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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
Tennis Time
December 27, 2007, 1:09 pm

With beautiful tennis courts on Boca Chica, Trumbo, and Sigsbee Naval Air Stations here in Key West we are so looking forward to playing loads of tennis with our new presents.

We got a great start this morning.

Even if we did spend alot of time shagging balls.

Gorgeous weather in the middle of a field of falcons.
(Really! The raptors were hunting right behind those two.)

Merry Christmas and come down for some tennis with us soon!

Christmas Morning
December 25, 2007, 12:05 pm

Merry Christmas!

We awoke this morning to this jaw-dropping pile of presents. Not that they all appeared overnight, oh no! The boxes had been trickling in all December and had been secreted away in vehicles for storage. We brought them on board at last on Christmas Eve and everyone immediately insisted that the pile was blog-worthy.

So this Bloggable Christmas Moment was brought to you by Hal, Marianna and Veronica. Oh, and me, the typist. ;)

The fun begins...

and continues...

'till we are left...

with wonderful Christmas Memories!

Midnight Mass, Florida Keys Style
December 25, 2007, 11:23 am

On this beautiful Christmas Eve we attended Mass at Saint Mary's, Star of the Sea in Key West.

During the Harp Concert before Mass

Veronica in the Ruskinian Doorways

Marianna by a palm tree

The Hurricane Grotto

Merry Christmas!

Our Faith
Happy 13th Birthday!
December 19, 2007, 11:06 am

Happy Birthday to the most fearsome Pirate Lass in the Keys!

Living Lives at a Frantic Pace
December 17, 2007, 9:34 am

Woo-Hoo! Sailblogs is back up from days of maintenance! Here's hoping it actually posts and doesn't send me off to error land again...

The snowbirds have arrived bringing their northern illnesses with them. First Veronica was down with a cold, then Marianna had her turn. 2 girls at the bar were out as well so I filled in - hurray for overtime!

Tropical Storm Olga, or the leftovers anyway, bashed into that front that has been rampaging across the mainland. We clocked 46 knots on the boat yesterday, all from abeam so we rocked and rocked and rocked and tipped things like guitars over the fiddled shelves but the Christmas Tree stayed perfectly upright.

Working all those extra hours curtailed a few of our December plans but we still made it to the Midnight Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was in Spanish and Marianna was rather disappointed that what they had advertised as the Icon of Our Lady was actually just the traditional image in a gold and silver frame. It was fun to follow along with the songs though and pick out words we understood, though I still don't know how they were saying Tepayac, not the way it looks!

Today I'm off for a lunch in town with my husband - very exciting! He is back home after 7 days of training in the PanHandle.

The View from the Beach
December 11, 2007, 7:35 pm

The masts and shrouds are filled with lights
'neath the waning of the moon
There's an air of celebration in the realm of King Neptune.


Exciting Eve
December 11, 2007, 7:11 pm

Our Jesse Tree is growing more delightful everyday (and fuller too!) Marianna was completely inspired by these Scandinavian Ornaments by Martha thus the black backgrounds and brilliant colors.

The sunset is breathtaking tonight and we've been invited for cocktails and appetizers on the T-Deck.

Instead we're going to eat Mexican food and decorate our boat and then attend a midnight La Serenata Mass at midnight to welcome the Icon of Our Lady Guadalupe to the Archdiocese of Miami from Mexico City. More info here and I, of course, will tell all tomorrow here!

Must go now as the tub of decorations is being lowered down the hatch and the no-see-ums are awful and the conchs are being blown!!!

P.S. Don't forget Alice's Tea for tomorrow. We are buying the goodies tonight before mass.

Our Faith
Unexpected Kitchen Science
December 10, 2007, 3:05 pm


Certain things should not be wrapped tightly in plastic and hidden behind the bananas.

Anyone care to place a guess as to what it was?

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Why you may need to repeat your drink order.
December 7, 2007, 2:48 pm

Oceana is back.
The planes began flying at 6:30am this morning.
That building you see under the plane?
The Navigator's Bar and Grill.
Who's working this weekend?
Friday night - me.
Saturday night - me.
Sunday night - me.
Conch Rum and Coke or Miller Light Draft?

Kitchen Science - Maia!
December 7, 2007, 7:22 am

As Marianna and I were walking through Winn-Dixie we noticed a display of many types of bananas in the produce section. One of our favorite things to do is taste test either different varieties of foods or new to us foods so we quickly came to the conclusion that bananas and plantains would be a great topic to address next.

Caribbean Plantain on left and Hawaiian Plantain to right

Now I have to pause for one moment to tell you how amazing this is. Marianna hates raw bananas passionately. This developed relatively recently, she claims she simply ate too, too many when she was a little tyke and she just may have a point there! As a toddler she named herself Nanna and since that sounds very similar to her preferred food at that time you can imagine a typical day.

Toddler in kitchen - "Nanna!"
Mommy at counter - "Oh! She said her name! What a sweetie!"
Toddler a little louder - "Nanna!"
Mommy, crouching down, starts cooing.
Toddler, reaching for bananas just out of reach on counter, starts screaming.

To avoid this many times a day senario, I promptly renamed that preferred food Maia, the Hawaiian word for banana since we were watching the totally cute Keiki Calabash 4 times a day at that time. You can hear a portion of the song featuring Maia here.

Demonstrating proper cutting technique.

Now I suppose would be as good a time as any to introduce two additional books we are thrilled to be using, 21st Century Cook and Big Snacks, Little Meals.

Caribbeans are flipped, Hawaiians are not.

The first is subtitled the Bible of Ingredients, Terms, Tools & Techniques and I think that is an accurate description! It is loaded with easy to find information, but the book is a decent size, about 8x5" maybe, so it doesn't take over the entire counter when you're working with it, very important in small places!

The second book is a fun cookbook written for older kids, as it says - "This is a book about real cooking, not some little kid's book about making PB&J sandwiches that look like bunnies. You'll start with fresh, basic ingredients, and put them together to make nutritious, substantial dishes." The recipes range from one entitled Ooey Gooey which I was pushing to try since it involved bananas, peanut butter, chocolate and marshmallows to Fried Green Tomatoes which is what we went with.

Green Tomatoes Frying and Spattering

Marianna's reasoning? If we're frying plantains the skillet will be hot so we might as well toss a few green tomato slices in too.

She's way too practical for me sometimes. ;)

Chef in the Galley

Kingdom Plantae - (Plants)
Subkingdom Tracheobionta - (Vascular plants)
Superdivision Spermatophyta - (Seed plants)
Division Magnoliophyta - (Flowering plants)
Class Liliopsida - Monocotyledons
Subclass and OrderZingiberidae -
Family Musaceae - (Banana family)
Genus Musa L. - (banana)
Species Musa acuminata Colla - (edible banana)

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!

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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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