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Cruising to Calm
" I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same as 'making a life'." Maya Angelou. This is the story of the Brown family adventure. We have pulled roots in NY and are taking our two kids ages 4 & 1 on a five year cruise. This is our story
10/08/2007, New York

At the moment we are moored at the 79th Street boat basin which is a little surreal. When I was in high school I lived on the Upper Westside and we used to hang out at the boat basin and drink beer so it's kind of strange that I am using the dinghy dock/pier as something other than a bar. As we sit on Indy and look ashore, I can see places/ buildings that were my playground. Funny.
It has been wonderful being back. The first day here I went to Chinatown and had a facial/ massage at my usual haunts. The people where I usually go were excited to see me but my new life was lost in translation. I tried explaining it but it was a no go so I ended up saying I had just been very busy.
We took the kids to the park, hit a street fair, had Japanese, went to Zabars and got all the specialty things the city has to offer. Although there was a part of being back that felt strange, as if I was a voyeur in what I consider my hometown. It's hard to explain. Three years before moving onboard Indy we had left the city for Westchester but I always felt like the City was still home..my dr's are here, hairdresser etc and it was only 33 miles away. I guess I felt a disconnect because I am living such a different life than what NY represents. Don't get me wrong, it's not a better way of life just a very different one. It's strange to be here and not have anywhere I have to be... work, errands, places or parties.
Strange..everyone was in a hurry but me. I missed the hustle a bit if I were to be honest.
I think what draws me most to NY is the rawness of it. People are no nonsense, get to the point, lay it on the table which I find truly refreshing....life is too short to be any other way.


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Respite
10/04/2007

My, my it has been forever since I last posted.
I have not had any down time since arriving in NY which is why I have been so delinquent.
We arrived last Sunday and my parents quickly came down to bid us hello. It felt sooo good to see them. We hung out for the afternoon and for dinner they took us to a wonderful French restaurant in town. None of us are all that familiar with Mamaroneck so we randomly picked a French restaurant that O and I had seen when we first arrived and walked the town. The restaurant was Incredible!!! I had forgotten people could create dishes so unique and mouthwatering. We were a little underdressed, in the shorts and flip flops uniform we maintain, but the staff was great and the kids really well behaved. The planets were aligned that night. I felt so relaxed.
During dinner Ben told my parents that Block Island was his favorite place thus far because a man comes around in the morning selling coffee and danishes....yeah, he is my son.
My parents brought us one of their cars to use while we are here which has been invaluable. I do miss driving. Some of you may not understand that but it's nice to get anywhere you want effortlessly with the kids strapped down in the back and 1010Wins on the radio.
The following week was busy with guests everyday. Monday our neighbor JoJo came with her family. Jo actually found the place we docked which was a HUGE score. Her girls hadn't seen the boat so it was fun watching Ben show them around because he has always looked up to them. Jo came armed with a blender so we had some pina coladas to beat the heat. It didn't do too much for the battery bank but there has to be a compromise somewhere!!
The following day Skip(O's brother), Tiffany and CoCo drove down from Boston and spent the night. It was our the first time we met CoCo !! I heard nary a sound out of her. Enjoy it guys because you never get two in a row like that!
Wed our friends Barry, Re and their two kids spent the night. Ben and Annabelle are the same age as are Sam and Charlie. It is so much fun watching the different ages play and tattle(not so much fun). A woman in a kayak came by and told Barry and I that we looked like a Bud commercial......thanks...I think.
Thursday I was exhausted. I was suppose to visit JoJo but had to postpone due to exhaustion. I took the kids to my moms, barely said a word all night other than How do I tape The Office and Grey's Anatomy???
That night I got sick and was pretty much under the weather for the next couple of days. Thankfully, I was at mom's so she held down the fort for me. Rach and Mike arrived Friday night because Rach turned the big 30...... woohoo!!! finally!!!!! Due to the fact that I was not on top of my game we didn't get to celebrate as a thirtieth birthday should be celebrated. I guess we'll have to do it in the Bahamas, where according to Ben people wear fruit on their head(he saw an ad).
To be honest it has been a little difficult being back in NY. It has been hard seeing my family and friends and knowing we are leaving. Don't get me wrong, I am very excited about my trip but I am extremely close to my family so it's always hard leaving. However, I know we will see them often in different locales which will be an adventure.
Right now we are staying with my mom, making trips to JoJo's in between. Mom and I have been doing all of the fall things and Ben is in FULL Halloween mode. Mom is on the board of the Democratic Com. in the area so has been regaling me with tales of the upcoming election and the dubious antics of the opposing side. She assures me it's not easy always being the moral authority!!!!! God knows I know that game.
O and I had our ninth anniversary yesterday....wow.
I do PROMISE to write more often once we leave NY. I am shooting for at least three times a week depending on access.
The weather has been warm and sunny so we plan on hanging out until it turns and then shooting to Annapolis. We will be in the Bahamas by the first week in Nov.
I am looking for a little washing machine so if anyone knows of a good marine machine LET ME KNOW PLEASE. I have been told that if I get a washer I will really miss out on the cruiser camaraderie that takes place in the laundromat....I think I'll take my chances.

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Shelter Island
09/21/2007

Otis: " So Ben, how was school today?? was it fun??
Ben: "Yeah, it was fun, but I didn't learn anything"

That's my boy!!! School began this week. It has been a lot more fun teaching than I thought it was going to be. He is a great student and very eager to learn. Today was the letter "M". Calvert, the homeschooling program, provide a number of exercises for him to complete and throw in some fun stuff such as finger painting the letter and looking through magazines for things that start with "M" cutting them out and making a collage. The math was kind of redundant so I cruised us through that. Today was music class, but we decided to skip the music and go shelling on the beach instead. The key
to the success of homeschooling is to keep it inventive and fun....I guess that's the challenge of teaching in general.
I did not wake up very well this morning. The kids slept in which is always a welcome respite. After sneaking into their rooms to see if they were still breathing(when do you stop doing that I wonder), I ran back into bed and dozed off. So I was VERY surprised when at 7:30 I awoke to someone banging on our hull yelling ' Hello Independence'. I quickly got dressed and ran outside, accompanied by both of the kids he had just woken up! He started by apologizing for waking me up....to which I wanted to respond "well, if you were really sorry you would not have done it, huh?". He was on the boat behind us and wanted to borrow our tire pump to go for a bike ride. So, he woke up the entire family because HE wanted to go for a bike ride. UGH. I mumbled something and gave him the pump but was most unimpressed. I really hope this is not cruising etiquette or O and will be very lonely on this trip.
I forgot to mention that we are on a mooring in Shelter Island. The mooring belongs to a hotel/restaurant on shore but some people in Block Island told us you could use the mooring and if the restaurant says anything tell them you had planned on going there for dinner. Which works for us because free is our favorite word. I would be a little more hesitant to take one but they have about 15 moorings and only three are being used. One by us, the other by tire pump man.
Shelter Island is an upscale, well manicured, tastefully done, quiet island off of Montauk. No Starbucks however, but I am slowly getting used to that(what happened to 'the one of every corner' mantra??). Being back in NY has made me almost giddy. The weather is glorious, the water is warm and life is good! Billy Joel has a a house and boatbuilding yard here so in honor of him I have delighted(my word, not theirs) the kids to some rousing renditions of Piano Man.
Due to the last six weeks of vacation eating, three squares plus hors' douvres and cocktailing, my clothes are telling me to shut the trap and start exercising ASAP. So today the new regime began with a long bike ride. We bought a fifty dollar Wal Mart bike in Maine...it's a little heavier than I would like but....nuff said.. It feels good to be out there by myself with nobody beckoning for an hour. I think the hour of daily exercise will become my sanity on this trip.
We are not sure what the NY plan is at the moment but it looks like we are going to make our way toward Mamaroneck at some point. We are staying here tomorrow as it's O's birthday and it is suppose to be 83!!!! I am going to bike into town and look for a fish market to rustle up some birthday sushi!!!!
FYI: we didn't catch ANY fish on the journey down. At one point the fish were running all around us but still nothin..oh well, Nemo is safe for another day.
If I was more of a morning person, I would get up at 5:30am tomorrow and go over to tire man's boat, pound on his hull for fifteen minutes, apologize for waking him and ask him if he has a little dish soap I could use..............

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09/21/2007 | Maxcy Family
Glad you are in NY safely!!! Happy Birthday Otis!!
10/02/2007 | JEFF AND BELINDA PRINDLE
WE GOT YOUR WEBSITE FROM PAULA AND DOOG, WHO HAS KEPT US UPDATED OVER THE YEARS. WE WERE READING YOUR BLOGS AND JEFF KEPT SAYING WHO IS OTIS?? LOL HE QUICKLY REMEMBERED. YOUR KIDS ARE BEAUTIFUL AND YOUR STORY AMAZING.....WE BOTH SAID "OTIS HAS FOUND HIS SOULMATE!"

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