Sunday, March 29, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour

This is a fuzzy view of how the San Diego skyline appears on any given night. Tomorrow night at 8:30 PM, I'm hoping to capture a very different picture. Saturday night, March 28, at 8:30 PM is Earth Hour. Please join the millions of people around the globe who will be turning out the lights for one hour at 8:30 PM for a great cause. For more info, go to


Monday, March 23, 2009

Ben and the Art of Motor Vehicle Maintenance

This weekend has been an extremely productive one, thanks to Ben. (Or should I simply say it's been a productive week for Ben and a beneficial week for me?!)

Missions Accomplished:
*Cleaned the bottom of the boat (which requires some scuba gear and elbow grease.)

*Cleaned the bottom of my dinghy. Dinghy goes much faster now. :)

*Mounted a solar light on the bow of my dinghy. (Dinghies are supposed to have a white light for visibility at night. West Marine sells a $45 battery-powered one, but I got mine at Home Depot for $4 and it's solar. TAKE THAT, West Marine!)

*Changed the oil in my car (aka Thin Mint).

*Changed the valve cover gasket in Thin Mint.

*Changed the oil on his new (used) motorcycle. (Ben recently acquired a KLR-650.)

*Tightened the chain on the KLR.

*Changed out the *wire hanger with tin foil* for a real antenna on Thin Mint. (It's the simple things in life, ya know?)

I think that sums up everything. There is nothing this guy can't fix. And I am very thankful, grateful and appreciative for that. :) Next on the list of "Things To Do": Hook up my trolling motor and have built a new muffler/exhaust for Mo-C (get it? Mother Culture... Mo-C).


I saw a funny acronym in a marine supply store:
B.O.A.T. = Break Out Another Thousand.

Ain't that the truth? Actually, our belief is that living on a boat is a lot cheaper than owning a house. What others pay in monthly mortgage payments, we probably don't spend in one month on boat maintenance and repair. Heck, my income is not much higher than what would be considered the poverty line here in America, but my life is pretty rich. After all, we all know money doesn't buy happiness. Right? Right. ;)

Grey Over the Bay

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Explore, Dream, Discover

Between us, Ben and I have fourteen (14!) nieces and nephews. This blog is dedicated to them. Here are some words of wisdom I wish someone had shared with me as a child:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

You Are What You Eat

I guess that makes me a Cup O'Noodles.

Mother Culture has a refrigerator, but it is not currently hooked up. We need to buy/build a bigger battery bank in order to store enough energy to run the reefer full time. This is near the top of our "Things To Do" list, but for now we are without a refrigerator. And I'm hungry. I'm hungry for ideas of what types of healthy foods we can keep that don't need to be refrigerated. Here is a list of what we normally have on board. If anyone has any other suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated!

*Dried fruit
*Canned Tuna

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bringing New Meaning To The Word DINGHY

OK. So we were coming down the dock after a walk with Lola and some people were looking across the bay with binoculars. They said they could see the whale, just beyond the mooring field. (I should mention we walked Lola to Happy Hour... we like to kill two birds with one stone, as they say.) So we bravely decided to dinghy out and see for ourselves. Our mission was a success. This was my first "up-close" experience with a whale, so I wasn't sure I believed Ben when he said the whale wouldn't surface beneath our boat and capsize us. (As it turns out, he was correct. Whales are apparently very aware of their surroundings and don't bump into boats. Boats bump into them. But I am a hard sell when it comes to giant sea creatures swimming in the vast world beneath me.)

So here they are: pictures and a short video of the whale... S/he surfaced within about 10 feet of our dinghy. I was never quick enough to catch the spray. Just some shots of her/him coming up and going back under. I only wish I could have paid the Coast Guard helicopter to get some aerial shots of the two fools whale watching from their 8-foot dinghy. (Keep in mind the whale is about 30 feet long.)

(Note: For those of you lacking imagination, the whale is depicted by a black hump above the water or a blurry spot on the water's surface.)

American Culture

The Importance of Universal Healthcare

Weekend Update

There is a gray whale cruising around the Big Bay... s/he has been here for the past 5 days. S/he's about 30 feet long, between 1 and 2 years old. Gray whales migrate from Alaska to Mexico and back every year so marine biologists figure s/he got a little sidetracked and decided to hang out in the bay for a while. Ben & I haven't actually spotted her/him yet. To be honest, I haven't even looked. Sometimes when the boat is rocking uncontrollably, I imagine her/him under there just toying with me. (Note: That is not my pic. I snagged it from I'd add the link but for some reason I can never get that function to work properly on here).

Ocean Beach

Here are a couple pics taken in Ocean Beach. I like to think of Ocean Beach as the place I grew up. Some might argue that I grew up in Bristol, CT, but I'd say I lived there as a child. I never really grew up til I moved to Ocean Beach. Or better yet, I "found myself" in Ocean Beach. As long as OB remains the same, it will always have a piece of my heart. OB is the place I wish I grew up.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Urban Trees

Some local artists created "Urban Trees" that are displayed along the Embarcadero at San Diego Bay, not far from where our boat is moored. We walk by them almost every day so I thought I'd share some of them with you.

I also wanted to thank to everyone who keeps up with our (my) blog and, please, feel free to share the link with friends and family. Thanks again!

Monday, March 9, 2009

They Say It's Her Birthday

Lola celebrated her 5th birthday today. She is now the oldest member of the pack (in dog years, that is.) She'd like to give a shout out to her Bumpoo who also celebrates his birthday today. Happy Birthday, Bumpoo!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Humble Pie

This is an old picture, but one of my favorites. I believe it perfectly captures the essence of the Earth. It was taken at Sunset Cliffs at low tide. I love being humbled by nature. Whether standing on the cliffs, gazing out across the Pacific. Or standing in the desert, admiring the majestic mountains towering above me. Nothing has a more powerful effect on the human psyche than the grandeur of nature.

". . . these are the times of dreamy quietude, when beholding the tranquil beauty and brilliancy of the ocean's skin, one forgets the tiger heart that pants beneath it; and would not willingly remember, that this velvet paw but conceals a remorseless fang." ~Herman Melville

Saturday, March 7, 2009

TGIF (but Saturday would be better)

I'd like to whine about the 5 days I spent on the boat alone, but I'll spare you. Instead, I'll just say I rowed just under a mile each day. I lost about 4 pounds. And I cried for the first time in *oh-I-don't-know* a year. It's been a rough week.

On a positive note, I was able to snap some shots of these pelicans as they cruised by the boat. Interestingly, they appear more colorful through the lens than the naked eye. They are very timid and quite camera-shy. In the first photo, you can see his wings raised as he gets ready to fly off. The second photo, their backs are toward me. They see me and are attempting to duck and run. (HeHe). The pelican in the last photo is giving me evil eye. (I know it when I see it).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Row My Boat

This picture is a few months old. That's me, pumping the water out of my dinghy after a rainy night. (Thank goodness for rubber boots!)

This week, Ben is up north attending a work conference. It's just me and Lo on the boat. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, that's true. But it seems to also make my muscles grow stronger. I never realized before how many times I have to row back and forth to shore. I suppose that's partly because when Ben is here, he shares the duty of taking Lola to shore for potty breaks. But in addition to that, Ben often rows all three of us when we are together (and we're almost always together). I guess I never realized til now just how much rowing Ben actually does! *Thanks, Ben!*

A friend told me that she didn't think she could row that much. But I think she could. I think anyone could if they didn't have a choice. If I don't row, I am stuck on the boat 24/7 and that would be even harder than rowing. Even after 8 months living on the boat, there are times when I just NEED to be on solid ground.

The hardest part for me is rowing against a strong current. I must look pretty silly to the people on land, as I struggle to row against the current, each stroke appearing to take me just a little bit further from my destination. As I move at a snail's pace, I can't help but imagine how handsome my back and upper arms must look after months of rowing! ;) And eventually I get where I'm going.

Ben has an inflatable dinghy with a motor. You might be wondering why I don't retire the oars and use the motor. There are a few reasons for that:
A) I don't know how to use it.
B) It has some quirks that I'd rather not deal with.
C) With mechanical things, there is always that worry that it will break. With rowing, there is never that worry. (Except that time when those crappy oars broke while Ben was rowing, but I've since purchased some nice solid ones!)
D) Rowing is Zen-like. It forces me to slow down and reflect.

Have you ever seen a person in a wheelchair cruising around like it's nobody's business? As if the wheelchair is an extension of their body? I'm beginning to feel the same way about rowing. It's as if the oars are extensions of my arms. It's fun to turn on a dime and slide sideways right up to the dock. I haven't perfected my skills, but I'm a work in progress.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Respect Your Mother

It's Sunday and, once again, the sun is shining brightly upon the bay.

As Lola and I returned to the dock after a morning walk, we were cheerfully greeted by a fellow neighbor who expressed his gratitude for another beautiful day on the water.

I rowed back to Mother Culture feeling warm and fuzzy. :)


So many people don't understand the impact they have on our earth. Or they just don't care. This seriously disheartens me. I'm not saying I'm perfect. But I am ALWAYS conscious of my actions. Whenever I buy a bottle of Vitamin Water, I feel guilty, wondering where the crappy plastic bottle will actually end up after I throw it in the recycle bin. When I forget my travel mug on the boat and I grab a coffee in a go-cup, I want to shield my face from the environmentalists peering at me with disgust.

"Integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching."

Unfortunately, so many people don't do the right thing even if everybody is watching. So many people think it's not their job to protect the earth. And oddly, these are the same people who are procreating and will eventually hand this tattered earth down to their children. I empathize with those children.


I grew up in a family with three children. For a long time, our family car was a 2-door, 1966 (is that right, Dad?!) Chevy Corvair. Can someone please tell me why (aside from the increasing weight problems in this country) a family of 5 could fit into a 2-door sedan back in the 80's & 90's, but today the same size family seems to need an SUV? (That is a rhetorical question. There is absolutely no reason any family NEEDS an SUV...) And don't even get me started on those people who drive to work by themselves every day in an SUV.


I work from home, on a laptop and an extra monitor. I work mostly 8 to 10 hour shifts, on SOLAR ENERGY alone. We can all do more. Respect Mother Earth.


(Note: Five years ago, I, too, drove an SUV to work, alone, every day. I also smoked cigarettes and probably threw the butts on the ground when I was done. Please realize, it's never too late to admit you were wrong and make a positive change.)