Tuesday, August 31, 2010

weather eye

Our morning routine of checking the weather reports online has taken an exciting turn. All of that heat we've had throughout the summer has warmed up the water, and warm water to hurricanes is like ice cream to a pregnant lady. So a fellow named Earl is heading up in our general direction for a visit. Perhaps close by. Perhaps not. It's a wait and watch situation.
The last big on we had skim by was Hurricane Isabelle in 2003. We had to evacuate the marina and head into our favorite (top secret) hurricane hole. We stripped the boat, tied off to the trees, and waited it out with some friends who also had their catamaran in the same spot. Nine months later we had Zach ;) Today the little hurricane boy is taking his repsonsibility as storm watcher very seriously.
We're standing by, waiting to see whether this will be an all hands on deck scenario.
Or just another storm skimming by. Clearly I am in no condition to help strip and evacuate the boat this season. But I know Doug can do it with help from friends if it came to that. My bigger concern is that studies have shown that sudden drops in barometric pressure can trigger labor in pregnant women beyong their 36th week. That would be me. So perhaps I will just cross my legs and head for the hills and hope for the best.

Monday, August 30, 2010

fiber farm day

We got to spend another lovely day at the farm where we do our fiber CSA once a month. The last time we were there, the kids were carding the wool that they helped shear earlier in the spring. Now it was time to dye our wool. Miss Lisa had already spun a bunch ahead of time so the kids could jump right in with the dying fun.
After some initial color craziness, the kids could no longer stand to be in the kitchen when the whole farm and all of the critters beckoned, so off they went while the mamas continued with the mad scientist work with the dyes.
We hung the yard out in the sunshine to dry and soaked up a perfectly beautiful day.
Miss Lisa was dutifully telling us which size needles would work best to knit up something sweet with this batch of yarn, and I had to blush and admit that I don't know how to knit. I thought that was our next lesson!? She smiled and graciously offered to get us started with spinning and knitting next time.
It's such a sweet balance to our long days of crabbing and rocking on the waves to go tromp in animal poop and smell the livestock. A farm by the sea with a long dock leading to a strong boat would be ideal.

Friday, August 27, 2010

~this moment~ double trouble

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - via soulemama

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

(scary) Corners of My Home

I have had lots of lovely peeks into well groomed corners of fellow bloggers' homes. It's truly inspirational eye candy. Well no candy here my friends. This is  reality time. (cue the creepy movie music...)
Oh yeah. Is that a scary weed patch of wires or what? This little cubby in our salon I guess in boating terms could technically be called the nav station, since the radar and SSB and such are just to the right. When we got the boat, there was a little TV crammed in there. Since we made the choice to be TV free, that opened up this cubby to a world of possibilities. It naturally leant itself to a computer desk area. And then the solar regulator went in there. And then... and then... no amount of wire ties could make that area seem tidy, let alone appealing.

So I whipped out that wiley sewing machine and sewed a sqaure. Oh yes, behold my amazing sewing skills, four straight lines! Add that to a wooden dowel and 2 eye hooks and VOILA!
Lemony goodness hiding the snake pit of wires. And the cool thing is, once we tire of the lemons I can just whip up another fabric square and switch it out. It seems like so many boats end up looking like a prep school head master's office when it comes to fabric and decor choices. I am trying to buck that trend as much as possible. One little piece of color at a time.

p.s. I may be a little quiet here this week as we're expecting a tribe of visitors by land and sea...

Monday, August 23, 2010

hello goodbye

One of the fabulous things about boat kids is how quickly they make new friends. There is no pretense, no segregating by age or gender, no time for hazing. If there's a kid on the dock, near the dock, approaching the dock -- they are a friend within minutes.

That's the way it was with Zach and H&A, two amazingly sweet girls who arrived in our little creek last summer. Instant friends. It didn't matter that they were older or girls or came from a totally different part of the country and different sort of life. Instant karma.
Then fall came. And the reality that all boat kids face loomed. It was time to say goodbye. H&A's parents had finished all of the work their boat needed, they packed up all of their provisions, and they were ready to cast off for the islands.
When we said goodbye that day last year, I stood in our cockpit and took photos. Zach hid under the settee table and sobbed, refusing to come out and wave goodbye. He spent the rest of that day something like this.
It's something our little tribe of boat families talks about often. How do we reconcile the excitement and privilege of this wandering lifestyle with the difficulty of vagabond friendships? I don't have an answer to that.

I guess it's something that gets easier with practice. The girls came back this summer, sailing right back into our creek. The boy was overjoyed but I was dreading in the pit of my stomach what was to come. They were done with thier adventures and were going back home, across the country, selling their boat, ending this chapter. We talked about it, explained, planned, talked some more and when the day came to say goodbye again it went a little smoother. While the girls packed the family car to head back where they came from, Zach spent that morning making little surprises for them.
And he managed to come out from under the table, give the little gifts, have a last play, and even pose for a photo or two.
I know for the goodbyes my husband and I have had in our cruising life, we always take faith in the fact that the world is round and the wind is always blowing somewhere, so our old friends will somehow drift back to us. And new friends are always just over the horizon. I hope Z starts to feel this too.

Friday, August 20, 2010

~this moment~ little voyage

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - via soulemama

Thursday, August 19, 2010


It started innocently enough with some flowers my boy picked from the marina gardens.
But each morning and each evening I found myself wiping away some mysterious droppings from the table under the flowers. Yup, mystery poo.
And then she revealed herself. Another wildlife turn temporary pet for our little family.
So having been through the monarch cycle before, we went to our local woods and got some milkweed and set up shop.
He watched and waited and sketched.
And then one morning we even got to see the actual process of this caterpillar forming its chrysallis!
And finally about 9 days later, she emerges...
Zach declared that her name shall be Rosalina.
So we called our neighbor boat kids over and shared in the joy of releasing her.

Pure magic.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Any Questions?

This is the book nook in the starboard hull (hallway)...
This is me trying to squeeze past the book nook while my boy snaps a photo laughing his little head off...

Any questions?

Monday, August 16, 2010

wayward home for expecting ducks

Just about 48 hours after Mrs. Quackers vacated our dock side tomato plant with her ducklings, we were shocked to see another mystery egg sitting in our tomato plant. And then the next day another. And another. But no duck.
Until a certain little boy made a point of getting up early enough to spy and see a new mama duck sitting in our plant again early one morning.
He decided to name her Shadow because she spent the first 2 weeks or so hiding from and avoiding us at all costs. But eventually she settled down and stuck to the nest. We were laughing, imagining a "Vacancy" sign being hung on our finger pier once Mrs. Quackers left. Like she spread the news to the other expecting mamas about this great little place to lay eggs.

Shadow has had a rough go of it with the heat wave and all. She often heaves a sigh (yeah, the duck actually sighs!) and flops her head down like a tired dog. She takes more swims away from the nest than our last tenant, which gives Zach egg counting and sketching opportunities.
And since the heat has taken its toll on our tomato plants, she doesn't have the rich green canopy that Mrs. Quackers enjoyed. I look at her flopped out on her nest, waiting in the heat, and I feel for her. I get it. Soon enough, girlfriend, I tell her. And she looks at me, and I think she gets it too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

~this moment~ mystery chef

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - via soulemama

Thursday, August 12, 2010

exotic breakfast

Have I mentioned it's hot here? Yeah, like crazy I may never cook for my family again hot. We've been sneaking in what little oven/ stove time we're doing late at night and trying to make enough to last a while so we don't have to heat up the boat during the days. Behold, our new favorite breakfast.
Fruit and croissants was getting old morning after morning. So daddy whipped up something a little more exotic which is proving a new favorite from an old memory. Black rice pudding is a breakfast staple in many Asian countries, and it's something my husband and I remember fondly from when we got married in Bali oh so long ago. At the time we took this fabulous all day cooking class from a chef who runs an amazing restuarant and inn called Bumbu Bali. Doug whipped out the cook book gifted to us from that chef (who I wrote about in a book called The World Is A Kicthen, check out the side bar to the left to see part of my chapter) and simmered up a sweet delicious memory.

1 cup of black rice (also called Forbidden Rice, you can get it at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or most Asian grocery stores)

1/2 cup of sugar (can put in less, add to taste. Palm sugar works best, if not try brown sugar)

1 can coconut milk

Soak rice before cooking. Then boil in 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt for about 45 minutes or so. Rice will still be wet when it's cooked and it turns a gorgeous dark purple color.

Stir in sugar, a scant 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 cups coconut milk and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and rice is tender but still slightly chewy, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and chill. Serve with remaining coconut milk swirled in and enjoy!

It's almost like oatmeal really, and black rice is super food as well. Ok, now I'm hungry...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WIP - the baby closet!

I had a panic attack this week. The oh-dear-we-are-down-to-one-more-month-and-I-don't-have-a-thing-for-the-baby panic attack. So I started to attack the corners of the boat that have been set aside for the little lass and I am attempting organization.

First we cleared out the closet in the starboard hull that sits between Zach's room and the book nook. Doug and a neighbor built some shelves in there and Zach and I covered the shelves with some fabric.
(The blue stuff you see along the back wall is a thin layer of insulation to prevent the hull from sweating. we have it in all of our closets and it does the trick nicely.)

I was overwhelmed with gratitude upon getting a two packages of lovely hand me down baby clothes from far away. One from my awesome cousin Ananda in Berkeley who has a daughter just 10 months old. And one from another complete stranger/ fellow blogger who contacted me and generously sent a bunch of baby clothes from her grandkids. Seriously, how sweet is that?! So I now have something to actually put the baby in should she arrive at any time (we only saved one single onesie from Zach and had nothing else before... we gave everything else away so we're starting from scratch all over again!) Zach and I also hit the thrift stores this week to fill in the gaps of this and that in the clothing department (socks, blankets, warmer things). 

My work in progress is my attempt to organize and sort the clothes we now have by size, season, type -- ok how exactly do you sort baby clothes? Wow it's been a long time.
(eeek! reality check!)

It's funny how this boy who not only could care less about what he wears but often wanders forgetfully outside in just his undies, has now become so interested in dressing his future sister. Every outfit we got was met with an "AWWWW! That is SO cute!" And he's declared himself "Minister of Wardrobe" insisting that he wants to be in charge of picking her outfits out each day.

We're still not "ready". We still don't have all of the things we need, even though truly we don't need a lot. But lists are being made (I just remembered today that we need to buy an infant PFD! Duh!), items are slowly being checked off as we shop around, and hopefully we'll be as ready as one can be for a new baby.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

sketching to learn

My boy is all about drawing these days. Every morning, every evening, while I make lunch, in the car, on the docks, pencils and some sketch book or another are always in hand.
Of course his latest proclamation is that he would like to be a marine architect and many, many of his drawings are of every type of ship imaginable or imagined (Evan, you will be hearing more from him on this!)
Second to things that float are observations in nature.
He's found his own way of absorbing the world around him, making it his own, creating a memory.
Times like this are so important for me as mama-teacher, reminding me to step back and let him create his own "curriculum" (a word that comes up more often than I care to think lately now that he's entering "1st grade"). I am so often humbled and awe struck by how he chooses to "study" certain things and how he commits to them in his own way.
All the while chatting away, talking to himself, or the plants, or the pencils, or to the universe... asking questions, making up songs, pondering the imponderables, inventing dialogue, disappearing in his work. And my job is not to correct is spelling or point out the scientific aspects of the plants, or suggest he draw bugs next or get him to measure them to practice his numbers... it's just to sit and observe and learn from my favorite little teacher.
(I love the skull & cross bones - x with circle- in this one, showing that pokeweed is poinsonous. Something we learned last year when we almost mistook it for elderberry!)

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