03/27/2015, Tucson, Arizona USA
When the kids are away the grandparents WILL play (with the grandchildren)!! When thinking about the blog for this week the above sentence kept dancing in my head! So of course I had to do it. I am referring to the fact that this past week, Michael's parents, Peggy and Jim and Dave and I got to "babysit" Isaac and Stella while Michael took Christina out for her birthday present. This is the really L-O-N-G birthday that Dave wrote about last week! Although Peggy and Jim watch Isaac and Stella each Moday, we do not so I thought between the four of us we could watch the two of them! We so enjoy Peggy and Jim's company we thought we could combine the fun of the grand children with each other's company. We had so much fun this past weekend that we are combining our talents once again and watching the children this coming weekend! This time it is Christina's and Michael's 6th wedding anniversary!
Attached to this blog is our first Go Pro video. The Go Pro was a Christmas gift to Dave from the three children, along with all of its attachments. It is not so simple and Dave has been studying it since then. He has taped the drive we make going over the mountain to Christina's house. It is a beautiful drive through the desert. The road is Gate's Pass and it is a twisty windy road. You will see why we have fallen in love with the desert when you watch it.
We have enjoyed our time with the children and our grandchildren. I feel we have really gotten to know them better than we ever have before. Although, it has been difficult being stationary in one place the benefit is becoming comfortable with the grandchildren. Once again, I am reminded that it is all about the simple things in life - the spontaneous hug of a child, the smile from your child or holding your spouse's hand. We will be leaving in just over a week and traveling all around the USA. It has been lovely experiencing this part of our trip. Until we speak again...
03/19/2015, Tucson, Arizona USA
Each of our three kids is very bright. As parents raising them back when they were small, it was both a blessing and a curse. Their natural intelligence made us proud as they excelled in school and figured out how to deal with the challenges of being a kid that were thrown at them. However, many times their natural inquisitiveness, that goes hand and hand with intelligence, got them into trouble. They were forever keeping us on our toes when they were youngsters! (And still do as adults!!)
As they got older, moved away and struck out on their own, they each continued to make us proud as they matured and become productive adults, bettering society, while blazing their own paths. We like to flatter ourselves by thinking they each are a chip of the old blocks of Mary Margaret and I. However, we know that is how most parents feel as we all take pride in our respective offspring.
Every now and again Mary Margaret and I have to doff our caps to one or more of our children, as they outdo us in some activity. This week, we doff our respective caps to our middle child, Christina. I always thought that Mary Margaret and I were so clever when it came to celebrating our birthdays while on the far side of the International Dateline. Being on the other side of that dateline meant that we could celebrate our respective birthday twice each year! The first time was during the day of our birthday while on our boat, the second time was the next day which would be the actual date of our birthday across the dateline back in the US. This yields two special meals, eating birthday cake two days in a row, and being treated special for these two days. Actually, Mary Margaret tells me that she treats me special everyday but this is an ongoing discussion that we have all year around (LOL).
Apparently, Christina has learned well from us because this week she outdid us by having her birthday celebrated three times this week. I hate to admit it, but I guess she can teach me a thing or two after all!
Mary Margaret made Christina a special birthday dinner of killer lasagna, Cesar salad, garlic cheese toast and chocolate chip chocolate brownies, covered with dark chocolate frosting and ablaze with flaming candles. It was a fun dinner and we all sang to her "Happy Birthday". That was on Wednesday, March 11th, the actual day of her birth. Her second birthday party was a few days later on Saturday, March 14th. This time, her husband's parents, Peggy and Jim and their youngest son, Mark, were able to come over and they had made their traditional birthday meal of homemade enchiladas (cheese and chicken with cheese). Mary Margaret had reserved for this day making Christina her favorite birthday cake of two layers of yellow cake, a custard center layer and chocolate frosting, again all ablaze with flaming candles. A second round of "Happy Birthday" was sung to Christina.
Now, I must admit, Christina was perfectly happy with one celebration, was exquisitely pleased with the second celebration. But was beaming with glee the next day when we once again sang her "Happy Birthday" and presented her with her birthday present and a card from us. You see, we had forgotten to bring her gift and birthday card with us the previous day. Thus, somehow, she received three birthdays celebrations instead of the usually one. I guess you could classify this as a birthday week!
To round out our week, we spend this last Tuesday with Peggy and Jim at their house talking and playing cards all day. It was great fun and we all enjoyed it.
As you can see from Dave's blog last week Dave and I "split-up" for the weekend! I went to San Francisco with Christina to see Heather and attend Allison's wedding shower. It was wonderful seeing Heather and Allison and David again! We have not seen each other since we left in mid-January. It is fun seeing them more often while being on land.
Friday night we had Allison and David come over and have dinner at Heather's house with us. It was so much fun. We were able to talk and laugh and enjoy each other's company. It was so special for me because all three children were together laughing and telling stories. Great fun!
Saturday, was another beautiful day in Northern California. We have had amazing weather this trip - sunny and warm. It just does not get better. We three ladies (Heather, Christina and I) dressed and went for a lovely breakfast prior to going to Allison's shower.
After breakfast, which was very tasty, we drove for a half hour and arrived at Allison's good friend's mother's home. It was a beautiful home. The landscaping was amazing and the home itself was wonderful. That was only the beginning because the company was the best ever! Allison's friends were all welcoming and gracious. The shower was a lovely success and the afternoon was spent laughing and enjoying each other's company.
The next day we had to say good-bye and come back to Tucson. Now we got to celebrate Christina's birthday! We have not been together for her birthday for many years. I think since she married in 2009. So we went BIG! On March 11, we went over to Christina's with dinner and one of her gifts. She requested her menu and I complied. She wanted my homemade lasagna, salad, garlic bread and homemade brownies with frosting for dessert. It was great fun singing to her like we did when she was little! We love birthdays and love to celebrate with family. It was a great evening and so much love was around the table with grandchildren, Children and us to share it all.
All in all it was a great week - until we speak again...
03/07/2015, Tucson, Arizona USA
Last week Mary Margaret wrote about our love of the desert. One of her points was that this love is so ironic since we mostly live on the water and we are so passionate about our life on the sea. We simply dread the day when we can no longer sail the seven seas and must return to living again on the land. In preparation for that eventual day, each time we return to the US to visit family and friends, we research and explore options. Most options just do not excite us much. This is understandable since our current lifestyle is so exciting and satisfying. Just about each day living on Leu Cat is an adventure and when it is not, we simple weigh anchor and sail off in search of the next adventure that is waiting for us at the next anchorage. Plus the passage to the next anchorage is an adventure in itself.
In addition to seldom being bored, living on a boat with the goal of sailing around the world also offers a number of other aspects that cements our love of the sea. Such aspects include having to be in tune with nature since the wind and seas dominate our attention and various courses of action that present themselves to us. Another wonderful aspect of cruising is that you have plenty of time to contemplate life: both what has transpired in the past and what awaits us around the next corner. This contemplation occurs while we are passage-making since sailing across the seas presents the most remarkable environment in which to let the mind wander. The swells cresting the ocean; the flying fish that burst out of the water and graceful sail over the waves only to disappear again into their mysterious environs; the clouds drifting overhead in a constantly changing kaleidoscope of shapes; the dynamic wind which puffs from shifting directions and with variable force; the daily rise and fall of the sun and the nightly swirling of the stars as they move overhead. It all is a constant reminder that we are just one of the many creatures that make up this world we share and we are so trivial in the context of this universe that we live in. It also lets us put life and what it presents into a perspective that we never envisioned while living on land.
Before cruising we were so focused on the daily rigors of life: work, bills, and the interactions with kids, friends and neighbors. At times it seemed so complex and busy that we lost focus on the really important stuff. These included such things as letting our loved ones know how much we love them, letting friends know how important they are to us, and keeping in perspective how fragile life is and how quickly things can change due to forces that we cannot control. All things that we took for granted since our lives were so busy and impacted.
Once we started sailing, the clocked slowed down, allowing time to take measure of the important things and to really appreciate how fortunately we are. ..
If you can't tell, I am now alone right now since Mary Margaret has flown back to San Francisco with Christina to be with Heather and to attend our "soon-to-be" daughter-in-law's shower. I miss my life-mate and have time to ramble on and on. I appreciate your patience in letting me ruminate and next week the blog will return to normal since Mary Margaret will be back and will be writing it once again.
While enjoying a Sunday breakfast with our daughter, Christina, and her family, we watched a family of deer slowly emerge from behind the scrub brush. They were eating the new buds that the recent rains had created. What a treat which made our day!
With the recent rains, the desert is starting to show off its beautiful wild flowers. Here are some desert poppies.
02/26/2015, Tucson, Arizona USA
We have lived on the water for the last seven years and totally love it. Therefore, it is ironic we also see a lot of beauty in the desert and we love living here almost as much as we love living on the water. We have always enjoyed our time in Tucson but we have usually accounted for it to be primarily due to our daughter and her family living here. But in reality it is because there is a lot of beauty here as well! We have had some rain this past week and it has made the entire desert green! The desert flowers are blooming so one can see lovely spots of pink, yellow and purple flowers dot the land scape. It is so beautiful and so surprisingly enjoyable!
In addition to the desert flowers blooming, we also watched a family of deer grazing on the new buds that are popping out on the scrub brush that is behind our daughter's house. We were in the backyard when the 5 deer cautiously crept out behind the brush one by one and watched us watching them as they munched on the new buds. We captured them with our phone's camera and will post them so you can see what we experienced. There is so much wildlife that lives here but they have learned to keep well hidden so it is difficult to see them.
This week has been a quite one. We have had some great "family time" with the kids (ours and theirs!), we had a lovely afternoon with Peggy and Jim (Michael's parents), danced and Dave played golf. We have adapted to land living but so miss Leu Cat! Dave will post some beautiful pictures of the beauty of this area and what we are privileged to see daily. Until we speak again...