29 November 2017

Wordless Wednesday | Dinghy Racing At Indiantown Marina



Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:

1 - During Thanksgiving week at Indiantown Marina, they had a dinghy poker run race. People went from station to station in their dinghies and picked up cards. The crews with the best hands won prizes in the form of credit to their marina bill.

2 - Our friends, Greg and Duwan, won second place. Duwan is the one in the gray tank top looking deliriously happy because they just won a $50 credit.

3 - I'd be deliriously happy if I won a $50 credit. That's the equivalent of ten pump-outs, excluding tax.

4 - Yes, that's what happens when you live on a boat for too long, you start to think about the value of things in terms of pumping out your holding tank.

What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it?

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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27 November 2017

Going For A Crazy Cabbagetown Walk | Atlanta, Georgia, Pt. 2

The title of this blog post might be slightly misleading. It's not exactly about walking in Cabbagetown, although we did walk there. It's about walking around Atlanta with a certain mindset - >>a crazy Cabbagetown mindset<<. It's also about the Cabbagetown spirit that comes into full-force in the face of ex-tropical cyclone weather barrelling across the city.

If you haven't heard of Cabbagetown, it's a funky, quirky little neighborhood in Atlanta, full of interesting and fascinating people. We spent some time there with friends when we fled from Hurricane Irma. You can read more about our crazy Cabbagetown time here.

But enough about that, let's get on with our walk. Which isn't really a single walk as much as it's a compilation of many walks over many days, because, let's be honest, the >>crazy Cabbagetown mindset<< isn't really about keeping track of what day of the week it is.

Here's one of things Cabbagetown is known for - crazy street art.

Story time at a children's bookstore. Yes, that's a drag queen. So worth the walk to see this. Aren't those eyelashes amazing? I wonder if it hurts to take them off.

Proof that actual walking did take place.

I don't think this bike is going anywhere.

We walked to this bar. The good thing about walking is that you don't feel as guilty when you have nachos and some beer.

This is the Sweet Auburn Market. Everything looked so delicious there, but we had eaten so much during our time in Atlanta, we couldn't eat any more. Okay, that's a lie. I'm pretty sure we had pizza of some variety later that night.

Take a close look at this. Notice the cars hanging off of the side of this parking garage? Isn't that insane?

We got stopped by some panhandlers here. Actually, we got stopped by panhandlers lots of places. They see your camera and ask you if you're visiting. I find it helps if you start speaking Hungarian in response. Not that I speak Hungarian, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't know if I was speaking it or not.

My family loves visiting cemeteries. They'd think the Oakland Cemetery is awesome. And it is. Margaret Mitchell is buried there. So is some famous golfer. I didn't have a clue who he was, but Scott did.

It would be wrong to visit Atlanta and not walk up to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. So we did. Such a moving place. Everyone should spend time there.

Now for the non-walking part. The people of Cabbagetown are resilient. In the face of awful weather, they focus on the truly important things, like finding a place to charge their devices and freeze their chicken.

Here's a picture of some of the local residents hanging out in the house we were staying at. It was one of the few places in the neighborhood to have power after the remnants of Hurricane Irma swept through.

Look at all of this chicken! The lady who brought it over to keep it from thawing knows a serious sale on chicken when she sees one. Seeing all of this is giving me a craving for a chicken salad sandwich, preferably curry chicken salad. 

Let's stop for a minute and indulge me in a crazy cat lady moment. Look at this cat - isn't he adorable? His name is Deck Star. His human built him a little platform on top of a newspaper box, complete with a food dispenser. And just in case you were confused as to what the platform was all about, the helpful sign on the wall lets you know that >>cat goes here<<.

Deck Star lives near Little's Food Store. The folks at Little's lost power, but they're not the type to cry and whine about all of their meat going bad. No, these people are true Cabbagetownians. A storm and power outage can only mean one thing - a street party. They got out the grills and cooked up amazing burgers, steak and potatoes and passed it out for free. By the way, we walked here.

Scott really got into the swing of things. He bought a couple of 12-packs of beer and started handing them out. I think he may have secretly been running for Mayor of Cabbagetown and trying to buy votes, one can at a time.

It's not a street party without music.

And we'll have to wrap it up here because I need to go for a walk. No, not really. What I really need is to fix myself a snack. All this talk about chicken, burgers and steak is making me a little peckish.

Would you park your car in that crazy parking lot? What's the last walk you went on? What do you have in your freezer?

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24 November 2017

Flashback Friday | The Dudes Of Coromandel & Other Nonesense


Flashback Friday takes place on the last Friday of the month. The idea is to give a little more love to a blog post you've published before that maybe didn't get enough attention, or is something you think is still relevant or even a something that you really love and want to share again.

Many thanks to Michael d’Agostino for starting Flashback Friday and inspiring me to go back and revisit some of our earlier blog posts.


This is a flashback to our cruising days in New Zealand when we spent time anchored near Coromandel Town which is about 75 km / 47 miles south of Auckland. When I reread this post, I was struck by the fact that I reported distances only in kilometers. I've been back in the States for so long that any knowledge of the metric system has vanished from my head. I really do wish we could convert to metric. It would be so much easier to use the same system of measurement that most of the rest of the world uses.

{This post was originally published in May 2014. You can find the original post here.} 


We found ourselves "stuck" in Coromandel for several days due to the weather. Yes, the weather strikes again. So what do you do when you're stuck someplace? You go hang out at the local pub, people watch and take pictures of the interesting people walking by. Here are some of the dudes we saw passing by the window. 

Scott also takes sneaky pictures of me when I'm not looking - like this one. I'm responsible for the key to the outboard motor on our dinghy. If I lose it, I have to row us back to the boat. I don't really like rowing, so I make sure it is never out of my sight by wearing it on my wrist like a bracelet.

They have a sign outside the pub advertising $5 handles of beer. If you've spent much time drinking beer in New Zealand, you'll know that's a good price. 

When I went up to the bar to order a couple of handles, the woman looked at me quizzically and asked, "Are you sure you don't want to try some first?"  

She poured me a taste and after determining that it tasted exactly like the cheap beer you buy in cans when you're in university and can't really afford anything better, I promptly ordered two handles. We are on a budget after all and it is always fun to pretend we're young and back in uni. She looked at me with surprise and remarked that it was very popular with the locals. I'm pretty sure that wasn't meant to be a selling point for the beer.

We drank our beers and Scott took more photos. They weren't just of people - buildings can be interesting too.

After drinking our beers and spying on the folks walking outside the pub, we went for a walk up to the Kauri Block. It is a short walk (1.6 km), but there are some great views from the top of the old pa site. Pa being Maori for a village or fortification, not your dad. 

And of course, we got the usual shots of our anchorages. We anchored pretty much every night we were there in Te Kouma Harbour. Not only is the harbor pretty to look at, it is extremely well protected with a number of different anchorages so you can pick and choose based upon which way the wind is blowing.

Now the rest of this post is the usual log of what we did each day. I can barely read my handwriting in our log book, so I need to type it up while I vaguely remember what we did. Feel free to skip this section and go back and look at the pictures of the dudes of Coro.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

We had an engine free day today! The kind of engine free day which is voluntary, not because your engine has broken down. We sailed off the anchor from Ponui Island around 10:30 am and headed across the Firth of Thames to Coromandel. Then we anchored under sail at 2:45 pm in Name Bay in Te Kouma Harbour. And then the killer kingfish came. And they attacked our boat. Again. This is the fourth time this summer that this unruly gang has circled around our boat and bashed into the hull and our dinghy. They're starting to get on my nerves.

Friday, 21 March 2014

We left around 10:30 am under sail (again no engine!) and headed into Coromandel Harbour. We first anchored in Woolshed Bay under sail and then motored over to McGregor Bay to try to drop the hook and head into Coromandel Town. There was just way too much wind and chop so we gave up and headed over to Deep Cove Bay and dropped anchor around 2:30 pm for the night. A lovely little snapper gave up its life for our supper while we were anchored.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

We successfully anchored in Coromandel Harbour and headed into town in search of Coro Pies. Sadly, they were closed. We drowned our sorrows at the local pub, had the $5 beer and took pictures of the Coro dudes. We went for our walk, got some groceries and then headed to Te Kouma Harbour for the night.  We were attached by some killer kingfish again.That makes five times this summer. If only we were making movies, what a great franchise it would be. Imagine going to the cinema to see Attack of the Killer Kingfish Part V: Revenge of the Zombies & Vampires. Kingfish on they're own are a big selling point, but I'm sure if our movie had zombies and vampires in it, it would smash all of the box office records.

Sunday & Monday, 23-24 March 2014

Big fishing days! Scott caught so many kahawai that he lost count. I guess they're best eaten when they're smoked and as we don't have smoking facilities on our boat, Scott threw them all back with the exception of one unlucky fellow. He got turned into bait and his carcass got dragged behind the boat in the hopes that it would attract snapper and kingfish to our boat and onto the hook. 

Unfortunately, kingfish are smart. They'll eat any scraps you throw into the water, but not anything you put on a hook. I think snapper may be stupider as Scott caught a lot of them. Some great snapper dinners both nights. Skipper Scott even managed to "cook" dinner one night from the settee. That basically means he lies down and gives "advice" on how the meal should be prepared then tries to take credit for dinner.

Tuesday & Wednesday, 25-26 March 2014

These couple of days made me think of the old Ultravox song, Reap the Wild Wind. If you know the song, it means you too are middle-aged and had really bad taste in music in the 80s. Your hair was probably really big and you wore shoulder pads. You are now my new best friend. We have to stick together when people start mocking our musical taste. People like Skipper Scott. 

Anyway, when the winds kick up and you're stuck on your boat, you start to think about song lyrics which talk about the wind. And then you sing the song in your head and then before you know it you're singing it out loud and the skipper is looking at you strangely. That's about it for these two days. We pulled anchor on Wednesday morning to go out into the harbor to try to get VHF reception and an updated forecast. It wasn't good news so we headed back in and dropped the anchor. The wild wind really didn't want to reaped that day.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

This was the day of one of our dinghy misadventures. You can read about it here. I really don't want to relive it. All I can say is, "It's the tides, I tell you. They're either for you or they're against you." The good news is that we finally escaped Coromandel. We originally left at 5:45 am and tried to get to Great Barrier Island, but that all went pear shaped, so we ended up spending some time in Coromandel Town and then made the crossing to Waiheke in the afternoon. 

Needless to say, the wind got wild as we were making our way to Waiheke. At the worst possible time. Scott had been dragging a lure behind the boat and just when we were sailing quite close to a reef, the wind starting gusting somewhere in the region of 23.5 billion knots and a fish decided that it would be the perfect time to get on the line. What a nightmare. I struggled with the tiller while Scott managed to cut the line off. No idea what kind of fish it was, but my money is on a kingfish. They're evil little creatures and it is just their kind of idea of fun to mess with us in the strong winds near a reef. After that little drama, we made it through the northern passage and anchored at Man O'War Bay around 7:00 pm.


Total nautical miles = 97
Number of night hours = 1.75
Number of fish suppers = 3
Number of dinghy misadventures = 1
Number of $5 handles drunk = 2 (okay, maybe 4)
Number of nights anchored in Te Kouma Harbour = 5
Number of Coro Pies eaten = Nil (they were closed both times we tried)
Number of killer kingfish episodes = 2

What's the most you would pay for a beer? Have you ever been to New Zealand? If so, what's your favorite memory? Have you ever worn a key around your wrist?
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22 November 2017

Wordless Wednesday | Press-On Nails

Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:

1 - Back when I worked in corporate la-la land, I would do my nails every Sunday before the new work week started. Nowadays, I rarely wear nail polish.

2 - Press-on nails feature in the cozy mystery I'm working on.

3 - If you were one of the people who noticed that I didn't have a blog post on Monday (like my mother), it's because I've been swamped getting my draft manuscript ready for my wonderful beta readers. But now that I've sent it out to them, we can get back to our regularly scheduled program here at the blog. Maybe we'll even have time to fit in a manicure too.

What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it?

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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17 November 2017

Marina Life On A Bulletin Board

How do you know when it's busy season at Indiantown Marina? It's easy to tell. There are lots of Canadian license plates in the parking lot. You have to wait in line for the bathroom. There are empty beer cans on the patio tables in the morning. The washing machines are always in use. And the bulletin board is chock full of notices.

I kind of think that the bulletin board at Indiantown Marina offers a little glimpse into marina life. It's up by the marina office, right next to the dryers. This picture reminds me that I used to think it was weird to do laundry outside. Now it seems perfectly normal.

Here's the main bulletin board. It gives you something to read while you're waiting for the ladies room.

This notice makes me a sad - a missing cat. There were two cats aboard this boat that went missing. One was found, but I don't think this one has been yet.

Have a look at the card for Ristorante Beppe above the missing cat notice. I think this place is in Italy. It would take you a long time to get there from Florida on your boat. And right below it is a flyer for an introductory HAM radio class. A number of sailors have their HAM licenses, including me. The exam was a nightmare full, of 800 fun-filled technical questions. That's something I don't want to go through again.

This is another odd thing to see in Indiantown - a pamphlet for the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, right next to a card for a guy who can help you out with your hydraulic hoses.

There's lots of stuff for sale.

I met the guy selling this stuff while I was getting my clothes out of the dryer. He just completed a solo five-year circumnavigation. His wife flies in and meets him at various ports. Turns out he reads our blog. The thing I'm most fascinated by that he has for sale are the "tubs full of boat stuff." What kind of goodies are inside those tubs?

And the thing people are most excited about is the Thanksgiving celebration, which kicks off on Saturday with a Beatles tribute band. The marina owner puts on several days of festivities, including free food, drinks, dinghy racing, and bands, all culminating in lunch on Thanksgiving Day.

Do you have a bulletin board? What kind of stuff do you put on it? Are you celebrating American Thanksgiving? If so, how?

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15 November 2017

Wordless Wenesday | Lawn Bowling In Scotland

Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:

1 - I've never played lawn bowls. It's probably for the best. Someone would likely get hurt. Let's just say when it comes to tossing around balls, they never end up where they're supposed to be.

2 - I wish I had tried it though when we lived in Scotland.

3 - We did play in a curling league for a while, which is popular in Scotland. Again, probably not a good idea to let me loose with a really heavy curling stone and have me chuck it down the ice in the general vicinity of other people.

What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it?

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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13 November 2017

Usually, Normal & Abnormal | A Few Of My Favorite Words

Usually, I have blogs posts written and scheduled in advance. Not today.

I like the word >>usually<<. It refers to normal conditions, which means that sometimes there are abnormal conditions.

Sure, you could argue that abnormal conditions are undesirable or worrying - they're not >>normal<<. But you could also argue that sometimes it's good to not be stuck in the normal.

Right now, things are >>abnormal<< around here. I'm completely focused on editing my manuscript and getting it ready for my beta readers. If things were normal, I'd try editing for a few minutes, get frustrated, and find something else to do, like writing blog posts. Instead, I spend hours and hours each day working on it.

Maybe this abnormal will become my new normal.

So what this means for you is that there isn't an exciting blog post today, just some weird ramblings about a few of my favorite words.

But to make that up to you, here's a picture of one of the things that interrupted my editing this morning. If you know what it is, you'll probably wrinkle your nose and say >>gross<<. If you don't know what it is, consider yourself lucky.

What are your favorite words? Have things been normal or abnormal for you lately?

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10 November 2017

Seven Days, Seven Black & White Photos, Some Explanation

There's this black and white photo challenge going around Facebook. The instructions I got were:
Seven days, seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Tag someone to invite them to join.

Surprisingly, I followed the rules and posted my photos without explanation. But I was dying to explain just a little bit. It was all I could do to restrain myself from adding words to each Facebook post. Because, I like words. Words are good.

So, here are some words which provide some explanation about my photos.

Day 1 - Winch Handles

I took this photo at a marine consignment shop in Stuart, Florida. In the cozy mystery I'm working on, one of the murder weapons is a winch handle. I'm thinking of designing some sort of nautical based Clue game. Something along the lines of, >>The Captain committed the murder in the galley with a winch handle.<<

 Day 2 - Indiantown Marina

We're currently living aboard our boat in Indiantown Marina, which is between Lake Okeechobee and Stuart, Florida. There are alligators, turtles, and armored catfish living in this water. We also get the occasional visit from manatees.

Day 3 - Killer Bunnies

This game is so much fun! It's called >>Killer Bunnies<<. Here's a top tip - read the weapon cards thoroughly before you play them. I didn't and ended up killing all of the bunnies on the table, including my own.

Day 4 - NaNoWriMo

I'm participating in NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month) again this year. It's an insane challenge in which you try to write a draft 50,000 word novel in November. My trusty Guardasaurus keeps an eye on me to make sure I hit the word count each day.

Day 5 - Schooner

Cute puppy, huh? Her name is Schooner. She belongs to Tracie and Steve from Sailing Saga Sea. On their way back to Texas from Miami, they stopped by Indiantown Marina to say hi. Always fun to meet fellow bloggers.

Day 6 - Spices

I walked up to the local grocery store the other day for a few odds and ends, including cumin seeds. I've found that the Hispanic lines of spices can be far cheaper than some of the other brands I'm used to buying. And as a bonus, you get to practice your Spanish while you shop. >>Mas semillas de comino por favor.<<

Day 7 - Chaos

If you live on a boat, you quickly learn this one simple rule - >>Anything important that you need will be located in the most inaccessible part of your boat<<. I needed to get my sewing supplies out of the v-berth. This involved moving everything out of the v-berth and creating chaos in the process.

If you had to post seven photos of your life, what would they be of? Do you prefer black and white photos or color ones?

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