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14 November 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Boat On Fire 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 - A boat caught on fire at Indiantown Marina. There were several fire trucks, ambulances, a HazMat team, and sheriff's deputies in full force.

2 - The word on the street is that the guy was working with epoxy and using acetone to clean up. A halogen bulb fell in the area he was working in causing the boat to go up in flames.

3 - Fortunately, no one was hurt. But the boat is a total loss.

4 - The fumes from the fire smelled awful and were probably quite toxic.


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

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!



The latest Mollie McGhie cozy sailing mystery is now available for pre-order! Pick up a copy of >>Bodies in the Boatyard<< at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play

Paperback available at: Amazon

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

12 November 2018

October In Numbers

Clockwise from upper left: (1) Early voting; (2) Creative Halloween potluck dish - a zombie made out of meatloaf and bacon; (3) Breakdown #1; (4) Breakdown #2; (5) Some of the Indiantown ladies in their awesome costumes; and (6) Yes, it's still hot in Florida and everyone is wearing sandals or flip-flops of some sort.

Cruising season is just around the bend with the end of hurricane season coming up on November 30th. People are starting to come back to the marina to get their boats ready to head on out sailing in Florida, the Bahamas, and beyond. Boat projects are in full swing on s/v Tickety Boo, along with plenty of fun social events to distract ourselves from all the money, time, sweat, and tears everyone is pouring into their boats.

Now, without further ado, here are some of the random things that happened at the marina last month in numbers:

  • 6 - Number of books I read during October. 2 writing-related, 1 cozy mystery, 1 graphic novel, 1 literary fiction, and Deb Akey's lovely book, >>The Essence<< (read my review here).
  • 2 - Number of times our Nissan Pathfinder broke down. Thanks goodness for wonderful friends who helped us out with the loan of their car, giving us a ride back to the marina, and helping tow our car off to the side of the road. There was also a very kind stranger who stopped by the side of the road and gave Scott a ride back to the marina the second time that the car broke down.
  • 2 - Number of Nissan Pathfinders with Oregon plates in Indiantown. (Our boat neighbor has the other one).
  • 3 - Number of potlucks. Good food, good company and, at the Halloween potluck, good costumes.
  • 2 - Number of sailboats on the cover of my latest cozy mystery, Bodies in the Boatyard. A good chunk of last month was spent prepping for the release on November 19th. 
  • 16 - Number of mini-chocolate chips I've been putting into my morning oatmeal lately, along with a spoonful of peanut butter. It's like have a giant cookie for breakfast.
  • 1 - Number of tree frogs that live in the cockpit of our boat. We call him Freddy.
  •  0 - Number of interesting things I have left to say about the past month.

In case you missed them, here are some of our favorite posts from last month both here and on my author blog:

Hairless Cats, Living in a Simulation & Blogging Changes
Wordless Wednesday: Mail Call & UFOs
Organizing Blog Tours during a Book Release

How did last month go for you? What are you looking forward to this month?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!

The latest Mollie McGhie cozy sailing mystery is now available for pre-order! Pick up a copy of >>Bodies in the Boatyard<< at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play

Paperback and large print coming soon.

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

07 November 2018

Mrs. Moto's Murder Meows & Bodies In The Boatyard | IWSG


The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there's an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.

This month's question is:

"How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?"

Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. You can see how I answered the question below. This month's co-hosts are Elizabeth Seckman, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose and myself.


* * *


EDITOR'S NOTE: I found Simon the Time Traveling Cat batting around a crumpled up piece of paper the other day. When I unfolded it, I discovered that it was a diary entry written by a Japanese bobtail cat named Mrs. Moto. By the way, Simon's at the vet today. He sends his warmest regards. Wait, who am I kidding - all he did was growl and hiss when I mentioned that it was the monthly IWSG blog hop. So here's what Mrs. Moto has to say instead.

Thursday, February 14th

Dear Diary,

Humans are weird. I should know - I live with two of them. One of them is tall and wears glasses. People call him Scooter. He's good with a can opener. A very important skill. Those cans of Frisky Feline's Ocean's Delight aren't going to open themselves.

The other one is named Mollie. She's constantly complaining about her frizzy hair. I don't know how many times I've demonstrated my beauty regime to her. Wet your paw (or hand) with your tongue, wipe all over, and, voila, you have smooth, glossy fur (or hair) in no time. Instead, she uses these things called straighteners and then complains when she burns her ears. 

But back to the weirdness of humans. The frizzy-haired lady believes in aliens and UFOs. Talk about your crazy ideas. I heard her tell a friend the other day that she thinks her experience writing about unexplained phenomena has made her more creative in other parts of her life. She rambled on for a while about how she thinks about art and music differently now. 

It got to be a really boring conversation. So I knocked a glass off of the table. That livened things up.

If she really wants to know what true creativity is all about, she should check out where I deposited my latest hairball. Possibly the most creative spot I've come up with to date. I wonder if she'll scream when she finds it.

The humans are going out for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner tonight. I hope they bring me back something good to eat. Fish would be nice.



* * *

This month's question was an interesting one. I'm not sure that I'm more creative in other aspects of my life, but I think I'm much more appreciative of all that goes into other people's creative pursuits. When I'm listening to a song or looking at a painting, I feel like I have a better idea of all of the hours, days, months, even years in some cases, that it took the artist to transform a germ of an idea into a final product.


* * *




Exciting news!!! >>Bodies in the Boatyard<< is now available for pre-order!!! 

Okay, that was probably more exciting for me than for you. But I'm sure you'll excuse my enthusiasm and excessive use of exclamation points because you all are nice that way. 

So, yeah, can you believe it, I've about to release my second cozy mystery on Monday, November 19th! {Sorry, yet another exclamation point slipped out.} If you'd like to pick up a copy and find out what Mollie, Scooter, and Mrs. Moto have been up to since they bought their dilapidated sailboat, Marjorie Jane, you can pre-order ebooks at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (AU) | Kobo | Nook | Apple Books | Google Play (coming soon)

Paperback and large print will be available closer to the release date.

Find out more on my author site.

BLURB


Selling your house and moving onto a rundown sailboat—not a dream come true. Finding dead bodies in the boatyard—a total nightmare.

Mollie McGhie loves her beachfront cottage. When her husband announces that he wants to sell the house, downsize, and move onto their dilapidated sailboat, she’s not impressed.

When the boat starts leaking, she secretly hopes it will sink. Instead, they haul her out of the water and into the boatyard. Fixing the boat up is bad enough, but when Mollie finds someone has been killed nearby, things get even worse.

Mollie takes matters into her own hands and investigates the mysterious death in the boatyard, along with her adorable feline companion, Mrs. Moto. While she searches for clues, she meets more of the quirky characters who live in the small Floridian town of Coconut Cove, learns about sea turtles, overcomes her fear of public speaking, and, of course, eats way too many sugary treats.

Can Mollie catch the killer before someone else ends up dead?

How do you express your creativity? Has your creativity changed over time?

05 November 2018

Cost Of Cruising & Living Aboard A Sailboat | September & October 2018

We track and report every penny we spend living aboard and cruising on Tickety Boo, our Moody 346 sailboat for a couple of reasons.

1 - It helps us see where our money is going, helps us make informed choices about where to spend our money, which in turn helps us stretch our money further so that we can keep adventuring longer.

2 - We found it really useful to check out other people's cost of cruising when we were starting out, so we figure we can return favor by sharing ours.

We're currently at Indiantown Marina in Florida. Scott is working overseas so the costs are lower than if he was here. He'll be back in the next month of two and then costs are going to skyrocket as we start work on the very long list of boat projects that we have to do.

You can find links to other cost updates from ourselves (on Tickety Boo, camping across the States, and our previous boat in New Zealand) and others on this page, as well as on The Monkey's Fist.



* * *

Cost of Cruising & Living Aboard | September & October 2018

Overall, we spent >>$3,584<< during September and October.

When you look at the nitty-gritty details of what we spent below, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1 - All costs are in US dollars.

2 - Not all expenses are included - here's what we've left out:

(a) We don't report how much we spend on alcohol. I remember reading some horrible, judgy comments in a blog post a few years back about how much someone spent on booze, so I left it out when we first started tracking our cruising costs back in New Zealand. For consistency's sake, I've continued to leave it out when tracking our cruising costs.
(b) We've also left out our costs for medical insurance. We didn't think it made sense to include insurance costs as they can vary so widely depending upon your nationality, where you cruise, what level of coverage you want and can afford, whether you get subsidies etc. In case you are curious, while we're back in the States, we do have a high deductible/high out-of-pocket expenses insurance through the health insurance marketplace (aka the Affordable Care Act), primarily to protect our assets and cover us in case of a catastrophic medical condition.
(c) I haven't included any expenses related to my writing projects (e.g., editor, book cover design, publishing expenses, author website).

3 - I've included any shipping and taxes we've paid in what we report - Florida has a 6% sales tax.



* * *

GROCERIES | Total = $508

This category includes everything we put in our bodies in terms of food and drink (excluding booze) that we prepare ourselves. It doesn't include things like paper towels and ziploc bags, which I know some people would classify as groceries. Sure, you could probably eat them, but they wouldn't taste very good.

Although we don't budget (you can read more about that here), I'm happiest when we keep our monthly grocery spend per person under $200.
 
PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD | Total = $87


This is the category where we include household things (like paper towels and ziploc bags) and personal hygiene items (like soap and shampoo). We also capture items for the "home" here - like bug spray.

ENTERTAINMENT | Total = $185


In terms of drinks and eating out, this includes everything we don't prepare ourselves, even if we get something to go and eat it back on the boat. We also track how much we spend on books, magazines, DVD rentals and going to the movies in this category, as well as the occasional lottery ticket.
 
COMMUNICATIONS | Total = $110

Our cell phone is actually one of our biggest non-boat related expenses. We have a monthly prepaid plan with AT&T which includes 8GB of data and unlimited calls and texts.

BOAT FUEL | Total = Nil

Tickety Boo has been sitting in her slip so we haven't needed to get any fuel.

PROPANE  | Total = Nil

We have a propane/LPG cooker on our boat, which we need to replace as the stove no longer works and replacement parts aren't available. While we're at Indiantown Marina, we use an electric hotplate and a crockpot for cooking, so we haven't had to spend any money on filling our propane tanks.

MARINA COSTS | Total = $1,325

Keeping Tickety Boo in a slip is one of our biggest expenses, and the rates went up in January. The new monthly cost of a slip with electricity at Indiantown Marina for a 34' boat is $657. The guys at the marina will also come pump out our holding tank on demand - $10 for each visit. Our marine toilet broke in October, so we haven't had to pump out like we normally would have. We're holding off on repairing it just now while we decide whether we want to switch over to a composting toilet.

BOAT STUFF | Total = $133


This category is for all the stuff we buy for the boat, as well as  repair and maintenance costs.

TRANSPORT | Total = $352

This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands. Our car broke down twice during October so we've had to spend some money on a new battery and belt, with more expenses related to repairs coming due in November.

MEDICAL EXPENSES | Total = $296

This category includes medical expenses outside of our monthly insurance premium (which aren't included here - see section on exclusions above), like over the counter medications, prescriptions and things for our medical kit. It also includes the costs of doctors visits and medical tests which aren't covered by our insurance.

OTHER | Total = $586

In this category, we break out how much we spend on clothes and travel expenses. We also include a catch-all miscellaneous group for stuff that doesn't fit neatly anywhere else - things like laundry, Amazon Prime, presents, computer parts, postage etc. One of the expenses over the past few months has been food for the semi-feral cats at our marina. People have been pitching in to keep them fed and the kitties show their appreciation by purring and looking adorable.


Any money saving tips to share? What do you spend the most on each month? Are there any areas you're trying to cut back on?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!


Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

31 October 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Cat Food For Imaginary Cats





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 have an imaginary cat named Simon. Some people think he's real because I write about him here on the blog from time to time.

2 - So if my cat is imaginary, why am I shopping for cat food?

3 - If I was a cat, I think I'd prefer crunchy nuggets over soft food. The soft food stinks. Although maybe if I was a cat, I would think it smells divine.


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

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!


Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

29 October 2018

The Travel Bug


You know what's great about Facebook? It's chock full of distractions!

Wait a minute. . .maybe that's not such a great thing. I should be focused on boat projects and writing projects. Instead I find myself discovering new sites and rabbit holes to waste time on. Like MapLoco's cool site where you can make maps of all the places you've visited. You can fill them out for US states, Canadian provinces, European countries, or worldwide.

I couldn't remember what states I've been to, so I filled out the worldwide map instead. In my defense, I only spent about ten minutes doing it, so it wasn't too much of a distraction. But then I ended up daydreaming about places I want to visit for a good three hours, so that was pretty distracting.

I'm thinking we need to set our sights on filling in the blank parts of the map. There's a lot of countries left to visit.

Do you like to travel? What's the most interesting place you've visited? Where do you want to travel to next?

26 October 2018

Flashback Friday | Now, I'm Too Warm! {Cedar Key & Shell Mound, Florida}


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 time camping across the States while in search of our next sailboat, which ended up being a Moody 346, Tickety Boo, which we found in Florida. It's been ages since we've gone camping and I've enjoyed looking back at some of the pictures from our travels on land, as well as reading my strange observations on life - in this case, about being cold blooded and possible UFO sightings.

This post was originally published in February 2015. You can find the original post here.

* * *

Not too long ago, I was complaining about the cold. Now, I’m complaining about being too warm. 

Scott thinks I’m reptilian in nature, having a very limited temperature range where I’m comfortable and not complaining. It seems unfair that he can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. When we were in North Dakota last, he was wearing his Keen sandals in the snow, while I refused to leave his aunt and uncle’s house until the snow melted. When we were in Thailand, he was cool and comfortable, while I sweated profusely. It’s tough being cold blooded – too much warmth and you die, too much cold and you die. Okay, maybe not die. I tend to exaggerate. But I would rather be too warm in Florida then too cold in North Dakota any day. 

And here’s why – look at how pretty it is. I swear the sky is bluer here. 

Cedar Key Beach

Cedar Key Pier

After spending a few days at Manatee Springs State Park, we headed down to Shell Mound in search of the county campground. In some ways it’s much nicer than Manatee Springs. You’re right on the water, hardly anyone is there, the people are so incredibly friendly and go out of their way to chat with each other (doesn’t always happen elsewhere) and it’s cheaper ($16.35 for water and electric). While I missed seeing the manatees, there is something to be said for cheaper.

Scamper at Shell Mound

I wonder how many people might struggle with the rules about no alcohol and no profanity?

Shell Mound Campground Rules

The county campground is right next to the Lower Suwannee Wildlife Refuge. We took in some amazing views at sunset our first night there.

Shell Mound Sunset

Shell Mound Sunset2

While we were there, we chatted to some other folks who came up from the campground for the sunset. As the sun went down, this bright light was shining in the sky while planes kept flying by. We had all sorts of theories about what was going on and what the bright light was. The boring theory was that the bright light was the International Space Station and the planes were just doing military drills. The most interesting theory was that the bright light was an alien spacecraft and the planes were out there trying to prevent an invasion. If you know anything about me, you can probably guess which theory I was a proponent of.

Turns out it was just the planet Venus. Or at least that’s what they want you to believe.

The next day we headed to Cedar Key – a colorful town not too far from Shell Mound. Big Decks is a great place to have a few beers. I haven’t had a Rolling Rock in years. They’re pretty tasty.

Rolling Rock Cedar Key

This cat was really disappointed we didn’t order the seafood special with our beers. It was hoping for handouts. So it ignored us and took a nap instead to punish us. 

Cat Cedar Key

We strolled around town, dodging people in golf carts as we went. Which seem surprisingly expensive to rent ($25 for an hour). Cedar Key has lots of cute shops and restaurants. And oodles of hotels and rental properties. I imagine this place is heaving with folks in the summer.

Cedar Key Fish Sign

It was the kind of day where you wished you had a sailboat like this little beauty moored off of the beach.

Cedar Key Sailboat

I’m really loving our time in Florida – the landscape is so different from what I grew up with. Just across the road from the campground are a couple of short walks which take you through the woods and along the water. Perfect for a cup of coffee in the morning.

Cedar Key Walk

And, of course, if you’re going to camp near Shell Mound, then you have to walk up to the mound. It is basically a giant trash heap (or midden if you want to get all archaeological and technical), where Native Americans dumped shells and other refuse. They basically used their rubbish to infill the swampy areas. Not surprisingly, there are shells everywhere as you walk on the mound. 

These cheeky little polar bears just had to get their picture taken with the shells. Such demanding little creatures. But surprisingly, they never complain about the heat. (The polar bears are hard to spot among the shells with their white fur, but they're there.)

Polar Bears Shell Mound

We had a wonderful time down in the Shell Mound and Cedar Key area, but I have to say the highlight was Scott’s spicy marinara sauce with shrimp. Delicious! Some of the best shrimp we’ve ever had. If you want some, just head up to Robinson’s Seafood. More expensive then the ones we got in Grande Isle, Louisiana, but then again everything seems more expensive in Florida. Robinson’s was a tip from Steve, the nicest camp host you’ll ever meet. So generous in sharing his local knowledge and tips. Thanks Steve!

How do you handle temperature extremes? Would you rather be too hot or too cold?
 
Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!


Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

24 October 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Book Covers

 
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 was recently tagged for a Facebook challenge where you post the covers of some of your favorite books for seven days. These are some of the ones I chose.

2 - I wonder how people come up with Facebook challenge ideas. Some of them are very creative. I might have to come up with one of my own, like post a picture every day for a week of the things your cat knocks off the table.

3 - They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I do. The cover plays a big part in whether I'll read something or not.

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

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!


Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

22 October 2018

To Do & Not To Do Lists


We've been working on our >>Boat Project To Do List<< lately. Not actually working on any of the tasks on the list, mind you. More trying to figure out what we need to do vs. what we'd like to do and how much time, money, and aggravation each thing is going to involve.

I've toyed around with various ways of categorizing our To Do Lists in the past. Some of you may be familiar with the following system:

  • Very Boring
  • Extremely Boring
  • Need to Win the Lottery First
  • Avoid at All Costs

You'll notice there aren't any categories for "fun and exciting tasks" or "easy to do tasks" or "costs nothing tasks." That's because this is a boat we're talking about.

This year, I've decided to try a new system out:

  • Keep the Boat Afloat
  • Essential Bodily Needs
  • Stuff that Makes the Boat Go
  • Making Life More Pleasant
  • In Your Dreams
  • Not To Do

The first category is pretty self-explanatory. Ideally, you want your boat to stay on top of the water, not sink to the bottom of the sea. You'll find things like identifying the mysterious leak on our boat and servicing our thru-hulls in this category.

We've all got basic bodily needs and function and that's what the second category is all about. #1 on this list is fixing our marine toilet (or replacing it with a composting head), followed closely by installing a new stove so that we can keep our bellies happy.

A boat is of no use if it can't get anywhere so there's a lot of stuff we need to do to make sure Tickety Boo can go related to the engine, steering system, sails etc.

Then there are the things that make life more pleasant. These aren't essential, but the world would be a happier place if we ticked a few of these off our list. Personally, I'd love to have shelves in the hanging locker in our aft cabin and we really could do with revarnishing a number of things. A watermaker would be awesome too.

There are a number of things we'd love, but unless we win Mega-Billions this week, they're just going to be things that we just dream about.

The final category is my favorite - things Not To Do. This includes things like NOT getting frustrated working on the boat and NOT forgetting to have fun.


Do you use To Do Lists? How do you categorize them? Do you have a Not To Do List?

20 October 2018

Saturday Spotlight | "The Essence" By Deb Akey

In addition to the usual blog posts on Mondays and Wednesdays (and the occasional Friday) about life on a sailboat and other oddities, I also occasionally post on Saturdays, focusing on things related to writing such as cover reveals, book launches, reviews, interviews with authors etc. So if you're a bit of a book nerd like I am, check in on Saturdays - you never know what might pop up.

* * *



Today, I'm featuring Deb Akey's wonderful book, >>The Essence: Short Vignettes on Moments that Define my Life with the Sea<<.

I found The Essence to be a really unique book full of beautiful photographs accompanied by short vignettes about the author's reflections of her life living on a boat and her relationship with the sea. Deb has a lovely way with words - her honesty, sense of adventure, and wonder and curiosity about the world shine through.

Deb dreamed of escaping a life of unsatisfying work by selling everything and sailing off into the sunset. It's the kind of dream many people have, but few actually achieve. This book explores the "why" behind that decision - what compelled her to live a meaningful life with the sea.

Perhaps one of my favorite vignettes was the one which described the parade of boats that heads down the Intracoastal Waterway each year to Florida and beyond. I loved Deb's curiosity as she passed each boat, trying to imagine everyone's backstories and what led them to this life on the water.
"As we pass each boat, I like to imagine the story of the person manning the helm who waves. Was she a corporate manager? Was he an accountant? Do they have eleven grand kids like we do that makes it hard to leave? Did someone break his heart and he's seeking solace in the quiet of the water? Did she suddenly realize, while doing a load of laundry, that life was passing her by?"

As I turned each page, gazed at the next photograph, and absorbed Deb's words that the image sparked for her, I found myself reflecting on my own life choices and search for meaning. And that's what makes this book so special from my perspective. Deb shares her thoughts, but they're just a springboard for your own contemplation and meditations.

You don't need to be interested in sailing or cruising for this book to resonate. It's about common human experiences - major life changes and their consequences, the importance of family, fear of the unknown, chasing your dreams, and our connection to nature.

You can pick up a copy of >>The Essence<< on Amazon in both ebook and paperback format. I think that it would make a wonderful gift for someone who is thinking about the cruising lifestyle, for friends and family of cruisers to give them an insight into what life on the water is like, or for anyone who is curious about one woman's experiences living a life connected to the sea.


ABOUT DEB

Deb Akey is a former pilot, motorcyclist, and computer guru. In 2013 she and her husband T.J. sold everything, moved onto their 42-ft sailboat and left to cruise the East Coast and Caribbean waters.

Deb also writes children's books under the pen name Dema, a name given to her affectionately by her nine grandchildren. She is currently working on book two of the Maryssa Mayberry series, a series of children's books which deal with the ocean and how we can all help to sustain its viability for many centuries to come.

Deb and her husband spend much of their time writing about their experiences on their blog, The Retirement Project. They have also written a indispensable guide for anyone thinking about buying a cruising boat, >>How NOT to Buy a Cruising Boat<<, in order to help others with the dream of cruising succeed.

NOTE: I was given an advance reader's copy (ARC) of The Essence by the author and voluntarily chose to write an honest review.

When you think about the sea, what comes to mind? Are you going to pick up a copy of Deb's book?

17 October 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Mail Call & UFOs





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 love getting packages in the mail, especially when they're a complete surprise. Like the one I received last week from a friend with a book on UFOs inside.

2 - Notice how there are two exclamation points after our boat name on the envelope? Punctuation can be fun.

3 - UFOs come in all shapes and sizes, just like people. I imagine aliens come in all shapes and sizes too. I wonder if UFOs have really cramped seats like we have on our planes. Do all of the aliens jostle each other trying to be the first to board so there's still room left in the overhead bins for their carry-on luggage?

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

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!



Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

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15 October 2018

Morning Coffee | Random Thoughts & Oddities


Paul at Lat43 does these hysterical Morning Tea blog posts which are a brain dump of whatever pops into his head while he's writing them. I decided to steal his idea. Except, I'm drinking coffee while I write this and he drinks tea, so it isn't really stealing, is it?

So, here we go - all of the random nonsense floating through my head while I sip on my morning coffee.

  • I'm drinking iced coffee this morning while running my air conditioning full-blast. Yes, it's still hot in southern Florida even though it's mid-October. Looks like we're in for another real feel temp of over 100 today. 
  • When you start dripping sweat the minute you go outside, it's hard to get into the fall spirit. All everyone seems to be talking about on Facebook these days is pumpkin spice this and that while wrapped up in adorable sweaters and scarves.
  • I don't really like pumpkin spice flavored things. I wonder if there's a support group for people like me? Everything seems to be pumpkin spiced these days. They probably even make pumpkin spice toilet paper.
  • The annual migration of the snowbirds has kicked off. People are starting to head back to the marina to get their boats ready to head off to the Bahamas and beyond.
  • We had our first Indiantown Party Posse get-together last night of the season. My friends brought delicious homemade treats to share. I let Walmart do my cooking for me. I really need to up my game when it comes to potlucks.
  • I've got a lot of bug bites on me. I really should stop itching them, but I can't seem to help myself.
  • I saw a giant black spider running across my bed last week and dive under the mattress. Man, that thing can move fast. Normally, I'm kind of okay with spiders, but it's possible this was a black widow and I'm not okay with having that share my bed with me. I haven't seen it in a while, so hopefully, it's found someplace new to live. In them meantime, I sleep with one eye open.
  • The new marina cats are so adorable! I wonder if they would be interested in hunting down a spider.
  • I borrowed a friend's dinghy yesterday to clean off the side of my boat. It looks so much better now that it's back to its original white color, rather than the green hue it had developed with all of the Florida mold growing on it. It will probably turn green again in a couple of days.
  • I seem to know that names of all of the dogs at the marina, but I struggle to remember their humans' names. Why is that?
  • Time for some more iced coffee.

What did you think about over your morning cup of coffee, tea, or other beverage of choice?

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Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 



10 October 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Adorable New Boat Neighbor


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 - It's always a celebration at the marina when someone splashes their boat after working on it for ages in the boatyard. It's even more of a celebration when she floats.

2 - This adorable tugboat is our new neighbor. I love the little round window on the door.

3 - Her owner calls her Big Tow and his dinghy is fittingly named Little Tow.

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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Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

08 October 2018

Seduced By Coupons | Experimenting With Meal Kits


I'm a sucker for coupons. The irrational part of my brain screams, "It's a bargain! Get it! Use the coupon!" This is the same part of my brain that convinces me that having cookies for breakfast is a smart dietary choice. The more sensible part of my brain has been beaten into submission over the years and doesn't even bother to put up a fight anymore.

So when I got a coupon for a Hello Fresh meal kit, of course I ordered one, even though I knew it was probably a bit foolish. But, in my defense, I was curious what all the fuss is about. I also did a quick calculation and figured out that the cost of the meals (with the coupon, not at full price) was about what I'd spend on groceries, so it wasn't going to break the bank.

I picked three meals (two servings each) - Korean-style chicken thighs, chicken over tabbouleh, and chicken cheddar fajitas. Because I don't have an oven, I was limited to meals that could be cooked on the stove-top.

A few days later, my box arrived. Everything was well insulated with chill packs, but even so, in the heat we've been having, I'm not sure how long everything would have remained fresh if I hadn't picked it up right away.


The packing materials are recyclable, but we don't have recycling facilities at our marina, so I ended up having to chuck everything out. I felt bad about that.

It was kind of fun opening the box up. There was a paper bag for each meal, along with a recipe card. There were also a couple of Lindor truffles on top. They had melted in the heat. Still scrumptious though. {The boaters among you may notice something that doesn't quite belong in the picture - a joker valve. Ah, life on a boat. Fixing the toilet before dinner.}


Inside the bag, were lots of tiny packages and bottles. I love tiny things. Just look at those tiny fish-shaped containers of soy sauce! {This is when the sensible part of my brain started muttering about all of the packaging.}


I rummaged through each bag and pulled out the stuff that didn't need to be refrigerated. I imagine if you had a normal fridge, then you could just tuck each individual bag inside, keeping the meal ingredients neatly separated. My top-loading marine fridge doesn't have room for this sort of thing, so I just chucked everything into a communal bag and jammed it into an empty corner.

As for the meals themselves, they were fine. The recipes are straightforward and easy to make. But because I make variations of the three meals I had chosen all the time, it wasn't too exciting.


I can see the appeal of meal kits. When I was working crazy long hours, the thought of figuring out what to cook, going to the store, and then pulling it all together was overwhelming at times. Going out to eat, getting carry-out, or just having cookies for dinner was often the default. Something like this might be a solution for busy folks.

It might also be a good way to experiment with new-to-you ingredients. While none of the ones in my meal kit were new to me, I can see how it might be a good introduction for things like sriracha sauce or dukkah spice mix for some people.

Would I buy another meal kit again? Nope. The regular price without a coupon is way too expensive for what you get. Plus there's the whole issue of not being able to recycle the packaging materials where I am. But as far as experiments go, this was an interesting and tasty one.

What do you think about meal kits? Have you ever experimented with them?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!



Murder at the Marina - a lighthearted & humorous cozy sailing mystery - available in ebook and paperback format at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 

05 October 2018

Hairless Cats, Living In A Simulation & Blogging Changes

Here's an important question for you all - would you want a hairless cat? Personally, I think cats need fur, otherwise, what's the point? Have a look at the Spynx kittens in this video and let me know what you think.



And now for a slightly harder question - are we living in a simulation? My mom sent me this article which posits that we're part of a simulation (think The Matrix). I've heard about this theory before and read a few sci-fi short stories based on this. Frankly, it's all a bit depressing, so I distract myself from such scary thoughts by playing The Sims. I wonder if they know they're not real?

  

Some of you may have seen Crystal Collier's post yesterday announcing that she's stepping away from her blog. While I'm sad to see her go, it's totally understandable that she needs to channel her energy toward her family at this point in her life. 

It reminded me that I should probably tell you about the change to my blogging schedule. I've mentioned a couple of times that I haven't had the same energy for blogging as in the past, probably because I've been focusing more on writing my cozy mysteries. I still love blogging and am going to keep on with it, but I'm only going to commit to posting here on Mondays and Wednesdays going forward. I'll still do the occasional Friday and Saturday posts when the mood strikes (like today), but those won't be regular posting days.

Do you like hairless cats? Do you think we're living in a simulation?