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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
My New Favorite Chicken Salad
July 7, 2007, 2:26 pm

My new favorite chicken salad is my new favorite precisely because it is so very easy. It also stores well in the cooler where it is currently residing beside a lovely chilled Reisling for tonight's over night sail.

In a large ziptop bag combine:

1/2 cantalope, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 mild red onion, sliced
1 pkg cooked chicken breast

When ready to serve open a bagged salad (we like Asian or Caesar) and squirt the dressing over the chopped items in the ziptop bag. Mix lightly. Serve over the lettuce.

CBS Early Morning Show
July 5, 2007, 3:04 pm

So very bright and early this morning after the late night fireworks on the Fourth of July, Marianna and I found ourselves on Mallory Square to watch the filming of the CBS Early Show. This summer Dave Price is traveling across America in an RV visiting unique places.

Can you get anymore unique than Key West? Check out the high wire juggler in the background, a Mallory Square Sunset regular for years and years!

Why all the police in this shot? To show how wierd we Keys folk are, they were all carrying fuzzy pink handcuffs. Nice touch, City Police!

The Save Our Chickens Lady was there with Red Rover her Rooster. Personally, I think it is a shame that we have to pay 75 cents for 6 eggs when all these darn chickens are running around laying eggs all over Key West. Certain stores used to pay local kids to collect eggs but people became horrified at the thought of eating eggs from chickens who run around free and a stop was put on that practice. Much better to ship in eggs from chickens living in cages in Colorado than to eat local free range eggs.

Okay. Sorry for the rant. People are just so disconnected from their food in today's society and it can drive me nuts!

It was just too, too early for these dancers, poor guys. They'd go and sit on the ground untill called over and they'd shuffle around blowing on their whistles untill the CBS boss lady said they could go sit down again.

But not to worry, it all ended on a sweet note - free Key Lime Pie for breakfast! Look at all the people leaving the madness of the filming and stream over for a cool slice of heaven - so delicious.

And yes, that is a Captain Outrageous Truck in front of the Key Lime Pie station. Captain Outrageous passed away this winter, so Todd and Sandy - I hope you still have your bicycle! What a collectors' item!

You can check out several videos filmed this morning on Mallory Square at this link.

Staying Cool
July 2, 2007, 4:41 pm

If you want to see how your loved ones view you just let them make a Meez of you. Quite interesting, and oddly accurate - from my anklet and messy bun right down to her always hoped for Pocket Parrot - as in "Mom, you'd look great hanging out in the garden at Finnegan's Wake with a parrot on your shoulder!" I was even doing a bit of a Samba untill she found these groovy dance moves, I have been informed this is just how I look on the dance floor!!!

Of course, these things are great for planning future careers too - check out Marianna, off to help the natives!

HT: Elizabeth

June 26, 2007, 8:10 am

Coffee is my best friend today. I won't even tell you how many cups I've ingested so far this morning.

Returned my sis to the airport yesterday - super sad to see her leave! Had a wonderful drive home over the Overseas Highway until we hit Big Pine Key after dark. Due to the Key Deer one has to coast through the place at 35 miles an hour after sunset. I'm fine with this, I don't mind gliding through the town.

But after Big Pine last night spitty, intermittent rain began with blinding lightning over the bay and I reached that state of tiredness in which each bolt seemed aimed directly at my reddened eyes.

We made it home, but were up before the sun this morning to return our rental car (we don't generally take our Conch Cruisers to the mainland) by 7:16am. So un-Keysy like to have our rental car lady (named Winsome, by the way) so insistent on 7:16 in the morning but we obliged her and I'm certain avoided additional hourly fees by doing so.

Now, how much caffeine will it take to make me feel as sunny and perky as this pretty little flower that is blooming all over Key West currently?

Home again, home again...
Jiggety-jig! We're practicing our jigging for the world's longest Cuban Conga Line on Friday Night - from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico right down Duval Street!
June 21, 2007, 6:33 am

Another bee-yoo-tiful morning in the Florida Keys! Can you see the rainbow arching down to the left from the towering cumulus with virga falling?

I've been tempted to have a second blog devoted to nothing but the sunrise and/or sunset daily. My favorite times of the day!

Marianna and I are back and have been for a few days, but we brought a stowaway with us!

My newly graduated 1st-in-her-class sister came to Key West for a bit of a Senior Trip after an intensive school year, so we've been doing a bit of intensive relaxing - LOL!

So I'm off to brew another cup of java for her, though I may have to pull her out of the water to give it to her. This one loves snorkeling! Especially in our warm waters - 80+ degrees last measure - along the wall by the S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen where the blue tangs and a mystery angelfish hang out. Anyone able to ID an angelfish with yellow on the bottom and purple on the top?

Happy Birthday, Mom!
June 16, 2007, 5:58 am

Happiest of Birthday Wishes, Mom!!!

San Francisco and Sea Lions
June 14, 2007, 6:04 am

The Golden Gate Bridge on a lovely sunny day. Actually, to tell the truth, I don't think we have ever been in San Francisco when it wasn't filled with sunshine! Sunshine and WIND. Man, that is one windy town!

First stop just has to be Fishermans Wharf for great seafood, right?

While walking the docks to see the sailboats we were thrilled to see this little guy. So neat! We followed him down the docks and around a corner and...

were shocked to see this! Wow! I can totally see how these critters can sink a boat now!

This is not the Caribbean!
June 11, 2007, 3:02 pm


My single pair of pants came in handy this week as we explored the Pacific Beaches along the coast.

Marianna approaches the Pacific...

and dips a toe in.

Sand dunes are terrific!

Cliff lined beaches full of agates are perfect for windbreaks as well as beachcombing.

A harbor with not-very-many sailboats.

Wow! It's a wave! The Keys have zero waves, so this is quite exciting.

Certain people in our party thought this a very odd place for a Channel Marker - LOL!

But were thrilled with the "Sealion Show" offshore at 5pm daily.

A magnificent time!

The Loveliness of Taking Meals Outdoors
June 4, 2007, 1:28 am

The Picnic

We brought a rug for sitting on,
Our lunch was in a box.
The sand was warm. We didn't wear
Hats or shoes or socks.

Waves came curling up the beach.
We waded. It was fun.
Our sandwiches were different kinds.
I dropped my jelly one.

~Dorothy Aldis

Welcome to the 25th Loveliness Fair! Are the skies clear outside your kitchen windows this Monday morning? Are the birds calling joyfully? The well watered flowers are blooming madly here and we are eager as can be to be outside with them as soon as our feet touch the ground in the morning!

Lisbet, who is looking smashing this week at Joyful Chaos, agrees! Two of her little ones enjoyed oatmeal in jewel-toned bowls on the veranda in Mother, it is such a beautiful morning!

Alice, one of the most beautifully creative women I know, shares a must read post, Picnic Time, at A Number of Things wherein she shares a very practical and very lovely printable for planning picnics as well as several dainty, yet utterly useful items from her well stocked picnic basket.

Marjorie, who scatters the most amazing photos throughout Lettres de mon Moulin, shares A Woodland Picnic Feast with us today. She inquires, "Do you have a party coming up? Make it a picnic! Eating en plein air adds an indescribable pleasure to a meal. Fresh sardines grilled over an open wood fire, succulent figs plucked from the tree, wild grapes harvested from forgotten arbors along the shore, handfuls of still warm blueberries and tart, icy lemonade - all taste better out doors."

Cheryl, who usually quietly expresses herself at My Thoughtful Spot has written a A Monkey Poem that simply begs to be chanted as loudly as can be! It brought a wide grin to my face with it's sprightly rhythm.

Dawn, who will be hosting a Late Spring Field Day this Thursday, shares a few Alfresco Memories to alleveate the unseasonably chilly and wet weather she has been experiencing at By Sun and Candlelight!

Jennifer, who speaks the truth in An Afternoon Tea in the Garden, reminds us that "Summer fruits are much more enjoyable when eaten outside in the June garden. The ripe peaches were warmed by the sun and the iced tea was perfectly refreshing on the first day of truly hot weather. " She chose the most beautiful Music and Entertainers for the tea with her daughter at As Cozy As Spring.

Roxie, at A Natural History Home shares her homey spot in the great outdoors. In Taking Meals Outdoors she states, "We truely are an outdoors family be it meals or as you see much lounging seems to go on as well!"

Suzanne, has made Gladdest Hours one of the most inviting outdoor areas I've ever seen. How has she done this, do I hear you asking yourself? She will set your questioning mind at ease by telling you that It's all about the tables!

Phoebe has shared a delightful tradition, White Light Dinners, with us. She writes:
My favorite thing about having a backyard is the possibility of white light dinners in the summer. The first time we did it, it was a very sudden and spontaneous occurrence. It was at the end of a very long ordinary day, and that day was at the end of a long string of days like it. My husband had been perfecting his technique of cooking inexpensive steaks on our outside grill, and it suddenly occurred to me to go out side, to stay out there and eat and to just bring the baby and the highchair with me. So out I went before reason could convince me otherwise. We sat together in chairs at a little table we had sitting on our patio for plants mostly, but our plates fit on it, and the baby seemed happy enough with the change of scene. Eating 'al fresco' is one of the finest pleasures in life! Why not enjoy it on a regular ordinary day? As we sat, we realized we needed fewer insects and more light, so we lit the citronella candle and came up with the miraculous idea of stringing white lights around the patio. As quickly as it was done, our back yard and our evening and our dinner turned into a romance. A vacation. A place of peace and inspiration and joy even. I think we may have had a bottle of wine. Or maybe the soft summer night air and the little white lights sparkling around us just made made it seem worthy of a bottle of wine in my memory.

We finally had our first white light dinner in our current backyard at our new house. It was just as spontaneous as the first time we did it. I just saw an opportunity and sprang for it. The kids were playing outside, the sun was about to start setting behind the trees, and there was a card table. We set the card table in the grass beyond the patio and the crape myrtle trees. I was making an extremely easy dinner of pesto pasta and garlic shrimp and I had a bottle of wine. Out to the card table it went. Plastic plates for the kids at their little table and real white stoneware dishes at the 'big' table. my parents who live across the street graciously assented to dine with us. I lit sandalwood sticks to scare off the mosquitoes who are also so fond of that hour of the day, and we lit a torch of citronella oil as well. When my Dad arrived, he had the honor of stringing the white lights between the two crape myrtle trees for our very first white light dinner. We could only see the lights as the sun set lower and lower, but they added a magical quality to the air as their white contrasted with the deepening golden pink of the air around us. Sitting out there on the green lawn with the children playing and the wine bottle on the table and the sparkle of lights in the trees around us, we could easily have been a big family on hillside in Tuscany. It has always been a secret ambition of mine to become such a family. Now all I need is a pergola adorned in grapevines.

Thank you for joining me this day for the Loveliness of Taking Meals Outdoors! It is my hope that your time here was enjoyable and you will find inspiration. My heart is filled with gratitude for the lovely and patient women who participated in this Loveliness Fair and especially my sister, Vanessa for the images you see here today!

Please mark your calendars, the next Loveliness Fair will be held by Paula at A Catholic Harvest in honor of Fatherhood on June 18th!

Let us find ourselves enjoying life to the fullest this seson by embracing the loveliness of the outdoors, even at mealtimes.
As Okakura Kakuzo wrote so memorably a century ago in the
Book of Tea,
"Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea.
The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos,
the fountains are bubbling with delight,
the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. "

Living Lives of Loveliness
Now accepting entries...
for the Loveliness of of Taking Meals Out of Doors!!!
June 2, 2007, 11:10 am

This has become one of my favorite times of the day. A bracing cuppa java and the local paper on the porch as the scent of jasmine wafts by on the breeze! This particular paper still features a great Food section one day of the week. Would you believe I cut out my first recipe from this paper as a child? Amazing how little things change in this area after so many years!

Details on submitting an entry for the Loveliness of of Taking Meals Out of Doors here. Please help spread the word!

Living Lives of Loveliness

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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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