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s/v Skylark
It's Always An Adventure
Preparations for Leaving
Elizabeth (photo by Ed)
10/13/2013, Newport, RI

We are making preparations to leave for the Chesapeake later this afternoon. The seas are pretty rough but by the time they settle down, so will the wind so we're opting to rough it for a night and possibly longer. The part I am dreading is the cold, but we have lots of warm clothes and hot drinks onboard. Oh, and homemade oatmeal raisin cookies, made this morning for my honey who said he'd like some. I am determined not to eat any but I know myself better than that. What will happen is I'll resist for awhile and then I'll be cold and miserable on a nighttime watch. I'll make myself a hot cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate and then those cookies will be calling my name. "Elizabeth! Over here! Don't we smell heavenly?" And then I'll tell myself I deserve to be comforted from being so cold and will eat one. I'll probably eat more than one. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with eating a cookie here and there but I have a weakness for certain cookies (like homemade oatmeal raisin) and have been known to eat more than my share. A lot more. It's a problem.

Back to our plans, we'll go offshore for three nights, arriving in the Chesapeake outside of the bay Wednesday morning, then motor up to York River and Sarah Creek that day. Well, that's the plan, such as plans on a sailboat go. You can follow our progress on the Spot Tracker if you're interested, under Favorites on the blog page. By the way, we want to say thanks to all our friends, family and readers of the blog for your support during our mechanical crisis and cruising hiatus.

This will be our last post until Wednesday or Thursday. See you in a few days!

10/14/2013 | Betty
Can't wait to get my salty hugs!
Love to you three,
10/15/2013 | Amanda
I love your cookie rant, Elizabeth. So like you. I hope you guys are having safe travels. I cannot wait to see both of you!! Not just because of the fact that you will be helping with the wedding either. Although I'm not going to lie, I cannot wait to have some stress relief knowing that the two of you are coming to my rescue ;) I forgot to ask, will Luna be here? It's almost time!!! Oh, Elizabeth, if I have yummy treats at my wedding...we better not have a problem. Haha! Just kidding! Love you guys. (Ps. sending you "wedding helper" email)
Saturday Races/Quinoa Recipe
Elizabeth (photo by Ed)
10/12/2013, Newport, RI

Here's the recipe for Quinoa Chili. It was easy, hearty and delicious. I think it could be varied in any number of ways but it was perfect as it was. I also would try it with uncooked beans in a pressure cooker to save propane.

Vegan Quinoa & Sweet Potato Chili
makes 6 hearty bowls of chili

one 29 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
one 6 oz can tomato paste
32 oz vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
1 cup dry quinoa
salt and pepper to taste
avocado, cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium low heat. Add onions, and cook until soft and they start to turn brown (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the beans, stock, and potatoes, and season with salt and pepper . Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the quinoa. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes - 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until quinoa and potatoes are cooked and the chili has thickened. Add a bit of water if the chili becomes too thick for your liking. Top with avocado and chopped cilantro. Scrumptious!

Luna On The Bow
10/12/2013, Portsmouth, RI

Luna wanted to be part of the action as we were leaving Portsmouth which is what convinced me she was excited. We broke a long-standing rule by allowing her stick onboard where she can have it again at some point. We have NEVER allowed a stick on the boat because of the bark peeling off and potential damage to something or another. We don't exactly remember what we've done with it, nor apparently does Luna, but it's somewhere.

Leaving Marina Life
10/12/2013, Portsmouth, RI

I can't tell you how good it felt to be underway again yesterday, even if just motoring over to Newport from Portsmouth. The sense of freedom we experienced was a mixture of relief and excitement, but also a healthy dose of anxiety about everything working without a hitch. We are gun shy at this point, understandably so. Even Luna seemed excited to be underway. We settled into Newport Harbor on anchor and will stage our departure from here. We hope to do 2-3 day offshore passage to the Chesapeake where we have a slip reserved. This time of year we don't feel comfortable leaving Skylark on the hook while unattended.

I've been asked to share the quinoa recipe I mentioned in a prior blog. I'm going to do that in the next post, but it's not a salad, it's chili. We thought it was excellent and with the arugula salad a nice accompaniment. A cruising friend Ellen shared this recipe with us. Enjoy!

10/13/2013 | Betty Cowan Hutcheson
Hi there,

So glad you're up and running! What a detour...
Our weather here is surprisingly damp and cool. We camped on Friday at Lake Norman State Park and fortunately no campsites were available for Sat. night.
Can't wait to see you guys! Let us know when you'll be rolling in...
Love and big hugs,
Purring Like a Kitten
10/10/2013, Portsmouth, RI

Success! Ed put the engine back together and we started it without incident before lunch today. We were thrilled, naturally and assume it will run as smoothly as it sounds when we actually leave here. He worked very hard on this project and when it was all finished, he told me he felt like smoking a cigarette. He doesn't smoke and was only kidding, but I understood the sentiment. Instead we took a long walk with Luna and discussed the weather. With our weekly slip rental, we can leave tomorrow or Saturday without a difference in cost; once we do we'll head over to Newport Harbor to stage for our departure south. We've run out of time to follow our original route down to SC but we'll rent a car when we're as close as we can get. It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow, figures. Maybe we'll read books and relax all day. The boat is put back together without the galley table housing an array of tools, the rugs are back on the floor, the v-berth looks nearly sparse (not really) and we should be going out to dinner to celebrate tonight except we've spent a small fortune on this little detour. Instead I'm making a new recipe using quinoa and sweet potato and an arugula salad with lemon juice, olive oil, a little salt and freshly grated parmesan. That was one of our favorites at home so it will be somewhat of a treat. This afternoon friends George and Christina said it was good to see us smiling and looking more relaxed. The women at the marina office wished Luna adieu and said they'd miss her. We're set to go whenever we are ready.

10/11/2013 | nj
glad things are coming together and will hope for clear weather. send me the recipe for the quinoa salad when you get a chance. wish i could be there to see you off
10/12/2013 | Moby Burton
Always glad to hear success with engines. Safe travels south.
Fitting End to a Pretty Decent Day
Elizabeth (photo by Ed)
10/08/2013, Portsmouth, RI

This was the nicest sunset yet since living here in Portsmouth. Hard to do better than this.

Very Red Injector Pump
10/08/2013, Portsmouth, RI

This situation we're in will work out one way or another but obviously there's some stress on us, especially with a very important wedding to help coordinate and participate in back in Charlotte. We will make it in time with or without Skylark and we'll put our boat troubles aside to enjoy the happy occasion. It will be a welcomed reprieve. In the meantime, we just need to keep working on solutions, juggling options and keeping our spirits intact. It could be far worse. The update is we got our pump back today and Ed did a preliminary installation. Tomorrow will be D day as far as finishing up and then running it. We picked up the parts that were supposed to get delivered last week and we have provisioned the boat, picked up a few other essential boat items and are closely monitoring the weather and sea. We'll turn in our rental car tomorrow or the next day, and if all goes well, we'll move to an anchorage nearby and wait for a weather window before heading south. We are holding our breath. Here is the very red fuel injector pump. It looks a little like a fire hydrant in my mind.

Very Red Fire Hydrant
10/08/2013, Portsmouth, RI

The night before last my dreams were very telling. I just have to tell you about one I remember most vividly. But first let me say I believe dreams are a very creative way to work through all our troubles, dilemmas and concerns. We just have to remember what they were and learn to interpret them. Here's the dream: I was working again as a couple's therapist in private practice. My temporary office was in a rambling old Victorian house; a falling-apart disaster which also served as some sort of YWCA (transient, right?). There were an assortment of clients waiting to see me, a husband accused of cheating by another couple who was also there in the room with him and though his wife was present, she seemed clueless as to the drama unfolding. There was a mother in a kitchen doing back flips (literally) without enough clothes to cover her sufficiently (to the great amusement of her children, not to mine), a very patient gay couple who in spite of my running hopelessly behind schedule after just returning from vacation weren't uttering a single complaint and then several other couples all with appointments to see me. I told everyone I would be right back and scurried off to my "office" which was a combination bedroom/living area with the beds unmade, junk everywhere and no clear exit that wasn't boarded up with precarious access. I hadn't ever been there before so was shocked to see the shape of things. There was no quick way to turn the room into a professional office of any kind. True to the nature of a "proper" anxiety dream I couldn't find my appointment book and had no cell phone. I tried to get back to my clients but couldn't find my way out. When I finally got down the rickety, boarded up stairs, I ran in slow motion (no surprise here) up a long grassy hill but had to dodge toboggan type sleds zooming past me. The people driving them worked for the military. I had no shoes. I couldn't get to my clients and by now I was three hours behind schedule. It was a hopeless mess. The good news? My skills were still sharp after all this time. A lot of good it did me, right? I'm not sure how I knew I was still competent but I did. When I woke up from the dream, sweating from the anxiety of it all, I had to laugh out loud. And you know, the day was better after getting all that out of my system.

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