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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
Messing About in Boats Stole
November 7, 2007, 2:40 pm

"The mole and the water rat had been up since dawn very busy on matters connected with boats and the opening of the boating season; painting and varnishing, mending paddles, repairing cushions, hunting for missing boat-hooks, and so on . . ."

"In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter.
Nothing seems really to matter,
that's the charm of it.". .

"There is nothing- absolutely nothing-
half so much worth doing
as simply messing about in boats."

If you would like your own "Messing About in Boats Stole" take one long rectangle of a scarf and whipstitch along one side, approximately 1/3 stitched, 1/3 open for the neckline, 1/3 stitched. The second open side could be whipped closed but Marianna prefers hers open for ease in rowing.

Add one small rowing skiff, two oars and a dash of water for the perfect Kenneth Grahame inspired stole.

Please visit Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight for more Lovely Handmade Gifts inspiration!

All Hallow's Eve, the real photos
November 7, 2007, 7:37 am

Hurray! We have the photos from camera number 2 this morning! To continue documenting a fabulous All Hallow's Eve we'd have to start with Elizabeth of Hungary (hungrily) in the Kitchen.

She distributed delectable caramel brownies to poor starving Chief Petty Officers at the Mess. Yum!

While Veronica the Glamorous challenged them to vigorous games of Shuffleboard and Ping-Pong.

This photo is so Maid Marian of Robin Hood, who is playing Lady Cluck, I wonder?

And finally the photo you all have been waiting for - the pumpkins aglow!

Quick and Busy Update
November 6, 2007, 1:18 pm

I seem to have little time to write these days, work and 4 people in a tiny space suck that spark of coherent thought right out of me but I thought I'd share a few photos from last week, busy week that it was!

Pumpkin carving went swimmingly well as DOLPHINS were sighted while the carving was going on. They were uninterested in the sprinkling of pumpkin guts cast inticingly upon the waters though.

A self portrait

Mass with the Bishop in the Grotto Cemetary on All Souls Day. Our favorite part of the Mass? The homily where he was retelling the story of Bernedette at Lourdes and it began to mist rain (liquid sunshine, you know) right at the miraculous spring portion of the story. Lovely.

Then we were off to volunteer at the Tropical Gardens where the Autograph Trees are at their most spectacular right now.

There. A brief journey through one week. Many parts are missing, photos of the pumpkins lit and the costumes on, for instance, and the fact that Key West has been invaded by Parrotheads with lots of great free concerts and 5 Squadrons are flying incessently, but the fact is I have to hurry up to the Bathhouse for a shower and get to work SOON.

Stop by for a Cuba Libre if you're in town! I'll fill in the details...

Duo of Autumn Photos
October 26, 2007, 6:21 am

First up, the new and shining braces that are now an integral part of Marianna's life.

The late afternoon treat on the first overcast day of Autumn. We three can now highly recommend

*Pumpkin Spice Latte (Pumpkin pie in a cup)
*Pumpkin Hot Chocolate (yummy but hot for that little bear)
*White Hot Chocolate (like marshmellows without the bother of

chewing for Goldilocks)

Do you have a small change of season treat or tradition you look forward to?
Autumn Analyzed
October 13, 2007, 9:39 am

A meme for a rainy day. We are under a flood watch with more rain coming up from Cuba. This grand meme is from the ever creative Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight. Marianna's answers are in italics, mine are not.

When does fall begin for you?
Autumn begins around October 1 for me, the nights are cooler, the storms that blow across the islands are spectacular. I have the urgings to light candles again as the sky darkens and the lightning flashes.
Autumn begins when the days get cooler and more wind and storms come through.

What is your favorite aspect of fall?
I love so many things about my favorite season: the changing leaves, the crisp air, the shorter days. And I really love the return to routine after the summer.
Down here we don't get the changing of leaves, which is really sad, so I like all of the family time and baking when we find an oven. The smells of Autumn too are a favorite part of mine too.

What is your favorite fall memory?
Clambering on the rocks at Castle Crags in Colorado, a perfect Fall day under that blue Colorado sky.
Baking with family or just hanging around talking about last year and the year before that and such things. Especially when they are tales of your parents and grandparents.

What do you like to drink in the fall?
Apple Cider is the perfect Autumn drink, hot or cold. I have relatives who'd throw a cider making party every October and nothing tastes so good as a cup of the freshest of ciders you just helped press.
Hot Apple Cider! Mmmmm. Delicious!

What's your favorite fall food?
Chili and candy corn!
Thanksgiving - all traditional.

What is fall weather like where you live?
Hot and humid, lots of rain with the occasional cool breeze after a downpour.
The lowest temperature we have ever gotten down here in the Keys that I remember was around the lower fifties, upper forties and that was in December I think.

What color is fall?
Earth tones with highlights of vibrant oranges and reds.
Greens, blues, and yellows. ( Plants, ocean, and sand!)

What does fall smell like?
Spices, crisp apples, woodsmoke when we cross bridges.
Cinnamon, baking, and the occasional chiminea burning merrily!

Holiday shopping in fall: yes or no?
No! I'm a wait for the very last moment shopper as the recipients of my presents can attest! I really should change that but I'm afraid that my entire family would have a simultaneous heart attack if packages arrived right after Thanksgiving.
Depends. We do our shopping in bits and pieces.

If you could go anywhere in the fall, where would you go?
Colorado, the plains for cottonwood leaf piles to jump in and then a drive through the mountains culminating in a picnic on Rabbit Ears.
Kansas City to see Michelle again.

What is your favorite fall sport?
Sports? I am so un-sporty. Do they have competitive level yoga under a blazing maple tree?
Horseback riding, and hiking.

Do you have a favorite fall chore?
We don't really have a chore that we only do in Fall.
What she said.

What is your least favorite thing about fall?
I miss the warm feeling of flannel shirts under the sun.
I don't have one.

What is your favorite fall holiday? Thanksgiving Day, such a wonderful day for family, food and fun!
All Hallows Eve. The day before All Saints Day.

What's your favorite kind of pie? pies of all kinds! Deep dish, thin galettes, apple pies with raisins or cranberries. Yum!
Apple, Pumpkin, and rhubarb!

What was your favorite Halloween costume?
A slithery green mermaid with ropes of pearls caught by my hard hat diver of a husband.
Of all that I've been my favorite would have to be when I was a Black Puma.

What was your favorite Halloween candy?
Since I consider chocolate a primary food group, I'd have to go with candy corn!
Dark Chocolate! Preferably Dove.

What was your least favorite Halloween candy?
Bit O'Honeys always enticed me in as a kid - oooh! Honey candy! Immediately I'd find my jaws sealed together, utterly gross.
Everything but dark chocolate. Ick on it all!

Which do you prefer, the Farm or the Fair? Fairs seem like a summer thing to me being from the West, so I guess I'd have to go with the Farm though I'd much prefer an option like the Woods as my favorite Farm memories are away from the icky barnyard and out in the Woods.
The Farm

Do you have a favorite fall book?
Blossom Culp books by Richard Peck are a must read right before Halloween. One of the first books I recall making me howl out loud with laughter!
Tasha Tudor. She has done some incredible books!

How about a favorite fall poem?

I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell;
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights
around the shore.
(Dante Gabriel Rossetti)

No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, November!
(Thomas Hood)
I think that is the funniest thing I've ever read! It makes me laugh everytime.

Autumn Wreath
October 12, 2007, 9:59 am

Ham wreath, that is!

Veronica has been enjoying having a full galley, er kitchen, at her disposal and turned out a fabulous dinner last night.

Her recipe, with adaptations:

2 pkgs pop-em crescent rolls (scary!)
1 1/2 cups diced ham
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 1/4 cup shredded swiss and cheddar, mixed
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 egg white, for glazing

Unroll crescent dough and arrange triangles in a circle with points out. Combine ham, green onions, 1 cup of cheese, mayo and pepper in bowl. Scoop onto crescent dough. Top with tomato and remaining cheese. Wrap points of crescent dough over filling, tucking under wide ends of dough in the center of the wreath. Brush dough with egg white and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

The adaptation part? Original recipe called for 10 ounces frozen spinach which we forgot to buy. If it was included we would call it a Ham Florentine Wreath, not an Autumn Wreath!

The verdict? No leftovers means it was highly successful and delicious. Two thumbs up, Veronica, yum!

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Busy Autumn Times
October 11, 2007, 10:25 am, An update:

Have we been busy? Why, yes we have! In the last few weeks on the health front we have had one Root Canal, one minor surgery and 5 teeth pulled and braces on.

Marianna pulled a wire out last night eating a strawberry. The orthodontist is only in Key West on Thursdays and Saturdays. Do I stick it back in (am I supposed to? I tried and it was not successful but I can try again) or make the 100 mile trek on Saturday? 100 miles, you say? What is she talking about?

We were hired to house and pet sit in two locations 100 miles apart, originally not at the same time, but their plans changed to the same times. So we girls are watching two kitties in the Upper Keys while Hal is walking two dogs in the Lower Keys. For people with Island Fever who detest driving I think I'll be spending quite a bit of time behind the wheel in the next few days as Hal and I are switching locales on the weekend. I work weekends, you know, and he doesn't.

Simple plans that become not so simple.

Other news to share?

Veronica received her CAHSEE, or California High School Exit Examination scores the other day. How'd she do? Well, she did all right I suppose.

She only set the new record for the highest scoring student Oakview High School has ever had.

That translates into a 440 out of 450 in Math and a 450 out of 450 in English. Not too shabby! We are so very proud!

This has since opened up new paths, including something called instant admissions at a few universities back in CA including Humbolt U which is a fabulous looking place that has a great program that she is very interested in. So she is thrust back in the middle of a huge decision making process.

So yes, our Autumn has been fairly busy!

Hello Autumn!
October 3, 2007, 10:35 am

Happy October to you! It's Fall!

With the lack of 4 seasons here in the sub-tropics we declare October and November as the Autumn months. December and January are Winter, followed by the Spring months of February and March leaving everything else to fall under the broad umbrella of Summer.

So after 6 months of heat we were quite excited to see the cooler month of October arrive. That's rather tongue in cheek I'm afraid, as most days are still hitting 90, but the mornings are cool enough to go for a walk, a walk that is pleasant if you're back by 9am!

Which fits in perfectly with something else that October signals the beginning of - school! Yes, our formal tablework began on Monday. This week is a fairly light review in all subjects and shockingly every day so far (okay, two days and hopefully today) we have managed to cover all 6 items in our Rule of Six!

That makes me absurdly happy.

As does the fact that Mixologist won in my impromptu poll last week! And as much as I'd like to stick around and chat a bit more, I've got lunch and school and work tonight on my plate for today!

P.S. In the stores new produce is appearing with the change in seasons too. One of the most unique is the larger red scaled fruit pictured at the bottom of my journal above. Has anyone tried a Dragon Fruit? I think it is also called a Pitaya. Any hints on eating it?

Mixologist, Cocktalian or Bar Chef?
September 24, 2007, 10:46 am

I got the job! Hurray! Doing a happy dance here! You do know you can dance on a sailboat, right? LOL! We do all the time! Great practice for crowded dance floors, actually. ;)

Anyway, I've put in three shifts now, my regular times will be Saturday Night, Sunday all day and then floating throughout the week.

Don't you love the cool picture? My dear sister, Michelle, got a little crafty and pasted me behind the bar in a happening Kansas City joint. You can read the article online at the Kansas City Star. This very informative article has led me to quite a dilemma, what shall I call myself? Bartender is obviously so-o-o-o last century. Mixologist, Cocktalian or Bar Chef are a few of my favorites now, so help me decide!

Vote today in the comments and thanks in advance!

September 19, 2007, 12:29 pm

Marianna and I were super excited to take Veronica up to the Everglades last week, we were certain she would love it being the bird loving gal that she is!

We'd last visited the Everglades in late January during the height of the birding season. This trip we saw fewer birds and smaller gators and no 17 foot long bulls, thank heavens! But we heard some interesting things this time. So let's begin, shall we?

This is the start of the Anhinga Trail, nicely paved or boardwalked the entire way. I personally like it best when we get to the elevated boardwalk part as I like walking over the gators better than beside the gators. Just a personal preference. ;)

Could it have something to do with this sign perhaps?

Or the fact that this particular alligator

Could be gotten much, much closer to?

Sorry for the slight blurriness there, especially after the last post about our favorite photographer. Could have had something to do with me turning around and screeching at her as she was stretched out on her belly hanging over the boardwalk trying to get a good photo. Just maybe I startled her?

Here's my style of nature observation. A mango-like tree beside the boardwalk.

Or how about a nice lily?

Okay, so this Raven was pretty neat but not quite as neat as...

this Limpkin! This is the first time I've seen one and I'd love to hear its call. It was one of the featured bird songs that was left in the old Tarzan shows that were filmed in Florida. You can hear the call here on Cornell's All About Birds site.

Even though we didn't hear the Limpkin call we did hear the alligators' mating calls, very deep grunting noises and as we were leaving the boardwalk for the paved trail we heard baby gators chirping!

So cool.

Nature Study

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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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