Monday, April 29, 2013

Make a List

I like lists. I like checking things off of lists.  I keep myself on-task with lists. I frequently think in lists. This paragraph is a list.

I was delighted to discover Maria Popova's post about Susan Sontag's As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks 1964-1980 in which Sontag discusses her compulsion to make lists. Sontag's lists of likes and dislikes were particularly interesting to me, so I made my own in my commonplace book:

Once I got into the flow, I was surprised by the items that came to mind. Books are there on top of the list of likes, of course, and all of the foods to which I am allergic made the dislikes. Speaking of lists, have you made your Summer Reading List yet? I will probably have to edit, but here's mine, in roughly the order I suspect I will read them:
  • Beethoven by Lewis Lockwood (my one biog. per month series)
  • Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams (for a project)
  • Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu by Laurence Bergreen (biog)
  • The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser (for that same project)
  • Richard Wagner by Derek Watson (biog)
  • The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women and the Artists They Inspired by Francine Prose
  • Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience by Yi-Fu Tuan and Steven Hoelscher
  • The Autobiography of Michel de Montaigne (biog)
  • How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell
  • Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization by Steven Solomon
Okay, then. That's an ambitious list for four months and I'll probably have to edit, but there it is.

The most fun lists to make are those for places I want to go.
Daytrip ideas from my pile of brochures
"I've always wanted to go there!"
I have lists of museums to visit and daytrips to plan, but these are in the form of triaged travel brochures. My Big Trip List is a fluid list, and by this I mean that the items on it don't change much, but the order does. Currently it would look something like this:
  1. Peru (jungle, mountains, seashore)
  2. Italy (This item contains sublists of cities.)
  3. Iceland (organized tour)
  4. India (organized tour)
  5. London (run around loose and visit museums, etc.)
Before I attended a travel expo in early April, the list was limited to the 'I' destinations. Then I attended a short presentation on Peru which reinforced what I had heard from friends, and this list was reordered. Not being able to schedule or finance any big trips at the moment, I am content to read up on my listed destinations. Someday I will blast off on an adventure and I will be prepared thanks to my ever-changing lists!
Someday Daytrips

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day and Night on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry

We sailed on the MV Delaware last week
I've always toyed with the idea of a job on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, cruising back and forth across the Delaware Bay. By 'always', I really mean 'always', because the ferry has existed since I was one.  The ferry is important to the Cape May region. It lessens that end-of-the-world, southern-tip-of-the-peninsula vibe and it brings travelers through the county as they enjoy a refreshing break from driving along the coast. It's a pleasant ride and the bay is rarely rough enough to inspire seasickness. One does have to remember that the air temperature is much cooler at sea. We noticed the difference as soon as we backed out of the dock! We did not last long on these deck chairs even though the sun was delightful.

We thought we'd relax on these deck chairs until our fingers started to freeze. (That's the terminal in the background.)

As for my ferry career, my skill sets don't match up very well for most of the ferry's positions.
For example, I never did learn how to navigate using the stars and a sextant, so the Captain position is out. They have Able-Bodied Seamen last I checked, and well, I'm not sure how qualified I would be for that position. They have to lift and toss some pretty heavy ropes. And tie knots. I learned the square knot in Girl Scouts, and I can crochet. I don't think either would keep the enormous ferry from drifting away from the dock in hurricane-force winds. I could probably run a cash register at the gift shop or cafe, but then the open sea would be out of view and I wouldn't be able to scan for dolphins or whales.

I suppose I will have to be satisfied with occasional jaunts as a civilian paying passenger, riding just for the sake of an eighty-minute cruise each way, or to hang out in Lewes, Cape Henlopen, Rehoboth, or other Southern Delaware spots for the day. We started our recent Delaware visit with a fast left turn out of the ferry terminal lot and heading for Cape Henlopen State Park. The park is atop a giant sand dune, and gives the effect of being somewhere other than the Mid-Atlantic Coast. Prickly pear cactus grows wild here, and the ground is sand--not sandy, but sand. (Did we get on a plane and fly to the Southwestern U.S.? No, we cruised eighty minutes on the ferry!)

Looking east in Cape Henlopen State Park (that's the Atlantic Ocean back there)
After a long day of exploring the park and some tax-free shopping at the Rehoboth Outlets, it's time to sail back home to Cape May. The ferry at night has its own mystique. The water is black, so there's no whale or dolphin sighting.

Practicing low-light photography on the dark deck.
The skyline of Cape May is visible across the bay, and it's always a thrill to spot the lighthouse with its revolving beacon. Most passengers on our 7:45 cruise looked worn-out, too, from a day of play or travel. Many snoozed, and some read.
Fred read.
The ferries have just been outfitted with snazzy new seats. Some have tables, some have hidden tablets that swing up and across, and some seats even recline. (Props to Fred for figuring out the last two features.)

I have a funny ferry anecdote. I planned to meet a couple of friends last summer who were driving to Cape May for the day. They invited me to cruise back and forth on the ferry with them, and then we'd go to Cape May for lunch. I was on vacation, installed at the Cape May house. (We can hear the ferry honking its various maritime signals from inside our house. One long means get on the boat NOW, and one long followed by four shorts means it's ready to blast off.) I drove over to the terminal but couldn't find them. I took this video of the ferry pulling out and heading to sea for another project before giving up. It turns out they saw a car like mine in the parking lot, and when I wasn't in the terminal they figured I was on the ship already and went aboard. They didn't find me on the ship, either. That was someone else's chili pepper red MINI Cooper in the parking lot, and I arrived right after they did in my MINI. We caught up eventually--they graciously waited for me to sail over on the next departing ferry and we all rode back together. Here's the video I took as I missed the boat: