I would typically call New Year’s Eve amateur night. Lots of fussing over just another night. One of the best parts of any New Year’s Eve worth its volume in champagne is the viewing of puegos pyrotechnicos. To wind down our ten days in Cabo San Lucas, I and my traveling partners hit Medano Beach around 11:30Pm to catch the fireworks and ring in the New Year.



The all-inclusive resorts that front Medano Beach were roped off, having their own party with live music, fancy, lit-up dance floors, and folks with their dancing shoes on.


We went a little more low key, opting instead of ooing and aahing between the two sets of fireworks going off, with the banda soundtrack in the background!




After a three-year hiatus from Mexico and surfing, it was time to get back on the ocean-horse and see if I can still paddle. We spent three hours at Zippers, a fast, mushy point break between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

Above is the highlight of the day, a full ride into shore on a 10-footer. Excellent day.

Read more about SheSpoke’s surfing adventures.

Conventional wisdom is stupid. Conventional wisdom for those of us who spend much of our time playing in the outdoors is a special kind of stupid. In order for conventional wisdom to work, the intended recipient of that wisdom is usually a dilettante or a newbie or a weekend warrior. Conventional wisdom I like to ignore:

Never ski/ride/hike/surf alone

Carry a GPS device with you

Ski/ride/hike/surf with those better than you–it will raise your game

To those purveyors of outdoor recreation wisdom I say “hogwash” and proffer this up instead:

Know thyself

Do go out alone, especially if you’re in very familiar territory and need some alone time to reconnect with nature, your thoughts, your soul, or all of the above.

Do not venture out alone if you are just getting started in this sport. The chances for injury/getting lost are high.

Do not carry a GPS device unless you are geocaching. Instead, read your maps, use a compass, or go with someone who knows where they’re going.

Do not rely on GPS devices to compensate for your lack of preparation.

Do challenge yourself by going with others who are stronger at the sport than you are. They can show you that catching that wave/riding those trees/navigating that rocky singletrack is possible.

Do not always go out with those of better abilities because you will be constantly catching up and out of breath, and this particular sport will cease to be fun for you.

That last point rings particularly loud for me. I spent most of this snowboarding season going with other folks, all of whom were better than me. It felt really good hanging with folks who are considered experts, and it did a ton for my confidence.

But I was always huffing and puffing, always wanting to head back to the lodge, always needing water. I was often grateful for the long, cold, windy lift rides so I could catch my breath. Meanwhile my present company was usually yukking it up, talking about the sick trees I didn’t dare drop into or the steep drops I rode around.

I often felt on the verge of collapse or control, and my legs were often begging me for a respite, both that day and the next (and the next). We can be challenged away from a sport if we have too many experiences like these.

My field hockey coach in high school called me a tiger. My skills were barbarous, but I could keep up with any mid-fielder, and I just went after it. I even tried to argue with her when she took me out of a game because the rock-hard ball had pierced my skin, right through my shin guards.

I love a challenge. I love brainy challenges, athletic challenges, and professional challenges. (For the record, I HATE interpersonal challenges, although I am getting better at them.) I swear I’m gonna teach myself the basics of Sanskrit grammar some day. I look forward to scuba diving and finally taking up downhill skiing. I will turn my (mis)adventures into a travel memoir, even though conventional wisdom tells us that that genre is a difficult one both to write and publish in.

So here’s to the comfort zone–the ability to have sustained confidence in your abilities because you’re going at your own speed and are staying within your limits. You look around when you’re in your comfort zone, taking things in instead of having them rush past you. In your comfort zone you can concentrate on your strengths, paying attention to the little things you do well. Getting better at the things you do well, so next time you head out with those higher up on the skills food chain, you will huff and puff less and learn and enjoy more.

People, one of my favorite companies in the whole world is putting its discontinued fall and winter stock on sale. This Friday through Monday, Patagonia, founded by visionary Yvon Chounard, is clearing out its stores at the heavy discount of 50%.

I’ve written about Patagonia before, but I just had to write about it again as the Denver Examiner.

P.S. I tried mountain biking yesterday but it was too muddy. I’ll try again this Saturday. Green Mountain again.

As I wind down the last day of surfing in Baja Norte, I think of one of my heroines, Martha Gellhorn, who, in her travels as a war correspondent for over 50 years, swam as around the world. Not in a circumnagivating sense, but in a “I’m here, where I can swim?” kind of way.

For this and many other reasons, I chose to celebrate the life of Martha Gellhorn in the best way I know how.

Surfing and road trip pix to follow. Promise.


Can you stand another top ten list?  Here’s my top ten, in no particular order:

1. Learning how to salsa dance

2. Discovering dark chocolate

3. Spending a month with my family this past summer

4. Starting my first novel

5. Surfing in Sayulita, Mexico

6. Attending my high school reunion

7. Voting for Barack Obama

8. Attending SoundSession in Providence

9. Having my speech and debate kids make finals at state

10. Getting my first paid writing gig


A week on the life in Sayulita

A week in the life in Sayulita

After five excruciating and boring hours at O’Hare, I made it home to Rhode Island.

Thirteen years of living at least a mile high has made me rethink normal:

1.  It’s normal for grass to be brown and yellow.

2.  It’s normal to have your nose bleed every morning.

3.  It’s normal to drink a gallon of water a day and still always be thirsty.

4.  It’s normal to venture outside at dusk and not encounter mosquitoes.

5.  It’s normal to see mountain peaks, like, every day.

Being back home in New England resets the normal button.  All of the sudden normal means:

1.  It’s normal for highway landscaping to be lush, even verdant.

2.  Normal is pronounced naw’ muhl.

3.  It’s normal for Dunkin’ Donuts products to occupy the bottom third of the food triangle.

4.  Cloudy and grey are normal adjectives.

5.  It’s normal for NESN to show every Red Sox game.

And it’s normal for me to go to the beach at every opportunity.  I’m going to check in with the cats at Gansett Juice about surfing in Rhode Island.  I’m here for a month and want to hang ten (or hang heels) as much as possible.

Tonight I’m going salsa dancing at xxodus in Providence.  I will keep you, my six faithful readers, posted.


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