Jan's Journal

Still Treading Water in Southern California

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Jan. 1, 2006: Happy New Year! Judging by the number of attendees at Peter and Babs annual pizza open house, I'd say it was a huge success with at least 46 people! Quilting friends, Lynn and Mary, came and I was able to catch up on the Orcas Island quilting news, plus we were able to visit with lots of other friends and ex-neighbors whom we hadn't seen in a few years. It was definitely an early-to-bed night!

Jan. 2, 2006: We were on the mid morning ferry and arrived back in Seattle that afternoon. Jim ran out for Chinese food and the three of us caught up with the news of what we'd done over the past few days. Jim and I went to bed early because we had a 0 dark 30 flight; Colleen went out with friends.

Jan. 3, 2006: Back to San Diego and sunshine and time to reflect on our trip. Surprisingly, we both agreed that going "home" had made us homesick, despite the mid-40s and daily clouds/rain. We miss the snow covered mountains, the beauty of the San Juan Islands and the large number of cruising destinations. The question still lurking in our minds is not IF we return home, but WHEN.

Jan. 8, 2006: Jim took me to Urgent Care today because I'm back to feeling like a wet dishrag and my chest hurts. X-rays were taken that ruled out pneumonia; I was sent home with more drugs and a diagnosis of pleurisy. The doctor told me to take 2 days off and rest -- HA!

Jan. 11, 2006: I took yesterday and today off, although today had actually been scheduled for a while because Jim was supposed to have his shoulder surgery. The nurses brought him back to prep him, took his blood pressure and said "no way, Jose". His blood pressure was sky high and the anesthesiologist refused to allow the surgery to take place. Jim was very upset, because his blood pressure was sky high the day before and no one had said anything about it. So we returned to the boat and Jim started back on his pain and blood pressure medicines. He'll have to hope that the surgery can be rescheduled before mid-February, when my employment with Parsons ends.

Jan. 16, 2006: I went back to the doctor's because the pain has been getting worse, despite being on antibiotics. I'd feel great if I didn't have to breath or move! The doctor told me that pleurisy can take weeks or months to go away -- just what I didn't want to hear. She put me on yet another medicine and said if it doesn't work, nothing will (why didn't they give that to me on the 8th?). Guess I'm just going to have to "buck up" and deal with the pain.

Jan. 27, 2006: A job offer from DMJM Aviation (the consulting firm that is replacing Parsons at the Airport) was in today's mail -- and that's a good thing! I have been very impressed with the communications between the Sr. VP and myself. DMJM gave me close to a 10% raise so I'm a happy camper. I think I'll celebrate my raise by buying either a new outfit or perhaps more cloth!!

Jan. 28, 2006: The down side of hiring someone to work on your boat is that it leads to homework over the weekend! Eugene began working on the starboard bulwarks a couple of weeks ago. Last Sat. I had to epoxy the side deck so he could lay the fiberglass on Monday. This weekend, I epoxied the new bulwarks on Sat. and Jim and I replaced the stanchion bases on Sun. And guess what we discovered under one of the bases? Yup! Rot! On a wood boat, rot is NOT your friend! Thankfully we caught it early and it is a small area. A neighbor stopped by and told us we are getting a new boat one piece at a time! While I don't particularly enjoy working on the boat, I am excited because it is forward motion. And so far, Eugene is doing a beautiful job. Hopefully he'll be willing to replace the port bulwarks next. Progress on the forward hatch is inching its way to the finish line; the deck still needs two more coats of paint before Jim will permanently mount it.

Jan. 30, 2006: I've been agonizing over what my next quilt should be for the past month and finally made up my mind and ordered the various fabrics from E-bay and Hancocks. I feel like a child at Christmas waiting for the packages to arrive! When Jim and I were first married, he told me "no pink or flowers in the bedroom" and I've abided by that. But the Seaside Rose pattern (in "surf") was absolutely calling my name :-). I told Jim that after 25 years, it's his turn to "buck up" and deal with a feminine blanket!

Feb. 3, 2006: We arrived at the Coronado hospital at 0900 for Jim's surgery. This time his blood pressure was in check and he was taken for surgery at 1045. The doctor gave the surgery a thumbs up -- no surprises, all went extremely well and Jim should make a complete recovery. We were back on Mañana by 1530 and had several friends stop by briefly to offer whatever assistance we might need while Jim's recovering. It's nice to have friends.

Feb. 8, 2006: Jim received a phone call that his mom had suffered a massive heart attack/stroke and was in a coma and not breathing on her own. She was transferred from Winchester Hospital to Mass. General Hospital, where she underwent treatment for the stroke, a CAT scan and EEG. The prognosis is not good.

Feb. 10-11, 2006: The doctors informed Jim that Barbara is brain dead. Her living will indicated that she did not want to be kept alive if she could not contribute to society. Jim asked that they try to keep her alive until he could fly back, and he left San Diego on a 1300 flight, arriving Boston after midnight. At 0230 on Feb. 11, the life support system was turned off and Barbara passed away peacefully, with Jim at her side.

Feb. 14-22, 2006: I arrived into Boston at 2130. Jim and I stayed at Barbara's one bedroom apartment along with Babs, Douglas and Juliana, who flew in on Saturday. The living conditions were very cozy, but we managed beautifully and Barbara would have been happy to see us all playing so well together. Jackie and Skip arrived on 2/16, although they did not spend the night. Juliana, Jackie and I went through the apartment, sorting personal belongings while Jim, Douglas and Skip made trips to the mortuary, church, banks and lawyers and waded through MOUNDS of paperwork. The funeral was on 2/18 and was a mixture of Episcopal and Quaker service, per Barbara's request. Douglas and Juliana performed a couple of songs, one of which was a Girl Scout song specifically requested by Barbara. A catered reception was held after the service and I was able to visit briefly with my sister and her husband, who came down from NH. As is normally the case with weddings or funerals, it was a good opportunity to catch up with family and friends who we hadn't seen in years. After the reception, we scattered some of Barbara's ashes along the church's memory wall, where Len's ashes had been scattered back in 2002. Babs, Douglas and Juliana left on the 21st and we left the next day.

March 5, 2006: The decision to go cruising "one more time" was actually made in January by me...I know...call me crazy! We had anticipated leaving southern CA at the end of 2007, figuring that would give us time to ready the boat and put the needed funds in the cruising kitty. Barbara's death has possibly changed those plans, as Jim stands to inherit money that will allow us to cruise for a couple of years if we want to. There are a few complications in the estate, but assuming things get straightened out sooner rather than later, we may leave this year. So, to that end, we have stepped up the boat work on the assumption that we'll be leaving in 8 months. The decision was also made that we sell Ruthie. She is a fantastic dinghy, but for the most part, she was just too heavy for the two of us to drag up/down the beach. Someone gave us a deposit this morning. We still have plenty of time to decide what type of dinghy we want -- one thing is for sure, it will be a no-frills dinghy with wheels. The forward hatch is now permanently installed and the starboard bulwark is finished (with the exception of finish painting). Eugene will be back in a week or two to begin the port bulwark.

March 10-12, 2006: A very cold and stormy weekend is forecasted. We've had quite a bit of boat motion and the interior temperature of the boat on Sat. morning was 59 degrees...Brrr! Several of the squalls have included hail. The good news, however, is that the new forward hatch does not leak. This weather is conducive to getting indoor projects done -- Jim straightened out the "garage" and I cut out my newest quilt.

March 18, 2006: Jim attended the marina's swap meet this morning and came home with lots less than he brought; the boat's cruising kitty had a bit more money in it at the end of the day. I spent the day sewing with a bunch of ladies from the Guild. I told everyone it was National Quilt Month. I don't know whether it really is or not, but I'm the Prez and they believed me! I made good progress on sewing pieces together and had a delightful day. I just love being able to spread out!

March 31, 2006: We were invited to a farewell dinner for the Chula Vista West Marine manager. Attendance was made up mainly of West Marine employees, but two customers were invited (Starfish Marine and another). During the dinner, which was held at the Chula Vista Yacht Club, it was announced that Starfish Marine's port supply sales from the Chula Vista store were the 2nd highest for the store -- 2nd only to the US Navy! This was astonishing news, since Jim started Starfish Marine in Oct. 2004! Way to go, Jim!

April 2, 2006: Eugene started working on the port side bulwarks last week. Jim and I spent the afternoon rebedding the stanchions. Unfortunately we couldn't finish the last stanchion because the wood was a bit damp, but luckily we caught things before rot set in. Jim taped plastic over the spot in an effort to keep it dry, since rain is predicted for later in the week. The sale of Ruthie fell through, so she'll be put back on the market. We're also trying to agree on what we'd like to add to the boat when we go cruising again -- Jim says "definitely solar panels", I say "definitely air conditioning for the aft cabin and make sure we have a working water maker." Of course, these items take money, so we may have to draw straws to see who wins!

April 8, 2006: I decided the rug in the aft cabin had to go -- it's dirty and a real pain maintenance wise. I went to the mall and bought an area rug and when I returned, Jim got to work taking up the carpet. I had forgotten that the paint on the floorboards is very tired, so now I need to go to Home Depot and buy a gallon of deck paint. But in the meantime, this is so much easier to keep clean. The boys are shedding and I haven't a clue where all the dust comes from.

April 28, 2006: My quilt top is finished and I have the backing material on hand. I just can't decide whether I want to attempt quilting it myself (and learn lots of new words as I fight with yards of material) or pay $$ to have it professionally quilted. All decisions in life should be this difficult! :-) I was hoping that Jim and I would work on the boat today, but he's busy with a client, so that meant that I had free time to cut out the first of 3 baby quilts.

May 20, 2006: As a quilting update (after all, this is MY log), I decided to have the quilt professionally quilted by the same lady who did "Mañana's Great Adventure". I got it back Thursday night and it's beautiful. Now I need to make space on the table so I can spread it out and sew on the binding. I've made great progress with baby quilt #1. I need to finish quilting the border, which I will try to do tomorrow. However, yesterday and today is the Guild's annual quilt show. It doesn't seem like there are as many quilts as last year, but it's still a nice showing. I put my "Heinz 57" in the show and I think its quality is equal to many others in the show. The Guild will be participating in the Taste of the Arts fair tomorrow, sponsored by the City of Chula Vista. We've been offered free booth space -- nothing better than free publicity! As for our old wood boat, the repairs continue! Eugene is almost finished installing the port side bulwarks and Pat (his wife) applied the first coat of varnish to the flybridge rails yesterday. I'm going to have to take time off from quilting and make some rail covers out of Sunbrella once Pat is finished with the varnish. Jim and I spent last Sunday working on the starboard side of the boat, installing and sanding the sheer rail. We're getting pretty close to being able to paint the starboard side. Once again, we're going to attempt to make it to Catalina Island in July for the DeFever Rendezvous. It should be a bit easier this year now that Jim has an employee. So this is giving us the drive to make Mañana look good on the exterior. The interior is another story...

May 27-29, 2006: Memorial Day Weekend AND...the day the boat moved! I hate to admit it, but it's been nearly 18 months since we've moved the boat out of the slip. We've been in "condo mode" big time! But John ("Outta Here") had 400 gallons of diesel on board with our name on it, and they are headed for Ensenada this weekend, so we had no choice. We left our slip mid-morning, although the winds had already started howling. I asked Jim if he knew what he was doing and his (typical) response was, "Not a clue!" It felt really funny being underway, although we were only going from A dock to L dock. We rafted off Outta Here and transferred the fuel. We returned to our slip a few hours later. Despite the brisk wind from the South, Jim made a perfect docking. However, as I was getting off the boat and onto the dock, I stepped on Mañana's folding step, and it literally pulled out from the hull. Luckily I had an angel on my shoulder and I did not fall into the water (the boat was being blown down onto the dock), but I jarred my body from my neck to my knees and was uncomfortable the remainder of the day. On Sunday I put our new quilt on the bed -- it's SO pretty, but maybe that's just a female's perspective! Jim asked if I'll be making a matching wall hanging. Of course I had to say "yes"! We prepped the port side windows and door for paint, Jim sanded the starboard deck (it needs another coat of epoxy...boo hiss) and Jim started sanding the paint off the original bulwarks. Yes, you guessed it. We found a bit more rot and we're not finished sanding yet. Memorial Day had us enjoying a pot luck with many other marina tenants. It was a beautiful day and as always, there was lots of good food...but this year there was no dessert.

June 3-4, 2006: Oh, ow... We spent the weekend working on opposite sides of the boat; Jim finished sanding the starboard bulwarks and epoxyed and started fiberglassing the suspicious areas and I continued painting the port side windows (there will be a total of 5 coats of paint when I'm finished). Then I sanded and primed the port cap rails and deck molding, hunched over in tight confines. My back is currently screaming at me. We took advantage of the hot weather on Sat. and Jim scrubbed Ruthie. We were supposed to take the dinghy up to the Marriott in San Diego to show it to someone on Sun. morning. However, we awoke to pea soup fog and when we finally felt we could safely navigate north, we called the lady to say we were coming and she told us she had the flu. So we'll try again next weekend. In the meantime, Jim listed Ruthie on "Craig's List".

June 15-18, 2006: Colleen's graduation from City University with a Masters Degree in Psychology was held on 6/17 at the Key Arena in Seattle. Jim and I flew up very early Thursday morning, checked into our hotel and then spent the rest of the day with Colleen. It sure was good to see her again. We probably walked several miles that day and Jim and I quickly realized that our leg muscles are in terrible condition...although we both do a lot of walking in San Diego, it's all on the flat and level. Our bodies were definitely out of practice for climbing steps and walking up hills! On Friday, Jim and I took the bus to the University District and walked to Dunato's to say hi to John and Bonnie. We had our traditional 10:00 coffee with them, said hi to workers that we remembered and ran into a few ex-neighbors. The skies opened up, but we managed to walk between the raindrops and only got slightly wet. Lunch was eaten at Voula's, where we were warmly greeted, even after several years. Later that afternoon, we walked to the Market and met up with Colleen and her dad and step-mom. We hadn't seen Skip and Mary in over 5 years. We played tourist and truly enjoyed the mixed company. Thankfully the sun came out and stayed the remainder of the weekend. Colleen's friend, Rachel, left her car at our hotel Sat. morning, after which the 4 of us walked to the bus stop to wait for Skip & Mary. Colleen's ceremony started at 1300 and lasted several hours. We were all so proud to watch her receive her diploma. We picked up some sandwiches, coffee and a cake at the local grocery store after the ceremony and strolled through Seattle Center, taking the time to eat and enjoy the day. As we had 1-1/2 hours to kill before dinner, we walked back to our hotel and sat around chatting and laughing. Rachel couldn't believe that a divorced couple could get along so well. We had a delightful dinner at Anthony's on the waterfront. Many pictures were taken and again, a lot of laughter was shared. Skip and Mary headed back to their hotel after dinner and Colleen, Rachel, Jim and I headed back to our hotel so Rachel could pick up her car. Colleen had invited us to a party with a group of her school mates. Unbelieveably, Jim and I headed out after 2100 (our normal bed time) to attend this party! Colleen was obviously very happy to introduce us to her friends; we tried not to embarrass Colleen by "acting like parents"! As we had an early morning flight, we returned to our hotel after an hour. We had a beautiful flight back to San Diego, despite MANY children on the plane. We flew down the east side of the Cascades and had clear blue skies and a beautiful view of all the snow-covered mountains, Crater Lake and Lake Tahoe. Too bad that the camera was tucked away in the overhead compartment. The boys were very happy to have us home. As always, "Uncle Steve" (our neighbor) took very good care of them.

July 4 weekend: Oh, it was SO nice to have 4 days off. Even Starfish Marine was closed! Despite hot sunny weather, we made tremendous progress on the boat. When all was said and done, Mañana sported white paint everywhere - woo hoo!! Granted that it was only one or two coats of primer in some places, but at least it's white! Additionally, I transferred everything that was on the floor in the aft cabin into the main saloon (including the kitty litter). We sanded and painted the plywood floor with an exterior/porch paint that we bought at Home Depot (we were amazed at how well it matched the interior paint). Luckily the paint was dry enough for us to walk on at bed time. Ah, clean paint is such a morale booster for me! On July 4, the City of Chula Vista hosted a festival in the park across from us, so we got to listen to the music and smell all the good smells from the various food booths. We sampled some of the food, put in our 2-hour security stint at the Marina and then joined the crowd that had gathered on A dock for the annual potluck dinner. Rick and Lynn (LaVita) joined us at 2100 to watch the fireworks. After having the luxury of being able to sleep in every day, it was really tough climbing out of bed at 0600 on Weds.

July 21, 2006: We have been on a roll when it comes to painting. Last weekend Jim was able to apply the non-skid to the forward trunk cabin and starboard side deck, and apply a coat of paint to seal everything. We went out to dinner to the Butcher Shop in Chula Vista with Greg & Nancy Sat. pm. The exterior of the building looks like a divey tavern -- no windows and certainly nothing you'd write home about. We entered the restaurant and it took a few minutes for our eyes to adjust to the darkness; however, the smell of garlic was SO tantalizing! The decor was straight out of the late 60s/early 70s -- gold foiled wallpaper with red velor patterns, lots of mirrors and lots of small strip lights. I'm not a huge meat eater, but decided to splurge. Jim had prime rib and I had filet mignon. The meat was the best I've had in my entire life. And the twice-baked potatoes were to die for (thank heavens I didn't have to have my cholesterol checked the next day!). When we left the restaurant, BMW's, Cadillacs, Lexus', etc. were parked in front and in the parking lot. We climbed into Greg's older Chevy (with the paint peeling) and drove off! We decided to take Sunday off from painting, but not off from boat work. A landlubber could look at our boat and see that it is not fit to take to sea. We are in condo mode BIG time! So we spent some time cleaning off the aft deck and Jim spent time sorting his many mounds of paperwork last night. We look a bit better, but there is still much to be stowed before Tuesday (especially "the garage") and we're trying to remember where we put the screws that bolt the table in place (and trying to remember what exactly did we do to ready the boat for sea?). We spent this evening psyching ourselves up for a busy weekend; we definitely want to get at least one coat of blue paint on the starboard and aft bulwarks, I need to get some varnish on the lower rails, the empty propane tank needs refilling, there are mucho loads of laundry, I'm busy preparing menus for our trip so that I buy enough food, etc., etc. In the middle of all this boat preparation is the fact that nerves are hitting us. We haven't cruised for 2 years and we're praying that we will remember how to drive this boat. Unfortunately we won't have the luxury of breaking ourselves in gradually, which may be a huge mistake on our part. We anticipate that our cruise to Catalina next Weds. will take 12 hours. Luckily I have plenty of Tylenol PM on board for Weds. night.

July 25-31, 2006: Wow! So many nouns and adjectives to describe this trip! The boat was as ready as she was going to be, and Jim single-handed her to the police docks Tuesday afternoon. I was able to hitch a ride there after work and together, we washed the boat before we went to bed. We were up and out by 0530 Weds. and it was quickly apparent that we were all very rusty (how do you turn the auto pilot on? what button do we push to do this? etc.) and none of us had our sea legs. Thankfully Mother Nature was kind and broke us in gently. We passed 3 whales and went through several pods of common dolphins, many of which detoured from their original course to ride in our bow wake for a few minutes. We arrived Cat Harbor at 1830, tired, yet exhilarated. We weren't at anchor 15 min. before Ron and Cheryl (Lazy Dayz) came zipping over to give us a hug. We had enjoyed their company down in Mexico and have kept in contact over the past two years. The DeFever rendezvous was well attended -- unfortunately the boats were either at anchor or on a mooring ball, which made really getting to know people difficult because you couldn't walk the dock and chat. On Friday, Jim & I arrived early for happy hour and were able to spend about 30 min. talking one-on-one with Art & Ruth DeFever, and Ruth's daughter and son-in-law (Sharon & Richard). Oh! We felt SO special! Art gave us some wonderful insight into our boat and said that they are thinking of making 38's again as an "entry" boat. We were very proud to tell Mr. DeFever that our boat has safely carried us 6000 miles, with many more planned. On Sat., two brokers from Horizon Yachts (a major DeFever yacht brokerage) stopped by our boat to check it out. They were impressed with what they saw and with the work that we had done. It will be interesting to see how long it is before DeFever starts producing 38' boats again. Kudos were given out at the potluck Sat. evening. Mañana received kudos for being both the oldest and smallest boat in the fleet. We also had come the longest distance for the event. On Sunday, we headed out once again at 0530, with Mission Bay as our destination. Mother Nature wasn't as kind -- I guess she figured it would take only one day to whip us into shape! We left Cat. Harbor with the Coast Guard looking for a boat that supposedly was adrift, so we kept our eyes open, too. Unfortunately fog was hampering the search. Eleven hours later, as we were approaching Mission Bay, a may day was heard that a child was in cardiac arrest and wasn't breathing. Tense moments for everyone, although the skipper of the boat maintained a very cool and professional voice over the radio. I'm not sure I would have been able to. After a few minutes, the skipper radioed that that the child had a pulse but was still unconscious. We pray that the child survived with no ill effects. Mission Bay's anchorage was wonderful, once we got past the all the boat traffic coming across the bar. Jim and I polished off a bottle of wine before dinner and were in bed by 2000. We finally headed "home" mid-morning on Monday. We had the sea on our beam for over an hour -- Jerry hid under the aft stairs and DC had his claws firmly secured into the settee! That had to be the absolute worst part of the trip! We dodged "warships", a submarine, a tug and several sailboats. The Coast Guard sent out one of its "fast boats" to check us out and the Navy security boat zipped back and forth, making sure we didn't get too close to anything. We had a bitter-sweet ending to the weekend when we passed Greg & Nancy on Festima Lente. They've been making cruising plans for several years and they were now on their way. Saying good-bye is part of the cruising lifestyle, but that doesn't mean we won't miss them. We wish them safe cruising and hopefully we'll meet again in Mexico next year. Jim docked the boat just like he knew what he was doing and we were back in the rat race before too long. What a vacation!

Aug. 10, 2006: Happy Birthday, Jim! We split a salad up at the Galley Restaurant for dinner, and lest you think we were "being good", we also split a Maui Pie, which was a chocolate graham crust with about 4" of macadamia nut ice cream which was covered with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Nope, not one calorie!

Aug. 18-20, 2006: We flew to San Francisco after work to visit the Encanto crew, who were visting the area for a week and planned to celebrate John's 50th birthday the next day. John picked us up from the airport and whisked us back to Judy's folks house, outside Palo Alto, in time for oxtail stew. It was so wonderful to see the Encanto crew -- we could hardly believe how much Gaby and Sami have grown! We stayed up VERY late (for us) chatting, catching up with the news and enjoying the crowd. After a morning walk, everyone settled into chores to get the house ready for the party, which was to start at 12:30. The guys set up rented tables and chairs, the kids made the floral centerpieces, black balloons were blown up, and fruit and veggie trays magically appeared from the kitchen. Judy had also arranged to have the party catered by John's favorite BBQ restaurant, so there was chicken, pork, baked beans, potato salad, green salad and corn muffins. Over 50 friends and family members showed up, including two cruising families that we knew (Monkey Girl and Carmelita). It was fun for us to hear how they were adjusting back into the rat race. The afternoon party was topped off with an outrageously rich chocolate cake. The crowd left around 4:30. If the afternoon's food wasn't enough, Judy produced delicious steaks for those still at the house for dinner. It was one huge slumber party as 14 people spent the night at the house, although no one went to bed early because we were trying to digest al the food! People were a little slower getting up Sun. morning. Just about everyone ended up sitting around the kitchen table, talking about the party while munching croissants with goat cheese, fruit salad and drinking LOTS of coffee! Unfortunately Jim and I had to head out to the airport at 1:30, but Judy made sure that no one went away hungry. Once again, it was hard to say good-bye to the Encanto crew, and our newest friends on Aquestrian (Michele & Dennis). John dropped us off at the airport where we sat for an extra 2 hours while waiting for our flight, which was delayed. The boys were very happy to have us home (once again, Uncle Steve stopped by to feed them for us) and Jim and I found ourselves charged up at the thought of cruising Costa Rica next year.

Aug. 25-27, 2006: We're just such social butterflies! This weekend we took Amtrak up to Anaheim and then took the bus to Long Beach, where we were met by Bernie and Earl. Diane and Bernie had offered us the use of the boat if we wanted to get away and as it turned out, the weekend that Jim wanted to get away coincided with when they would be on the boat. The ride to Anaheim was very relaxing -- we were able to buy a small bottle of wine on board and we enjoyed the scenery as the train followed the coast. Plenty of surfer activity, although the waves weren't very impressive. "Europa" is moored on an end tie at a marina just down the street from the Queen Mary. One would think that a boat in a marina would make for a calm and peaceful retreat, however, there was so much current running that we literally had to hold on when standing up or walking around the boat. We even had to time getting on board! Truth be told, Jim and I slept wonderfully -- rocked to sleep by the sea motion! We returned back to San Diego Sunday afternoon; Amtrak is definitely the way to go -- 2 hours from San Diego to Anaheim and no stress from the traffic.

Labor Day Weekend: A very hot weekend at that so we got very little work done on the boat, and no dock party because the couple who normally organizes things is off cruising.

Sept. 15-17, 2006: It's quilt retreat time -- woo hoo!! Three days with no husband, no children, no housework, no cooking, no NOTHING except quilting! I brought 3 projects with me (a baby blanket for an ex-coworker, my "Cat with Attitude" batik wall hanging, and the fabric to make the mystery quilt). By the end of the weekend, the baby blanket was 95% complete (need to sew on the binding), the "Cat with Attitude" was 50% done and I had all the pieces of the mystery quilt (which will be a queen size for my best friend, Sue) sewn, but not sewn together. I returned home at 1700, at 1800 Jim and I were at dinner with friends and at 2000 I was in bed asleep! I'm getting too old to stay up past my bedtime 2 nights in a row!

Sept. 20-24, 2006: Jim and Ron flew to Cabo San Lucas for 4 days of fishing "with the boys". I always enjoy the time to myself (no guilt feelings when I have a glass of wine and box of Cheez-it's for dinner), but I missed not being able to talk or email Jim. This was the first time, I think forever, that we've been apart and not been able to communicate. They returned home Sunday evening, with Jim carrying his share of the catch -- 45 POUNDS of dorado, wahoo and tuna! Ron joined us for dinner but didn't stay long. He said his bed was calling him. This was a first for Jim and he said he had a fantastic time. He would like to go again next year if we're still in the area.

Oct. 1, 2006: Jim tapped out the forward port bulwarks for rot. I think it would have been easier to mark the solid spots rather than the rotted ones. This was a real eye opener for us. We knew there were a few rot pockets, but we didn't think it was this bad and we really aren't sure how to tackle it. To soothe our troubled psyche, we went to the Galley and had a fattening burger and fries for lunch. Jim will put a call in to Eugene for his opinion. In the meantime, there are several other projects we can work on.

Oct. 7, 2006: Ron, Jim and I piled tools in the back of the Volvo and headed off to Santee, where Laurie (Ron's friend) lives. Laurie had just had new kitchen counters installed and the guys were to install the new garbage disposal, faucet, and blinds. Ron asked that I get Laurie out of the house while they were working (I wonder why?), so she and I headed to the mall and we had a great time shopping. When we returned to the condo a couple hours later, the guys were just finishing up all the projects. Laurie made us an espresso martini (1.5 parts cold black coffee, 1 part Kahlua, 1 part vodka). Oh, man, was that good!! It's one of those drinks that you have to be careful with because you don't taste the liquor. After a delicious dinner, we headed back to Chula Vista. Jim admitted that he'd had fun working on a house -- it didn't move and it didn't throw him any other surprises. Thank you, Laurie!

Oct. 12, 2006: Happy Birthday to me! We went to the Galley for dinner and split a chicken gorgonzola salad and then ordered a brownie supreme. It was so large that we couldn't finish it! I had a very nice day.

Oct. 14, 2006: We woke to rain in the middle of the night and wondered if the marina swap meet would be rained out. At 0630, though, we were under a blue hole (with clouds all around us) so we brought our "stuff" up to the parking lot and shared a space with "Outta Here" and "LaVita". Sales weren't that great. It seemed like people were looking but not buying. By 1000 the skies were leaking and we decided to pack it up. The next swap meet is in March so we'll have to figure out someplace to store everything.

Oct. 21, 2006: We had planned to spend the weekend in Ensenada visiting friends, but neither of us had slept well and we both felt like we'd rather stay close to home and flake. My method of relaxing is to sew: I sewed the backing to Sue's quilt together and then delivered it to Judy, who will quilt it. I'm very pleased with the results, although making a queen-size quilt on a double-size boat has certainly been a huge challenge! I kept telling Jim to remind me that I don't want to do another big quilt for a long time! I also started a coordinating wall hanging in an effort to use up some of the excess fabric. I was put to shame last Weds. at the Guild meeting when I said I had no plans to do the Guild challenge (a basket with handle). I was told I had to because I'm the president. So I've designed something in my mind and have plans to try a new technique. It will be interesting to see if my brain can coordinate with my fingers! I'll keep you posted!

Oct. 29, 2006: There was a spontaneous dock party with the "A Dock Irregulars" in attendance (Jim & me, Leanora & Lee, Gary & Amy and Mig). Jim and I happily sipped espresso martinis while munching on finger foods. Unfortunately we didn't drink enough to get drunk...we drank enough to lay in bed wide awake from the coffee! To make matters worse, the alarm was set for 0345 so we could get Jim to the airport in time for his 0615 flight. Duh!!!

Oct. 30-Nov. 4, 2006: Jim flew to Miami and attended the IBEX convention (boat building technologies). A friend of ours works at the Marriott and was able to get Jim a family rate discount at a hotel close to the convention center. Jim raved about the food and accommodations (although I wouldn't let him tell me about the bathtub). He had signed up for several seminars and came home with a bit more knowledge and was pleased at just how much he really knew! I took a vacation day on Friday and was able to put 2 coats of varnish on the cabinetry in the aft cabin. Wow! It looks great! (What? Doesn't everyone spend their vacation time varnishing?)

Nov. 11, 2006: Jim and I attended the CAST dinner in San Diego. Once again, the Chula Vista Quilters Guild was recognized for providing quilts to the CAST volunteers (CAST volunteers provide comfort and companionship to trauma victims). The Guild has two members who are CAST volunteers. Way to go - Juliana and Barbara!

Nov. 12, 2006: Jim played "errand boy" while I varnished, running out to buy supplies, make me coffee, make me lunch, etc! I'm on a roll when it comes to varnish! I varnished the galley table and afterwards, varnished the exterior rails. Meanwhile, Jim installed a tank monitor for our fresh water tank -- when it's completely installed we won't have to run outside with the 4' dowel to see how much water is left in the tank. At 1700 the table was still tacky, and by now covered with flying cat fur. We decided the best thing to do was to go out to dinner, since the table was unuseable and the counters covered with varnish, thinner, etc. Hmmm...I wonder how long I can keep this "we can't eat on the table" scheme up???

Nov. 18, 2006: We were invited to attend the ordainment ceremony for our friend, Ron, who was becoming a priest in the Episcopal church. The ceremony was held in Alpine, about 35 miles east of here. Two bishops were in attendance and one of the priests explained what was taking place during the ceremony; it was full of centuries' old rites and rituals. Neither Jim nor I have had that much religion in a LONG time (if ever), but we were immensely honored that Ron invited us and the ceremony was extremely interesting. Afterwards, "Father Ron" changed into his white collar and attended the banquet. He looked so natural in it. He told me I can call him Father Ron if I'd like, but he'd really prefer me to continue calling him "Handsome"! Congratulations, Ron, on making your dream come true.

Nov. 22, 2006: Thanksgiving on the dock with a small group of friends. Dean and Jennifer (Emily B) arrived in the morning and joined the A dock potluck. All the traditional foods were represented and no one went away hungry.

Nov. 24-25, 2006: I prepped the lower galley cabinets and put two coats of varnish on them. It's amazing what a clean coat of varnish will do! I've had to lower my standards and accept the fact that there will be cat fur in the varnish! While I was doing that, Jim was busy rearranging the hanging locker; he is mounting our new air conditioner. This air conditioner is larger BTU-wise than what we had initially planned to install, but the price was right. Jim's thinking he may install an additional duct so that it can cool the main salon as well.

Nov. 29, 2006: We've visited with Dean & Jennifer daily since they arrived, sharing our knowledge of Mexican anchorages and ports. They had friends arrive and will be leaving the marina tomorrow. Once again, we had to say goodbye to yet another cruising couple. We would love to be headed south now ourselves, but the estate's financial issue has not been resolved and Jim has not made a trip East to deal with it.

It's been very cold this week -- what I would call "3-quilt nights". The temperature INSIDE the cabin when I get up has only been 55 degrees and it's been in the mid-40s outside. Brrr! Luckily the sun is up and starts warming the boat up enough to turn off the portable electrical heater by 0800.

Dec. 1, 2006: I took the day off to sew and had a very productive day. I made a couple of Xmas gifts, finished one wall hanging top, worked on the Guild's basket challenge and made the binding for the queen-size quilt. No need for expensive therapists -- just give me some time with my sewing machine!

Dec. 8-9, 2006: Jim and I headed to Ensenada via bus at noon and after checking into our hotel, we met up with several friends who were "on the hard" at Baja Naval. Although Paul and Liz ("Aphrodite") had only been gone for one week, it was still fun to hear of their cruise from Chula Vista to Ensenada. As John and Jim settled in to do some work on Aphrodite, we ladies made arrangements that the group would meet for dinner at the hotel at 1830. Paul and Lynn (Pincoya) taxied in and joined the group for the festivities. There was lots of laughter during dinner, in between fending off "vendors" who wanted to 1) sing/play to our group and/or 2) sell the men half-dead roses "for their ladies". Afterwards we attempted to walk off our dinner and alcohol before heading to El Patio at 2100 for yet another round of libations. Thankfully Jim and I were smart enough to leave El Patio while we could still walk a straight line! The next morning we noticed Jim and Liz (Outta Here) sitting at a table at a nearby sidewalk cafe; they weren't looking all that plugged in and we couldn't help but ask if they had made it to bed or had come directly from El Patio! We did a bit of shopping before catching the 1100 bus to Tijuana. We arrived Tijuana around 1300, and couldn't believe the length of the pedestrian line to cross the border. None of us had ever seen it so long, and the radio was estimating 3500 people and a 4 hour wait. Well, so much for making it to Chula Vista by 1400 for the marina's Xmas party. As we stood in line, 3 uniformed men approached those of us at the end of the line and said that there was a van at the front of the line that would get us to the Customs building in 10 minutes, but they needed 10 people, at $10 pp, to fill the van. It didn't take too much thought for 14 of us to fork over $10 each. The driver told one person not to lose site of him and off we went, at a moderate trot, weaving in, out and between 3000 people, thinking we were headed to a van. Our uniformed driver disappeared once we got to the Customs building, leaving us standing bewildered, looking for our driver and the van. It hit us all pretty much at the same time that we had just been scammed and there was, in fact, no van and our leader was no driver. However, we were in front of the Customs building in 10 min. and none of us felt guilty enough to go back to the end of the line, so we decided to blend into the line. Ah, that Mexican ingenuity was at it again! We did arrive in Chula Vista in time for the Xmas party and a good time was had by all.

Dec. 10, 2006: We had been extended a last-minute invitation to join a group of employees from Westmarine on board the schooner "America", which is a 139' replica of the sail boat that won the first race that ultimately became known as the America's Cup. America was entered as a participant in the Parade of Lights, so this was a great way for us to see the decorated boats up close. We were greeted by the smell of lasagna and garlic bread cooking as we boarded the boat at 1630 and we enjoyed the dinner as we motored to the parade start line (eating fast so the food didn't get cold and holding on to our paper plates so they didn't blow away). Hot chocolate and Kahlua was available to help take away the chill of being on the water after dark. We'd been given instructions to sing Christmas carols when we approached the two judges' stations, which we did with enthusiasm. We weren't on key, but we sure were loud! We returned to the dock at 2000, cold but happy for the experience.

Dec. 16, 2006: Yours truly had been given the task of organizing the DMJM Xmas party (for 90 people) and a cocktail sunset harbor cruise had been approved. Because Jim and I really don't NEED anything for Christmas, we decided to give each other a night on the town. To that end, we splurged on a luxury room at the Marriott Hotel in the Gaslamp District. We checked in, got ready for the holiday cruise and taxied downtown early so I could greet everyone. The cruise went from 1600 - 1800 and was a great success, with the exception that San Diego was expecting the storm that creamed the Northwest, so there was no sunset...but there was no storm either (until, quite literally, 15 min. after we deboarded, when the skies opened up!). We joined a few co-workers for a drink at a pool bar in the Gaslamp district, and then headed off to find some dinner (GREAT corned beef and cabbage at the Blarney Stone Pub). It didn't take me long to start putting the water in the tub (think $200 bath) and Jim had his shoes off and the TV on in no time. The Marriott was such a treat -- upscale fabrics and decor -- definitely a far cry from "old wood boat"! Other than the folks in the room next to us who were either doing jumping jacks or bouncing a basketball off the wall at 0200 (or maybe we really don't want to know what they were doing at that hour), we slept well.

Dec. 18, 2006: Okay, who turned the temperature down? It is in the upper 30s at night and 50s during the day. We finally broke down and turned the furnace on, plus we put the flannel sheets on the bed. Both cats are insisting on sleeping snuggled up to us -- DC hugs Jim and Jerry and I share my pillow (I know, that's pathetic!). I look at Wunderground and see temperatures that make me do a double take to make sure I'm not looking at Seattle's temperatures! Brrr!

Dec. 25, 2006: Another Christmas...we had our traditional Maine lobster for dinner last night and oh, boy! were they good! We opened stockings and gifts in the morning and then had a quiet day. The temperature has warmed up, so I took the opportunity to hose the dirt off the boat.

Dec. 28, 2006: Jim headed to Seattle this afternoon and will spend the next week on Orcas with his folks. I have a 3-day weekend and plan to continue varnishing the galley cabinets and aft cabin. With luck, I'll have time to finish Sue's wall hanging (I finished her quilt last weekend) and maybe even work on the Guild's basket challenge.

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