Jan's Journal

Living and Playing in Chula Vista

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All the Gold in California
By The Gatlin Brothers
All the gold in California
Is in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills
In somebody else's name
So if you're dreaming about California
It don't matter at all where you played before
California's a brand new game.

Chula Vista Marina (our new home)

Sept. 19, 2004: We treated ourselves to breakfast and then did absolutely nothing all day! I called Elaine's friends and was able to get the car keys back, so we'll have wheels until Elaine returns in a couple of weeks. It was cooler, windier and cloudier than normal -- don't know if this was because of Javier, now a tropical depression. We checked into the Bluewater Cruisers Net in the evening and learned that Javier turned out to be a nonevent for our cruising friends who were huddled together in Puerto Don Juan. Most of them had taken precautions and removed sails, wind scoops and anything else that was on deck. Judy on Encanto reported that the strongest wind came from the sigh of relief from the captains and crew of the 30 boats in the anchorage. After dinner we had to put long pants and sweatshirts on to walk up to the RV park and the interior of the boat was cold enough that we closed the forward hatch. The outside thermometer read 72 degrees and it was 75 degrees inside! How quickly we've become wimps! Perhaps it's a good thing we didn't head north -- we would have frozen to death! We wished we'd put an extra blanket on the bed, but DC and Jerry helped to keep us warm.

Sept. 20, 2004: A very strange thing happened this morning; I received a phone call from Office Team saying they have a temporary job for me next week working for the director of the San Diego Airport. The reason this is so strange is because last week I told them I was headed north and wouldn't be available for local jobs. I had every intention of calling them today but they beat me to it. The job requires that I pass an FBI check so I have to go downtown tomorrow to pick up a form. Boy, I'd LOVE to see what Big Brother has on me (actually, I don't think they should have anything)! Jim noticed a crack in the fiberglass on the aft trunk cabin so he sanded the area and epoxied a new piece of fiberglass in place. In the early afternoon, Jim dropped me at the quilt shop and continued on to the Library to use the computer. I've designed a Christmas tree wall hanging and wanted to pick up a few more pieces of fabric. I learned that the local quilters guild meets the 2nd Weds. of the month and they almost always have a guest speaker. I'll have to check it out some time. Jim learned that the San Diego Ship Modeler's Guild also meets on the 2nd Weds. of the month. This is something he's wanted to do for years. We'd have a real problem if I wanted to quilt at the same time he wanted to build a model -- the galley table isn't big enough for two of us to play! Once we get a car, we'll have to flip a coin to see who gets the car on the 2nd Weds. of the month!

Little Grass Hut
By Brent Burns
The simple things in life are free
Complications cause such grief.
I remember how it ought to be
When havin' money was a pocket full of change
Real fun was getting to play in the rain
How I long for more simplicity.

Sept. 22, 2004: Jim spent the morning fighting with the State of Massachusetts. He had gone to the DMV to apply for a CA driver's license yesterday and they ran his name through a national directory -- it showed that he supposedly owed excise tax in MA from 1980 (not a typo!). In addition, the State of MA had revoked his right to drive in MA unless this bill was paid. He made several phone calls pleading his case; a couple of clerks were sympathetic but could do nothing. What it came down to was the State of MA turned the bill over to a collection agency in 1989(!). They claimed they tried to contact him, but he had been out of state for 5 years at that point. We are told to save canceled checks and our IRS returns for 7 years and this was 2 years AFTER that. Despite the fact that we lived in MA until 1984 and Jim continued to register cars and renew his license, which right there meant that he was innocent since he wouldn't have been able to do either if he'd owed money, the State was now saying he was guilty until he could prove himself otherwise, by way of a canceled check. We don't know many people who save their cancelled checks for 24 years -- in the end, he got 2 money orders and mailed them to the collection agency. One clerk suggested he had a case and should hire a lawyer and go to the Supreme Court -- unfortunately we don't have that kind of money and we have 3 months (legally) in which to get a CA driver's license. By the time it got to Court in MA, it would be well over the 3 mo. period and then we'd be praying we didn't get stopped and issued a $200 fine for driving on a Washington license. Our government...it makes Canada or Mexico look better every day. I spent the afternoon cutting out the pieces for my Christmas tree wall hanging and got the top two rows sewed together. Chula Vista is currently experiencing Santa Ana winds and it's VERY hot. Instead of the cool winds coming off the water, they are coming from the desert to our east and blowing hot air and dust. It's not comfortable, the boat is very hot and we aren't happy campers.

Sept. 23, 2004: A productive day, despite the heat from the Santa Ana winds. I taped off and painted the bow pulpit -- not a difficult job. Jim put a couple coats of epoxy on the aft trunk cabin and started repairing the shear rail on the starboard side. It was damaged when we were in the travel lift in La Paz. He discovered that the wood under the rail up along the bow is wet. To do a proper job, he should remove that rail as well and let the wood underneath it dry, but he's going to have to buy a long piece of wood to stand on in order to reach it. After lunch we walked over to "L" dock to check out our new slip. We're currently in a 42' slip and our new one will be 48' -- more space and more money. The dock box was filled with various power tools so we reported that back to Nancy. Don't know if the previous tenant left without them or another liveaboard is "borrowing" the box until the new tenant (us) arrives. Roxanne came over for a short visit and after she left, we put our bathing suits on and walked to the pool for an afternoon dip. Ahhh...it felt wonderful!

Sept. 24, 2004: Colleen called this morning and reported that she'd received her grades for this semester's classes. She got a 4.0 in one class and a 3.9 in the other. Way to go, Chickie! Jim and I are so proud of her ambitions and her ability to consistently do well in night school (she's going for her Masters in Psychology) when she's holding down a full-time job and trying to have a social life as well. Jim borrowed Ron's Explorer and bought a 14' board so he can continue working on the shear rail. He put a coat of paint on the aft trunk cabin late in the afternoon when it was in the shade. Our neighbor told us we shouldn't be starting any more projects because it was Friday. We told her when you don't have a job, every day is Friday!

Sept. 25, 2004: We had a pancake breakfast in the RV park and afterwards I headed out to do some grocery shopping. When I returned, I found Jim hopping from one project to another. He was busy sanding and painting the aft trunk cabin and once that task was done, he started working on the forward shear rail. We still can't figure out how the wood under the rail got damp, which is a bit disconcerting. We're thinking that we should put the port side shear rail removal on our project list. Removing the rail wasn't that huge a project (although we haven't tried putting it back on yet) and if doing so now prevents rot in the future, it's probably a wise thing to do. Nancy called and gave us the thumbs up to move into our new slip on Tuesday. We'd better get some money coming in real soon so we can pay for it!

Sept. 27, 2004: Doug, the marina manager, stopped by in the afternoon checking out the work Jim's doing on the shear rails. Apparently the marina owner had been walking the docks and seen our boat. They were concerned that we were doing major boat repair. We assured Doug that we were only rebedding the shear rail; he said he'd explain to the owner. It's a good thing they didn't walk by when we had the hole in the fore deck! According to the Port Authority, boat repairs are supposed to be done in a boat yard but from what we've seen walking the docks here, several boats are undergoing major structural repairs.

Sept. 28, 2004: We moved into our new slip shortly after breakfast and settled ourselves in. When Jim started the engine, DC "assumed the position" but Jerry never budged from his morning sleeping spot. A slip is a slip, but our new one is far away from the marina bathroom and laundry center. I think we're going to have to rearrange things on the boat so we can shower on board (the shower stall is filled with the kitty litter pan and a bunch of paper goods). I spent the afternoon at the San Diego Airport training with the girl I'm going to replace; it felt good to be away from the marine environment and back in with the working crowd. However, I had to keep reminding myself of my mom's words of advice: "Keep your knees together when wearing a dress!" I'm definitely out of practice! I had only a few minutes to relax once I returned home as I ran the evening's Women Aboard meeting. Eileen and Nancy put on a demonstration and we actually had two new ladies in attendance. I returned to the boat at 2100, totally exhausted but too wired to fall asleep.

Sept. 30, 2004: I've spent the past two days working full time. The job itself is boring but I'm taking advantage of the quiet time by brushing my skills up on the computer. Actually the hardest part of this job is climbing out of bed at 0545; the 2nd hardest part is putting on pantyhose and sticking my feet into dress shoes! My feet rebelled big time so I wore one pair of shoes on Weds. and a different pair today -- I need to try to minimize the number and location of blisters! Jim spent the day dealing with City Hall establishing his new company, Starfish Marine. He wants to get as much as possible in order before he leaves for Seattle tomorrow noon (for 10 days). We converted some of our Alaska Airlines miles and made reservations to bring Colleen down to San Diego for Thanksgiving -- I can't wait to see her again! I just hope I can find a turkey small enough to fit in our little oven!

Oct. 1, 2004: Jim and I had lunch together at the airport before he left for Seattle. We haven't been apart since last April when it was I who was in the Northwest having a great time, not thinking about Jim doing boat maintenance under the hot Mexican sun. He now gets to play while I work, either at a paying job or on boat projects of my own.

Oct. 2, 2004: The housework had been put aside while I was working during the week so I made that my first priority. My motto is "a clean boat is a happy boat." Well, Mañana may not actually be happy, but I am! After lunch I dug out my sewing machine and worked on my Christmas wall hanging. I took a break later in the day and briefly visited Eileen and Nancy, and Melinda called to see if I was lonely yet. Jim and I may not have a lot right now but we feel rich because of the new friends we've made.

Oct. 10, 2004: My last day as a bachelorette. I had a good week, alternating between boat work and quilting. My first paycheck arrived -- hooray! It will pay 1/2 month slip rental. I've been bugging Office Team to find me more work but I'm seriously thinking of applying with another agency. DC's been feeling his oats and has gotten off the boat several times. Don't know what's up with him but the last time he got off, he hopped onto the boat two slips down, scaring the little girl half to death. They tossed water at him -- he's lucky they didn't toss him overboard! He made a beeline back to our boat with his tail between his legs and didn't get off the boat after that!! Melinda and Monika insisted that I join them for dinner a couple of times. Melinda took the scenic route home one night, giving me a tour of the Hillcrest and Gas Lamp neighborhoods. Perhaps Jim, Colleen and I can explore the Gas Lamp area when she's in town. Restaurants and nightclubs were next door to one another and I heard a lot of good music from within a few of them. Jim called to say he can't find the box with our business clothes -- I could have sworn that I kept a few outfits. However, he is bringing back a couple of goodies. He's had a good time visiting with his folks, working on COHO with his dad and visiting Colleen, but he's ready to come back to the warmer (and dryer) weather.

Oct. 12, 2004: Happy birthday to me! We ran a bunch of errands in the afternoon; we opened a personal checking account at a local bank, picked up Jim's new business cards, and the foam paint rollers that were special ordered. I cashed in a bunch of savings bonds so we'll have cash when we go looking for a car, which had better be soon because Elaine'll be back on the 15th.

Oct. 13, 2004: Jim drove to Downwind Marine for the cruisers coffee hour and handed out some of his business cards. Dick and Dottie (Dunamis) were there and they talked with Jim about our trip north. Then he went and schmoozed at the Watermaker Store; you never know where your first customer will come from. I spent the time on the computer, applying for jobs online. I have an appointment with Remedy Staffing tomorrow. Office Team doesn't have enough work for me. After dinner we went separate directions -- me to a quilting guild meeting and Jim to a meeting for model ship builders. We both returned at 2100 and spent a while talking about our respective meetings. We both enjoyed ourselves and plan to join when the money starts flowing in. Jim met a man over in the RV park who builds ship models and they carpooled. I met a lady who has offered to take me around and show me the various quilt/fabric stores (very important)!

Oct. 14, 2004: Jim continued work on the anchor windlass wiring and then started epoxying the wood under the shear rail while I went downtown and interviewed with the Remedy Staffing group. I'm learning not to hold my breath when it comes to having temp agencies find work for me, but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. Shortly after I returned, Jim dashed off to check out a van in San Diego and I attended a seminar that the marina was hosting. No joy in the used car department tonight.

Oct. 15, 2004: Jim got a call from someone in the marina who needs help repairing the holding tank in his boat. He went over to take a look at the project and it appears he has his first customer! Hooray!! We spent the rest of the morning checking out used cars online. We made several phone calls but most of the cars were already sold; however, there was one car in San Diego at a used car lot so we headed out at noon. No joy once again. We filled and washed Elaine's car and then ran to the grocery store while we still had a car. Shortly after we returned to the boat, I got a call from Office Temp with a job next week at the W Hotel in downtown San Diego. It doesn't pay much but is more than I'll make sitting on my duff here. Jim started checking the internet for used cars again. He found a Volvo in Chula Vista that was more than we wanted to spend, but worth a look, so off we went. We test drove it and decided to make an offer. The owner didn't take our offer and we didn't have enough cash with us so we gave him a deposit and will return on Monday with the balance. So, all in all a good day...2 jobs and a car! We returned the keys to Elaine at 1930 and thanked her profusely for the use of her wheels while she was gone. The marina swap meet is tomorrow -- we're told to be up in the parking lot at 0600 with our merchandise if we want to sell anything.

Oct. 16, 2004: We don't like it when the alarm goes off at 0500! We made our way up to the parking lot -- it was already full of buyers and sellers. By 0800, we had most of our boat-related goods sold. I had brought along some of my quilting but it's apparent that quilted items don't do well at boat swap meets. We closed up shop at 1030 and returned to the boat. Jim called the Volvo's owner and asked if we could come by at noon to pick up the car. He was busy polishing the interior when we pulled up. We finalized the paperwork and I drove it back to the marina. Our fingers are crossed that it was a good purchase. At 1800 we met M & M at the RV park for the steak BBQ dinner, after which a band played country music until 2130. The food and music were excellent, the wine MORE than plentiful, and there was a good crowd. Our table was way in the back, which was just fine since none of us knew how to line dance. We had plenty of space to dance when we wanted to.

Oct. 17, 2004: We woke in the middle of the night to the sound of HEAVY rain pelting down on the trunk cabin. We both jumped out of bed and ran around the boat, closing the open windows and Jim moved the books out from under the window that leaks. We imagined a similar scene was taking place on all the liveaboard boats around us! This was the first measurable rain that San Diego has had in over 180 days!! Needless to say, the weather was a hot topic around the marina, with the locals happy to see the clouds and rain. The weather forecast indicates possible rain through Wednesday. In the late afternoon, I opened a cabinet and discovered water on one of our plastic bins, and our quilt wet. Guess we'll have to do a bit of investigating to see where the water came in from. Just add it to our "projects" list!

Oct. 19, 2004: It's been raining heavy on and off for the past 2 days. (It was raining so heavily that we dug out our bright yellow foul weather jackets.) On this morning's drive to the trolley station, Bay St. was backed up half way down to J St. We quickly turned around but it took us over 15 min. to go what should have taken us about 3 min. I've been working at the W Hotel in downtown San Diego -- it's supposed to be for one week but the HR manager has mentioned 2 weeks a couple of times. I'm not sure I could work there full time and keep a straight face -- the employees are referred to as "talent", their uniforms are called "costumes" and the HR Dept. is referred to as "casting". I am located way down in the bowels of the hotel; they like to keep the employees away from the guests. I think the room rate is over $200 a night, so Jim and I will never know what it looks like! Before we went to bed, and before it started raining again, Jim taped a piece of clear plastic over the portlight that leaks. Hopefully that will help to keep things dry.

Oct. 20, 2004: This morning's weather forecast predicted a cold front coming in and dumping 4" of rain and 45 mph winds. I'm very glad Jim taped the plastic over the window last night. We both look out the window and see the rain and gray and assume it's 50 degrees outside. So we bundle up and find it's in the upper 60s! Jim received a call from the marina office in the afternoon saying John & Lisa from Andiamo were there to see us! They had tea on Mañana and then Jim drove them around so they could pick up the last few items they needed. We went to their hotel at 1830 and then walked to Black Angus for dinner. It was wonderful seeing them and catching up with what's going on in their lives. Colleen checked in with us later in the evening, all excited that the Red Sox beat the Yankees in Game 7 (GO BOSTON!!)

Oct. 21, 2004: We put the heat on when we got up; it was only 62 degrees outside, but more importantly, it was very damp inside and we were trying to get the moisture out of the air. However, it was very nice to see blue sky and the sun. Some areas of San Diego County received over 6" of rain yesterday. We don't know how much rain we got here in Chula Vista but the Airport reported about an inch. We recorded a peak wind gust of 37 kts.

Oct. 22, 2004: I managed to get through one full week of work, the first time I've actually worked 5 days straight in over 2 years!! Despite what I wrote on the 19th, I've decided to put an application in for the job. I've really enjoyed working with the Director of HR and the commute and hours are good, Unfortunately the pay isn't the greatest, but with Jim now starting to get paying customers for Starfish Marine, I think we could make it work. I haven't heard anything back from the Airport.

The Arturo Barrios Invitational

Oct. 24, 2004: We woke up early to the sounds of someone yelling over a loudspeaker and loud Latina music. This morning was the Arturo Barrios Invitational (5K and 10K races) and Fiesta by the Bay, an annual event which takes place here at the Marina. While we waited in a line for our 2 free pancakes, the 10K race started -- it had lots of participants. At 1000 the North American Team Competition (USA/Canada/Mexico) took place. Each team had 3 male and 3 female competitors, a couple of whom were Olympians. Needless to say, it was a very exciting race, with Canada taking 1st place, Mexico 2nd and the USA 3rd. The event ended at noon and life in the marina returned to normal. The Women Aboard meeting is this coming Tuesday and I'm the guest speaker (how'd I get roped into that one??) I started putting together my notes on our trip to Mexico and I think I'll print off some photos, too.

Oct. 28, 2004: We've had another week of on and off heavy rains. The people in east San Diego County are sweating bullets with the rain because last year at this time the area was on fire and all the vegetation that holds the hillside in place was burned. Now their new homes are in jeopardy of being damaged by mud/hill slides. It sure is nice that the southern Californians want us to feel right at home with the rain but I can only think of a couple of times in our 20 years in Seattle when we had such heavy rains. Jim was able to squirt some Captain Tolley's Creepin' Crack Cure around our leaky portlight before the rains came and it did help quite a bit. Unfortunately the window above the bed has now decided to leak! We've been sticking a pan on the bed when it's raining so I won't climb into a wet bed! Ah, the joys of living on a boat!

Oct. 30, 2004: I decided to buy a couple more pieces of clothing to help stretch my wardrobe; so far, everything is black, white and gray, which makes mixing and matching easier! I went to the Salvation Army and found a black velor long sleeve blouse/jacket, but it had no price tag. I also found a cream colored sweater for $5.75. When I went to pay, the cashier told me he'd give me the black velor at the sale rack price. The total for both items came to $4.69!! He charged me 50 cents for the black top and then took 25% off, for a whopping total of 38 cents. WOW! What a deal!! I was wishing I'd bought the light green silk blouse! Jim finished wiring the windlass while I was gone. If the weather permits and I don't get a job for next week, perhaps we'll head over to the Glorietta anchorage during the week. We checked into the Bluewater net at dinner time. There was a lot of static here in the marina but we were told we were coming in loud and clear. Janice on Ceileidh was the net controller; Carina, Encanto, Niña del Mar and Wonderlust V checked in to say "hi" to us. We sure do miss all our cruising friends.

Nov. 2, 2004: Election Day. We voted by absentee ballot and had high hopes that the US would have a new president but apparently it's not to be. So, 4 more years Dubya...sure makes Canada look better and better.

Nov. 4, 2004: I worked downtown for the last two days and they could have used me for one more day but I had to get my Certificate of Proficiency (typing certificate) for the Southwestern College position I've applied for. That was an interesting process: the computer was set so you could not backspace to correct errors. The test was 5 min. long and you couldn't make more than 5 errors. Additionally, you needed at least two tests (you could take as many tests as necessary.) So it took me 6 tries but in the end, I certified at an average of 73 gross wpm with 3 errors, for a net of 67 wpm. As most positions want 50 wpm, I decided I was happy enough with my 67 and called it a day. I probably won't receive my hard copy referral letters until next week and will most likely be passed over by Southwestern College because my application isn't complete (the position closes tomorrow), but at least I'm trying. Monika had offered to cut my hair (was that a hint that it looked shaggy?) so I headed over to her RV in mid-afternoon. She's not a hairdresser but has a good way with scissors. She cut my hair VERY short, but I love it!

Nov. 5, 2004: Brrr! It was 49 degrees last night and the boat was COLD! Guess it's time to dig the flannel sheets out! We splurged and went to Aunt Emma's Pancake House for breakfast. We both had the $3.49 special (small omelet and choice of toast or pancake) and waddled out the door! We each had errands that needed to be run. Jim took me out to Southwestern College so I could drop off my typing certificate -- boy, it's quite a way from the marina. There are buses that go there so that's my plan should I get the job. However, it looked like the bus has only one stop within the campus and the HR office is perhaps a mile from that stop. Our last stop was to the mall so I could buy a new pair of shoes. I have definitely become boring when it comes to shopping! I walked into Macy's, noticed the sale rack, tried on two pairs of shoes and walked out with one. It took me a total of 10 min. and I didn't even bother to check out the clothes racks as I walked through the store. I spent the afternoon doing a bunch of housework. You can't get away from it, even when you live in 38'! It felt so good to climb into flannel sheets that night!

Nov. 6, 2004: It was even colder last night and we were both chilly so I guess it's time to dig the blanket out as well. Winter appears to be here! I took the opportunity to work on the 2nd baby quilt in the morning while Jim was out. He returned after lunch and I put my sewing away so he could begin working on his model boat. Unfortunately our galley table isn't big enough for both of us to work at the same time. I think we need a bigger boat...or perhaps we just need a bigger galley table! :-)

Nov. 7, 2004: I made a cabbage salad which we took with us to Downwind Marine's Cruisers' BBQ. It was cool and sprinkling on and off but the weather didn't seem to dampen the cruisers' spirits. Many people (like us) showed up in cars but there were a dozen or so walking around in their bright yellow foul weather gear. We met up with Janice (Ceileidh), Dick and Dottie (Dunamis) and Basil. Downwind supplied the hotdogs, hamburgers, beer and soda and the cruisers brought salads and desserts. Needless to say, the food was wonderful, as was the camaraderie.

Nov. 8, 2004: Jim made 'Ancho Chili and Chicken Soup' for dinner. We are beginning to experiment with the different chilies and are enjoying them. The soup also included a chayote squash. Chayote squash is green and about the size of a large apple. One end of the squash resembles an old man without his teeth. We can't agree on the taste; Jim thinks it tastes "earthy" (like a potato) but I think it has a sweet or possibly garlicky taste to it. In any event, it is good, it is crunchy and doesn't take long to cook. The soup was definitely a repeat recipe. Let me know if you'd like me to send you the recipe.

Nov. 9, 2004: Office Team called me this morning with a 3 week job; unfortunately I couldn't accept it because it was going to take me through Thanksgiving when Colleen will be here. Yes, we need the money but my visit with Colleen comes first. Jim worked on the shear rail while I cleaned up the aft deck. After lunch I made a bag for one of our flopper stopper panels -- will modify it slightly and make the second one tomorrow. Our goal is to try to get the boat looking nice before Colleen arrives. We always work better when crunching to meet a deadline! After dinner we went to a workshop on 'weather faxes'. I was hoping the instructor would go into more detail on how to read a weather fax but instead she chose to tell us that wind makes big waves, something Jim and I already had first-hand knowledge of! Oh well, the class was free and Ann told Jim of a few places where he might put his business card.

Nov. 11, 2004: A couple of days ago I made the decision to start weening myself off my medicine, as it is known to cause liver damage and Canada and Mexico are no longer selling it (but the US still is). Unfortunately I was really feeling the effects of it today. I made the second flopper stopper cover but was having a difficult time concentrating on what I was doing, so Jim suggested I take the other half of the pill as I had to go to a job for training all afternoon. The job training was uneventful and the gal I was going to fill in for asked if I'd mind helping the mail room with a rush project. So I spent several hours stuffing envelopes. After a quick dinner of leftovers, we went to a class on sewing canvas. Although I've sewn several small canvas items, I thought I might be able to pick up a tip or two at the class. My next "big" canvas project is to make rail covers; however, I'm not sure my old Singer will be able to handle the load. My machine was purchased in 1980, shortly after Colleen was born, and has never been oiled or serviced! It still does what I ask it to do, although it's beginning to sound like a bucket of bolts!

Nov. 13, 2004: I spent the morning cutting out 2" pieces for the second baby quilt I'm making. I remember looking at the picture in a magazine and thinking "Oh, that's really pretty. I think I'll make that with my scraps." WHAT WAS I THINKING??? Today's cutting and pinning alone came to almost 150 pieces (and I'm not even close to being done with it!) I'm going to end up with so many hours in this baby blanket that I won't want to give it away. Monika and Melinda joined us for dinner and helped us finish off a large pot of taco soup and a couple of bottles of wine. Mmm, mmm good!

Nov. 15, 2004: We're back to having lovely weather -- I was able to varnish the lower port rails yesterday. Perhaps I'll be able to do the starboard rails tomorrow afternoon. Starfish Marine has started to receive phone calls from folks needing boat work. Jim appears to be enjoying the challenge and himself. We've been told there's no shortage of work and that it's just a matter of getting his name out there. I continue to receive excellent reviews for my work at the various companies I've temped at -- what do I have to do to land an actual permanent full-time position? I'm ready!!

Nov. 17, 2004: I ordered our turkey dinner for Thanksgiving and then returned to the boat, did some housework and pulled out my sewing machine; Jim was working on a customer's boat so it was a good time for me to take over the main salon. Office Team called to say that the Airport needs someone until year end and had specifically asked for me. As the hourly pay was very good, I said I'd do it, but I wanted to know what the Airport's holiday schedule was for next week because I definitely wanted Friday off and 1/2 day Weds. when Colleen arrives would be a bonus. Matt called me back to say "no problem." I start tomorrow. I got a bit more of the baby quilt put together and made a new Christmas pillow cover. Nancy & Greg invited us to dinner Sunday evening. We are just such social butterflies!!

Nov. 18, 2004: I checked in at the Airport and was handed off to Annie, the Sr. Admin. Asst. Apparently no one told her I was coming and she was very surprised that I'd been hired till year end. Three Admin. Assts. were out of the office and the other girls were very busy...so busy that no one had time to sit with me. I really felt like a fish flopping out of water.

Nov. 19, 2004: I called Office Team to let them know that the Admins. weren't aware of any projects that I could help out with and I spent a good portion of the day brushing up on my Word skills. Jim hadn't pulled anything out for dinner so we ordered pizza -- the first time since we returned from Mexico. Oh, man, was it GOOD!!!

Nov. 20, 2004: We got up early so I could bake for this afternoon's Thanksgiving party, hosted by the Marina. Why is it that company arrives when you're up to your elbows in housework?? Frank and Betty stopped by to say hi as I was doing the dishes. They are Starfish Marine's newest customers, but they are also a really neat couple. Betty was a farm girl who married a boy who loved the sea. They bought a sailboat and decided to go sailing back in the 70s, before cruising was popular. They made it halfway down the outside of the Baja Penninsula when they were rammed by a shrimp boat in the middle of the night while they slept at anchor; their sailboat was sunk. Frank tried to climb into a dinghy but fell into the water and was carried out to sea; another shrimper rescued Betty off the boat. Frank was eventually rescued, still holding on to the dinghy, 3-4 miles off shore. Not surprisingly, Betty was so severely traumatized that they gave up boating until a couple of months ago, when they bought another sailboat. Frank would like to cruise to Ensenada (60 miles away) and Betty is praying that she can work up the courage to do so. The interesting thing about this couple is that Frank is 85 and Betty is 80!! Wow, huh??? At 1400 we went up to the Galley Restaurant and got in line for the Thanksgiving dinner. Nancy from the office asked if we were still interested in moving over to A dock -- appparently they have a spot opening up in December. My response was, "Is the Pope Catholic?" We enjoyed a delicious dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, gravy, dessert and wine and we enjoyed the company of Frank, Betty, Monika and Melinda. We waddled back to Mañana around 1800.

Nov. 24, 2004: I was too excited to stay in bed so I got up earlier than usual and started running around the boat with the vacuum and dust cloth -- Colleen was arriving at 1230. It has been very slow at the Airport for the past 2 days and I finally told one of the Admins. that perhaps she should talk to the manager who asked for me to see if he had a specific project in mind. I've spent the past couple of days brushing up on my Word and Excel skills. The Airport is paying me a good wage and I'd like to honestly earn it. In my mind, there's nothing worse than spending 8 hours trying to look busy. Eventually I was given a project of making binders for someone, hardly worth the pay I'm getting. Thankfully I only worked until noon, when I went over to Alaska Airlines' terminal, met Jim and we waited for Colleen. She arrived on time and was very excited to see the sun and palm trees. We took her to lunch on Shelter Island and gave her a short tour before we returned to the boat. Both Jerry and DC were on their best behavior in greeting her. Our ex-slip mate, Ron, had invited us all for a drink at the Galley Restaurant at 1700, after which we all returned to Mañana for a meatloaf, mashed potato and corn on the cob dinner. It was a really nice day.

Jim Carves the Turkey

Nov. 25, 2004: HAPPY THANKSGIVING! We decided to take Colleen on a tour of the Marina and RV park so she'd get a feel for where we live. It was so beautiful out that we continued our walk through the park on the water side of the RV Park and then checked out what will be our new slip. I made bologna sandwiches for everyone when we returned (a special treat for us all) and we relaxed, chatted and talked to family in the afternoon. To Colleen's disbelief, Jim and I amazingly coordinated the heating/cooking of the turkey and all the trimmings without getting in one another's way (I'd ordered a cooked turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy from Albertson's as our oven is a whopping 16" wide and 8" high, but we cooked the vegetables from scratch). Colleen was very impressed! Monika and Melinda arrived at 1800 and the 5 of us sat down to dinner at 1830, followed by pumpkin and/or cherry pie with whipped cream on top. Urp!! We sent half of the leftover turkey home with M & M; the deal was they were supposed to take half of the potatoes, stuffing and gravy as well, but they refused to do so. We were all in bed shortly after 2100.

Taco Beel
Hard Rock Cafe,Tijuana

Nov. 26, 2004: After breakfast, we took the trolley to San Ysidro and walked across the border to Tijuana, Mexico. Jim and I are used to Mexico's living conditions but this was definitely an eye-opener for Colleen, despite the fact that we had tried to prepare her for what to expect. She was in sensory overload as we walked through town and were bombarded with men selling extremely cheap "silver" necklaces. Eventually she was able to deal with the high pressure salesmen and bought herself a lovely sterling necklace and bracelet, plus a blanket. Jim bought himself a pair of earrings (I make sure I like them so we can share!) and I bought a colorful tablecloth. Although we didn't eat there, we got a real chuckle as we passed the Taco Beel restaurant -- a Chihuahua ran back and forth across the roof. We were the only gringos in the small restaurant where we had lunch. Colleen was very excited about having "real" Mexican food in Mexico! We stopped for cervezas/margaritas before we headed back to the border. As Jim and I learned the last time we visited Tijuana, it's a lot cheaper to have the 99 cent cerveza/margarita in Tijuana than to get a Coke at McDonalds ($1.59) in San Ysidro, CA, which is just across the border. Thankfully I had thought ahead and had a frozen meal waiting so none of us had to cook. It was another early-to-bed night.

The Three Musketeers

Nov. 27, 2004: It was a gray, cold day so we opted to stay on board all morning. A tenant stopped by to see if I would be interested in helping him transcribe some audio tapes. We talked about his project and I decided we needed the money bad enough to say 'yes'. He agreed to my hourly wage so I'll start after Colleen leaves tomorrow. After lunch we headed out to a couple of the thrift stores to see if there was anything we couldn't live without. I came home with 2 pairs of dress slacks and Colleen found a thermal top and a sweater. We returned to the boat at 1530 and Jim strung our new blue lights around the lower rails, up the mast and around the side of the flybridge. We decided we need one or two more strands of lights. Afterwards, I put the Christmas music on and we decorated the interior of the boat. I think this is the earliest we've ever had our decorations up. Thanksgiving's leftovers completed the day.

Nov. 28, 2004: After a leisurely morning, we drove Colleen to the airport for her flight back to Seattle. Jim had checked Seattle's weather on the internet and Colleen wasn't thrilled to be returning home to 45 degree weather! When we returned to the marina, I stopped by Richard's boat and received a crash course on what I was to transcribe. I optimistically hoped that I could do a chapter (45 min. of audio) in 1.5 hours. I checked in with Richard after 2 1/4 hours saying that I had only been able to transcribe 13 min of audio. The speaker spoke much faster than I had anticipated (and used big words). Additionally, we didn't have a transcription machine and I was wasting a lot of time having to stop and start the audio using the keyboard's mouse. Richard decided to go to Plan B, although I'm not sure what that is.

Dec. 1, 2004: I can't believe it's December already! The Christmas cards have started arriving, but I've yet to do anything. In my "prior life", I would have had all my Christmas shopping completed AND my Christmas cards written and mailed. Guess I'd better get crackin'! San Diego has been experiencing a cold wave for the past week; it's gotten down to 43 degrees at night (the dock's been frosty!) and is only in the low 60s during the day. When we get up in the morning, all the port lights (windows) are covered in dripping condensation, which makes the window coverings damp. Additionally, the interior cabin walls that have something against them (i.e., our books and my wall hanging) have been wet, too. I discovered mold on the back side of the wall hanging :-( and am now hesitant to hang the new Christmas wall hanging. Ah, the joys of living on a boat in the winter!

Baby Blanket

Dec. 4-5, 2004: It was rainy and cold (upper 50s)...it would be easy to think we're back in Seattle except for the palm trees. I went to the mall early Sat. morning looking for some Xmas presents but came away empty so instead, headed for the fabric store, where I bought lots of material to make Xmas gifts. I spent the afternoon sewing, sewing, sewing. On Sun. I went food shopping very early because the weather had predicted a 90% chance of rain. They should have made that 100%, because it was pouring by the time I returned to the marina. Down here, when it rains, it pours (and there is virtually no drainage so it immediately floods)! Being from the NW, when I see gray skies, I expect that it will drizzle. Man, what a difference! It was a miserable day -- the winds were from the east instead of the west and the cold wind blew through the door. Additionally, it was so yukky that I refused to do the laundry (I would have had to stick my body into the dryer) and M & M decided to take a raincheck on the turkey soup for dinner. Once again, I spent the afternoon sewing and FINALLY finished one of the baby blankets that will be donated. It's about time! If time and energy allows, I'll try to finish the 2nd baby blanket this week.

Dec. 8, 2004: Jim and I both attended and joined our respective guilds (he the model ship builders guild and me the quilting guild) and I think we'll both have fun. I brought a couple of my projects in for "show and tell" and volunteered to make (another) a baby quilt. I've pretty much given up hope of finishing my second baby quilt before Xmas.

Dec. 11, 2004: Scott and Vicky (Sea Turtle) invited us to watch the parade of lights on Mission Bay from the aft deck of their boat. At 1600, the fog started to settle in here in Chula Vista; Scott called to confirm our attendance and I asked him if it was foggy up north..."yes". We arrived at 1730 and were introduced to 3 other friends of theirs, two of whom had come from Arizona specifically for the light parade. After a delicious dinner of chili and corn bread, we donned our warm clothes and went outside to watch the parade. Unfortunately the fog was so thick that we could barely make out the lights. We haven't had any fog since we arrived in July...why did it have to start tonight? We kept joking that it was possible that the parade was passing in front of us but we couldn't see anyone. Vicky had made a big pot of hot chocolate and someone had brought a bottle of peppermint schnapps, so our toes and innerds were warm! Eventually we gave up on trying to see the boats, went inside for dessert and sat around talking. We didn't leave Mission Bay until 2230, but we'd had a very nice time, despite the fog.

Dec. 14, 2004: We received an e-mail from Judy (Encanto) last week asking if we could put Lisa (Andiamo) up for a day or two and then take her to the airport; our answer was a resounding "okay"! Lisa arrived around 2000 and we were delighted to catch up on the goings on of our still-cruising friends. We called it an early night because Lisa had been traveling for the past two days and I had to go to work.

Dec. 15, 2004: Jim and Lisa spent part of the day shopping while I worked, earning an honest dollar. Lisa bought us a beautiful rosemary bush that's trimmed like a Xmas tree and it smells wonderful. The marina Xmas party started at 1800 at the Galley Restaurant and we had received an okay from the marina office to bring Lisa with us. Frank and Betty grabbed a table and Monika, Melinda and Ron joined us. The Galley Restaurant provided hors d'oeuvres, penne pasta, salad and rolls while the marina tenants provided desserts. Awards were given out for the best decorated sail and power boats and the best decorated dock after dinner. Although Mañana is decorated, we hadn't entered the official contest. We stayed for a little while, listening to the music and watching Frank and Betty dance. It's so hard to believe they are in their 80s!

Dec. 16, 2004: Lisa had an 0830 flight to Seattle so the alarm was set for 0445 (ugh!). Lisa had 2 bags and an inflatable kayak that she was bringing home with her. She also had a little folding dolly. Jim secured the kayak to the dolly and drove us to the trolley station. We just missed the 0600 trolley so Jim stayed with us while we waited for the next one, which came through the station slowly at 0615, announcing that it was "broken" and there'd be another along shortly. Well, you can imagine the crowd of people already on board that next trolley...and to make things more interesting, the kayak was wider than the steps onto the trolley. So Lisa was valiantly trying to tip the dolly to make the kayak fit, while I pushed it up from below. Somehow I managed to squeeze myself into the stairwell, but it was an interesting trip with us blocking the aisle and half the doorway! Lisa rearranged the kayak before we transferred onto the bus, but that left me carrying the 2 bags (the kayak was quite heavy.) We finally arrived at the airport at 0715 and I left her standing in a line which extended out onto the sidewalk. We presume she made it home okay as we didn't hear from her. My initial intention was to change my work hours that day, so I started earlier than normal. During the day, one of my coworkers was flat out trying to put binders and a presentation together for an executive meeting the next day. I volunteered to help her, not realizing that I would not leave the office until 2000. Thankfully my coworker lives in Chula Vista and drove me home. I was totally wiped out -- Jim made me an English muffin with peanutbutter and I climbed into bed at 2100.

Dec. 18, 2004: Jim and I each took a Tylenol PM last night and slept in this morning. I'm not sure why we're dragging our butts, but we both apparently needed the sleep. We woke up to an absolutely beautiful day -- it felt like summer and my toes were very happy when I put my sandals on! I talked to Elaine (Women Aboard) and we agreed to meet tomorrow morning so I can return the box back to her. Jim will be very happy to have it out of the aft cabin -- it's currently stashed in front of his bureau. Jim and I finally swapped Xmas lists and I headed out via bus at 1030 to do some Xmas shopping. It's tough when you relocate and don't know where to look for specific items. I returned at 1400, partially successful, but still have a few things that I want to try to find. Unfortunately the airport is far enough away from downtown San Diego that I can't run errands during my lunch break.

Dec. 21, 2004: Happy Solstice! Although it stays light until almost 1730, we'll be happy to welcome the longer days. I'm in the middle of some departmental politics at the Airport and was told I can no longer help the group I've was (finally) assigned to help. I suspect I know what's going on, but won't put it in print. I asked Linda, the Admin. Asst. I've been reporting to, if my contract would be extended beyond year end and was told "no". I have mixed emotions because I really would like to stay on at the Airport and the $$ is good, but that's life in the "temp" lane. I pulled a piece of poorly-wrapped cake out of the freezer, certain that it would have freezer burn. Additionally, there was a little bit of whipped cream left over from Thanksgiving. True to our cruising spirit (where sometimes we had the STRANGEST meal combinations), I put together a dessert that ended up turning out not too shabby. I simply cut the cake in half, spooned out the contents of a Hunts chocolate pudding and then squirted the last of the whipped cream over the top. You know, it wasn't half bad!! We had a good laugh about being tied to the dock but still thinking in "cruiser" mode!

Dec. 22, 2004: Several of my co-workers asked it I'll be returning on Jan. 3 and I told them no. There were many raised eyebrows and I have a feeling that people know something that I don't. I'll be more than happy to return if asked, but officially, no one from management has said anything to me. I am filling in for Terry this week and sat with Annie in the afternoon, as I'll be filling in for her next week. Beyond that, who knows? I totally spaced on the way home from work...the trolley pulled into the station and I climbed on without checking whether it was the Blue line or the Orange line (I normally check). I called Jim telling him I was on my way and then got engrossed in a book. The next thing I knew, things didn't feel "right" and I realized I was on the wrong trolley! I hopped off and called Jim, telling him I wasn't where I was supposed to be (and he had the audacity to laugh at me)! I backtracked 2 stops, got on the *correct* trolley, and called Jim again. We didn't get back to the boat until almost 1900. Thank goodness we had planned on having leftovers for dinner! After dinner, I sent him down into the aft cabin so I could wrap some Xmas gifts in private. I can't believe the pile of presents that has accumulated under our little ceramic tree -- and I thought we weren't exchanging gifts with family again this year. Well, family members will have to forgive us because financially we just aren't in a spot (yet) to reciprocate.

Dec. 23, 2004: Things came to a head today at work when management learned that I believed I wouldn't be returning. Several meetings quickly took place and I was told that I am to return on Jan. 4 but I will be working with a different group. I'll probably be filing and/or photocopying, and I will probably go crazy and take it out on Jim on the way home, but at least it's a paycheck and it keeps me visible to HR, should a permanent full-time opening happen.

Dec. 24, 2004: Jim boxed up all the items we've been collecting for our friends on Encanto and we left the boat at 0800, bound for West Marine for a few items for our other friends on Andiamo. I accompanied Jim to the Greyhound station, as we had 3 large, heavy boxes plus a backpack containing 2 pairs of Tevas and about 10 lbs. of mail, and then I hopped a bus to the Airport to meet Lisa, who had originally thought she'd be returning with empty bags...HA! Her flight from Seattle landed at 0930 and she had 4 bags plus a fishing rod. It was a challenge, but Lisa and I successfully made our way back to the Greyhound station, and then the 3 of us got on boarded a bus to Tijuana. We arrived at the bus station with about 10 min. to spare before her bus to La Paz departed. Whew! We helped her get everything on board and then we returned to the border on the next bus, which left 15 min. later. We stopped at Albertson's to pick up tonight's dinner, live Maine lobsters (a family tradition in my family), and then headed back to the Marina. Jim ran in to pick up our mail and came out with yet another box for Encanto. Oh oh... When the sun set, we lit our candles, put the Christmas music on and cooked the lobsters (which were delicious). Then we reminisced about Christmases past, when we were young and still believed in Santa Claus.

Dopey Cats

Merry Christmas

Dec. 25, 2004: Merry Christmas! We were both awake early so Jim climbed out of bed to make sure Santa had come, turned the heat up and started the coffee. Hand-made catnip mice (from Babs) were pulled out of hiding and given to the DC and Jerry -- they LOVED them! We took our time opening the presents under our tree while we listened to the Christmas music. Family members were very generous with their gifts; we both received clothing, blankets, food and DVDs. I received a beautiful pair of earrings and a new electric shaver, Jim received a bottle of Scotch and a DVD container. Additionally, we received a beautiful pair of crystal lotus petal candle stick holders. However, as we have virtually no glass on board, we'll ship them up to Orcas Island and have Peter put them with our few other items for when we become dirt dwellers again (although I'm sure my definition of "few" and Peter's definition are different!). At 1500 we joined 10 other cruisers for lunch on board the Tripp's sailboat. As a group, we came up with a turkey, stuffing, ham, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and 2 salads. There was no shortage of dessert either, with mincemeat, pumpkin, and apple pies, plus a 2# container of baklava! Spending the holidays with people you love is very important; however, cruisers have to be resilient and open enough to let virtual strangers become their family. Jim and I learned that lesson last year. So while we would have loved to be sitting at the dinner table surrounded by true relatives, we enjoyed the company of our cruising family.

Dec. 27, 2004: We drove to Balboa Park and met up with Andy and family at the Science Museum; they had passes that allowed us to get in free. The museum was very interesting and even had exhibits that interested adults. After 2.5 hours, we decided it was time to walk around the park a bit so Corey and Trevor could get rid some of their pent up energy. Neither Jim nor I had ever been to the park and we found it really interesting. The park houses several museums and is landscaped beautifully; we decided we really needed to come back on a day when the weather is more favorable. We had a great time with them (thanks guys!). We returned to the boat and waited for the predicted weather system to arrive.

Dec. 28 - 29, 2004: The weather forecast was for a storm expected to dump 5" of rain before it's over, some time over the weekend. We awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of rain pouring down on the deck, and the wind howling; the halyards on the sailboats around us were smacking the masts with gusto and our own bimini was rattling like crazy. The boat was buffetted in the slip from the winds and then the thunder and lightning started. Both cats were uneasy with the boat motion and noises -- needless to say, none of us slept well. In Chula Vista, flooding was everywhere and several trees were down. The trolley into work was slow as the power in some places was out and the crossing gates weren't working. The top 200' of a local radio station tower toppled, Nassco's parking lot looked like a lake and two upper windows from a downtown highrise blew out. We recorded winds at 30 kts. here in the marina, while the Airport reported a gust of 60 kts. All in all, a very powerful storm.

Dec. 30, 2004: An interesting day at the office...apparently two different departments decided they both wanted me to work for them, so they had a meeting with the Director. A little while later, the Director asked me to join the group and I was asked if I wanted to work for group A, group B or neither. I chose group A (sort of like "Let's Make a Deal"). That group needs a person who will stay for a long time (like 2007); I'm hoping that paperwork to turn me into a permanent employee will be started in the near future. In the meantime, I was extremely pleased that the Director realized that the decision needed to be made by me, and not the department head. I took Jim out for a drink to celebrate.

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