Tuesday, May 31, 2011

mama is at work

A long time ago a friend ripped this photo out of a magazine for me. You know the one. It's floating all over the internet now with Tina Fey's new book. She smiled and said, "This is what I imagine you look like while trying to get work done with Zach at home."
Not too far off. I always try to limit my working to when the kiddos are asleep and/ or Doug is home unless I am really slammed with a deadline. Or those times when a show asks for a last minute re-write or a quick something or other that is not too far off. And even when Zach is out with Daddy and Naia is asleep, the scene is something like this.
Baby attached to boob, in arms, typing, and wishing so badly that the ice tea would float from the galley to the settee on its own. And I laugh and wonder if the people at home who have TV's and watch DIYNetwork's Run My Renovation or whatever show I happen to be working on at that moment could ever imagine that the writer is sitting on a sailboat, without a TV, and a baby in her lap nursing, with a boy who pops in now and again to ask "What's HE doing? What tool is THAT?"

And of course the answer is no. The viewers are just lapping up the brain candy on the tube. And often when I am in the thick of it I LONG for an acutal office space within the boat or any space with a door that I can close. Instead I find myself muttering, "Mama's at work right now, go ask daddy," when some Saturday morning dilemma comes up. He stares at me, "Mommy, that does not look like work to me. You're watching movies!"

But I am so grateful for this scene. I am so grateful that I am able to keep my foot in my career waters. I am so grateful that the folks I work for (who used to work for me in some cases) are flexible and open minded enough to make this work so that I can earn some money for the boat, keep my creative juices flowing, think like a grown up, and still be home with my babies.

Monday, May 30, 2011

time flies

May 8th was a big day around here. It was the day we brought the boat home from the boat yard. It was Mother's Day. And it was also our 10 year wedding anniversary. The anniversary had to take a rain check that day with all of the other chaos. So we picked a calmer, quieter evening, made a special dinner, and remembered this day.
Ten years ago in Bali, Indonesia a man with a machine gun slung over his shoulder mumbled something in a language we don't know, we then said our own vows, and then we were handed a piece of brightly colored paper that says we're married in Indonesian. Or says we're enlisted in the Indonesian army. We're still not 100% sure.

Ten is supposed to be the "tin anniversary", but I decided brass looked better for this little gift. One for each of us with the latitude and longitude of where we got married. You can put it on a necklace or keychain or just about anywhere as as little reminder of a special place or time. So here's to many many more years my sweet. But these two are the best tokens of our love.
(the carnivore)
(the lady of leisure)

Friday, May 27, 2011

~this moment~ softshell encounter

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.

p.s. Sorry for the quiet around here. We had a sick computer and a sick mama and now we're off on a busy weekend. Until next week...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

how to make a boat bed with a baby

I remember when Zach was a sprog we would sometimes take the whole morning right up until he needed a morning nap just to make the bed. It became a long, crazy play time that we loved. While I don't have the luxury now of a whole morning to make the beds with Naia (if the beds get made at all that is) she and I still like to roll around and play while getting the chore done.
The not-quite-queen size bed is walled in on three sides, you enter through the foot of the bed. It's actually ideal for co-sleeping because nobody can fall out of the bed and you can use every inch of the mattress with the walls holding you in place. So first we toss the baby on the bed, then toss the sheets on after her.
I make my way from the foot upwards tucking and straightening, all the while cooing at the girl and singing, "I'm gonna get the baby" as I make my way towards her. She loves being fanned by the sheets, over her head like the parachute game from elementary school gym class.
(Same bed. Same game. Different sheets. Different baby. This is Zach playing the making the bed game at age 5 months.)

Of course Zach all the while is either outside already mucking around or in the book nook doing his book nook thing. Naia and I make a little progress, and then she gives me the look. The "Please put down that camera and stop messing with the sheets and just cuddle and nurse me" look.
(Giving me the look while also putting up her hand to the lens in a "no paparazzi" move.)

So I oblige. And before the quilt makes it on we lay down and soon she is taking one of her famous 15 minute power naps (she's not much of a napper, 15 minutes is usually all we get).
A little peace and a small bit of tidiness. It's a good start to the day.

Monday, May 23, 2011

wine + dark chocolate = bliss

This is a craft for the mamas. I did this at midnight. No little helpers. No phones ringing. Just me and the wine and the dark chocolate. Shall we begin?

Think of someone special you want to surprise. Buy them a fabulous bottle of red wine. Then buy a huge chunk of dark chocolate (we used a one pound bar from Trader Joes). It helps if the maker has a glass of wine as well and fingers clean enough for licking.
Wrap your bottle of wine in plastic cling wrap while your dark chocolate is melting in the double boiler.
Tie some ribbon on the bottle in a U-shape from the bottom with both end up over the top. (I used thick gosgrain ribbon which I don't recommend. I think a thin curling ribbon would work much better. You live and learn, right?) Then wrap your ribbon ends up and out of the way so they don't get covered in chocolate.
Next use a rubber spatula to coat chocolate over your wine bottle from the top down. You don't want to do the bottom inch or two just yet. Coat it on nice and thick and then set it in the freezer (this is why you leave the bottom dry for now) and let it set for 10 minutes. While you wait, have a glass of wine and lick the spatula.
Then take the bottle out and dip the bottom portion into the melted dark chocolate. You can hear the wine bottle exhale when you do this, ahhhhhhh. Use the spatula to evenly coat several layers on the bottle. Have some wax paper ready to set the bottle down on when you're finished. You can let it set on your counter or fridge or freezer.
(I had chocolate left over so I grabbed what I had around the galley which happened to be almonds and coated them in the remaining chocolate.)

Again, my ribbon and bow choice turned out pretty awkward... but here is the final product. The idea is that the person unties the ribbon and pulls it down, thus breaking the chocolate off to eat while enjoying their wine.
Seriously, what's not to love?

Friday, May 20, 2011

~this moment~ a real nap

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, May 19, 2011


My dear friends I & C are expecting their first child in July, a baby boy. I & C hail from Romania and she swore she would never, ever become a mother. As a jet setter who is addicted to travel she just couldn't see how a baby would fit into their lifestyle. But she had a change of heart and now we are all anxiously awaiting baby Marcus.
She shared a baby shower with another Romanian couple and I got to be in charge of the decorating. Yay! Who are we kidding, it's not like they'd be dumb enough to put me in charge of the food.
(Naia and I sewing garland.)

I knew that my friend I and the other mama E didn't want "baby-ish" stuff, so I went with a travel/ international theme. The party was supposed to be on the beach, but the weather washed out our plans and we were moved to a small picnic pavillion, but a good time was still had by all. Here's a little peek...
(The maps were all freecycled. Zach and I used a circle paper punch and used every square inch of many many maps. The printed passport themed items came from the etsy shop Paper & Pigtails. She was a joy to work with and the items were customizable. I wrote everything in English & Romanian wherever I could.)

(The glass flower vases and the glass votive holders came from the Dollar Store. I decoupaged them with more maps, added a ribbon trim, and a coin. I tried to match the coin to the map where I could, or at least come close.)

 (These little glass shakers with the metal holey top are also Dollar Store finds. I filled them with Dollar Store glass beads and put in these pinwheels made from maps.Some I made and then I got the rest at Elizabeth Street on etsy.)

(Atlas confetti in airplane shapes, how could I resist? They came from The Candy Shoppe. These were I's favorite thing from the party!)

And of course being a bunch of crazy Romanians there was an ocean's worth of wine and drinks, lots of dance music, and they partied until midnight. We slunk home at 8:30pm, yeah, party poopers right?
Here's wishing these two new mamas all of the very best with their baby boys!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The clock was ticking. Two countdowns were happening in my life during the summer of 2001. My husband and I were planning to cast off to go cruising for the first time. I had already quit my job. The boat was stocked and ready. And it was just a matter of some odds and ends and we'd be ready to go. Any week now. Any week now. Then there was the countdown clock on my mom's life. They stopped cancer treatment. They sent her home. She was drifting away and it was just a matter of time before she slipped the lines on this life. Any week now. Any week now.

This weighed heavily on my mind and my heart. How could we leave to go cruising while she was home, sick, and dying. Wasn't it my daughterly duty to be there to the bitter end? Wasn't it my job to put off my cruising plans, call off the trip, go to her bedside and be there? Our carefully saved cruising kitty was dimishing before we had even cast off as I frequented the airport to fly back and forth to be with her.

It was the last visit that she was really lucid. She was tired, slipping in and out of sleep at random. But she was still there. Her eyes were still a window to her soul and her smile was still the smile of my mom that was imprinted on my consciousness since birth. She asked how things were going with the boat. Of course, she asked not out of nautical curiosity or envy. She could care less about boats. She didn't like sailing. She didn't like the sea unless she was watching it from the safety of terra firma. And she was not much for adventures that didn't involve gourmet meals, strong coffee, and boutique shops. She asked out of love. She used those magical maternal powers to detect the weight on my shoulders.

I responded that everything was great, but of course we might not go, and this wasn't a good time, and there was always next year, and the dog wasn't deck trained yet, and we didn't have the money for a spinnaker... and... and... and...

She took my hand, looked strongly into my eyes and said one simple word.


I was stunned. I was relieved. I was conflicted.

"Cindy, this disease has already ruined my life, my plans, my dreams. The only thing worse would be if it ruined the lives and plans and dreams of my children too. Go."

Over the years we've heard every excuse in the book from fellow sailors about why they can't follow their sailing dreams. The kids, the career, the car payments, the pets. But here's the thing... it's doesn't matter if you are a world cruiser or a racer or a weekender or a rookie or a hot shot or an old salt. If this is your dream, then go. If you want it, then make it happen. Go.

The universe laid out its master plan. She left this world in August that same year. We left the dock that September.

We're feeling closer to that go moment again. Our swag care package came in from Dyneema and word is that our new rigging is on the way. We've joined this amazing online tribe of sailors now from all over the globe, and their energy is contagious. We all have very different boats and different goals and different situations but the one thing we have in common is that desire to go. Go around the world. Go around the race buoys. Go around the bay. Go explore. Go win. Go meandering. This is why we sail, because we need to keep going.
Thanks to Dyneema and all of you for supporting us and helping make it happen as we take each step closer and closer to go.

What makes YOU go?

Monday, May 16, 2011

our classroom - green and flowering

This is where our learning happens once a week.
Each week I inhale the moist, sweet air of the orchid room at the National Botanical Gardens, or one of the many gardens and parks along the National Mall.  And I savor the happy hum of Zach and his homeschool buddies observing and sketching the natural world around them.
This is all part of an 8-week botanical sketching class arraged by a fellow homeschooling mama and taught by a wonderful young lady who equal parts artistic, patient, kind, and knowledgeable.
K has such a supportive way of encouraging each child's work and opening them to the world of plants and flowers and the beautiful link between art and science that is often forgotten.

Friday, May 13, 2011

~this moment~

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.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

for you mama

He jumped off the boat and disappeared as soon as we were tied up in the slip after hauling out. I knew he missed being here at the marina, but he seemed to be gone a while, wandering the Green Ship and all around the marina grounds. We were so busy tying the boat up just right, plugging in the cable modem, tidying up from our afternoon journey so it was just as well that he was keeping himself busy.

And then he came and took me by the hand. "I have something to show you mommy." I slipped on my sandals and wandered out into the marina yard. "Close your eyes, I'll take you there. You can do it. I got ya." he cooed.

And when I opened my eyes, I saw this.
"For you mama! Happy Mother's Day!" He walked me down the little flowered path to a clearing in the bushes where he set some leaf "napkins" and a nice cold bottle of water.
And then he revealed another gift. "I embroidered the flowers into a pond." And he showed me this.
Thank you my sweet, sweet boy. Your loving heart and wild imagination are the best gifts ever.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

isn't she lovely?

Well before the "after" shots, we'll regale you with a couple of work in progress photos. After a good power washing and sanding but before painting, the bottom of our fiberglass beast looked like dying animal.
And the guy doing the work looked other worldy as well. Oh, wait, that's  my husband. He got to do all of the toxic, back breaking work alone since my little nursling prevented me from participating as usual. I am thinking more protective wear might be advisable dear.
Finally after 10 days we were clear to put the boat back in the water. Zach was over the moon happy. As much as we LOVE our dear friends I & C who housed us for those days, and as much fun as we all had bring roommates... I have to say... I truly dislike living on land. I fear I may be ruined for life after 13+ year living aboard. It was like a sensory deprivation experiment for all of us. Living in a box, not hearing the rain, not feeling the sun, not knowing when the wind changes directions. As much as the unlimited free laundry rocked, I am not sure it was a fair trade for a life afloat. We were so happy to be home and even happier that home was all waxed and shiny and fresly bottom painted (the bottom paint keeps little eco-systems from growing down there.)
The fella sporting the remote control let Zach play with the buttons this time. I had truly mixed feelings about that.
So we're back, and we're woefully behind on, well, everything. But we'll get back up to speed. Eventually. For now we're just basking in the glow of our sweet little home sweet home.

(Since I already got a few emails this morning asking, these pants are from BabeAGoGo on etsy.She does them in all kinds of colors!)

I am back this morning to add the lyrics to my pal Eileen Quinn's song about hauling your boat out and working on it. If you are nautically inclined and don't know about Eileen's music, you MUST go buy one of her CD's right away. She is HILARIOUS!

It's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard hard life, life on the hard.

Sun and salf take their toll on the little boat and me
She needs a coat of bottom paint and a little TLC
Ain't no way around it, gotta haul out on the hard

It's time to go cruising in the working yard.
Scraping off the bottom paint and sanding down the hull,
Shortening my life span with some toxic chemicals.
Sanding off my fingerprints along with all of the paint,
It's good to see a job well done but darlin' fun it ain't.

Varnishing my brightwork, what a pretty boat
Now the guy upwind has just begun to grind off his gel coat.
So I sand again, coat again, looks wonderful,
Just in time to take the oversprat when he paints his hull.

Midnight down the ladder to the Johnny-On-The-Spot
Hope they keep the doberman locked in the long term lot.
Now the night watchman is trigger happy, I hope he don't shoot me,
Hate to think I bought it going for a pee.

For every job crossed off my list I seem to add two more,
I blinked and one week in the yard somehow ran to four.
With a credit card and a little luck, soon we'll be afloat.
Please Mister Lift Driver, please don't drop my boat!

Check out Eileen's music here!
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