Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What We Do For Fun

I'm a little bit country AND a little bit rock n roll. And seeing as there is absolutely no rockin' or rollin' to do in Coshocton County right now I'm tapping into my other half! When my mom invited me to Amish country for a quilting retreat with her, I leapt at the opportunity.

We arrived to Mrs. Miller's Cabin in Charm, Ohio ( so quaint, right? ) on Friday afternoon and I knew I was in for a treat when I discovered that we had to pass thru a covered bridge to reach our cabin. And WHAT a cabin! Four bedrooms, two bathrooms, laundry room, living room and a huge kitchen all encased in beautiful hardwood. It is exactly the kind of place you want to go to retreat.

When the other 5 quilters arrived they began to re-organize the living room. I joked that this part of the day should be called, "When Quilters Attack," because the cozy living room was quickly dismantled and rearranged into a sewing paradise.

The next few days were filled with projects, laughter, sharing, good food and rest. I discovered that I don't like to quilt and would much rather hang out in the kitchen preparing food. My mother discovered that if I'm forced to share a bed with her I'm going to require that she be the little spoon.

Beyond the wonderful women that I met this weekend I think I was most appreciative of the experience  when Momma Barb was sharing a blue and red scrappy quilt with the group. She had assembled it with scrap material left over from this project for her son or that project for her cousin. She described where each little piece came from and that's when I realized that quilting is not just the insane act of cutting a perfectly good piece of fabric into little pieces to sew it back together again. Quilting is an art that tells a story. Sometimes it tells many stories at once. It is a way to piece together many memories and many people that are important to you.

A great big thank you to this group of crazy quilters for letting my join in the fun. May your stitches be straight. May your iron be hot. May your lives be made up of many beautiful pieces.

For more info on the cabin where we stayed visit

Quilters pack light...not...

Covered bridge to the cabin

My adorable mom!

Quilters Attack!

Quilt pieced by Deb

And quilted by my mom....impressive!

Mom, Gladys and Momma Barb


Living room? No more!

Momma Barb, Jackie, me and Barb at dinner

Caramelized bananas

Momma Barb's quilt of many stories

Breakfast! In Ohio we call it Mush. In CA we call it Polenta.

Shopping at Miller's fabric shop

Yay Chili bar!

Momma Barb lookin good!

Gladys finished this quilt over the weekend.

Mom at her machine.

Jackie working away

Momma Barb


This quilt is made almost entirely of 1" squares. Wow!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My 5 Favorite Things About Living on Land

After living on a sailboat for over a year, there are parts of living in a house on land that seem downright luxurious! There are, of course, many things I miss about living on S/V Malabar, but these five little perks of being a land lubber are making the transition truly enjoyable.

1. Toilet Paper 

3-ply! You heard me right! After 15 months of single ply, 2 sheet per visit limit I am reveling in the opulence of 3-ply toilet paper! A boat's waste system is temperamental on its best days; so to save yourself from a truly disgusting job you have to learn to make do with nothing more than a wisp of TP. No more! Squeeze that Charmin, baby!

2. Refrigerator and Freezer 

Yesterday I bought a 5lb package of bacon. Why? Because bacon is delicious, of course! AND I have a freezer! No longer do I need to buy small quantities of perishables. No more do I have to eat the same thing for all three meals in a day just so it won't go bad! No kidding, having a full sized refrigerator and freezer makes me feel like the Queen of England.

3. Baths 

I'm a girl who LOVES a bubble bath. LOVES! This was the #1 thing I missed while living on the boat and having it back in my life is incredible. As charming as community showers have been for the last year there is something outrageously opulent about not having to wear flip flops when it's time to get clean. Did I mention that these baths also include HOT water that doesn't require running your engine first? Yea, this land thing is pretty sweet!

4. No Tipping 

I no longer live in a constant state of stowing. I can leave a cup of tea in a china cup on the edge of the counter because another house isn't going to come flying thru my anchorage and send all of my belongings flying across the room in its wake. What a concept!

5. Laundry Without Quarters 

This is a true miracle. It has been years since I was able to do laundry in my own home without having to run to the bank for quarters first. I can do laundry and watch TV. I can pop clothes in the dryer and walk into another room and cook dinner. This might seem mundane, but it is truly amazing! These appliances of daily living save us so much time and having one in my home is awesome!

I love that I can appreciate these things that I once took for granted. Living without is a great way of seeing just how lucky we are to have these luxuries as a part of our every day life. Makes you realize just how good we have it!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Perks of Ohio

Choosing to return to Ohio for 6 months prior to re-establishing ourselves in San Francisco was the right choice. It has been so amazing to see my parents every day, hit the gym with my mom and have very few distractions from the tasks at hand. I mean, in SF I would be running to the park every day or going out sailing or visiting with friends. Here it is -2 degrees this morning. I don’t even leave the house unless absolutely necessary. Fewer distractions equals more productivity.

I am missing SF though. This morning all I could think about was a cup of Blue Bottle Coffee and I have given serious thought to having the Pad Thai from Lers Ros overnighted. (Wonder if I could use my Amazon Prime?)

But a recent trip to Columbus - 2 hours West of Plainfield - gave us a chance at a culinary treat that SF doesn’t offer, Schmidt’s!
Schmidt’s is a German restaurant complete with dirndl wearing waitresses and a sausage buffet. Come to think of it, Sausage Buffet could have a totally different meaning in SF, but I digress.

Sausage buffet....
Brats, knockwurst, sausage, two types of sauerkraut, German potato salad and more! Gorge on these German delights until you can’t move. They also have a salad bar, but why waste the stomach space? You don’t go to a place with a buffet to watch your calorie consumption!
Just when you think it can’t get better it’s time to split a Schmidt’s cream puff! This is what they are known for and while it was totally worth breaking my typically Gluten Free diet for a bite, I’m not sure it is humanly possible to finish one of these bad boys in one sitting. 
While the food was definitely good and the company even better (Hi, Trent!) Keegan and I were both left missing The Baltic in Point Richmond, CA. If you’ve never been it is totally worth the drive from SF.

Trent and Keegan
Many more Ohio delicacies await our consumption over the coming months. Trail Bologna. Pearl Valley cheese. The Amish Door restaurant - lard NEVER tasted so good!

The next 6 months may not include any Opera, flash mobs or bike rides over the Golden Gate Bridge, but we are truly enjoying this great opportunity to be with family, get focused on new careers and enjoy the flavors of Ohio.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Oh What a Month!

One month ago, 30 short days, we were on a boat heading north. After celebrating New Years with some fellow cruisers in Turtle Bay we spent an entire day running jerry jugs of diesel from the world's most dangerous diesel dock to our boat, then began our long, slow journey to Ensenada.

The 300 mile trip took us 51 hours when we were headed south, but traveling against the wind, waves and current resulted in a northbound trip of 62 hours. I'd be lying if I didn't say it was excruiciatingly boring and utterly exhausting. We arrived into port in Ensenada just before midnight. Thankfully, Ensenada has to be the easiest place to navigate of any of the marinas we experienced.

After two days of tequila tasting, Cuban cigar smoking and dress buying we again headed north and made the 12 hour trip to San Diego, our destination port.

After clearing customs, which was nearly comical in its cursory nature, we headed to Sun Harbor Marina and prepared ourselves for the work at hand.

We set a goal of two weeks to find a yacht broker and get Malabar all spiffed up and ready for the market!

Our tasks were as follows: Strip and finish all wood work on the outside of the boat, powerwash boat, re-paint transom (the butt of the boat) and accent stripe, buff and wax hull, make new covers for the outboard engine and propane tank, clean all stainless steel, fix burner on stove, clean inside of boat thoroughly.

Dawn to dusk for 11 straight days saw these tasks completed! In our free time we found a broker, sorted out details, found a permanent marina for Malabar while she was on the market and even did her first showing.

On the 14th day we packed our belongings into a rented Nissan Altima, said good bye to our dear Malabar and drove to San Francisco stopping only once in Los Angeles for a much deserved sandwich at Johnnie Pastrami's.

A quick visit in SF allowed us to drop off our belongings in a friend's closet and get hugs from some of our family before we packed up our clothes and hopped a plane to the arctic tundra which is Ohio.

And that is where we sit today in a small cottage behind my parent's house awaiting the predicted 12" of snow. From 90 degrees in the middle of rural Mexico to 0 degrees in the middle of rural Ohio all in 30 days.

We are using the next few months here to restart, to reinvent and to re-imagine what is next in our lives. After a huge, life changing event like 3 months at sea we think it is important to take some time and concrete all of the good changes you have made. It would be all too easy to go directly back to SF and fall back into old habits.

For now, we begin a new life with newfound courage and insight. I can hardly wait to see what comes next in our lives following Malabar.

Prepping the wood work

Check out those drop boards!

Our last picture with Malabar