New Year's Eve:
     Avery's final college application turned in. check.
     Writing group reading done. check.
     Ice on knee, elevated. check.
     Operating system reinstalled by genius tech-support child. check.
     Time to write. oops.
     No writing software.
       As long as I am experiencing technical difficulties -- a lifelong condition -- I'll share my excitement about what 2010 may bring.

       The world's youngest solo circumnavigator title will go to a teenage girl.  I'm excited in a generation-gap way. While we were cruising, I met too many couples in which the women were reluctantly dragged along on a spouse's dream. Or they were just as excited about cruising, but didn't feel confident about sailing skills, often because they learned in a context of spouse/captain giving orders. They might also not be so keen on traditional domestic roles under demanding conditions. I'm hoping that the realized dreams of Ellen MacArthur, Jessica Watson and Abby Sunderland will herald the Title Nine of women's sailing, and that the next generation of cruisers will feel that they are equal partners on the adventure.

      Child number three will wave goodbye and head off to uni. Like the first day of kindergarten, when her principal thought to comfort the weeping mother by saying "she'll be fine," I already know that to be true. I'll just miss her. Knowing that day was coming was the reason we cruised. We gave our kids remarkable opportunities while they were in our custody and they learned even more than we'd hoped. Instead of weeping for very long, I shall be comforted by shopping for a new boat and planning the next cruise.  

       The MapAp will make our last trip even more accessible to you.
       Meanwhile, there are more books and stories to write, my other dream that has been realized. Thanks to NILA's MFA program for the training and support that helped me do so. I'm excited about SCBWI and BB LTD writing groups offering the advice, talent and camaraderie of fellow writers in my chosen hometown.

        The New Year will bring unexpected joy and perhaps unanticipated sorrow. Throughout, may we all experience fair winds.