I’ve been staying in a vacation rental in Portland, OR due to an obligation there. It has been fun to try on a house for size again. This one had very high ceilings and a loft bed. You could climb the ladder and survey the place from a bed 10 feet up. And as far as headroom aboard Madrone goes, I have negative two inches. I was not born to have an easy time finding shoes, gloves, or boats that fit. Also, there was a shower in our unit, and laundry facilities in the same building! I’m about to go for ¼ mile walk down to the laundry and shower facility here in the lovely Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes, WA. So houses do have their appeal. I guess most of you know that already.

The obligation in Portland is over, and so we shoved our stuff in the car and drove north to Olympia (Boston Harbor) where Madrone was waiting patiently for us. Now we are traveling again, moving the boat to her new home near Blaine, WA. It’s a trip that runs the length of the inland waters of Washington state, from the bottom of the south sound to the border with Canada. And yes, it is late December. There seems to be a rule though, which I like better than most rules, which states simply that when I am on the Puget Sound in a boat, the weather is sunny. I have a sunburn right now.

The trip up has been fantastic, but very cold. We stayed on Blake Island and watched Seattle go pink in the all-too-early sunset. Behind the city with its iconic Space Needle, a startling array of Cascade Mountains stood out razor sharp in their chilly whites and blues. We stayed at the guest dock in Everett, where on the ebb tide the Snohomish river rips right across the finger piers. Madrone heeled ten degrees and I put out an extra dock line. The river otter across the way at the fuel dock didn’t seem the least concerned. We continued up the east side of Whidbey Island, until we reached the south entrance to the Swinomish Channel. After the deep water of the Puget Sound this tight channel was a surprise. But what a glorious location. The punctual hills foreshadow the San Juan islands, some of them rise from farmland, others from the mud or the waters of Skagit Bay, but their turtle-like form and their delicate plantings of Madrone and Doug Fir are unmistakable. Flanking both sides of the channel, those hills feel like the gate to the San Juan Islands.

We spent last night in La Conner, which reminded us of Fort Bragg in that you turn a corner and the wild untamed world gives way to the utmost in civilization. Free docks in the middle of town, and bars from which you can watch your boat. Now we are moored in Anacortes, which feels like home to me though I haven’t spent more than a week here in my life.

I can’t tell you what the new year holds for me. We’ve shuffled the deck a few times and the dealer is handing out cards right now. I do know that it will involve travel, warm weather, cold weather, boats, and jobs. But I have no idea in what order those things will arrive. Or where. My plan for the next few months is to exercise, eat better, learn a new language and play the ukulele better. I made those plans and never once thought of them as resolutions, or that it was important that I was doing these things in a new year. Then it occurred to me that they were resolutions, but I feel like they are more pure for having been the plan all along. New year’s resolutions seem cheap for being new year’s resolutions. Like an apology forced on you by your mother. “I’m sorry I called you warthog butt.”

But resolutions are good, and since exercise and the like were already resolved, I feel I need to come up with a proper new years resolution. There isn’t one thing that needs fixing but I think practically every aspect of my life could use some attention. So I resolve to have weekly resolutions. Old business, new business, and so on.

“Self, what is the status on the ukulele?”

“Good, we’ve made real progress on the whole getting rhythm thing.”

“Excellent. How is the diet?”

“Jesus. Don’t even ask. Anyway, you know. You’re the beer drinker.”

“Yeah. Well, lets try harder this week.”

“New business?”

“Yeah, we need more outreach and PR work in the friend department.”

“I know, last week’s numbers on staying in touch were just appalling.”

“Okay, same time next week.”

I hope you all fix everything this year. I know I am going to try to.

Happy new year!