In Which the A-Z Theme is Revealed: Ta Da!!

Yesterday was our 34th wedding anniversary! Yay, us! We are a good team! But in other news, today is also the day I reveal the theme I’ve chosen for the A to Z blog challenge. This is really the news of the day, because after 34 years, celebrating the marriage is kind of an everyday thing. Because, well after a certain point, you are just happy to still be alive to BE married, much less together. So every day I wake up knowing I am still alive and still married to Michael Boyte is literally the best day of my life. Because we all know how easily that could change through a series of unfortunate events, or even just one world-shattering thing. This leads me to my theme.

Escaping from Wyoming in a car with no heat. In December. No worries there.

Escaping from Wyoming in a car with no heat. In December. What could possibly go wrong?

I’ve described how my brain went into overdrive when Ellen over at The Cynical Sailor and His Salty Sidekick invited me to be challenged in blogging by entering the A to Z Challenge.  The idea of committing to such an endeavor created many internal conversations, mostly in the form of loud protests and trying to get out of it. There were a lot of ‘words’ exchanged, fingers were pointed, arms were waved. What I didn’t reveal at the time was that most of that was about coming up with a ‘theme’ for 26 different posts. Yeah.  Somehow, in order to participate in this challenge at the highest level, I was going to have to choose a way to tie everything together. Not everyone is doing a theme, of course, but I didn’t want to be a pansy about it. I mean, if I’m going to sign up for something, I may as well take the whole challenge.

Ellen had hinted she would have a theme, and I think I know what it is and there is no possible way my theme could be as cool as hers. If it turns out to be what I think it is, I’m toast. I’ll probably read her blog before I even read my own. Her blog will be wildly funny. Mine will be marginally humorous. Her blog will be colorfully illustrated with digitally enhanced dancing penguins! My blog will have recycled photos of 1970’s families on vacation. Her blog will have people partying and drinking margaritas. My blog will exist to drink Nescafe with no cream and certainly no party. I couldn’t think of even one decent theme that didn’t seem actually pretty stupid even to me. I was on my way to a complete frontal cortex shut down.

Here's another one of us from then.

Here’s another one of us from then. It’s 1981, not the 1970’s but close enough.

I was just getting set to work myself up into a nice lather about having to choose a theme and feeling completely creatively blocked about it when I realized this: I already had a theme breathing its hot breath down the back of my neck. Oh my God. What a relief! The theme was staring at me with big watery eyes and I didn’t even notice!  Are you ready?


Yes, my theme is Anxiety, specifically when it comes to giving up our cushy middle class life to go cruising on a big old boat.  People are always thinking we’re ‘brave’, or ‘stupid’ or ‘crazy’ or all of the above when we explain our plan to them. They say, ‘Aren’t you scared?’. And ordinarily they are talking about things like rogue waves, storms, pirates, and all the scary movie stuff you see in the media. And I have to say, um, no actually. Those things don’t worry me too much. Maybe they should. Ok, maybe pirates worry me. But I just don’t think about that very much, just like I don’t think about the criminals who live all around me in Lakewood, WA.

So I will take a tongue-in-cheek view of living with the anxious brain. I will wax humorously, philosophically, educationally, and perhaps occasionally poetically about all the things about being a cruiser that can keep me up at night. I plan to let it all just hang the hell out when writing these posts.  And the beauty of this theme is that when I realized what it should be, I immediately had at least half of the alphabet taken with possible blog posts. Way to go, Melissa! I rock!

Our first family sail aboard Saucy Sue, our Catalina 27. Andrew was 12.

Our first family sail aboard Saucy Sue, our Catalina 27. Andrew was 12. We started sailing after he had a life changing accident. Sailing was a way of healing our family, and him.

But wait! There’s more! In order to help the visual learners among you, I have invented this entirely scientifically accurate measuring device I have named the Fear-O-Meter. After years of research on my own self, I have come up with a way to let you know 100% of the time just how scary a specific situation can be for me. I’ll be including the data from this device, which I made up by myself without any help from anyone, and created using common household tools you can find in any well-stocked garage. Here’s a photo of my new unit:

The Fear-O-Meter, trademarked and copywrited and all that stuff. I have lawyers somewhere.

Go ahead. Enlarge the photo and get a close look. Notice how as the needle moves more to the right, the rational thinking ability begins to fade. We’re going to talk more about that later. This is going to be so much fun!

Of course, I’m writing these posts for myself because it’s great therapy for me. But I  know that some of our readers also suffer from anxiety. How do I know this? Because it’s one of the most common mental health issues among people living in the United States. Most of our readers live in the United States, and I’m almost 100% sure that all of you are human beings. So it’s logical to think that some of you are anxious and worried about life for no logical reason, regardless of whether you are cruisers. So I’m writing these posts for you, too.  I hope you will stay tuned to the blog and learn a little something, hopefully through being entertained. But I’ve decided not to worry about that.

12 thoughts on “In Which the A-Z Theme is Revealed: Ta Da!!

  1. Definitely staying tuned! I am one of those anxious people with no logical reason – well, maybe now I do have reasons – but not decades ago. I can’t wait to read your entries!

  2. Well, anxiety is a part of being human! You will do fine on this wonderful adventure. Besides, your early pictures demonstrate you are hippies in your hearts! You love adventure and your early lives demonstrate this! This is so exciting, and remember, the rest of us will live this adventure out vicariously, through the two of you! This is the time to go forward, you cannot fail! This will be fun!!!!

  3. Absolutely brilliant! I’ve written already about how a Schedule is the most dangerous thing to have on a cruising boat, but now I might have to go back and modify – anxiety might top the list?! Certainly a close second.
    Followed by a nasty virus, which is what we’ve got here these days. That’s pretty awful too, in terms of crew functionality…

    • We’ve got that nasty virus, too. Mike brought it home from the office. I’m finally on the uptick, but I definitely would not enjoy being sick on the boat. On the other hand, I don’t enjoy it here, either. Aren’t you doing the challenge, too? Post a link to your blog in the comments here so everyone can find it.

  4. I’m grateful for your openness and for sharing your experiences with this community

    I’ll look forward to your posts

    • Lovely to have you reading along, Mary! Those of us with anxiety need to come out of the closet and just let it hang out there. We are all in good company.

    • ThankS! Now I get to go read yours! I believe that Fear-o-meter is something everyone should have in their daily life. It’s dead simple communicating with others that way when the better part of the brain shuts down! Welcome to the blog!

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