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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hello August
August 1, 2010, 11:34 pm

I've missed this space. Haven't had much luck deciding what to write here any longer since it was a sailing homeschooling blog originally and I'm no longer sailing or homeschooling.

Without those two things defining me I wonder who I am?

Maybe I'll explore that here.

Wounded Warrior Project - Soldier Ride
January 20, 2010, 8:55 am

This past weekend we spent time with the Wounded Warrior Project - Soldier Ride meeting some wonderful heroes. The men were fitted for bicycles up on the mainland and then rode the Overseas Highway to Key West! We met up with them at the Chief's Mess on Boca Chica where they departed for the last leg of their journey, ending the ride at the USS Mohawk at the old Navy pier on the Truman Waterfront.

Later that day we went to Margaritaville where some of the best fun of the day was had. Check out this video.

Hal and Noah on the Chang Jiang. Filmed by Jessie Viera on January 17 outside Margaritaville on Duval Street.

One Small Change, January
January 5, 2010, 9:43 am

A new challenge for the New Year!

From Hip Mountain Mama: We challenge each of you to make 1 change each month leading up to Earth Day (April 22, 2010). It can be small or it can be huge, but all we ask is that you decide on something you will do to make a positive green impact and follow through with it. If you want to be a part of this amazing and life changing challenge, please see Hip Mountain Mama for details.

All right, so there are the general details for this New Year's challenge. Now for my details...

When we were living on the boat it was quite easy to be green. In fact it is rather hard NOT to be environmentally aware. When every drop of water you and your family will use has to be brought to the boat by hose or jug you sure don't let the water run down the sink while brushing your teeth or washing dishes.

However, we've been on land for 9 months now. I still feel that our footprint is much smaller than say, the neighbors who run the a/c with the windows open, but there is always room for improvement, right? Something that has been bothering me lately is the plastic grocery bags. On the boat we reused them as garbage bags but in the house now a different system has taken hold resulting in excess plastic bags. So for a little while now I've been trying to use these gorgeous reuseable bags.

Unfortunately, though they do get carried into the commissary they usually get tossed into the buggy and are not found again till I've sacked all the groceries that are sitting on top of them into plastic at the self checkout. Irritating? Oh yes. So for my first small change I am going to commit to using these bags as they are meant to be used - for groceries.

So if you see me shopping I give you permission to hold my feet to the fire, go ahead and ask if I remembered to bring these bags. Then remind me to sack the groceries into them! Remember, it's step two that I'm failing at!

Even the Holiday Spirit arrives here on Keys Time
January 3, 2010, 12:54 pm

Ooooh it is chilly today! I don't think we'll hit 60 degrees...

Epiphany presents under the tree, thanks to Veronica and Joe...

Mannhiem is still playing...

I'm still stitching a Christmas ornament...

Why does it feel more like Christmas today than 10 days ago?

Happy New Year/Decade!!!
January 2, 2010, 7:19 am

So, what did the first day of the new decade bring for you? You know whatever you do on the first day of the new year shows promise of what your entire year will bring, right? So imagine how important the first day of the new decade is! What did you do today?

I ate fabulous food cooked by my hubby...

Oh wait, first I worked and worked till 4 in the morning from the party at the Nav...

Then slept till 8am...

Then ate fabulous food cooked by my hubby!!!

After that we took off for the Mari Hal-O-Jen and cleaned the heck outta the aft cabin...

Fun drinks at the Chief's Club...

And finally...
Collard Greens and Mudslides with friends (cause if ya gotta eat greens ya gotta wash 'em down with something yummy!)


I'm thinking that this year/decade shows better promise than the year we woke up and rushed to make java for family and the coffee pot exploded grounds over the entire galley - what. a. mess!!! That year all I did was clean-clean-clean. From the first day till the last. I'll take excellent food, drinks and friends instead!!!

I Hope the New Year Brings...
January 1, 2010, 6:30 am

Beach days.

Time on the water. Kayaking, sailing, motoring, even floating would work in a pinch!

Time in the water. More diving would be awesome!

Friends and family. Old and new, from away and nearby.

Inspiration. Writing, photography, and art - what a block these past few months.

It Dawned on Me...
November 18, 2009, 12:38 pm

...that some people haven't seen our costumes!

Natasha Fatale:
"We are looking for Boris Badenoff, I have a present for him."
Fearless Leader:
"I have captured Moose and Squirrel!"

Hanging with Wyland down on Duval.

The house was properly defended for the evening. Our sentry swore to "Take charge of this post and all property in view. Walk the post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing."

Sauce Boss at the Green Parrot
November 16, 2009, 7:54 am

Spent time down at the Green Parrot, they always have the best music on the island. In fact - in what is, to me, a hysterical recommendation for this blog - Playboy magazine has named the Green Parrot one of the top 20 bars in the USA.

We were down there to hear the Sauce Boss. You may know him from a Jimmy Buffett ditty -

"The Sauce Boss does his cooking on stage
Stirring and a' singing for his nightly wage
Sweating and a' fretting from his head to his toe
Playing and buffetting with the gumbo
from "I Will Play for Gumbo" by Jimmy Buffett (2000)

Me, a photo by Hal, waiting for that gumbo to simmer.
Mmmmm-mmmm good!

Key West High Homecoming
November 14, 2009, 8:25 am


To answer a question I received - The band really does have a uniform, they just don't like to sweat in it.

Formations and everything!

Those Conchettes kicking up a storm.

And there was football involved, I promise! I just got distracted by the terrific food they serve up here. Full on Cuban Pork Dinners with rice and beans and plantains, conch fritters are a given, of course, homebaked desserts walked through the bleachers by glittery Conchette girls... and just chilly enough to wear jeans and have it feel like Autumn.

I love Key West.

Veteran's Day Parade, pt II
November 13, 2009, 10:00 am

The full photographic exhibit - minus old cars (Marianna and Hal's interest) and any kids not in NJROTC (Brownies and Boy Scouts mostly, they all look terribly worried in still photos, must be all the guns present on Duval that afternoon!) with apologies for any mislabelling (I'm not military and Marianna and Hal are both out of the house so I'm making it up as I go).

The review stand - Dan, photogenic guy, the Skipper and Sir Peter Anderson of the Conch Republic.

The two Army guys from Hal's compound - R and SM.

The parade begins with the requisite wild eyed horse followed by loud bikes, I think these are from the VFW, perhaps?

Mike and Debbie from the marina.

The Joint Task Force Color Guard.

The Joint Task Force Platoon.

Coast Guard photo for our friend up the Keys a ways. They had the best flag, check out those ribbony bits!

The Coasties have boats, lots of boats, some of which can fit down Duval Street.

Hurray for the pipers who came from New York!

A snazzy Color Guard

And the Navy, row after row of blinding dress whites.

The Key West Marching Conchs, one of the best high school bands I've ever heard!

The Conchettes, which are not cheerleaders, or the dance team, or the flag team. They're Key West's version of The Rockettes.

Seabees, I think. We see them cruising just like this all over the island.

The Knights of Columbus

The one Navy vessel that fit down Duval.

A cool float...

...with a scary sniper. See why the Brownies scurried so?

And the Key West High School Naval Junior Reserve Officiers Training Corp!!!

Marianna with the rifle and her friend has the guidon.

Spinning rifles, note the blurry hands, they were moving!

The full NJROTC platoon.

And in the most brilliant parade move I've ever experienced, they closed the parade with the Fire Trucks rather than putting them right behind the band or the horses, which appear to be favored positions for the engines in other parades.

So. Terrific parade, wasn't it? :)

Happy Veteran's Day!

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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Who: Capt. Hal, Jennifer, and our daughter Marianna, a great photographer!
Port: Boca Chica
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