Sunday, November 29, 2009


I've been whining all along about how my camera was cheap and junky, and how it was making noises normally reserved for motorized vehicles, and how it was being held together with duct tape because it literally lost several screws...
... and the camera heard me...
... and the camera got mad...
... and it decided to commit it's final act of lunacy by focusing in and out non-stop while making grinding noises and finally displaying an error screen. "Ha!" it seemed to say. "That's what you get for bad mouthing ME!"

And so I have no camera. Here we are on the verge of a very photo-happy time of the year, the winter holidays, and I will be reduced to remembering it by cell phone snap shots.


Zach sweetly sketched up a plan to build me a camera using sticks, toilet paper tubes, sea glass, and a flashlight. I don't want to torture myself checking out digital SLR (drool!) cameras on Ebay and Adorama because unfortunately, it's just not in the cards at the moment.

It's mind numbingly upsetting and sort of freeing all at the same time. I LOVE taking pictures. Ever since I was a little girl I've been a shutterbug. But this weekend, everything seemed slower and deeper without my shutter finger leading the way. I seemed to be more present in everything I was doing. So this will be a little exercise in Zen for me. Or rehab if you will.

The question really becomes, do I drop $100-150 on yet another crappy-point&shoot camera and start clicking again this week. Or do I start saving for a digital SLR and go photoless for a few months or more? I don't know the answer.

In the mean time, please be patient with me. I may ramble without photos. I may dig up old pictures and take a stroll down memory lane, or I may go quiet here and there. Or I may see about that sea glass and toilet paper tube idea. And my shutter finger will be twitching.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

With My Own Two Hands

"When I help other people, I feel gooder."  (Zach walking back, holding my hand in the rain, after a morning spent learning about the giving part of the Thanksgiving holiday.)

I can change the world
With my own two hands
Make it a better place
With my own two hands
Make it a kinder place
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands

   - Ben Harper

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A day with George

Somehow after going to college in the Washington DC area and living here on and off since then, I have managed to miss visiting Mt. Vernon. George Washington's home is just a hop, skip, and a jump around the beltway from us and yet this is the first time we meandered out that way. But it won't be the last.

The elegance...

The views...

The peaks into the past...

The reality checks (Battle of Fort Necessity)...

The al fresco snacking opportunitues...

The forest to explore...

And the dollhouse... oh the dollhouse. I didn't think I was ever going to be able to pull this boy away from the dollhouse in the kid's section of the museum.

And oh the conversations this little visit inspired. About history and war and how things were done in "old timey days", and slavery, and farming, and geography and... the list goes on.  Outings like this are my very favorite part about homeschooling. On the way out, we sprung for an annual pass. Because afterall they're doing chocolate making demonstrations next month, and mama will find SOME way to make that "educational".   :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekend Wonders

It feels like I spent most of the weekend chained to the computer, working on my latest assignment, listening wistfully to the giggling and screams of Zach and daddy and the neighbors all out enjoying the beautiful weather. But it wasn't all work no play. So in an effort to refocus on the positive let me share some of the highlights of our weekend... other than working.
(a magical time at a Waldorf school festival)

(gnome fashion show)

(the cozy glow of our warm boat on a chilly night)

(snuggling in the cockpit by candlelight)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thankful Tree

This idea is stolen from at least a half dozen other blogs I read and then mish-moshed into our own version using what we have on board and what works in our wee space.

We searched around the marina for the perfect stick and brought it home. It lives in a vase filled with quarters (laundry money) so that it won't tip over.

I simply cut a whole mess of vaguely leaf shaped pieces of cloth from scraps we have in our sewing basket. I used a hole punch to pop out one side and some twine tied in for hanging.

Then I left the leaves out with some fabric markers and explained to Zach the idea. The rest is up to him. I didn't want to make it so structured as to declare that everyday until Thanksgiving we had to add a leaf. Or that each member of the family had to put one on each evening. I prefer to leave it out, and let it happen as the spirit moves us.

Zach always brings a smile to my face with his thoughtful and quirky things he is thankful for. And this yearI am sure he will come up with some doozies. But lately, even before we started this little project, he's been oozing with gratitude. He literally wakes each morning full of love and thanks, verbalizing it in almost poetic ways. (Mama, you are my jewel. OR I am so grateful for the wind, he makes the trees look like ballet dancers. OR Mama, thank you for taking the time to make my food and clean the boat, I know you'd rather be doing something else.)

There's nothing else I'd rather be doing than hanging out with this boy. He is my teacher and my love and my adventure. And for that I am truly thankful.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Night Visitor

Zach was only a few days old when we first noticed him. It was like that feeling you get when somebody is staring at you. You look up and you see the eyes that you felt. Right there on the piling, just outside our cockpit he was quite literally looking in on us. From about dusk until we were so sleepy we could no longer keep track. After several nights of this visitor, we snapped a photo of baby Zach and the Night Heron, thinking he would soon move on to other grounds and this would be a rare omen we wanted to capture.

Boy were we wrong. It's been nearly 5 1/2 years and we've moved slips 3 times, and he's still with us. He's gotten noisier and at time a tad bolder, but he's faithful as ever. Not every night mind you, but most nights that it's just the three of us. We know his voice, we hear him announce himself at times. Zach sometimes waits outside for him at dusk. "My heron is here," he calls. They stare at each other.

Is he our protector? Our good luck charm? Our stalker? Or has he just heard rumor from the ducks about snacks and story time?

It doesn't matter. We expect him. We welcome him. He's family now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kind Of Corny

So the boy started plucking all of the kernels off the Indian corn we had left over from our Halloween party. And so it began...
Corn art...

The great Indian pop corn taste test at H&T's house...

(the small "strawberry corn"on the left tasted the best  - cooked stove top in coconut oil. The larger multi-color corn didn't pop well, burned, and was chewy)

And of course corn necklaces... or in this case more like garland.

Why just disaply Indian Corn when you can deconstruct it, paint it, glue it, cook it, soak it, stab it, string it, and THEN display it? Nature always provides the best kind of fun.

p.s. Head on over to etsydotmom for some colorful under $20 finds.

Monday, November 16, 2009

November Loving

The calm after the storm.

Zach's self portrait.

Socks and sandals.

The way the water gets clearer as it gets colder.

Still living a partially outdoor life.

The way the late afternoon light turns common scenes into golden memories.

The way the color bleeds from the falling leaves into the sky.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 3

From the National Weather Service:
"Low pressure just east of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and strong high pressure over New England are combining to produce a historic coastal storm across the Middle Atlantic Coast."
"Winds will be the strongest across far eastern Virginia, the Del-Mar-Va and coastal Maryland and Delaware. Sustained winds of 30 to 50 mph are likely with gusts between 55 and 65 mph. "
"You are urged to take precautions and get ready for serious flooding and coastal overwash, especially during high tides overnight through Friday."
"This could match the nor'easters that hit in January and February in 1998 and Hurricane Isabel in 2003 for water rise, especially during high tides."
"What makes this event so extreme? Well, it would be a moderate to major event if it was just 24 hours long. But this will be a 72-hour event at least; leading into Friday night."

I am grateful for:
That only 5 of our 24 hatches are leaking
Hi-tech water proof fabrics
Elderberry Tonic
That deep bend in the creek that's keeping us from getting totally whooped by the seas
Friends who live on land and think of us during storms
Museum membership
Crocs rain boots
My family
Dark chocolate

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dark & Light

Bad things don't happen in 3's, they happen in 6's or 7's this week. The freezer was just a warning shot across the bow. I also got pretty sick this week (not the flu, but yucky nonetheless). Then today was supposed to be different. Doug had a day off. My antibiotics kicked in. Maybe we'll go for a sail? Maybe celebrate Martinmas for the first time? Maybe a jaunt to woods for the last gasp of fall color?

No. Along came Miss Ida. A former hurricane whose tropical storm remnants are swirling around us. Windy, lumpy & bumpy, rainy, cold, blah. So we decide to stay in and be "productive". Let's tidy up the guest area, make the pattern for our new settee, bake bread, make chicken broth, make lanterns for Martinmas, and schedule the marine surveyor to come help us tackle our mystery leak.

Well the surveyor never showed, and never called. Zach slipped and fell and hurt his foot because of the puddle of rain water from said mystery leak. The broth is weak. The bread is tough. The pattern was insanely difficult to make and we're still not finished with it. We never got around to making lanterns. And I spilled a HUGE glass of apple cider on our new laptop.

It's dead.

So I'm typing on my junky old computer, taking pictures with my duct taped camera, bouncing around on the stormy sea in my leaking boat eating hard bread and watery soup and feeling like I want crawl in a cave and get a do over on this week.

And where was Zach during all of this self inflicted "drama"?  We were literally indoors all day (something that NEVER happens for us). And I didn't get around to doing ONE thing with him. No crafts, no outings, no books, no cooking, no talks, no music or dancing, I don't even think I brushed the boy's teeth today.

And yet he happily played away the entire day, indoors, by himself. This sweet boy who was left in the ruin of my clumsy day never whined, or said he was bored, or asked for anything. He spent who knows how long building forts/ ships/ bridges with our old sette cushions. He created a whole series of drawings of squid. He made toys for the guinea pig. He curled up in the book nook, laughing like crazy at whatever book his was looking at. He played with his blocks.  He made a slide with pillows.

And he picked up my spirits when I needed it most. My boy pitter pattered down to the galley wearing every sash and belt and scarf in his vast dress up collection and looked at me. "Do you know how precious you are to  me mommy? You are more valuable to me than any treasures."

Now if that's not a light on this dark, rainy, funky week, I don't know what is.

p.s. popping in this morning to say - holy cow! The storm got worse not better. The boat feels like a carnival ride this morning. Zach was awaken by the howling wind and slamming waves and said, "Looks like a museum day mommy."  It sure does.

A Dude Moment

We were walking in town and suddenly I got that mama feeling that my boy was no longer skipping a few steps behind me. I turn to see that he didn't stop to build a fairy house or cradle a ladybug or collect another amazing-fabulous-perfect-it-has-to-come-home-to-the-boat-rock. No, he was drooling over a tricked out ride.

 For the boy who loves to kayak and loves to fish, this is IT. 13 feet 5 inches of fish stalking, water gliding, gadget holding nirvana.

"Mom LOOK! It as a GPS hoisted right on it. And LOOK! You can peddle it so that your hands are open to hold a fishing pole. And LOOK! There's a dry place to keep snacks." I looked this baby up on the web and I believe it's Hobie Mirage Revolution. It can hold multiple rods, lights, down riggers, a live well and cooler to store your bait, a pop up bimini sun shade, and even a swing out cutting board to gut and fillet your catch.

Cue the music -- OH YEAH.

Now the mama version of the Ultimate Kayak Ride for me would involve something more like speakers and iPod plug-in, a dry locker for dark chocolate, a wine bottle shaped cooler, a wine glass holder, a dry place for a wildlife field guide, and a mount for my future camera.

What's on YOUR kayak?

p.s. speaking of camera, there may be fewer photos around here for a while. My very old, point-and-click camera (my only camera) lost two screws (literally!) and is officially being held together by tape. *sigh* And today it started making sounds usually reserved for motorized vehicles. Hoping it holds together and dreaming of a digital SLR. One day.
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