Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Week two

After one week on crutches, lifting my weight with my arms and shoulders and placing it on one foot, I feel achy. This is not good. My muscles should strengthen but instead my joints are taking a beating. So, I am taking it easy and hobbling only when absolutely necessary to the kitchen for breakfast, then to the living room where I stay most of the day on the couch supported by pillows. It also doesn't help that the cast presses on my ankle and rubs the top of my shin bone from inside - making it painful to walk. 
I am lucky that I am surrounded by helpful people who carry my laptop from my bedroom and bring me tea and lunch during the day. It's amazing how a broken leg and weak muscles make me so helpless. The last time I broke a bone, I lived on my boat at anchor in San Diego and managed quite well. I rowed  my dinghy to shore, walked to a grocery store and joined friends at a local hotel pool for parties. But, I had a removable Styrofoam cast, which was light and comfortable. Furthermore, eighteen years and a major illness makes a big difference in my level of fitness. I am humbled.

Writer's Retreat on Ibiza

Portinatx Club Hotel

After a busy summer sailing and working on Eidos, I hauled her out for the winter and decided to do some traveling in search of sun, sand and sea. 
At the end of October, I flew to Ibiza for the annual, week long, Ibiza Tantra Festival and with about 350 other people, did a lot of yoga, also chanted, meditated, danced suntanned and swam in the sea in the nude. I also attended seminars, ate a huge amount and slept like a log. It was an extremely busy, exciting  week. 
But on Sunday, the last day of the festival, I slipped on a wet path heading towards the beach and hurt my right ankle. It hurt quite a bit, so two men carried me back to the lobby of the hotel where the festival had been taking place and placed me on one of the comfortable sofas to rest. Another person brought me lunch and a drink and I even received a healing session from one of the "tantrikas." 
I had already made reservations at the nearby Ibiza Yoga retreat centre for a week of well deserved rest after which my plan had been to continue following the sun.  Perhaps I would join the annual ARC sailors across the Atlantic, I had thought. But first to take care of the ankle.
Ibiza Yoga retreat

I settled in at the Ibiza Yoga, and Jenny, one of the guests there gave me more healing sessions and also found me a pair of crutches in the garage. So now I could hobble a bit easier. After a few days, however, the pain didn't stop and in fact increased when I tried to put some weight on my leg. 
Finally on Friday, Sarah, the owner of the retreat drove me to the hospital where an x-ray revealed a small, closed distal femur fracture. That's the bottom end of the thinner, outside bone of the leg. Dr. Abdul Karim, the attending emergency room physician told me I needed a cast and perhaps surgery.
"No way, it's just a tiny break," I said bravely. "Just give me a removable boot and I'll be on my way. Thank you."
"We don't have any of those, and if you leave the hospital without a cast then you will not be allowed to come back again. You must have a cast, or the break will not join together and you might never walk properly or without pain again."
"And what if I decide to go back to Greece right now?"
"Then, I can give you an open cast so you can fly but upon arrival in Greece you must go directly from the airport to the hospital to get a closed cast.
And you must leave within a week," he stressed. 
And so, my bravura deflated, I let him put my leg in a cast up to the knee. Before I left the hospital, Dr. Karim also gave me a prescription for Bemiparin sodium, an anticoagulant to thin my blood that I would need to inject myself into the muscles of my stomach.
"NO, I am not doing that!" I insisted.
"Otherwise you might get a blood clot which might travel to your brain or lungs and give you a stroke." It seemed that he had decided that putting the fear of death or disability into me was the quickest way of getting me out of his consulting room. He also told me to come back in two weeks for another x-ray and a follow up with a traumatologist.
Silently though, I decided that he was over reacting and only had to follow protocol of the hospital - this had nothing to do with me or my leg.

Upon return to the retreat, I did some research online (Good old Dr. Google) and found out that some of the side effects of the medication were delayed bone healing! osteoporosis! and  hair loss!
Now what??? I weighed my options.
In early 2000, while in Mexico, I broke my left ankle on board a motor yacht I had been working on, after stepping six inches down into an open floor hatch. That time, I didn't need to take blood thinners and only had to wear a removable walking boot. But that was 18 years previously when I was considerably younger (49) and with perhaps stronger bones and healthier veins. 
Research showed me that for people over 60, the risk of deep vein thrombosis due to lack of motion (while in a cast) was significantly higher. But I have no other risk factors: I don't smoke, I am not overweight, I am fit (note a week of dancing). I sailed all summer. "I am not the average senior citizen," I ranted to my retreat companions. Perhaps the doctor was overreacting to stay on the safe side.
And so, my choices are:
  • Follow the doctor's orders to the letter. This could include surgery - partially due to drug induced failure to heal the bone. And the surgery has still more chances of complications.
  • Follow the doctor's orders except stop taking the blood thinners and take the risk of getting a blood clot in my brain or lungs. How big a risk? No idea.
  • Do the above and fly to Greece for a second opinion. But where would I stay? In Nidri with my friend, Toula involves a flight of stairs. On Ithaka with another friend, Ester is not near the hospital, only a small clinic. Aktio where Eidos is hauled out  involves climbing up a ladder and a taxi for groceries or doctor. Also I'd be alone there.
  • Wait two weeks to see the traumatologist or go now to an orthopedist for a second opinion. Perhaps two weeks is not enough time to weaken my bones, lose my hair and slow down the healing. Then ask to have the cast cut off and buy a walking boot. Stop the drugs and massage the leg to stimulate blood flow. 
I now have personally experienced the drawbacks of a plaster cast: 
  • it is heavy, so exerts more weight on a broken leg when moving.
  • there is room inside, so it doesn't support the fracture all that well.
  • or there is not enough room inside and it doesn't allow for blood flow.
  • it does not allow for positioning the leg comfortably.
  • there is always a risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis! and if medicated with anti coagulants, risk of non healing of bone. 
  • And of course, walking with crutches means that I am lifting and balancing my weight on one leg and two shoulders, so there is more strain on the joints and muscles that are not injured and  risking further injury. 
Furthermore, while I wait for my next appointment I need to watch for complications such as pressure sores, numbness or tingling, cold, blue tinged skin, burning, stinging, and increased pain or swelling.
All this means that I will be staying put at least until Christmas and perhaps even longer. Might as well accept it and make the best of it.
I think I found myself a writers' retreat for the winter... Come and join me!

Thursday, 30 August 2018

I won a VHF radio!

My story, Taking the Plunge, won the Confession of the month in the September 2018 issue of Yachting Monthly and my prize is a floating hand held VHF radio and a copy of the drawing by Bill Caldwell. I'm happy that the editor liked my story but even more so, I'm ecstatic that I survived the mishap. It could have had a sad ending. Be careful out there!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Great news - another article sold

Yes, that's true. One of my stories, "If it's nine o'clock, then I must be in Spain," has been published in the August issue of Practical Boat Owner.
Also, I won a portable VHF radio for another story that will be published in the September issue of Yachting Monthly.
And thirdly, I made the news by donating a copy of Salt Water In My Veins.
So, it's been a good month.


Thanks to Kevin and Sandy Chilvers from s/v Tiger Bay who were moored in Vathi Marina for a few days, I am now the proud user of Scrivener writing program. The only thing I wish more than this is having had discovered it many years ago. 
Kevin is also a writer, who is working on his next crime adventure thriller and he was so enthusiastically gushing about it, I was initially taken aback. I am a bit of a conservative cynic (ok a lot) and and so a bit reluctant to try it. 
But after the second visit to Tiger Bay and another pitch by Kevin, I decided to give it a try. Free for 30 days, what have I got to lose, right? Besides, my writing had come to a stop for the past several months and I couldn't get myself motivated. 
So, today is the fourth day that I have been writing and copying old drafts of forgotten manuscripts to Scrivener and I just paid my 46 Euros for the licence to use it forever.  I highly (enthusiastically, gushingly) recommend it. 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Ionian Magazine - visit to the past

Almost eight years ago, in winter of 2010, I needed a job and decided to create one instead. Thanks to a generous angel seed money from my younger son, Justin, The Ionian magazine was born. For the next five years, the magazine hit the streets of the Ionian islands and neighbouring coastal mainland every month for the six or sometimes seven months between April and October. 
However, in 2014, I became ill and after recovering, decided to change my priorities - it was time to go sailing again and focus on my own writing. My older son, Ryan took over the publication in 2014 and the October issue of that year was the last one published.
Enjoy reading.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

As an alternative to Christmas cards, I would like to share with you this article on Astronomy merging with the Biblical Christmas story:
Celebrating Winter Solstice – The Sun is on the Southern Cross
For thousands of years, carvings on temples, cave walls, monuments and artefacts have honoured the sun: bringer of warmth, security, life and light.  As the days grow shorter in the period leading up to the winter solstice, December 21st, the sun appears to stop moving south or north and stays still for three days (in the northern hemisphere) – the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of December. This is the meaning of the word ‘sol-stice’ – sun standing still. To our ancestors this period symbolized the death of the sun god (son of god) and when three days later on the 25th of December the sun started moving again, the sun was reborn – hence the birth of Jesus at this time – the sun god or son of god, the saviour of mankind. It is no coincidence that our principal day of worship is called Sun Day.

The Bible tells us that three wise men came from the east, following a star that led them to Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Messiah.  Sirius is the star in the east, the brightest star in the sky, which on December 24th aligns with the three brightest stars in the constellation of Orion (Orion’s belt). The stars were referred to by many ancient cultures as the Three Kings.

During this three day period, the sun resides in the vicinity of the Southern Cross constellation and appears to ‘hang’ on the cross, hence the story of the crucifixion. However the resurrection of the sun or son is celebrated three months later at the spring equinox when the nights are equal to the daylight (Easter) and when once again the forces of light ‘defeat’ the forces of darkness, and the days grow longer than the nights. (Author: Stella Woods)

“May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you and the pure light within you guide your way on.”


Saturday, 4 November 2017

Salt Water In My Veins - Chapter 1 - read for free here.

1. Nomad

Land goes forever, there is no end to it. So, how can you decide where to live; in which town or on what street to stop; what woman to marry?
TDLemmon1900 in 'The legend of 1900'

Why do we travel? Is it in the vain hope of finding happiness and fulfillment in some other place? Nope, it's not here in Paris, perhaps over there in Rome. As they say, wherever you go, there you are.
When traveling becomes a search for happiness outside of ourselves, a means to an end; when we continue to live in the past or the future while we travel, it doesn't bring peace of mind or serenity, only frustration and disappointment. When I travel it seems easier to stay present, because everything is new, fresh, unknown, exciting, and possibly dangerous. I remember the first time I went for a long weekend sail cruise with some friends. Time stood still and the three days felt like three weeks, I felt so far away from daily worries and concerns and the present moment was so crystal clear.
Sailing offshore along the Pacific coast and later across the Atlantic, I saw sky that was truly awesome in its glory, with colours of the rainbow all around us or clouds and fog surrounding us like feathers shaken out of a duvet. At night we were often the only speck of humanity for hundreds of miles around, surrounded only by stars and their reflections in the ocean.
And now, as I cruise from country to country and from harbour to harbour, each new place amazes in some way. In Alicante, Spain, it was the sight of the old woman in black selling garlic from a converted baby carriage in the town square. On Majorca, it was the lamb dinner straight from a wood fired oven that had been simmering all afternoon while we climbed to a ruined castle near the restaurant and the farm where the lambs were raised. In Rome, it was the sudden and unexpected view of the Coliseum from a side street. In Florence, it was the sound of a young girl singing opera on a street corner.
Moments like that take my breath away and inspire. I have been wondering why the same feeling of awe is described as 'it takes my breath away,' and 'it inspires me.' One means breathing out and the other breathing in. Breathing is what keeps us alive. Is it possible that awe-some sights, smells, tastes, and sounds keep our soul alive?
Traveling is what feeds my soul, what gives me energy. Yet, perhaps, I’m beginning to think, paying more attention in one place, one town, one neighborhood would do the same thing. Perhaps there are many inspiring things that would take my breath away, right where I am, if I was just to look more deeply and with more presence. Now all I have to do is to find that place. Perhaps it’s just around the corner…
I long to belong, but cruising is not a good way of accomplishing this goal. I meet many people while traveling, however, after an evening in an anchorage or a harbor, we go our separate ways and in the morning I continue my search for a new home port.
I want to find a self-sufficient village where everyone knows from which farmer the milk comes, who makes the best bread and that the mayor is related to the inn-keeper. I want to find a community where I can work, live, play and find all I need within walking distance. There are many villages and towns like this in the Mediterranean, but which one is my home?
Am I a bird blown off course that has lost its flock and tries to join a new flock time and time again without success? No, this is not my flock and not this one either? Where is my flock? Where is my pod, my family, my tribe?
I am perhaps like a plant that was pulled up by the roots in youth when my parents decided to leave Poland and immigrate to Canada, and now it's too late for the roots to dig in deeply. Should I just stop somewhere, anywhere and put those roots down hoping the soil is fertile and my roots will take? Or are my roots so dried and withered that no matter where, they will not grow?
The old-time traveling salesman comes to mind. He was forever moving from town to town, bringing news, and spreading ideas or gossip, moving on before he got too attached to any one place or community, yet feeding on the intimacy for a while, offering the dream of foreign lands and inspiration for others to reach beyond the town walls in exchange. I think perhaps that is my purpose whether I like it or not – the life of a nomad.


Look inside and read on Kindle for free: Salt Water In My Veins

You can now look inside my new book, Salt Water In My Veins as well as read it for free (today only) on Kindle. What a great deal! Feel free to leave your review after reading!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Salt Water In My Veins - peek at my new book

Dear friends,
Salt Water In My Veins is now available on Amazon. This is what's on the back cover:

"Salt Water In My Veins is a collection of 21 stories from Barbara Molin's lifetime of sailing and living aboard in Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, and while crossing the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. From buying a dream boat that soon becomes a nightmare, to accidentally deploying the anchor in the middle of the Atlantic, the stories highlight the author's passion for the sea, persistence in the face of challenges, and independent spirit.

Barbara Molin's love of the sea and adventure began during childhood spent at the Baltic seashore in Poland. It then grew when she and her family crossed the Atlantic on board a ship immigrating to Canada. She has worked as a researcher and a project manager for an oceanographic institute and as a reporter for community newspapers. Her freelance articles and photographs have been published among others by Sail, 48 North, Latitudes & Attitudes, Living Aboard, Boat Works and Practical Boat Owner.  She was also the founding publisher and managing editor of The Ionian magazine in Greece. Barbara now lives aboard her sailboat, Eidos on Ithaka Island in Greece."

Feel free to take a look at a preview HERE and leave your comments.

Buy Salt Water In My Veins

Here are some of the messages I have received so far:

"Interesting! Thanks for sharing. It makes me want to read more. Congratulations!" Ryan S.

"I love it! You are writing about yourself but I can see myself as you journey. I'm different but there is much the same in all of us. And certainly I can relate to the human spirit in each of us that motivates our searching and our content with our finds. ...  Kind of like an armchair tour for those of us who have opted for a different life, to enjoy vicariously. Good for you to put everything together in a book. I like the personal insights. It will bring the 'travelogue' life.

Good luck!"
love, Linda S.

"Looks and reads great!"  Isha P.

"Barb, you have captured the restlessness of the Nomad! When do we get the next installment?" Nancy S.

"So glad you continued with the writing in spite of its demands. Loved the first chapter and I am enticed to follow this nomad on her discovery voyage. Loved the way it explores both the physical world and the psychological."

Mary Z. 

"What a wonderful achievement!!!! Looking forward to reading it." Barb C. 

"It's on its way!! Yippee and congrats . . . Now to get your autograph on it.  Hugs," Nancy & Rich

"Well done mom! Can't wait to read it." Justin S.

"Congratulations on your your new book. That is wonderful news! I hope it goes well."  Eirini T. 

"My lovely incredible Barbara,
This makes me feel so happy! I read the introduction and can't wait to read whole of it :)You are so awesome! Well done to you! Love love love the title." Priscilla S.

"How exciting!  Congratulations on a great achievement.  I'm going to buy it for my Kindle and really looking forward to reading it!" Mel F.

"Congratulations with your book! I read the first chapter and wanted to read more, it's good stuff." Ester

"Congratulations!!  I know how hard it is to get a book done!   Well done, and I just ordered a copy:)"
Beverly J.

"... your book seems quite interesting and I'm honored to work with such a distinguished author." M.G.M. 

"I got the book over the weekend and am enjoying it immensely.  You're a good writer- I know how many times you must have re-written each story!" Beverly J.

"Almost done your book. It's been and on again off again read! (I read a lot for work, so reading for pleasure is difficult). 
You have a very good sense of humour. The chapters I find most compelling are the funny ones, like Anchoring in Corsica (deadpan humour) and Cure for Recession Depression (wit and satire). You should consider writing more of these, even some stories that are second hand or embellished. I think you could find a publisher if you did. I think a book of humorous anecdotes by a frazzled female skipper would find an audience. " Ryan S.

"We have very much enjoyed reading your book. It brings back lots of cruising memories." Jan and Dave H.

Buy Salt Water In My Veins

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Just do it

I finally found a way to discipline myself to write for at least an hour every day.
You know that brushing teeth is not something we long to do each morning or evening. But we don't think about it, or ask whether we feel like it, or are inspired to do. We just do it. It's a habit that doesn't allow input from the mind.
Since I love early mornings and prefer to write then, I decided to treat writing the same way I treat brushing my teeth: I wake up, get dressed, put the coffee on and open my laptop. And then, I write for an hour before doing anything else such as checking my email, reading the news or making breakfast.
So far, it's been easy and I have been very productive, often working much longer than the one hour with pleasure.
The rest of the day, I allow myself to do anything else I want: nap, read, surf the Internet, knit, go for a walk, talk to friends and family on Skype or reluctantly, write or edit. I also need time to contemplate, let my mind wander and absorb my surroundings for the creative part of me to have something to use in my work, so I try not to write any more in the afternoon unless it's quick notes for future reference.
And guess what? The book I have been trying to write for years is finally complete!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Writers' Co-operative, Co-housing Retreat on Ithaka, Greece

 Be inspired. Be amazed. Be surprised. And write all about it. Ithaka, Greece. Homer wrote about it and it's a place of pilgrimage for all writers.

You know how expensive most writers' retreats can be. You save your money all year and go for a week or two and by the time you get oriented and familiarized with everything, it's time to leave and you haven't even began to write. 

Here is an opportunity to stay for up to five months, yes, five months on the island of Ithaka, Greece for the price of a three week retreat elsewhere.

You will have time not only to write as much as you want to but also to see this beautiful island, hike its many paths, experience its history and enjoy its festivals. Spend Christmas Holidays in Greece.

We will share a villa with as many bedrooms as needed for the participants, socialize together (when we want to), cook together, read parts of our manuscripts to each other (if desired) and share the expenses of rental (cheap in winter) and food. 
No one will make a profit, and there is no overhead costs to consider. A two bedroom villa can be had for E600 Euros per month in winter. It will sleep four, so price per person is only $150 Euros per month. If we have more participants, we will rent a bigger villa.
Your participation for the retreat requires a commitment between December 1 to April 30 for at least a month to take advantage of this low price. Participation limited to eight people and the deadline for your application is November 15. Non-smokers only.
Please use the contact form to the right for more information.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Things that inspire and moments that take my breath away

Have you ever thought about the two phrases? Inspire means to breathe in. Something that takes my breath away is breathing out. Breathing is what keeps us alive and so being inspired and witnessing breathtaking moments is what keeps us spiritually alive.
So what inspires me and takes my breath away? Here are a few examples:
  • Sunrise
  • Sunset
  • Bonfire
  • Wood burning in a fireplace
  • Walk along a sandy beach
  • Planting seeds in a garden
  • Listening to a live concert 
So, what inspires you?


A lot of my inspiration comes from my photography or from scenes that I would have liked to photograph if I had a camera handy at the time.
I don't always write about what is in the photograph, but when I look at a beautiful scene, my mind stops yammering and something happens which goes beyond thinking. I access my creative self and then just start typing away.

Writing life - procrastination

As I wait for my new laptop to arrive today, I wonder how soon I will start writing again. For real that is. I left my old laptop in Greece thinking I would be right back, which didn't happen and it is now ruined having spent two winters on a damp boat. 
And so for the past two years I have been borrowing my son's IPad and my daughter-in-law's desk top Mac as well as using paper note books to jot things down and the odd library computer to update my sailing blog. But soon, I will have no more excuses to procrastinate, which means actually finishing something and sending it away to get published.