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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
Oxymoron Hilarity
July 31, 2007, 5:21 am

As I grabbed the bottle of BBQ sauce to jazz up our chicken last night, I glanced at the labels as I climbed up the companionway and burst out laughing! You see, I had purchased this new bottle very excitedly earlier in the day having never seen Chipotle (one of our favorite flavors) BBQ sauce before.

"Yum!" I thought, "That'll be different!" and into the buggy it crashed. I really should read labels more closely, don't you think?



Day Two
The 10 Objectives for today:

1. Name three types of protective garments worn by divers.
2. List three types of thermal protection for divers.
3. Explain the method by which wet suits keep a diver warm.
4. Namae three features that may be found in wet suits.
5. Describe the steps in donning a wet suit including pants, jacket, and hood.
6. Explain how to care for your wet suit following a dive.
7. State how to evaluate whether you are neutrally buoyant.
8. Name two types of weight belts.
9. Name the type of buoyancy compensation device appropriate for snorkeling.
10. Name three features you should look for in a BC.

Today when we get in the water we will enter the water with a Giant Stride, the Back Roll and the Controlled Seated entries.


Diving and the Seashore
July 30, 2007, 12:27 pm

Marianna and I are going to run ourselves through a SCUBA refresher course for the next month. You recall that last February we began our SCUBA lessons while Wyland painted. We are planning on diving much more frequently this Autumn so a little jogging of the memory would not be a bad thing!

I thought it might be interesting to share what we are studying each day, so look forward to a brief SCUBA update daily!


Day One
The 10 Objectives for today:

1. List main features of a dive mask.
2. Describe the difference between a low-volume and a wide-angle mask.
3. Properly fit a mask on yourself.
4. Describe how to equalize pressure with your mask.
5. Describe the difference between a full-foot and an open-heel fin.
6. Properly fit fins on yourself.
7. Identify two types of snorkel.
8. Describe how to clear a snorkel on a dive.
9. Describe when to use seated entries.
10. Describe when to use feet-first entries.

We will hopefully get in the water to practice the Flutter Kick, Scissors Kick, Frog Kick and the Dolphin Kick, four useful kicks that utilyze different muscle groups.


The Loveliness of the Seashore is up at A Wink and a Smile! Marianna, quite adamently I might add, insisted on sending in our Pacific Coast adventures.

Speaking of Pacific Coast adventures, have you been following the Cottage Blessings Golden Gate adventures? The memories! Sea Lions and the Bridge, Missions, and that cold, cold seashore! To think we practically crossed paths in the air!
Happy Anniversary!
Hal + Jennifer
July 29, 2007, 8:05 am

Where I love to be:
- sailing into the sunset at your side.
- actually, just make that, at your side.
- the sunset and I suppose, even the sailing, are superfluous but very nice additions.

Your Wife

To view a photo of our gorgeous rainy wedding in an herb garden, click here!

July 26, 2007, 5:42 am

Marianna and I are off for our weekly volunteer time at the Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens.

Do you and yours volunteer somewhere?

What are your best tips to make it a successful venture when children are involved?

Christmas in July
July 25, 2007, 8:20 am

It's July 25 and Marianna and I are thoroughly enjoying SIRIUS POPS Christmas in July programing today. Such a nice break from this heat and humidity! Snow angels here we come!

In keeping with the spirit of today I devoted a couple of pages in my journal to random thoughts of the Holiday Season. A few things that worked great last year and a few things that didn't, and mostly things I'm pondering for this year. Not very in depth at all - I'll save that for my Seasonal Planner!


Dawn has asked about other's Journals and Notebooks, so I thought I'd oblige as I'm in the midst of a huge planning spree right now - big, BIG changes are in the works - more on that in a future post! For now I'll stick with the journal I'm using for this summer.

But really, before I can talk about this summer's journal, I have to acknowledge the inspiration and that would go back to last Christmas and O Night Divine and that humble little planner packet I put together in a three hole folder with cute calendar pages (decorated by me!!!) and dividers for each of the weeks of Advent where I could quickly place an idea or recipe pertinent to that week that I'd ripped out of a magazine.

What with the move and travels and well, life, this entirely useful thing didn't make it past Epiphany even though I really liked it. What replaced it is a super cute Planner from Pier 1 of all places, that has been a great fit with our life. It is cute enough I like to see it around, therefore, it sticks around and is actually used! A few cute stickers sprinkled about help catch the eye for important dates, my mechanical pencil fits nicely in the spine and a few added ribbons for dividers finish this off in a most satisfactory way.

What is not available in this planner is a way to store those idea clippings or to write more than the briefest note for the day. I really enjoyed the space during the holidays to spread out and ramble and reflect on paper.

So out came a super cheap notebook - I'd tried beautifully bound books before and the perfectionist tendencies this brings out are scary - and I taped a favorite photo to the front over the name, address, blah, blah, blah part and a little clipping proclaiming News? over the scan bar. One personalized Journal, coming right up! It and the extras (scissors, tape, glue, pens) all slip so neatly into a gallon sized ziplock bag.

So what do I actually write in this? Well, today it was all about Christmas, of course! Yesterday was simply a listing of Ideas I'd been pondering for school.

Some days I may take two pages and paste in things related to an upcoming event - Our Anniversary! - other days a simple commentary on dinner.

Occasionally the same thing ends up in a blog post too!

It really is a simple way for me to be a tad creative about anything I desire! Now, the nitty-gritty homeschool planning gets its own binder and a potential future post too!
A Dip and a Stick
July 23, 2007, 5:24 pm

Remember those delectable mangoes? They have found their way into nearly every meal we've eaten in the past week! So very finger-lickin' good.

It was a close tie when deciding which was our most favorite way to eat mangoes so far (discounting plainly sliced as too obvious). What we are calling Ambrosia - mangoes, pineapple, strawberries, coconut - is very refreshing and a wonderful way to end a meal but the Mango Salsa won out in the end. Delicious and so very simple.

I have made a lot of Fruit Salsas in my day, some more successful than others, some much more complicated than others too! This one was simplicity itself and the taste was out of this world! How to make this marvel of mangoes? To one half of a tub of fresh salsa add one chopped mango.
The End.

Really. It was that easy! In case you haven't noticed in my foodie posts, I adore simplicity. (To view all posts about food click the lavender category words saying I'm all at Sea with this Recipe at the end of this post) This particular recipe is a new personal favorite as I believe a person can never consume too much fresh salsa and this one has fruit in it too!!! Gosh, we probably ate our full requirements for fruits and veggies before dinner last night! Which is rather embarassing in a piggy sort of way but mango season only comes around once a year, right?

Speaking of dinner...our second favorite recipe comes into play here. This one is so good it brought other boaters out on their decks hollering for just one taste. As if that wasn't evidence enough, they started offering items in trade. Funniest one had to be the big stinkpot power boater who offered rice. Rice?!? In exchange for this?
I think not!

Again simplicity rules. Take one skewer and poke it into the tail end of a shrimp. Add one piece of sausage (we used a cajun smoked) and poke the head end of the shrimp onto the skewer next. You have now encased the sausage in shrimp. Grill till shrimp are pink, unless you've used Key West Pinks, then grill till shrimp are firm to touch.

I really need a potluck or cocktail party just for these.

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Lightning Captured
July 21, 2007, 6:14 pm

After 71 shots, Marianna captured her bolt of lightning.

Nature Study
Mango, Mango
July 20, 2007, 12:15 pm

Do we have that luscious fruit on the brain!

A nearby tree has been dropping its fruit, and our arrangement with the traveling owners results in any ground dwelling fruit belonging to us while the tree hanging fruit is theirs.

Gazing at this basket of golden globes made me remember a poem I'd heard forever ago with the line: ...there was a season when mango is king. Thank you, Google, you wonderful facilitator of knowledge, you led me right to Valerie Bloom's poem Two Seasons. But not just any old copy of the poem but rather a fabulous audio recording Valerie Bloom made for Poetry Archive in 2000.' de sun turnin' de sea into a hot bath,
an' de grass bake so dat it crackle like parchment
under yuh foot; when de beach dem crowded
wid folk cooling off; de season when mango is king.


We do not have the usual seasonal markers, fireflies for mason jars in the summer? 'Fraid not. Ironed autumnal leaves in waxed paper for fall?? Nope. Snowflakes??? Don't be silly! That is why finding seasonal poetry addressing our seasons has filled me with joy today! Make sure you click through and listen to the entire poem. Think of us while you listen, her descriptions are spot on.

And where in the world have I been that the Poetry Archive is only now entering my radar screen??? What an amazing source! As Basil Bunting said on the Home page: "Poetry, like music, is meant to be heard." I am going to enjoy investigating this site! Lessons, interviews, poems both written and read...if only they had recipes!

What would you do with a basket of mango gold?

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Rainbow of a Meme
July 13, 2007, 9:08 am

Over our busy, busy summer I've been tagged for I don't know how many memes - and responded to basically zip! So sorry, dear people!

So this morning I thought I'd make all right in the world and do one single mass posting of all my missed out upon memes.

But I didn't.

It was stressing me out. Don't know why, but there you go.

To solve this I went ahead and hit delete on that particular massive post and delved into my potential post pile and pulled up this winner from who knows where and goodness knows when to share with you today in place of all those other cool memes.

1. Closest red thing to you: Gingham Dish Towel
2. Last thing to make you angry: A Key West parking ticket - grrrr!
3. Do you have a temper: One that I hope doesn't come out to play very often.
4. Are you a fan of romance: Of course! That would explain my excitement over the new Premiere Issue of Victoria, wouldn't it?

1. Closest orange thing to you: A sarong.
2. Do you like to burn things: Candles -yes. Bonfires - yes. Dinner - no.
3. Favorite orange food: Mango
4. Are you usually full of energy: Occasionally, entirely dependent on coffee intake that day!

1. Closest yellow thing: Lemon Joy dish soap (so far it sounds like I'm camped out at the sink in the galley with my laptop - not true, I assure you!)
2. The happiest time[s] of your life: Each and every time we three are out in a boat and we cut the engine and begin sailing - the silence, the wind, the water gurgling past the hull - it all makes me very happy.
3. Are you a coward: A coward about what??? Bugs - not really. My child leaping along the edge of the Black Canyon - perhaps!
4. Do you burn or tan: After 5 years in the Keys I am more tan than I've ever been in my life. Mostly I just burn and freckle which has made me obsessive about sun protection.

1. Closest green thing to you: Black Beak, our stuffed parrot mascot.
2. Do you care about the environment: Yes, I do.
3. Are you jealous of anyone right now: S/V Dream Catcher, just back from the Bahamas.
4. Do you like being outdoors: Oh yeah! What can you do inside that isn't made 10 times better by being outside?

1. Closest blue thing to you: Coffee cup with coral reef and leaping humpbacks on it.
2. Do you like the sea: LOL! I think I just might!!!
3. Are you a logical thinker: I think I am, but my husband would probably disagree with that.
4. Can you sleep easily: Not as easily as my dh, never seen a person fall asleep so quickly in my life!

1. Last purple thing you saw: Two swim noodles that are meant to be cut up as chafe gear for our Sunshade.
2. Do you like mysterious things: I like knowing there are secrets in the air, Christmas packages being whisked out of sight, whispered plans...
3. Favorite type of chocolate: Very dark but truffley soft in the center.
4. Do you like music: What an odd question. Do I like music? I guess I don't think of it that way. Music is like breathing - can't exist without it!

There you go! Now ya know several more random things about me! Let me know if you "meme" along! And if you don't, believe me, I'll understand!

So We Were Out Sailing the Other Day...
July 10, 2007, 2:25 pm

In someone else's boat, an Erickson, actually. Can I just say how much I love being hired for a job like this?

Okay. On with the "job" then.

First image, a cat in the distance steaming in as we are departing our channel, when low and behold! We recognized them! It was a family with 3 kids Marianna's age from C dock, just in from the local sandbar, I suppose.

Continuing on our way, Marianna was on the bow, her favorite place to be when out and about. When what to her wondering eyes should appear?

(And yes, that is my cell phone being dangled so dangerously over the very wet sea.)

But a dolphin, of course! This one was super cool and very identifiable as his dorsal fin was rather jagged on the backside.

So why was he so super cool?

Because Marianna and I know that dolphins adore music. As we were not on our boat we didn't have the harmonica or recorders handy and so had to rely on the oldest music producing instrument - our puckered lips! We whistled arias until we were scarlet in the face but while we were whistling the dolphin would roll onto it's side watching us. If we stopped it would roll back onto it's stomach.

Too cool, don't you think?

Finally, just as the sun started getting gorgeous, the dolphin dove straight down and disappeared. A minute or two later it reappeared with 4 others! They didn't stick around long at all (good thing actually, our whistlers were about puckered out!) but swam tail slappingly off into the distance where they joined up with a secondary pod.

We finally looked up from the water and immediately spotted a very unique rainbow.

Kinda pretty, huh?

So in the eastern sky we had this pretty little rainbow going on and to the west...

this golden sunset was kicking things up. The clouds were phenomenal! Check out those individual patches of virga. Have you ever seen anything like it?

By this time we were sailing past Mallory Square, where we got to see all our favorite knife jugglers and flame eaters from the other side!

There was even a bagpiper.

Which was the perfect accompaniment to the setting sun. Jaw droppingly beautiful, in my opinion!

By this time we'd pulled into the anchorage between Christmas Island and Fleming Key, just off the Coast Guard Base and dropped anchor. A pesto tuna sandwich and we three were ready for bed.

Sleep comes easily with a sarong under your head and Scorpio in the skies above.

(And yes, that is a military poncho liner. She was chilled and the boat is owned by a military dude after all. All sorts of interesting camo things sprinkled about everywhere.)

Sunrise found us beating out of the anchorage eager to get to open seas...

and toss sails! This Erickson sailboat is a zippy one!

And the Viking Helmet? Love it!

Finally, just to prove I was there, a shot of me in my latest and biggest floppy hat. What a fashion statement!


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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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