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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
The Promised Photo Collage
September 6, 2007, 1:10 pm

Wow! Over a week since last posting! What have I been thinking/doing?

Plenty, I suppose, as evidenced by this collection of photos...

Picking up beloved sister at airport in totally rad rental vehicle.

Delivering beloved sister promptly to ocean so that she can dip feet in the Pacific and the Atlantic all within one week.

Joining beloved sister in water that has waves.

Look! It's a wave!
I refuse to divulge how many eerily similar photos we now have.
Thank heavens we live in a digital age.

Me, rinsing sand and a very earnest Buddhist whom I had no idea was behind me at the time.

First ever drive by beloved sister in the totally rad convertable.

First ever ride by beloved sister in the totally rad dinghy.

Return of said beloved sister in totally trashed dinghy.

Actually, not too totally trashed. Just a little seam separation. Nothing a little Gorilla Glue won't cure. A tiny bit of advice for other boaters - skip the Shoe Goo and just go straight for the Gorilla Glue. You can see the results of the Shoe Goo around their ankles. Yes, that water is calf high and the gas tank is floating.

So there, now you're caught up on the first, ummm...two days, maybe? Goodness!

Busy times...
A Few Nice Things...
September 1, 2007, 10:17 am

this morning since I have the chance to post BUT I sent the camera with the card in the waterproof case out in the dinghy pictures available! Darn! The coordination is lacking this morning, I guess. I think it comes from splitting the same amount of coffee between three people when we are used to splitting it in two. It is a theory anyway, a caffeine deprived theory perhaps, but a theory just the same! ;)

Let's see, first off I've contacted Tim at SailBlogs about the difficulty people have been having leaving comments here, his response:

The comments system has been getting hammered by spammers over the past two weeks. There is a block in there for ip addresses, and as these get tagged it is affecting other users (i.e. if an IP address of a main system, like AOL, gets tagged). I'm working on a slightly smarter system that does not have such blanket blocking. I have to do it carefully, tho.
This is not really related to the maintenance we're doing, but rather a spike in traffic that is occurring for a few blogs.

Thank you so much for emailing me and letting me know there was comment trouble happening!
Hopefully Tim will be able to hammer out the slightly smarter system in no time at all! Think hammocks, not blankets!

Dear, nice, Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight awarded the Nice Matters Award to me this week!

A (slightly modified) description of the award:
"This award is for those who are nice people; good friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our world."

I am going to break with tradition a bit here and award this Nice Matters Award to some real, close to me, people - Hal, Marianna and Veronica! It has been a very nice week so far, we are all still alive, no one has been deep-sixed and very few if any tears have been shed!

They truly deserve this award and if you want to play along grab a tape measure and mark out a 35 ft by 11 ft space that is kinda pointy on one end. Stand in that space with three of your nearest and dearest loved ones and imagine moving all your possessions into the space with you.

Nice really does matter in a situation like this!

Now, just for fun, when I was over at By Sun and Candlelight to grab the Nice Matters button I went ahead and took the Accent Quiz I found over there and the results were scary accurate for this Denver-born and California-raised girl!

What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on

Western. Like Midland, Western is another accent that people consider neutral. So, you might not actually be from the Western half of the country, but you definitely sound like it.

I hope your Labor Day Weekend is off to roaring start! Hopefully the camera will return and be filled with exciting photos to share! Stay tuned...

Please Welcome
August 28, 2007, 6:00 am

Our newest Crew Member!

Today we are off to Fort Lauderdale to pick up my sister Veronica, who will be joining the crew of the S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen temporarily, until she finds a vessel of her own!

You may recall she spent her Senior Trip with us earlier this summer, what we didn't share at that time was that she spent allot of time helping Hal work on boats and showed an innate mechanical ability as well as a definite work ethic that is stellar in the Florida Keys! So inspired was she, that she proposed a business partnership to Hal, who after much consideration, accepted her proposal.

So not only will we be gaining a 4th person into our 35' home, but a business as well!

If you live or are passing through the Florida Keys and are having problems, or simply need some detailing done on your yacht, drop us a line!

Navigating the Changes
A picture that I really like taken by Marianna, photographer extraordinaire!
August 27, 2007, 7:13 am

In this on-going discussion of Changes aboard the S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen that I've mentioned every now and again, today I want to share a major change that may be happening in my life.

I've been asked to work! Not by my husband but by MWR (Moral, Welfare and Recreation). I blew it off as a joke for the longest time, who ever heard of a company asking a person to fill the job? I thought you had to apply and fight off contenders and such. But, evidently MWR works differently than school systems do. ;) So I did eventually fill out their application as they literally placed it in my hand one day and I've now been told that they will be calling this week for the interview. So, I do not have the actual job yet, but I am in the running as it were, and as the folks I'd be working with are announcing to everyone that I'll be starting soon, I guess I now feel that I could mention it here.

So what is the position that I may be filling?

Bartender at the Navigator's.

You read that right! The little beachy bar and grill here at the marina is losing one of its bartenders as he is shipping out for Afganistan soon and I just may be replacing him.

Have I mentioned that I have never in my life held a job similar to this?

And that I'm just a tad nervous about it?

But it is really the most ideal job I could ever imagine. Great pay and tips, the shortest walk to work, it is not Duval so everyone who comes in will be either active duty or retired, Marianna can hang out on the beach or inside. No problem there as she probably spends more time at the Navigator's than Hal and I combined do! She is quite excited about the idea, and the fact that I will be the one giving her 'Free Water' now! "Lots of ice, Mom, if you please!"

I am feeling confident this week about the job, even the regular patrons have been told that I'll be the replacement so I feel like I may just have the job. What I am not confident about is the fact that I may be working during a certain football night. When I asked Hal if this was the game played with the black and white round ball or the one played with that brown oval-ish ball his eyes got a little twitchy for some reason. ;)

So I may need to run through a crash course on football! The last time I watched a game the people in the room with me were wearing orange and blue and the dude kicking the ball didn't have a shoe on even though it was snowing on the field. Oh, and the quarterback didn't own all the car lots in town. And we didn't win that big game even though we tried like, three years in a row. So it has been awhile.

I'm open for advice.
Football or Bartending advice, both will be fairly new to me!

Do you ever have one of those nights?
August 24, 2007, 9:25 pm

Everyone has had a bad night...Sometimes you wonder "What did I do to deserve this?"
You know, one of those nights where one of the foil wrapped corn on the cobs rolls right off the grill? Only because the grill has been listing to the bow about 1 degree every night since cooking began on this particular grill.

But our grill is positioned over water.

So then you grab the boat hook since you can't find the boat net and start trying to either balance and lift it or, alternately pretend it is a golf ball and the neighboring stink pot of a power boat is the putting green...

When in one instantaneous moment the boat hook is snatched out of your hands and the foil wrapped ear of corn disappears?

And then your dear husband turns to look at your shocked face and grabs the cherry red lid to the listing grill and drops that lid overboard?

And after that splash you look around for your daughter (it is instinctive) and find 3/4 of her body hanging off of the cement dock as she reaches for the boat hook...

which she just happens to grab...

and hands to you, who calmly hoses the salt water off the joints in the boat hook and sends the girl, who has rinsed her hands in the hose after all, below decks for the big knife to slice one of the remaining cobs in half?

Dinner was delicious and the company was even better.

P.S. We're thinking Barracuda but the totally cool thing is that the foil wrapped ear of corn never surfaced again! It ate it whole!

P.P.S. This has been co-written by all three members of the crew of the S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen and is not a gripe session but rather a commentary on how we prefer to live our lives. We could have gotten extremely upset over so many of the happenings of tonight, the lost corn, the hook, the freaky barracuda, but rather decided to look on the positive side and share what we had and rejoice in the fact that all three were gathered around the table enjoying fabulous food.

Peace and Fair Winds,

The Crew of the S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen

Breakfast of Planners
The fuel for this conversation, white peaches, black plums, a scone and cappuccino - lots of cappuccino!
August 24, 2007, 8:03 am

I know I've been promising huge posts regarding changes coming up here on the S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen so let's talk about one of these changes - Our Schooling.

Which after much (much!) deliberation is actually a non-change or perhaps it would be clearer to say, a change-back.

Confused yet? Boy I was for awhile! Paralyctically confused and caught in a downward spiral of planning. Each morning I would wake up and grasp a new idea and by afternoon have an entirely new year laid out for Marianna - seriously!

I now have extensive plans for a Lord of the Rings Lit-based study, a Medieval study with pertinent books marching across our virtual shelves in accordance with our time-line (can't read a book out of order, can you?), a Lord of the Rings unit study emphasizing the Medieval and Christian themes contained within, blah, blah-blah, blah.

Actually the last four words is exactly how I felt about the whole thing. I'd scribble all these ideas down quickly, quickly, quickly and then start thinking about how this would look in a typical week, knowing that no week is ever going to be typical this year. What were the first things to be written in my planning pages, the ones that truly excited me and didn't fill my head and heart with dread?

Art Studies
Nature Studies
Science Experiments
Plans for Handwork and Crafts
Liturgical Teas
Field Trips

Very CM, right? Why cut out the things that filled us with joy? If the "wheel" on this "school bus" is rolling along just fine, why reinvent it?

Why indeed, I wondered, was I feeling this overwhelming urge to change things up when I was so very happy with how things were? More importantly, Hal and especially Marianna, were happy too.

The conclusion I reached?

Now don't laugh, you Moms of older homeschooled kids, but I have a Seventh Grader this year. Last year she was a Sixth Grader and I could pretend she was in one of those schools where Sixth Grade was still part of Elementary school. But this year - we've moved up to Junior High, baby! I panicked and froze just like a deer caught in the high beams of an on-rushing car (better make that a semi-truck, a Mack semi-truck).

Not pretty at all, much less beautiful.

I decided it was time to plan less and listen more. I began by looking through my own blog and keeping my eyes off others' work. I bravely asked input from the ever present girl looking over my shoulder and I tried to really listen to what she said as we reminisced. The things she remembered and the things she had wanted to do that got swept under the carpet received mental stars next to them on my planning list, the list that was shaping up to look very similar to the one I shared above.

If those were the things we really enjoyed, how in the world did they end up on the cutting room floor in the first place?

I began to think in terms of fitting our "basics" around those items. But before I could do that I imagined the worst day possible, one of those days where the outside world sticks it's head in the hatch and hands down it's own list of things to do that day. When such a day happens, whether it is full of chores in town or hurricane prep, what would I consider a successful schooling day? Reading, Writing and Arithmetic easily jump to mind.

When I began to plan from the standpoint of these three things and these three things alone for everyday I found that Writing was easily worked in with the items we loved and missed. As a single example, our Art Studies follow Penny Gardner's example of oral narration on Monday, sketches on Tuesday and Wednesday and written narration on Thursday. Could a similar base be found for the other days of the week too? The answer, of course, is YES!

That left Reading to cover for the basics. I could easily brush this off with the comment that you've never seen such a voracious reader...but I really do want to challenge and encourage my voracious reader and I think that is best described through a quote of Charlotte Mason that I found inspiring enough to use as the title to my 4th post on this blog.

"Education is a life; that life is sustained on ideas; ideas are of spiritual origin, and that we get them chiefly as we convey them to one another. The duty of parents is to sustain a child's inner life with ideas as they sustain his body with food."

Grand ideas, life sustaining ideas, ideas that are of spiritual origin. If I look at our book list for this year with this as my criteria and recall how when we followed a purer Charlotte Mason Term we implimented a slow reading of a few chapters a day of selected books and the resultant exchange of ideas, the discussions this sparked, the excitement when there was time to digest what was read, and anticipate what was coming, it makes me quite eager to return to this style of reading versus the gulping of many books. Plus - as a little boater comment - the thought of toppling towers of books again makes me seasick! We don't really need to read every book the library has on a chosen subject, so this year I am committing to going deep, not wide. I'm thinking the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, not the Platte River!

Oh and Math? That was easy, we're Saxon people. My mathematician of a father chose Saxon for us girls when we homeschooled and I see no reason to change that for Marianna especially since she thrives on it. Math we can leave well enough alone with one addition - Living Math Journals.

Now that I've yammered on much too long, I thought I'd share some things that were helpful to me in this time of pondering and thinking once I could look at other's work and not turn as green as one with mal de mer.

The conversation on Nuturing Beauty over at 4Real and Elizabeth's blog posts on Rhythm and Beauty and Creativity.

Leonie's posts on a Swallows and Amazon's Childhood and her Unschooling and Planning Series were very helpful.

Lissa's Rule of Six and the resultant Carnival that exploded last year also her concept of Tidal Homeschooling.

Penny Gardner and the ABC's of Charlotte Mason are two of my quick and dirty go-to sites when I need a quick refresher course on CM.

As a little exercise to end this post, which originally wrapped up in quite a wistful manner, hoping to one day write my own Rule of 6, I instead buckled down and committed myself to coming up with 6, right now, not this afternoon or next week or the first day of school opening exercise but right now. I mean I already had 3, surely I could come up with 3 additional ideas I would be happy with and you know, I did!


And then because I can't leave lists alone, I played around with it trying to make a word or a pattern or a poem and came up with FARWEB which will do for now. Hmmm...a FAR flung WEB bracketed by Faith and Beauty might not be a bad Rule of 6 to have as we raft through the deep canyon of knowledge this year!

Do you have a Rule of 6 this year?

Charlotte Mason
Life and Maintenance
August 22, 2007, 9:02 am

First I want to apologize for my silence the last few days, two things brought that on:
* Life
* Server Maintenance by SailBlogs

The later is promised to bring about new and improved, better than ever hosting and the former will hopefully follow suit! Yep!

The Life category and all the exciting changes that will be taking place is deserving of its own, lengthy, post so be on the lookout for that in the next week or so!

Now, on to a few of the exciting things that have happened recently in the on-line category...

First, dear inspiring Theresa at LaPaz Home Learning (slight change to the name) has tagged me with the lovely to behold Blogger Reflection Award.

The description of the award:
"This award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, or have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy... of knowing them and being blessed by them."

Thank you, Theresa! This award means so very much to me coming from a person who daily inspires me!

Now for my part of the bargain, sharing the wealth, as it were. But first I really want to highlight something Theresa said so very eloquently in her post,

"I am so glad to get this opportunity to slow down and think about what a blessing my online friends are. I live in an area in which my particular demographic is a rare bird. I often feel isolated and alone IRL. So I turn to my virtual friends, who are in fact more real support to me than anyone IRL , with the exception of family."

She has hit the nail on the head. As some of you may know, my sisters and I were (and one still is being) homeschooled and I have a very hard time recalling any homeschooling friends of my own, much less other moms who homeschooled for my mother to be friends with. The lack of community we felt then compared to the warm and rich sense of community today brings tears to my eyes.
Thank you, one and all!

After that how in the world am I going to choose only 5 bloggers?

Alice at A Number of Things for stupendous ideas like the Traveling Art Journal which arrived aboard the S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen this past weekend!

Marjorie at Lettres de mon Moulin for inspirational nature posts and bilingual beauty.

Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight for being an organizational whiz with the best ideas who doesn't mind sharing those afore mentioned ideas on-line, in person or through snail mail!

Elizabeth at Real Learning for starting this amazing community of gracious homeschoolers and continuing to inspire us with beautiful thoughts.

Susan at More Than We Can Imagine is a grand IRL friend who has the perfect plan for the new school year after observing how much kids want to go through anything that comes in a mysterious box on your porch!

There! Five bloggers tagged! Five bloggers whom I find very inspirational and encouraging.

Now on to my next cool on-line thing that has happened this week, if you are interested in homeschooling please drop in on Kim at Starry Sky Ranch who hosted the Loveliness of Back to School Fair on Monday. So much food for thought by those 33 women in what must be the largest Loveliness Fair yet!

I've also been pondering ways to Nuture Beauty in our lives and what that might look like translated to our lives on our sailboat.

Good late summertime thoughts for the heat of the day! Much better than obsessing about the latest storm!

ETA: Yes!!! I went to Wunderground to link to a system off the Bahamas and found no mention of it! Love it when a storm dissipates! Made my day. :)
Living Lives of Loveliness
The Most Absurd Use of Thread Award goes to...
August 17, 2007, 9:38 am

the maker of these pants!

Check out this nice pocket from the interior of the britches. Looks normal and even slightly reinforced perhaps. Right? Right???

Perhaps it just happens to look that way from lack of use as the back pockets have been sewn shut! What earthly good does it do to insert nice pockets and then neatly sew them shut?

My crafty girl got out her seam ripper and set down to unpick the single seam preventing these pockets from fulfilling their destiny.

5 minutes later - usable pockets!

Boating Girls
August 11, 2007, 11:36 am

Marianna and her friend have been having loads of fun taking her friend's little brother out for dinghy rides. I never know when there will be a bump on the hull and voices from the water calling for Marianna!

At the first call, up the companionway she'll dash and drop down over the side into the dink and off they'll race. Well, race is a relative term, the motor is a 2.5 Hp so putt might be a better word!


Didn't get this posted yesterday, life got in the way! Marianna spent alot of time swimming and boating with friends instead. Lots of fun.
These Dive Tables? Not such fun.

Day Ten
The 10 Objectives for today:

1. Tell how long it takes for the body to become saturated with nitrogen.
2. State how saturated nitrogen is released from the body.
3. Explain why divers complete dive profiles after a dive.
4. Define "surface interval"
5. Explain the difference between actual and total bottom times.
6. Explain what is meant by a repetitive dive.
7. State the surface interval between dives that would cause two dive to be treated as a long single dive.
8. State the length of time that must elapse before you can assume there is no more residual nitrogen, according to the U.S. Navy Tables.
9. Name the type of diving not appropriate for sport diving but about which you should be familiar for safety's sake.

(Hint - the answer is decompression diving and yes, I think we're familiar with the concept! LOL!)


Those Dinghy Barracuda!
August 9, 2007, 3:23 pm

Wow! Who needs coffee after an experience such as this morning's!

While reclining in the cockpit with our respective mugs of mud, Hal and I heard muffled cursing and not so muffled splashings over at the dinghy dock. Being rather unusual we decided to investigate and found one poor old cruiser dancing in his dinghy with a barracuda swimming around his feet!

How did such a thing happen?

As a fish head was also found in the dinghy along with the barracuda we are guessing the barracuda was chasing the fish and followed it right through the air and into the boat where dinner was then served!


Day Nine
The 10 Objectives for today:

1. Name the nitrogen problem that causes divers to act illogically or unsafely when at depths below 100 feet.
2. Name at least two symptoms of nitrogen narcosis.
3. Name the gas that is essential for life at sea level but can become toxic under extreme pressures.
4. Name the normally inert gas that, when it comes out of solution, results in decompression sickness.
5. Define bottom time.
6. Explain why diving at a high altitude may increase the risk of decompression sickness.
7. State how long a diver should wait after his or her last dive before flying.
8. Describe one of the reasons recompression is used to treat decompression sickness.
9. Explain why pure oxygen should be breathed by the diver suffereing from decompression sickness.
10. State the maximum altitude at which diving is recommended using the U.S. Navy Tables.

No swimming today, it's time to volunteer at the Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens again!



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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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