Mettle Mission :: Day Forty Five

Here's a little Nautie History.  

I had a tough ship as Third Mate.  My Chief Mate was a 'very not nice man' (insert every bad word you can imagine).  He made my life hell.  I cried all the time.  I was going to quit.

Then I had this epiphany - if I did my absolute best, if I defaulted to absolute professionalism, if I answered every one of his inquiries with absolute positivity - he'd eventually wear himself out - or better yet, he'd be the one who looked like a loser even though he was doing everything in his power to make me look like a total reject.

I realized that it was a matter of me biding my time.

I had an arsenal of 'biding my time' survival tactics.

I made a playlist full of antsy rock songs that I listened to non-stop.  I decorated my room full of photos of home and happy things.  I had three plain white t-shirts that I transformed with sharpies and glitter glue.  One said, 'Make Puttanesca'.  One said, 'Don't Worry, Be Happy'.  The last one said, 'Hakuna Matata'.

Long story short:  very not nice man ended up getting escorted off the vessel by the Coast Guard after pretty much diving off the deep end.  I ended up smelling like a rose, a professional rose.

Hakuna Matata.


Until I get a job there will be a daily Mettle Maker - we're on a mission - a mission to get a job and maintain mettle - so we'll call it the Mettle Mission.

Nautie Books :: Lean In = My Favorite


Lean In was a great book for me to read - and it was a great book for me right now - at this specific stage in my life - I firmly believe that it would be a great book for anyone at any stage in life!

To be clear:  I'm not done reading this book.  I read each page carefully.  I highlight things and make notes.  I journal about said highlights and notes.  What I'm about to share is just the beginning.


"She is very ambitious" is not a compliment in our culture.

Fear is at the root of so many of the barriers that women face.  Fear of not being liked.  Fear of making the wrong choice.  Fear of drawing negative attention.  Fear of overreaching.  Fear of being judged.  Fear of failure.  And the holy trinity of fear:  the fear of being a bad mother / wife / daughter.

And every time I didn't embarrass myself - or even excelled - I believed that I had fooled everyone yet again.  One day soon, the jig would be up.

I have attributed my success to luck, hard work, and help from others.

I learned over time that while it was hard to shake feelings of self-doubt, I could understand that there was a distortion.

When I don't feel confident, one tactic I've learned is that it sometimes helps to fake it.

It's a cliche, but opportunities are rarely offered; they're seized.

"You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around.  The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have." -Padmasree Warrior, Cisco's chief technology officer

But I also know that in order to continue to grow and challenge myself, I have to believe in my own abilities.  I still face situations that I fear are beyond my capabilities.  I still have days when I feel like a fraud.  And I still sometimes find myself spoken over and discounted while men sitting next to me are not.  But now I know how to take a deep breath and keep my hand up.  I have learned to sit at the table.

If a woman is competent, she does not seem nice enough.  If a woman seems really nice, she is considered more nice than competent.

Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, believes that learning to withstand criticism is a necessity for women.  Early in her career, Arianna realized that the cost of speaking her mind was that she would inevitably offend someone.

Her (Arianna's) advice is that we should let ourselves react emotionally and feel whatever anger or sadness being criticized evokes for us.  And then we should quickly move on.

He said that when you want to change things, you can't please everyone.  If you do please everyone, you aren't making enough progress.  Mark was right.

The jungle gym model benefits everyone, but especially women who might be starting careers, switching careers, getting blocked by external barriers, or reentering the workforce after taking time off.

The cost of stability is often diminished opportunities for growth.

Women need to shift from thinking "I'm not ready to do that" to thinking "I want to do that - and I'll learn by doing it."

We cannot assume that interactions between men and women have a sexual component.  And everyone involved has to make sure to behave professionally so women - and men - feel safe in all settings.

Image Via

I can't tell you all how often I wanted to shout 'YES!' while reading this book.  I often stopped to call a girfriend just to bounce ideas around.  I hope you enjoyed this book - or are considering enjoying it - male and female alike!

30x30 :: Go Hot Air Ballooning




Going hot air ballooning was a big deal. When I called my Girl Cousin and asked her if she wanted to do this trip with me (cause you know...birthday buddies...) I said, 'I'm not going on a budget. I'm staying in a nice hotel...and I'm going on a balloon still in?'. She was in - so we booked our balloon ride with Napa Valley Balloons. Nautie Friends, they get an A+, yo. A big 'ole fat perfect score.

Our ballooning adventure is what you might call: giving up is for losers.

Originally, our platypus tour and balloon adventure were in conjunction with eachother - we'd be whisked away from our post balloon ride champagne breakfast to go on a wine tasting tour - or at least that's what I imagined...

We woke up briiight and early on our first day in Napa and were picked up at our hotel (it was still dark out kind of early). We got to the balloon check in point and to say that the staff of NVB (Napa Valley Balloons) was friendly is an absolute understatement.

Any which way, we take off for our balloon launch site. The balloons are there - they're getting filled up - the sun is making them look magical - we get assigned a balloon - we literally run for our balloon - and then it got windy.


I was literally laying in the basket (which is on its side) to help provide a little weight. The balloon is filling up - as in the burner is going and so are the fans. Take off was imminent - I mean, other balloons were drifting past our location (flown by other ballooning companies).



....and then the day was cancelled due to wind speeds. Wop Wop. It was surreal. We looked at each other and said, 'did that really just happen?'.

Perk? We got to watch them roll the balloons back up and there was a cute little dog who clearly knew the drill!


Thank goodness we had some wine tasting in our future because it did detract a bit from our horrible let down.

I'd also like to mention that I appreciate when things are cancelled due to safety concerns. You cancel anytime you like NVB! Don't you worry about those other balloons in the air! I'm happy to trust the judgement of an experienced pilot...must be the sailor in me...

But listen friends, is that anyway to WIN?! One day of high wind and you let it lie? Glad you're with me because it's NOT!

We rescheduled and woke up again at the butt crack of dawn! Day two. Hungover as all get out (thanks Platypus!) - we climbed back into the van for a ballooning adventure.


This is the only photo I have our day two adventure because the decision was made to ground the balloons as we pulled into the parking lot. I must admit we were a tad under the weather so going back to bed wasn't sounding too awful.

As we were driving through the Valley I turned to Girl Cousin and said, 'you know we could try one more time....I know you fly out in the morning but we could literally drive ourselves to the parking lot and head straight to the airport after we land....I mean we could...'. She said, 'let's do it!' so, I called NVB and asked to be put on the schedule one more our favorite pilot Bob's balloon of course.

Hence, day three in Napa commenced. With an early morning jaunt to Domaine Chandon with our fingers crossed!


Guess what? We actually went on a balloon ride! It was so different than I thought. Do you know that you really can't steer a balloon? You can go up and down - and the rest is up to the wind. Jeez, how symbolic is a balloon ride? Maybe a little like life, no?




Wanna know how sassy all that ballooning made me? I'm going again. Wanna know why? It was a tad cloudy on Day 3. Listen, I had some epic photos planned - don't get me wrong I got some good ones (over 350 in fact) but, I want to see a gilded Napa Valley - and I will!



Alright, I know what you're thinking. If you can't steer it how do you land? Well, I believe the answer is that you hope to have a decent pilot. We literally landed on a strip of gravel next to the highway. For realsies. We kind of skidded a long and then stopped. Then the 'chase crew' tries to get all the air out of the balloon as fast as they can. (I also forgot to mention that part - while we're in the air there is a team in a truck that shadows us - like storm chasers - might be a fun job!)



By opening the flap at the top they're able to quickly dump the hot air from the balloon. Then they kind of stretch it out. If you stand in front of it you can feel the heat coming out in waves (it makes for good pictures, too).



There you have it friends. A balloon ride. An 'effin BALLOON RIDE!


What? Oh, you'd like to see more photos? No problem! There are hundreds!

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In case you'd like more Napa Love you can read about Day One and Two but clearly, I've been saving the best for last! A mini disclaimer: as I rang in The Flirty Thirty I was feeling a little uncertain about what to do with my 30x30 List. Then I thought, 'it's not over till it's over'. I've got a whole year of being thirty ahead of me folks. It's not over. Be looking for more 30x30 posts! I think the balloon ride adventures let me know that 'settling' isn't always the best option. Do more! See more! Be more!

Don't be such a mermaid...

On Sunday, I stood up in front of all the BiSCuits and cried.  I had no idea why I was standing up to let out all of the feelings.....or why I was crying....until I was up there. Somewhere between going into the ugly cry and starting to talk I knew.

I was lonely.  I wanted to tell everyone how lonely I had been.

Here's how it all began:

I had been following a particular blog for years...eventually I clicked through some of her links...and then I was following other blogs that I lurved.  I mean, really and truly lurved.  These blogs were the icing on my cake.

I'd stumble into my room late at night after cargo ops.  I'd be wound up not able to sleep...knowing I needed to trust the Junior Mate on Watch....and I'd read these blogs until I could take a cat nap....knowing that I'd get at least one call before o'dark thirty and that my alarm would sound well before I was rested.

I learned things important like:  Screaming Nicki Minaj was totally allowed or, who got kicked of The Bachelorette.  I stayed in touch with the world.  What was hip?  What were people listening to on the radio?  What everyone was eating.

As I read these other blogs I learned more about myself.  I was capable, competent, and in Charge of My Reality.  I started calling the shots at work - and in my own life.

Except, somewhere along the way...

I got tired of doing things by myself all the time.

I'm an only child.  I'm programmed to do things solo.  Going to the beach with friends?  Megan's packed her coloring book, crayons and, head phones.  She would like to lie here in silence please...  Between being a lady sailor, being on the go constantly and being naturally comfortable flying solo I was constantly on my own.

Things got a little more complicated when I promoted to Chief Mate.  I hate to say something this cliche but, 'it's lonely at the top'.

People don't really want to hang out with their boss.  Not when they're signing their overtime sheets.  I don't want to have to deal with the ramifications of becoming 'overly friendly'.  When I need someone to go do something I don't want to explain myself - or be in a situation where I feel obligated to explain myself.

Plus, I'm standoffish.

Very.  I really don't mean to be.  But listen, you can only stand so many midnight watches with weirdos...there comes a time where 'polite chit-chat' is no longer in your vocabulary.  I have stood in complete silence other than to issue directions for hours.  Hours.  In awkward silence that I can 100% ignore.  Tell me that doesn't make you slightly jaded?

When I signed up for Bloggers in Sin City it was a whim.  I was in the Middle of the Atlantic and I thought, 'maybe they'll be my friends...'.  Seriously.  That's what I thought.

I was looking for something, and I didn't know what it was.

Now I know.  I now know that out on the interwebz exists a Community.  a Tribe.  a me....or not like me...which makes it even better.  Fuller - Warmer - More.

There were times where I wanted to silently slip away and hope no one noticed.  There were times I was convinced no one would notice.  I was nervous.  Anxious.  Cautious.  I didn't introduce myself to everyone.  I didn't talk to nearly as many people as I wanted to. I could have put myself out there a little more.  Here's the BUT.  Every single person I had the pleasure of chatting with at BiSC blew my mind with their coolness.  They were genuinely good people who want good things for other people.  Sometimes I feel like I live in a dog eat dog world but, at BiSC I could slowly feel my guard get let down.

Thank you all for that.  Big.  HUGE.  Mahalo's.  

I heard people say BiSC has changed their lives.  I think for me it's too soon to know.  What I will say is that BiSC has heightened my awareness.  It's made me realize that a 'more' is there.  I can do more, be more, share more, laugh more, cry more and love more.  I am more of a Mermate than I ever have been before.

The next time loneliness sneaks up on me I'm going to say, 'Don't be such a mermaid!'....then I'm going to tweet some BiSCuits.

Don't be a mermaid be a MerMate!!!!

I want to remember this moment for the rest of my life...


Nautie Books :: March Madness = Joy The Baker Cookbook

I know what you're didn't think I'd pull it off.  You figured I'd let March just come and go and then I'd hastily recover for the month of April.  Oh, you couldn't be more wrong.  I'm a Master Procrastinator.  Master. The beauty of being a Master Procrastinator is that you're mind slowly gets trained to have it's best ideas just in time for you to slide under the wire.

Last night I had the best idea EVER:  Feature a cookbook.

I LOVE COOKBOOKS. If my Step-Dad was here He'd say, 'why don't you marry it then?'. To which I'd respond, 'okay, fine.'.  I would marry a cookbook.

There is nothing I love more, than curling up on the couch and flipping through gorgeous pages full of delicious looking foods.  I love imagining the party I would host.  I love imagining how wow'd my friends would be if I brought over that scrumptious looking desert.

I have a lot of cookbooks.  I shipped every last one of them to my new apartment in Houston.  I didn't get rid of even one of them.

Lets take this one step further.  I have one special cookbook that I keep on my iPad.  This way, when I'm at sea I can look at the pictures and pretend I'm curled up on my couch.

Joy the Baker is my idol.  I lurve her.  She gives me blog hope.  She gives me yummy ideas.  She makes me laugh.  She's pretty.  Her food photos are the shit.  I think she's totally rad.

This is an open ended reading assignment - Get Joy's Cookbook - Read her blog - At your leisure - Then friend me some how so you can show me the photos you take of your yummy food!

You won't regret this.  At all.


Salty Sea Hag

I got an e-mail two days ago that said: 'Ohmygah - love this!!  Megan - you are beautiful and powerful and I am in awe of your bravery!!' 

It majorly made my day but, it got me thinking too.  Am I brave?

(I've also been saying 'ohmygah' every chance I get...)

Do you want to know what my number one fear has been during my years at sea?

I've been scared of turning into a Sea Hag.  

I didn't want to be in my Thirties shipping out single...or shipping out with a failed marriage.  I didn't want to be so socially twisted that I preferred my times at sea to those at home.  I didn't want to be so incredibly crass that my friends were embarassed to invite me places.  I didn't want to be a Sea Hag.

With my 30th birthday looming on the horizon I've been unusually introspective.  Instead of staring out the bridge window and spacing out I've been thinking about life.  I know.  Deep.

All this introspection has led me to write posts about how I meow.  It's also led me to think about where I am and where I want to be.  It's led me to think about being a Sea Hag.

Nautie Friends, I'm here to tell you:  I don't care if I turn into a Sea Hag (or if I already am one).

I like shipping out.  I like being at sea.  I like showing up in random ports and taking pictures of camels.  I like standing on the bridge wing at 0600 sipping coffee with hot cocoa in it.  I like my vacation periods where I can go places and do things.  I like joking around with the Deck Gang about who farted at the morning meeting.  I like my slip on Red Wing boots.  I like when the Deck Gang feels proud about doing a really good job cleaning the Foc'sle and, calls me to come take a look at it.

Do you know what I know now that I didn't know before?

I enjoy those things because I can.  Because I'm thirty (or will be in two months) and I'm single.  I enjoy those things because I'm free to enjoy them.

The dudes and dudettes who have a girl or guy at home...they don't go home and talk about how much they love their jobs.  Know why?  Because it pisses the person at home off.  It specifically pisses The Ladies At Home off.  That's why they go home and talk about how hard it is and about how much they wish they could get a job that pays what this one does shoreside.

Wanna know a secret?  This job is fucking awesome. 

Does it have drawbacks?  Of course.  It's a job.  Yes, when I miss things at home I get bummed.  But, don't you feel bummed when you miss things because you have to work?  It's hard sometimes.  It is physically demanding.  The climate can wear on you (read:  Persian Gulf in the summer or Northern Europe in the winter).  It's hard to make new friends when you're gone all the time and it's also hard to maintain relationships.  But, don't you find that those things are hard in life in general?

There you have it.  I'm a Lady Sailor.  I like to go to sea.  I enjoy the adventure.  I think it's fun to pack up and move on a whim.  I like being a Gypsy with a Nice Car.  I have tattoos.  I swear a lot.  I can discuss West Coast vs Gulf Coast freight rates.  I've had the priviledge of having some awesome shipmates and I've gotten into bar fights with shitty shipmates.  I have peed down the Hawse Pipe.

Mother, I apologize but, it's official.  I'm a Sea Hag.

It's Official.

*Mom, I love you....I hope you still come visit*