Under the Golden Gate

jsb golden gateThe first Port of Call is San Francisco for half a day to pick up more passengers.  I got up at  6:30 to watch us come in past Point Reyes and under the Golden Gate Bridge. They were serving coffee and rolls on the deck.

Our day was spent ashore, finding the Legion of Honor Museum (after mis-directions on my part to the Presidio) and enjoying a few parts of its collection…de la Tour, and El Greco, Cycladic pieces. Le Penseur sits brooding over the courtyard. We had a good lunch, and used the free internet to send things to friends and to Tommy so he could enter them properly on the blog.

Back on the ship, we manage to stay up in the Crow’s Nest, bringing our supper from the Lido so we didn’t have to go below decks and miss the departure which wasn’t till 6 after all.

Our sister ship which has been at the next pier over leaves before we do.
Out under the bridge, and then down to our usual spot in the Explorer Lounge for a liqueur and chocolates. The piano violin duo played some Kurt Weill tonight. Tom and I decided not to offer our versions of Tiger Brown’s song or “The Ship, the Black Freighter.” They are very good: two young women who play every evening from 6-9.

We think of Whistler, our almost-year-old cockatiel at home with Tom and Mary. I wrote this in August when he had just nearly been killed by one of the Cooper’s Hawks nesting in our woods.

This small bird 
an exotic, not belonging here 
seeing the open door 
sailed out 
expecting perhaps a little change 
of scene, 
a bit of air and a new view? 

The hawk hit him so fast, 
had been waiting 
must have heard his voice 
from inside 
talking, unsuspecting. 
It came from our left, 
accurate and feathered 
hungry and powerful. 

There was no waiting. 
I rushed and roared, 
hearing Whistler’s screams, 
blended with my own. 
Between us, 
we must have seemed too much 
to make a further fight 

The small dappled 
form was suddenly free, 
indignant but unharmed 
I saw. He walked across the gravel as though he’d only had a minor scrape, not been in the talons of a killer. 

I remember roaring 
once, rescuing a small Dougal, 
(and Westie puppies 
look juicy, very small) 
from a raccoon 
out the back door. 

I may have even 
beaten a pan and 
flapped my apron 
that time. 

It doesn’t bear thinking 
how it would have felt 
if it had turned out 

First Full Day at Sea

Waking early our first morning at sea, I came to the Upper Promenade deck with my music to find a piano to practice on. Usually on other ships I’ve had a choice of several to choose from, but here sadly I found both locked. Never mind. Perhaps I can get permission to have a key.

moonrise cruiseThe full moon was still there in the sky ready to set as the dawn broke on our Port side.

We had had a brilliant departure from Seattle. Tom and Mary had brought us Saturday from Portland, unloaded our heavy baggage into Jeanie Walkinshaw’s “elevator” (left from the days of Walt’s wheelchair) and gone on their way to Hansville. Sunday morning, Jean delivered us to Pier 91, cleverly spotting our route where “Cruise Passengers” separates from “Pier 91” with no warning, We use a wheelchair for Tom at embarkation as the ramps are long and sometimes steep, so we whisked on among the first to board at 11:30, passports and online check-in documents all in order.

The boat drill now doesn’t require you actually to wear your life jacket, and an officer seeing Tom’s cane allowed us to sit in the group at Boat 10  while he went and told the crew at Boat 8 where we belonged that we were present and accounted for.

Departure from Seattle is probably one of the most beautiful in the world. Mt. Rainier presides over the first half hour, and then you are alongside Whidbey Island with Mt. Baker to the north, much the same as the view from our house in Hansville.

Re-reading May Sarton’s Kinds of Love, I’m struck at how apt it is and close to our time of life and my perceptions of relationships. We both feel lucky and terribly grateful.


We come closer to leaving on Amsterdamand questions come up about last minute things: shall we tSandy's bouquetake copies of Tom’s book and if so how many? To cheer us on our way, we have this from Sandy Hirsch with botanical names attached.

This whole entry is part of my learning how to do a blog in the first place. 

An Introduction

While primarily a teacher and a Hospice administrator, in terms of “work,” Joan has been a journal keeper. Those journals have grown to become sketch books, including drawings and photographs. Over the years she has become a maker of things, objects in cloth and wood, gardens of living things, meals and pieces of clothing, drawings and paintings. She started as a musician in her youth, sang with choral groups for many years, played the guitar and sang with children daily when she was at Catlin Gabel. In her 60’s, she returned to practicing and renewed her love of the piano.

Joan’s work ranges from journals and poetry to essays and collections of others’ work for memorization and contemplation.  This blog is a continuation of those interests.