand it even more and release it as a booklet.  Here is a sample page showing you how to quilt 3 leaves:

Off to quilt now.    Hugs, Carla

Thank You, Santa!

I received an early Christmas present this past weekend from my DH, Joe.  Next month, I will be taking some time off from my creative work to have an artificial disc replacement (ADR) spine surgery, so my dear husband wanted me to be as comfortable as possible during the recovery period.  Sweet, huh?   Here is what he bought me, a zero gravity “Perfect Chair:


This chair is so comfy!!!    If you push the silver knob on the left arm, the chair reclines back into a zero gravity position, similar to NASA astronaut positions on flights.  It has a quiet motor that does this.  Now I have to be patient and wait for it to be delivered.

I am a firm believer in buying things to make your life more comfortable.  Same goes for post surgery recovery.  To this end, here are some things I have on hand:

Overbed Table: This table will work next to, and over my bed as well as with the Perfect Chair, above.

It is very functional for eating, using your laptop computer, and perhaps as a beading or drawing surface.

Grabber Thingy:

OK, laugh if you want!  This is one of those stupid things you see on TV infomercials.  However, when you cannot bend easily for a period of time, it will be a helpful item.

iPad – During my recovery, I can watch TV and Movies on demand with my Netflix App.  Read a book?  Click on my Kindle App.  Play any number of games- including Angry Bird?  Yes, Apps again.  Listen to Music? Read my Emails?  Surf the Web?  Yes, yes and yes- all with my lightweight iPad, shown here:

I could stop here, but will mention a few other favorite comfort recovery items:

Thermophore Large Heating Pad– This is the BEST, most comfortable  heating pad you can buy!  Trust me on this!   Buy the one with the non-digital control button.

Last, I still need to buy some products from Brookstone, including some NAP material slippers, another blanket since I gave my last one away, and and a new lumbar pillow for the car ride home. Oh yes, I plan to have lots of small creative projects on hand, too.  I will organize them ahead of time, so when I feel better, I don’t have to search for supplies.

Oh course, the best Christmas present is spending quality time with loved ones, especially grandkids!  What are you doing for the Holidays?

Hugs, Carla



Put Another Candle On My Bithday Cake

Yes, I have a birthday today, November 5th.  To celebrate it, I am posting my birthday cartoon:

To celebrate,  Joe is taking me to a surprise restaurant tonight.  I would tell you what it is, only it is a surprise, right?  LOL

I still haven’t picked my present yet.  I am finally going to get a new tablet computer, but I need to decide between 2 types.

I will confess to doing some internet shopping yesterday.  I decided to buy this product, called the “BedLounge,” because  I am locating lots of helpful items that will make my life more comfy.  Picture me relaxing like this lady:

Then,  I decided that what I was missing was this product:

From Brookstone, this is called, the Nap luxe blanket.  It is made out of a very soft material.

Comfort is a good thing!  Hugs, Carla


In Memory of Karen…

I am often contacted to see if I might share one of my cartoons for various purposes or publications.

I was recently contacted by Kathi B., who asked to use my cartoon, titled, “Colonoscopy Prep,” for use in a memorial booklet she put together for her good friend, Karen Murray, to pass out at her memorial service.  Karen, a fun, delightful, positive friend, had passed away as a complication from colon cancer.

What made this most tragic is that Karen’s cancer could have been caught earlier if only she had her baseline Colonoscopy.    She put this test off until her early 60’s, when she was having symptoms.

The booklet, titled, “Musings From The Lipstick Mafia: One Cancer Patient’s Humorous Words of Wisdom and Faith,”  is filled with Karen’s trademark humor and stories about her last two years.   Reading it made me want to know Karen and spend time with her.

In memory of Karen, please consider scheduling your baseline Colonoscopy today.  Please do not put it off!   Oh yes…Be sure to wear your favorite lipstick while you are at it,  in Karen’s memory.

Pamper Yourself

I am a firm believer in making time for yourself.    For those of you reading this post who are under stress or having a bad day;  the best advice I can suggest is to “do something good for yourself today.”  In other words, pamper yourself.

One thing I love to do is to fill up my jacuzzi, light a candle, and read a good book.  These days, I read my kindle or ipad and take care to not drop it in the water.  Knock on wood, so far it hasn’t happened.

I also believe in being as comfortable as I can.  Here are some things which help to pamper me:

Comfortable Clothes- I discovered SOMA brand clothes and especially love thier bamboo blend line of clothes called “Cool Nights.”  I live in it- especially in the summer months.

Comfortable Bed- I have a really plush bed- a California King with a pillow top.  Life is also too short to sleep in low thread count.  Buy the highest thread count you can afford… you are worth it.  I also have a featherbed top and down comforter, too.

Brookstone makes this lovely blanket called NapSoft.  I also have a pillow out of this material.  It is softer than minkee.  I also bought a towel/blanket warmer from Brookstone, too.  Nothing feels as good as a warm blanket or warm towel, y’know?

Comfortable place to unwind- Everyone needs a great place to relax and unwind.  For some, it is a recliner, for others a really comfy chair.  My favorite space has a great pillow to support my back, a quilt for when I am chilly, and my laptops nearby.  Life is good.

Comfortable shoes- Ok, I finally reached a age where my doctor banned me from sexy heels.  It had to happen sometime.  So I live in flats- usually a comfy brand like Privo, J-41, Merrell, Born, etc.  What comfy shoes do you love?

Since I deal with a bad back and other aches, I have a wide variety of extra stuff to make my life nicer.  Extra pillows on the bed.  Heating pad,  music, books,  etc.   I also have a wonderful device called an Empi IF 3Wave unit.  This is like a TENS unit, only about 50 times stronger.  Basically, it helps to block the negative signal (aka pain) to the brain.  Here is what it looks like (minus the pad and wires):

The other thing I do to pamper myself is allow time to create.  Some days I quilt, other day I draw or bead.  I also will freeform crochet or paint, too.   The key is to schedule time to create; otherwise it will not happen.

That’s all for now.  I think my jacuzzi is calling me.  Before I go, I want to know if you pamper yourself?  If so, how do YOU do it?

Hugs, Carla


Did you know there are a fair number of quilters who also sail?   Last year, I even got to meet one (Harriet) when our paths  and boats crossed in the ICW.  Small world.  Well, I will be going off for a bareboat charter sail again, this time with my friend, Lori and our men to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) once again.

We plan to snorkel:

And drink painkillers:

and, of course, sail.  This trip, we are trying out a new boat- as you can see, a catamaran (Sunsail 384):

Also, I get to visit my sister, too, while we are in the Florida area.  Life is indeed good!

Plus, there is a chance our next trip in 2011 will be in the Bahamas.  Love the Caribbean and white sands beaches.  Which reminds me- I shall have to add to my collection this trip:

I promise to have lots of stories to tell you when we get back!    Of course, a big “Thank You,” to my friend, Mae, who is babysitting the house and pets!

In case you stumbled across this post, my husband and I love to bareboat charter, which is a term that means we rent a sailboat in exotic locations and sail the boats ourselves.  We act as Captain and crew.  There are yacht businesses all over the world to charter from, but you do have to prove that you can actually sail.

This trip, we are taking our friends, Larry and Lori, who have never sailed before.  We plan to introduce them to sailing in a stunning location and see if they like it.

That’s all for now.  I will keep a journal of the trip and a sketch pad to draw what I see.  Cheers and fair weather!!  Carla