31 January 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Farewell To A "Beloved" Rat

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 - One day, as I was walking past the free table at the marina, I noticed a sign with a picture of a rat on it. I took a closer look and saw that someone was bidding a sad farewell to their "beloved" rat.

2 - I think the sign was a tad sarcastic. If there's one thing people who live on boats don't like, it's having rats take up residence. From what I understand, the people who made the sign had a heck of a time getting rid of their own "special" rat. It was there so long, they ended up naming it Georgette.

3 - There was a huge problem with rats getting on boats in storage this year. Sure, you might be one of those people who has pet rats (and they do make great pets), but rats on a boat is not good news. They chew through everything.

4 - There's probably a correlation between getting rid of the adorable feral cats that used to live here and the increase in the rat population.

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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29 January 2018

Shiny Toes & Tacos | The Indiantown Party Posse

Sometimes, people come up to me with a worried expression and say something like:
"You poor thing, all on your lonesome on your boat, while Scott's away. Don't you get bored?"
Uh, no. It's impossible to be bored when you have the  >>Indiantown Party Posse<< constantly planning new get-togethers, like our New Year's Eve boat and camper crawl.
It usually starts when someone posts pictures of a delicious-looking dish, followed by a flurry of messages on Facebook, which evolves into a plan which involves getting together either at the marina and cooking something fabulous (like a low country boil or fish tacos) or heading to the local pub for Taco Tuesday or Wing Wednesday.

Sometimes, it starts when two people talk about going to get mani-pedis which then morphs into an afternoon girls get-together, followed by a van party and Taco Tuesday with the blokes.

Look, shiny toes.

Of course, no girls get-together is complete without sugary treats - like this "fugly" toffee.

Or bubbles and chocolate wine. Yes, you read that right - chocolate wine. I had no idea such a thing existed. Whoever invented that deserves some sort of medal.

Of course, sometimes these get-togethers are bittersweet when we end up saying goodbye to some of the members of the >>Indiantown Party Posse<< as they head off to new adventures. That's part and parcel of a nomadic lifestyle - cool people are constantly coming in and out of your life.

But, the good news is that we're constantly recruiting new members for the posse, provided they can answer one important question:
"Do you like moose balls?"
Don't worry, they're not what you think they are. Unless, you're imagining something with Bailey's in it. Probably the most popular item ever served at the >>Indiantown Party Posse<< get-togethers.

Have you ever had a moose ball or chocolate wine? What's your idea of a good get-together with friends?

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27 January 2018

Saturday Spotlight | Terror On Sunshine Boulevard Blog Tour

In addition to the usual blog posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday about our eccentric travel adventures and day-to-day life living aboard a sailboat, 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.


Rescuing a naked woman lying in a geranium bed or investigating mysterious murders are not the usual calls in a Florida retirement community for volunteer first responder Jim Hart.

I'm delighted to have J.Q. Rose join us today on her blog tour for her latest release >>Terror on Sunshine Boulevard<<

I do love a good murder mystery and this one sounds like a winner. It's set in Florida where we're currently docked. It features a volunteer first responder which is something I could never do (blood and all that). I'm always in awe of and grateful to those folks who volunteer to provide this kind of service. And it involves a naked woman lying in a geranium bed - sounds intriguing!

J.Q. sounds like an interesting and fun lady. Check out her bio, especially the part about hunting salamanders with the grandkids.


After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction. Her mysteries published by BWL Publishing are
Terror on Sunshine Boulevard, Dangerous Sanctuary, and Deadly Undertaking. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. She and her husband, Gardener Ted, spend winters in Florida and summers up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter. 



Rescuing a naked woman lying in a geranium bed or investigating mysterious murders are not the usual calls for first responder Jim Hart. He expects slip and fall accidents or low blood pressure emergencies in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge Senior Community and Golf Resort. The ghastly crime scenes turn the winter time fun into a terrifying season of death and mystery when the authorities cannot track down the predator responsible.

Jim and his wife Gloria could escape the horror and grief by returning to their northern home, but concern for their friends and residents keep them in Florida. With the entire community in a dither over the deaths, the Harts participate in the normal winter activities of golfing, dancing, and pool parties with their friends to distract them from the sadness and loss.

Can Jim and Gloria work with the authorities to discover who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard and stop the increasing body count?


You can buy a copy of >>Terror on Sunshine Boulevard<< here and connect with J.Q. Rose on her blog, Facebook, Google+, Amazon, Goodreads, Pinterest, and through Books We Love.


What have you been reading lately? Have you read >>Terror on Sunshine Boulevard<<?

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26 January 2018

Flashback Friday | Can Wallabies Be Litter Box Trained?


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 when we were anchored at Kawau Island in New Zealand. The weather was getting to be a real drag and we were stuck in that anchorage for ages. Fortunately, we spotted some wallabies one day when we went for a walk which cheered us up. Which, of course, led to the question - "Can wallabies be litter box trained?" If they can, they sure would make a great addition to the crew.

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


Wallaby spotted on Kawau Island. So cute! They were introduced in 1870 by the Governor of New Zealand, Sir George Grey, along with other exotic animals. Sadly, they are now considered to be a pest which negatively impacts on native flora and fauna and the Department of Conservation and other landowners are trying to manage their population. You can help by adopting a wallaby and having it live on your boat!

I’ve been trying to convince Scott for a while now that we absolutely need a cute little dog on our boat, but sadly I haven’t been very successful yet. Every time I bring the subject up, he gets all Mr. Spock logical on me with seemingly rational arguments such as the fact that there are lots of countries you can’t easily bring a dog into. 

But his biggest argument is that you have to cart your dog on to shore to do their business. His favorite refrain is, “Are you going to get in the dinghy when it is pouring down rain and blowing a gale and take the dog to shore? Hah, I didn’t think so! There won’t be any dogs on our boat because I’m sure as heck not going to get stuck rowing the mutt to shore every day.”

Fortunately, I’ve found an even better idea for a liveaboard pet – a wallaby! I figure if I can litter box train one, then Scott can’t possibly say no to having one on board. And because they can stand on their hind legs, when we get to a new port we can put clothes on our little wallaby and pass him off as a human crew member. Animal immigration problem solved! And the icing on the cake is the fact that wallabies can jump and they have a built in tool pouch. Something wrong up the mast? Get your wallaby to jump up there and fix it with the tools they carry around in their handy pouch. Much, much easier than getting a clumsy human to climb up there.

Last time we were at Mansion House Bay in Kawau Island, we caught a glimpse of the wallabies that live there. We’ve been there many times previously, but have never seen them before. It was amazing! They look so cute and their fur seems so soft and I just wanted to grab one and cuddle it. Unfortunately, they’re fast little buggers and they jumped away before I had a chance to say hi and ask them if they know how to use a litter box. Scott seemed really interested in the wallabies, so once I solve the litter box issues, I’m pretty sure he can’t possibly say no to having one on board.

I’m really grateful we had some wallaby sightings, because, frankly I was getting really tired of Mansion House Bay. We have spent far too much time there hiding out from various blows and desperately trying to escape. I can hear you saying, “Are you nuts? Mansion House is a beautiful, iconic New Zealand spot. I would love to go there!” And, yes, if you haven’t been there before, by all means you should head up there and spend a couple of days exploring the nature reserve and the Mansion House grounds. But, if you’ve ended up spending around eight days in a row there trying to escape (with only a quick run to Gulf Harbour to reprovision), then you’ve probably seen it all and done it all. But of course, every cloud has a silver lining and for us, it was when we caught a glimpse of the wallabies on the island.

I’m also really grateful for things like wallaby sightings, because without these amazing moments, I think the setbacks we’ve had with the weather so far might do my head in. We counted up how many days so far this summer that we’ve spent hiding out from a blow (either in a marina or at an anchorage) and the number is quite depressing. 

Intellectually, I know that the weather really does dictate what you can do and where you can go. And, I know people end up waiting weeks for the right weather window to make a passage. But we’re just doing coastal cruising, so I never expected that the weather would have such an impact on us. If the wind isn’t blowing a near-gale or gale, then it is blowing from the completely wrong direction to go where we want to get to. And, then there is the swell – it either is way too high for our tiny boat and/or crashing into us beam on. And on those days when you can’t stand the weather or the boat anymore a cute little wallaby to cuddle sure would make all the difference.

So if you have any experience training wallabies to use a litter box and jump up to the top of the mast, please let me know. Also, feel free to email Scott and tell him that having a dog or a wallaby or even a cat on board would be a great idea! I’m sure he’ll listen to you!

Anyway, here is what our week up in Kawau looked like. Other than the wallabies, not too exciting.

Scott thinks that the wallaby fences are proof that they can't jump high enough to get to the top of our mast. Personally, I think they are just smart creatures who can read the signs and choose not to jump over the fences.

Monday, 17 February 2014

After making a run from Great Barrier to Kawau the previous night and getting in around 11:30 pm, we had anchored down near the Kawau Yacht Club. It is a big anchorage, which we know well, and we figured it would be easiest to park the boat there in the dark. But it turned out to be a bit roly-poly, so we decided to move the boat over to the more protected Mansion House Bay in the morning. The only other big event of the day was having a solar shower. Scott helps me wash my hair because the solar shower can be a bit fiddly to use. Honestly, I never thought it would come to this…I can’t wash my hair without my husband’s help. That’s living on a boat for you.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

We ran out of eggs and cheese. These are two essential staples in our diet and we ended up getting stuck with eating things out of cans we’ve been avoiding so far. And they tasted terrible. {Note to self: never, never, never try to make a pasta dish out of cream of mushroom soup and canned chicken again.} Fortunately, wallabies were sighted!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

We ran out of water in our bladder. Not our actual human bladders, but the water bladder under the settee that we use instead of a water tank. Hmmm….no funnel to get the water from the jerry can into the water bladder. But, no worries, Scott cleverly cut up a tonic water bottle and turned it into a funnel. Problem solved. More wallaby sightings.

Thursday 19 February – Monday, 24 February 2014

Nothing too exciting happened. And when nothing too exciting happens, you spend a lot of time looking at the other boats which are also stuck in the anchorage. Scott was particularly interested in an older couple living on a boat even smaller than ours. They seem to be a really fit duo – she even drops and raises the anchor herself by hand while he watches from the cockpit. Scott spent the rest of the day trying to convince me that if an old lady can manage the anchor, I can too. I ignored him and daydreamed about wallabies instead. Sadly, no more wallaby sightings.

Eventually, we got a brief break in the weather so we made a quick run to Gulf Harbour to reprovision – more diesel, water and food. And then it was back up to Kawau to wait for another break to be able to head up north which finally came on Monday. We said goodbye to Mansion House Bay and the wallabies and made our escape.


Total nautical miles = 32 (to Gulf Harbour and back)
Number of wallabies sighted = 3
Number of days in Mansion House Bay = too many

What do you think - can wallabies be litter box trained? Would you want one as a pet? Have you ever had an "unusual" pet?

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24 January 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Sugar

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 - Sugar comes in all sorts of varieties. I'm used to the white and brown stuff that comes in bags. But it also comes in big solid chunks of unrefined whole cane sugar as well, like the panela pictured above. 

2 - Some people swear cane sugar tastes better than corn syrup when it comes to soda pop. Personally, I can't tell the difference.

3 - I love sugar. My life would be incomplete without it. But what I don't like is the burning of sugar cane fields nearby. It leaves ash all over your boat. Top Tip: Don't leave your hatches open when they're burning, unless you happen to like an ashy residue clinging to everything. 

4 - I watched a show the other day which said sugar is highly addictive, as addictive as heroin and cocaine, possibly even more addictive. Scary stuff.

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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22 January 2018

Morning Coffee | Random Thoughts & Oddities

Image via The Graphics Fairy

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.

  • Yes, I've finally caught up with the rest of the world and watched the tenth season of the X-Files. I have mixed feelings about it. Some episodes were great, some were a bit less great. I'm feeling that way about the current season as well.
  • Guys swear a lot when they're working on boat projects.
  • Yeah, I know. That's stating the obvious.
  • I'd like to suggest some alternative adjectives that they might want to use instead of swear words. They could say something like:
"The *sparkly* transmission fluid leaked all over the *sparkly* engine room again! I'm tired of this *sparkly* boat!" 
I bet by the time they uttered the last *sparkly* they wouldn't be able to keep a straight face and the problem wouldn't seem half as bad as it did before.
  • That's the thing about living in a marina - you hear everything. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to learn sign language, if you don't know it already. That way you could swear about your latest boat project without causing parents to cover their kids' ears or have a fight with your partner without everyone pretending they can't hear you. 
  • My sister used to know sign language. I wonder if she still does.
  • I haven't had to use my air conditioner in weeks. I could do without the near-freezing temperatures that we've had on a few nights, but the mild days are pleasant. Yep, there's a reason why people spend the winters in Florida. 
  • I've been seeing pictures of cute kids all bundled up in snowsuits playing in the snow up North. They look so happy. I used to be one of those kids. Now I'm one of those adults who would be happy to never see snow again. 
  • I looked back at the last Morning Coffee post I did. I complained about the cold then. Well, isn't that boring. Maybe every time I want to talk about being cold, I should just use *sparkly* instead. It would be far more interesting.
"I'm so tired of this *sparkly* weather. Why is it so darn *sparkly* out there? I don't want to have to put on a *sparkly* coat and go out in this *sparkly* weather again!"
  • A bee buzzed around inside my boat the other day. Bees scare me. Honey good. Bees not so good. I put a blanket over my head and hid until it left. Yep, I'm that much of a baby. 
  • I've never been stung by a bee. What if I'm allergic? I really don't want to find out. Probably less because of the reaction and more because my medical insurance deductible is really high.
  • To make the sign for bee, you make like you've been stung on the cheek and then bat the bee away. If I was in charge of making up signs, I'd have one where act like you're putting a blanket over your head and cowering in fear.

Okay, that's enough ramblings for today. I'm off to find some bread so I can have some toast with honey.

What did you think about over your morning cup of coffee, tea or other favorite beverage? What did you have for breakfast?

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20 January 2018

Saturday Spotlight | Around The World In 80 Books, Update #14

In addition to the usual blog posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday about our eccentric travel adventures and day-to-day life living aboard a sailboat, 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.


Remember when I started that "Around the World in 80 Books" challenge? The one I was so gung-ho about, but then never finished. Yeah, I had completely forgotten about it too until my mother gave me a reminder. So, while we're land-locked and working on boat projects, I thought this would be a good time to start ticking more countries off of the list.

The idea of the challenge is to read books set in 80 different countries, effectively exploring the world from the comfort of your armchair. Since my last update, I've read books set in five more countries – Cyprus, Mongolia, New Zealand, Spain, and Wales.

That makes a total of 70 books since I started the challenge - only 10 more to go!

You can read more about the challenge here, as well as check out Update #1, Update #2, Update #3, Update #4, Update #5, Update #6, Update #7, Update #8, Update #9, Update #10, Update #11, Update #12, and Update #13.


I always enjoy reading Agatha Raisin cozy mysteries, which are set in Britain. Agatha is one of those main characters who isn't always so likable - she can actually be quite annoying at times - but yet, I'm always curious to see what she gets up to next. In this installment, Agatha is trying to track down her ex-fiance in Cyprus, where they were supposed to be honeymooning. Of course, a fellow tourist ends up getting murdered (it is a cozy mystery, after all) and Agatha is drawn into the investigation while at the same time trying to win back her ex-fiance.

When we lived in Scotland, Scott and I scored one of those last-minute, cheap holiday deals to Cyprus and stayed in a hotel with lots of British tourists, some of whom might qualify as "terrible tourists." There are plenty of terrible tourists in this book too, including Agatha who wonders why everyone can't speak English and thinks the standards aren't quite up to par:
"Soon they were driving off into the ferocious heat along to Lapta and so to the Celebrity Hotel. The hotel is rated four-star, but as Agatha walked into the reception and her jaundiced eye took in the amount of plush and gilt furniture, the chandeliers and the hot noisy carpets, she decided it was Middle Eastern four-star. No one at the reception desk had much English and so it took them some time to discover that Trevor and Angus had just checked out. 'Why can't they get someone who speaks bloody English?' raged Agatha. 'They don't care about tourism in this country.'"
You can find out more about Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist on Goodreads and get your own copy on Amazon.

MORON TO MORON by Tom Doig | Mongolia

I assumed from the title that this wouldn't be a dry, boring travel memoir and I wasn't disappointed. Moron to Moron had me in stitches. Two guys from New Zealand decide to go to Mongolia and bike 920 miles (1,487 kms) from one town called Moron to another town called Moron. Seriously, they're really named Moron. Sounds like a slightly moronic thing to do, doesn't it? Actually, it sounds insane. I think the only way you could do something like this is if you had a great sense of humor, which these two guys do. 

Not only did I enjoy reading about Mongolia through the author's rather irreverent and off-beat point of view, but, after having lived in New Zealand for five years, it was also fun to read a book chock-full of Kiwi-isms and cultural references.

It's also full of helpful pointers, should we ever travel to Mongolia, like buying mystery meat in a can at your own risk, considering the distinct lack of cats to be seen. Correlation or not?
"The whole conversation was a distraction from the matter at hand: what were we going to eat for lunch? We were low on everything. There was a quarter-loaf of two-day-old Tarialan bread, no butter, and we were down to our last can of Russian fish. I don't know who suggested it - I'm going to say Tama - but someone said we should crack out the tin of emergency meat I'd been carrying around since Tsagaan-Uur."
{Word of warning: There's a fair bit of "naughty" language and things get downright raunchy at times. For some folks, that might be a selling point, for others, you may want to steer clear.}

You can find out more about Moron to Moron on Goodreads and get your own copy on Amazon.

IN TOO DEEP (STEWART ISLAND BOOK 1) by Tracey Alvarez | New Zealand

In Too Deep is the first in the Stewart Island romance series. I always wanted to go to Stewart Island when we lived in New Zealand and somehow it never happened. So what better way to "visit" Stewart Island remotely than through a romance novel.

The main character of the book, Piper, returns to Stewart Island to help out with some family issues. While there, she runs into her old boyfriend, West, who she parted with on not-so-good terms. They're still madly attracted to each other, but trying to deny their feelings. While their romantic feeling are sizzling away, Piper tries to help her brother save his dive charter business, which is right up her alley as she's diver with the police on the mainland. She's one tough cookie.
"I'm sick of pulling dead idiots from the water. Guys who think they're so invincible they don't need a lifejacket in an ill-equipped boat - the worst are those who bring innocent kiddies on board and don't bother fitting them with lifejackets either. Or fishermen who are so gun-ho trying to catch the big one they forget how unforgiving the ocean is."

{Word of warning: This isn't a "clean" romance, which doesn't bother me, but might not be your cup of tea.}

You can find out more about In Too Deep on Goodreads and get your own copy on Amazon.

THE SANDS OF TIME by Sidney Sheldon | Spain

I can't remember the last time I read a Sidney Sheldon novel, but it was probably a long time ago. When I saw he had written a novel set in Spain, I went for it because I was feeling in the mood for a bit of retro "beach" read (it was originally published in 1988).  

In the Sands of Time tells the story of four nuns caught up in the tensions between the outlawed Basque separatists and the Spanish army. I enjoyed learning a bit about this period in Spain's history (especially given the current tensions around the issue of Catalonia independence) mixed in with a heaping dose of melodrama and engrossing story-telling. Sheldon hooked me in from the start with this description of the running of the bulls in Pamplona in 1976:
"What followed was an unforgettable spectacle. First came the sound. It started as a faint, distant ripple on the wind, almost imperceptible, and then it grew louder and louder until it became an explosion of pounding hooves, and suddenly bursting into view appeared six oxen and six enormous bulls. Each weighing fifteen hundred pounds, they charged down the Calle Santo Domingo like deadly express trains. Inside the wooden barricades that had been placed at each intersecting street corners were hundreds of eager, nervous young men who intended to prove their bravery by facing the maddened animals."
You can find out more about The Sands of Time on Goodreads and get your own copy on Amazon.
TORCHWOOD: INTO THE SILENCE by Sarah Pinborough | Wales

One of the things I've been trying to do as part of this challenge is read books I normally wouldn't think of picking up. Into the Silence is a great example of this. It's a tie-in to the television series, Torchwood. Never heard of Torchwood? Have you heard of Dr. Who? Of course you have because you don't live in a cave. Torchwood is a spin-off of Dr. Who and is set in Wales. I'm a fan of both shows, so thought I would give Into the Silence a try.

It was an enjoyable, and at times a little scary, story about a series of killings of singers who are participating in the Wales Amateur Operatic Contest in Cardiff. Of course, given this is Torchwood we're talking about, this isn't just any old killer the team needs to track down, but something rather alien in nature. I enjoyed the Welsh setting, mixed in with alien killers, and the ending had a nice twist. It was also fun to read about the Welsh national pride in their singing:
"Barry hummed through his octaves, up and down, over and over. Even just doing something as simple as those exercises, anyone could hear that he had a beautiful voice. It was a true Welshman's voice, full of the natural power of the solid land and valleys that had bred it, hundreds of years of history and courage carried in every tune. There was nothing namby-pamby about the way Barry Llewelyn sang, not like those pancaked West End performers from London."

You can find out more about Torchwood: Into the Silence on Goodreads and get your own copy on Amazon

If you're participating in the challenge too (or any other reading challenge), I'd love to hear what you've been reading. Even if you're not doing the challenge, let us know what books you've been enjoying lately.

COUNTRIES READ TO DATE: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, the Bahamas, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, England, Estonia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Kiribati, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Saudi Arabia,  Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United States, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Wales, and Zimbabwe.

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19 January 2018

Some Days, You Just Need A Box Of Kittens

Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seems to go right, you're feeling down, and even a whole fistful of Hershey's chocolate kisses isn't doing the trick in making things better?

Well, you know what you need? A box of kittens. Just click on the video below and see what happens when people open up a box of kittens. It's pure magic. I bet even the anti-cat people out there will crack a smile. {If clicking on the video doesn't work, try this link instead.}

I know some people who are having a tough time of it right now. I thought about sending them their very own box of kittens to cheer them up, but I think the folks at the Post Office might frown on that. Party poopers.

Maybe I should show them this video about an older cat educating a new kitten about life. I bet they'd see the light and start some sort of an express kitten-shipping service. Which would be good, because when you're down in the dumps, the faster you get some kittens to cuddle, the better. {If clicking on the video doesn't work, try this link instead.}

How do you cheer folks up who are having a tough time of it? Ever tried to send a box of kittens in the mail?

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17 January 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Norway

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 - We've been to Norway a few times, which is kind of cool because Scott is Norwegian-American (with a little Swede thrown in for good measure). 

2 - My big takeaway from my time in Norway - it's cold. Really, really cold. I can see why Norwegians who came to America felt right at home settling in Minnesota and North Dakota. It's cold there too.

3 - I love that big crying baby sculpture. We saw it at the Vigeland Park in Oslo, along with some other weird and wonderful sculptures.

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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15 January 2018

Interesting Food Encounters At Indiantown Marina

Some people think Indiantown is a sleepy little town where nothing interesting happens. For the most part, they're right. It has one main road and a handful of shops, people ride their bikes everywhere, and the nice folks at the library will look after a lost dog until its owner comes to take him home.

It's sleepy in a good kind of way. Interesting, not so much. Unless you think listening to boat owners at the marina scream in horror when they find out exactly how much it's going to cost to fix their boat is interesting. I'd call that depressing, not interesting. Or maybe even routine, because I'd be hard-pressed to find a boat owner who hasn't screamed in horror at the cost of boat ownership.

But something interesting did happen in Indiantown recently. And not just one thing, but two things. I tried fish tacos and experienced my first low country boil for the first time ever. How did I get to be so old without ever having had fish tacos or a low country boil?

The low country boil was fascinating. It reminded me of that old stone soup folktale where a couple of hungry strangers put a stone in a pot of boiling water and con local villagers into adding stuff to give the soup flavor.

Except, in this case, there weren't any conmen, just a bunch of boat owners chucking sausage, shrimp, fish, potatoes, brussels sprouts, onion, corn, and some old bay seasoning into a couple of pots and bringing it all to a boil on the grill. The end result was delicious.

The next week, we decided to get together for fish tacos. Another delicious meal. So delicious, in fact, that we got together for lunch the following day to finish off the leftovers.

All of these interesting food encounters got me thinking that I should put together a bucket list of foods I want to try on our travels. Grasshoppers in Mexico? Guinea pig in Peru? Arepas in Colombia? Bunny chow in South Africa? So many possibilities. So little time.

What's one food/dish you'd like to try? What do you think I should put on my food bucket list?

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12 January 2018

New Year's Eve Boat & Camper Crawl At Indiantown Marina

Have you ever been on a boat and camper crawl? If you haven't, you've been missing out. We had the most amazing time visiting five boats and one camper at Indiantown Marina on New Year's Eve. We got to take a tour of each boat and camper and sample the delicious snacks and drinks everyone had on offer.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, probably, as the evening wore on), there's photographic evidence of the crawl. Have a look below and see what we got up to.

Stop #1 - An Amazing Start to the Crawl

First up were Doug and Tina on s/v Amazed (a 1982 O'Day 37) in the storage yard. See those yellow straps? Those are hurricane tie-down straps. If a hurricane blows through here, the straps will keep your boat tied down. That's the theory anyway. Unfortunately, they're also a great way for rats to climb up on your boat, as some other folks have found out, like our absent friends on Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids who couldn't make the crawl.

Doug and Tina are an amazing couple. Maybe that's why they named their boat s/v Amazed? Tina has got such a fun and bubbly personality and she's an amazing cook. {Let's see how many times I can work amazing into this.} Doug is a sweetheart and he looks amazingly dapper in that hat of his. {Yep, managed to work amazing in one more time. Pretty amazing, don't you think?}

Tina and Doug served coffee with Bailey's (don't judge, we didn't start the crawl until after noon) and these delicious morsels - some stuffed with strawberries and cream cheese and some stuffed with nutella and bananas. I don't know what they're called, so I'm going to call them >>Bites of Amazing Yumminess<<. They're Canadian, so of course they served them with maple syrup. Maple syrup is one of the reasons why I love Canadians - here are some other reasons.

This is my lovely friend Michele from s/v Wind Spirit modeling at the bottom of the companionway on s/v Amazed. Notice the cute throw cushions? Just because you live on a boat doesn't mean you can't have throw cushions. And can you ever really have enough throw cushions? Guys - don't answer that one.

Stop #2 - Fun & Food in the Workyard

Next up were Ted and Sandy on s/v Ragtime Gal (a 1988 Liberty Yacht Gatsby motorsailer). They're such a fun couple. You can tell by their New Year's glasses. Sandy is a wonderful cook. We occasionally have potlucks where everyone is supposed to bring one side dish to share. Sandy always goes all out and brings at least three dishes - all equally delicious (love her banana pudding!). Ted has a great sense of humor. See that beard of his? He started growing it when they started working on their boat and he's threatening to not shave it off until their boat is finished.

Here's s/v Ragtime Gal in happier times on the water. Doesn't she look pretty?

Photo credit: Sandy Kearney

And here's s/v Ragtime Gal in the workyard. She looks sad. Boats like to be in the water, not on land. She has been a labor of love for Ted and Sandy. Although, when you find out that you need to shell out even more money because, yet again, something else needs to be replaced or fixed, it probably becomes less of a labor of love and more just plain old, bank account-draining labor. Can someone remind me why we own boats again?

Naturally, Sandy outdid herself in terms of food. Just take a look at this. Yes, that's a porcupine and palm trees made out of fruit, nutella, and homemade caramel sauce. She also made some delicious sausage potato egg bakes, along with a vegetarian sweet potato option. But wait, that's not all...she also made these things with chocolate in them. I'm not sure what else was in them. There was chocolate, that was good enough for me. Ted served up Marvelous Marys to accompany the food.

You can find Sandy and Ted on Facebook.

Stop #3 - Garlic for the Win

The third stop was right next door with Andrea and Scott on s/v Circuitous (a 1987 Island Packet IP38). They're an adorable couple. Not only are they adorable, they're also professional divers. Check out Andrea's underwater photos on Instagram.

I love garlic. The smell greeting you when you made your way onto s/v Circuitous was heavenly. Andrea and Scott made the most delicious stuffed mushrooms and garlic bread. I wanted to lick the plates to get the last of the garlicky goodness off of them, but I hadn't had quite enough to drink by that point. For which I'm sure everyone is extremely grateful. No one really likes to see people lick plates. Dogs, that's okay, but humans, not so much.

To accompany the shrooms and bread, Andrea and Scott served Moscow Mules. Yum. Takes me back to my days living in Glasgow where a friend introduced them to me.

Island Packets are considered to be very desirable boats. By the time we got to s/v Circuitous, I was starting to feel a little nervous about what people would think when they got to our boat. It's so much smaller and, shall we say, less desirable. I mean, look, they've got this huge chart table area on s/v Circuitous which doubles as a magazine display area. Very chi-chi.

Considering I have a plastic dinosaur from the dollar store on my boat, I was delighted to see this on Andrea and Scott's boat. Kindred spirits.

You can find Scott and Andrea on Facebook

Stop #4 - More Amazing Fun

Then it was off to Tina and Doug's again. No, not back to their boat but to their camper (a 2014 Jayhawk White Hawk Ultralight). I don't know if she has a name, so I'm going to call her r/v Amazed, "r/v" being short for recreational vehicle.

Tina and Doug are smart. They live in their camper while they're working on their boat. None of this living in chaos for these two. No, at the end of the work day, they come back to their cute, spacious, and, most importantly, clean and un-chaotic camper.

As if the >>Bites of Amazing Yuminess<< wasn't enough at their boat, Tina made more food for us to enjoy at the camper - bean dip and chips. This picture really doesn't do it justice. I'm intrigued by the red pen on the table. Did we feel the need to record something important by this point in case we didn't remember the next day? If so, does anyone remember where we put the piece of paper that we wrote important stuff down on?

Tina's famous sangria was served along with the bean dip and, at some point, Doug broke out the whisky.

Here's another blurry picture  - this time of Andrea and Scott looking adorable. I remember getting into some sort of deep philosophical conversation with Scott about his red beard. At least it seemed like it was deep and philosophical. It was probably more along the lines of, "Hey, your beard is red." "Yeah, it is. Pass the bean dip."

Here's a picture of some of the gang hanging out in the camper. That's Duwan on the left, Ted and Sandy in the middle, and Michele's husband, Bruce, at the end.

Stop #5 - How Many People Can You Fit on a 34' Boat?

Then it was time to head to my boat, s/v Tickety Boo (a Moody 346), and answer the question that had been weighing on everyone's mind - "How many people can you fit on a 34' boat?" The answer is ten. Sadly, my Scott (as opposed to Andrea's Scott) was still in Scotland so we weren't able to see if we could fit eleven on our boat. I have a feeling that we could have made it happen.

Here's the gang getting on s/v Tickety Boo. What's harder - climbing up a ladder to get to a boat in the workyard or climbing over lifelines to get onto a boat sitting in the alligator-infested water?

Photo Credit: Duwan Dunn

I served up antipasti, which is a fancy way of saying cheese and meats and things from jars, along with some Freixenet Cordon Negro cava (mixed with cranberry juice for those who like their bubbles diluted).

Okay, this will give you an idea of how tiny my boat is. This is Doug coming through the hobbit-sized door to our aft cabin. It's like living in a tiny dollhouse.

Photo Credit: Sandy Kearney

You can follow the crew of Tickety Boo on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter. I also have an author Facebook page and website if you want to check them out.

Stop #6 - The Cool Cats on Blue Wing

The last "official" stop of the night was on Greg and Duwan's Catalina 36, s/v Blue Wing. From what I hear, there was another "unofficial" stop back at Doug and Tina's camper. By that time, I was in bed.

Greg and Duwan are some of my favorite people, not just because they took us in at their place in Atlanta when we evacuated Florida during Hurricane Irma and showed us an amazing time, but because they're also some really cool cats. They just exude coolness. I feel cooler when I stand in their general vicinity.

For some reason, I don't have a picture of Greg and Duwan together. In fact, I barely have any pictures of Greg from the crawl. I know that, at one point, he went off to play music at another party (he's the guy in black playing the guitar). Maybe that has something to do with it. 

Photo Credit: Duwan Dunn

Here's Tina and Doug getting on s/v Blue Wing. Blue Wing's hailing port is Cabbagetown, Georgia. A very cool place.

Photo Credit - Sandy Kearney

Duwan makes the best nachos. She takes the time to make sure every chip is covered in cheese. That's the sign of a true nacho artiste. There was some sort of dip too, but I don't remember much about it. I was completely focused on the nachos. Along with the nachos, they served hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and the "champagne of beer," Miller High Life. 

Photo Credit: Duwan Dunn

At some point, someone thought it would be a great idea for Andrea to braid Ted's beard. I'm not sure who that someone is...oh wait, apparently it was me. I think this was the point where I probably decided to call it a night.

Photo Credit: Duwan Dunn

You can find Greg and Duwan on Instagram, Facebook, and their blog.

How did you ring in the New Year? Have you ever been on a boat / camper crawl?

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10 January 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Boat Dogs

Photo Credit: Duwan Dunn

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 - Lots of people share their boats with furry friends. These are some of the dogs that live on boats at Indiantown Marina.

2 - The first picture is of Chloe patiently waiting for her treat. A true Labrador retriever, she's a super friendly dog and always happy to see you. The furiously wagging tail gives it away.

3 - Next up is Sandy. I had already put this blog post together when I found out that Sandy sadly went over the rainbow bridge late last week. She was such a sweet little puppy and I know her loss has left a huge hole in her humans' hearts.

4 - And last, but not least is Bob. Everybody knows Bob at the marina. If they had a Mayor of Indiantown Marina, I bet it would be Bob.

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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