Sunday, May 31, 2009

Eve of Exodus


Last night I was energetic and restless. Tonight I am quiet and thoughtful. There is something about preparing for a long trip that humbles me. I think this cross-country voyage is a necessary step in my evolution. I’ve driven from Connecticut to New Orleans. I’ve driven from New Orleans to San Diego. But this will be the longest road trip I’ve ever attempted… somewhere around 6000 miles by the time we arrive back in San Diego at the end of the month.

Along the way, we will drive through deserts, mountains, plains. We risk driving through thunderstorms and tornadoes. We may be confronted with car troubles. Each obstacle will be tackled as we encounter it. The only constant will be the highways on which we drive.

This road trip serves as a prelude to our future sailing voyages - an exercise in team work and navigation across a somewhat controlled environment. But more than anything, it will be an exercise in living that will eventually fade into a memory that we will no doubt cherish for the rest of our lives.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Boob Tube

I had to chuckle while catching some episodes of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. NEW JERSEY??? Growing up in Connecticut, I always remember New Jersey as the state in which we held our noses as we passed through. Stinky state, that New Jersey. Now I'm on TLC and once again, REPEATS. How do these networks stay in business?

Idiot Box



It's that time of year when Lady May paints the city of San Diego a somber shade of grey. With no sun to charge our batteries on the boat, tonight I am working from the Quality Inn. While I loathe the negative effects television seems to have on our society, I admit I was tickled to have access to cable TV, even if only for one weekend. I honestly can't remember the last time I watched a show. I flipped on truTV to get my fix of Forensic Files (of which I have not seen an episode in months.) So here I sit, working, blogging, watching. And much to my dismay, every episode is a repeat. I can't believe people pay [exorbitant amounts of] money for this crap. I'm afraid to change the channel for fear I'll be further disappointed.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Snacks for Pirates




Parking Wars

Losing Faith in Humanity, one @-hole at a time.

*****

Yesterday, Ben and I were out in the parking lot doing some last minute fixes to the car before our cross-country trip. Anyone who has ever parked along San Diego Bay between the Coast Guard station and Downtown knows how hectic it can be. We had the hood up and we were both sitting inside the car when this @-hole (who coincidentally has some connection to the boat three companionways down from us) pulled up behind us and asked if we were leaving. Ben replied, "No." He looks at the open hood and with the biggest grin he can muster, asks if we're broken down. WTF?

A few hours later, Ben encountered the same @-hole on the dock. The guy didn't recognize Ben but complained that his generator was out of gas and he asked for directions to the nearest gas station. Let's just say Karma's has this funny way of leading @-holes down the wrong path. ;)

*****

About a week ago, I posted a picture showing how Ben and I shared one parking spot for three rides (the smallest of which he recently traded to a friend for a scooter). This afternoon, a friend (and baybor) reported that one of the mooring field @-holes inquired to him about Ben's KLR-650. The @-hole claimed Ben had been parked in the same parking spot for months without moving. (Someone please tell me how Ben can get to work without moving his motorcycle?) The @-hole suggested Ben move the bike before "someone" calls the cops. Since when is it illegal for a motorcycle to park in a parking spot? I'm sure Ben is doing the rest of us a favor by using only a portion of a spot, leaving room for a car to pull in front of his motorcycle. That particular parking arrangement seemed to suit this @-hole quite well the other day when he parked one of his two cars in the half-vacant spot.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Life...

It's what happens while you're making plans, right? But what if you don't make plans?

We realized two days ago that we're supposed to leave on a cross-country trip in less than one week. It's not like we didn't know we were taking the trip. Time just snuck up on us a little quicker than expected. (That's what happens when you're having fun, right?!) So the plan is to drive from San Diego over to my hometown of Bristol, CT and spend a couple weeks with the fam and then cross over to Michigan and spend some time with Ben's fam... and then take our time exploring on our way back to San Diego. This should be interesting. The only other plan I have is to get an atlas. And an oil change. And maybe even a compass. Head north. Head east. I think that's about all we need to know about it. I'll keep you guys posted...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fun Friday

Yesterday was a busy day. After Ben and Justin came back from an interrupted fishing trip (the boss wanted the boat back), Craig and Justin stopped by Mother Culture. We hooked up one of our spare jibs and took Mo-C for a spin around the bay. Mark spotted us coming back into the mooring field and snapped some pics of the boat under sail (which I'll post when I get copies). Then we met up with Adam and the six of us headed up the hill to The Waterfront for some food and drink. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera, but luckily, Mark did... Fun times were had by all... Here are some pics of our sailing adventure:

Ben wore his fishing permit like a gold medal

Everyone chillin' in the cockpit
A view of the skyline
Lola's not sure she wants any part of this adventure


More chillin'
The Bay
Me & Lo
Aqua Dog
Setting Sun

And a video of the guys tacking:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fresh Sushi for Dinner?


Both Adam and Justin work for Seaforth Boat Rentals, so they have access to many cool rides. Today, Justin borrowed the Sea Chaser (with a 90HP engine!) and he and Ben set out for the kelp beds off of Point Loma to fish, surf and do whatever else whacky pirates do. I'm hoping they catch something delicious for dinner.

As for me, this wench is staying around the mooring field again today. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to focus on work since Ben cut his own hours at work. Distractions are aplenty and I'd much rather be having fun with everyone else than sitting here working. Ahhh, one of the [few] downfalls of working from home. So, I begrudgingly accept whatever alone time I am offered to work (and here I sit blogging instead. Doh!) Anywho, I'm forever grateful that I only work part-time which allows me ample time for fun myself. And I'll be even more grateful for a belly full of the freshest of fresh sushi... if they can wrangle it!

Here are a few more pics of the boys taking off:



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sailing Sans Samantha

Ben accepted an invitation to go sailing on Shadow, our neighbor Craig's boat. I snapped some shots of Ben, Craig and Adam leaving the mooring ball and heading into the wind. I'm sticking around the mooring field today because I have to take an exam later and catch up on some dreaded work. It certainly is difficult to find time to work around here. So many things I'd rather be doing!




Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wed-news-day

A Navy helicopter crashed off the coast of San Diego last night. This has been the view from the stern of our boat since early morning.

Conservation

Mr. Green, Mule & Thin Mint Share a Spot

(and, Yes, Thin Mint can pull in and back out around the bikes)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Doo, Doo, Doo, Looking Out My Back Door


This is a view looking out the companionway to the stern of the boat. Does anything look amiss?

I've heard about the grass being greener... but apparently the same goes for trees. We decided to flip the boat around (stern to shore) a few days ago with the help of Adam and Justin. I used to see bobbing masts. Now the view out the companionway is that of a bobbing tree. There is something very unnatural about a bobbing tree.

But I'm not sure the tree is the real problem. The companionway seems to act as a vacuum, sucking up the societal cacophony: sounds of airplanes, honking cars, squealing tires, bikers, walkers, joggers. Part of the allure of living on a boat is to escape from society. This new perspective is making that more difficult.

We decided to flip the boat because it's easier to pull forward off the mooring ball. We've had some hairy experiences trying to reverse off the ball because Mother Culture likes to turn to starboard when reversing from a standstill. I think with some practice we can perfect the maneuver... And slip comfortably back into our escapist mentality.

The grass isn't always greener... even under a bobbing tree.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Punishment Light


Anyone who watches Weeds knows about the Punishment Light. We have our own version right here on Harbor Drive. I can't express to you the countless minutes I spend daily, while the hot sun beats down into my driver's side window, waiting for that little arrow to turn green. And if you are driving a motorcycle or scooter, fuggetaboutit! Ain't happenin'. You'll need to run the light or use the crosswalk. Seriously.

There is no way to avoid the light if you live on the mooring field... unless, of course, you arrive home from the west. But you can't always come home from the west... unless you want to detour around the airport every time.

A couple weeks ago, Ben decided to run the red light in my car... unfortunately right in front of a police occifer. The cop pulled him over, agreed that it was a terrible light, and let him go without a warning. (Don't think it's always that easy... I swear Ben was a psychologist in a past life.) But it was nice of the cop to admit that the light sucks.

The bright side: The Punishment Light is my daily lesson in patience.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Will Work For Parking


I thought living on a boat meant living with less. Learning to go without. I saw this guy pass by today and I had to snap a shot of his boat. You'd be surprised how many people actually keep this much stuff on their boats out here. (Some people don't sail, and have no intentions of doing so.) Even if I weren't sailing, I think half the allure of living on a boat (or in a motor home) is not living with clutter.

Part of the problem with clutter on a boat is that the clutter inevitably spills out into the parking lot. The parking lot you see here is open and free of charge to the public. That includes anyone living on a boat, or biking, running, walking, sightseeing, etc. There are about 55 such parking spots lining the Bay, perhaps 5 of which are marked Handicapped. You may recognize Thin Mint as the beautiful mint-colored Tercel on the left side of the picture. Scoring that spot was no easy feat. I had to do two U-turns to get that spot. It seems that many residents of the mooring field not only collect crap, but they also collect cars. Of late, parking has been almost impossible because certain someones have parked their numerous cars in the few available spots and refuse to ever move them. Ever. Those of us who actually use our cars circle around the lots aimlessly, waiting for an actual *mobile* car to leave. What if we had to pay for parking? Do you think the packrats would finally unload their extra vehicles? Hmmm...

Top 10 Playlist

Photobucket
1.) Lucky by Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat
2.) I'm On A Boat by Lonely Island Boys feat. T-Pain
3.) Never Going Back Again by Fleetwood Mac
4.) Dragonfly by Ziggy Marley
5.) True To Myself by Ziggy Marley
6.) Kool Kids by Justin Trawick
7.) Day 'N' Nite by Kid Cudi
8.) Younger Than Today by Ben Harper
9.) Hide and Seek by Imogene Heap
10.) You Don't Make It Easy Babe by Josh Ritter

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Does Aging Make People Ornery?



Everyone has fears. I have a fear of the water (which is subsiding each day I live on the water). I also have a fear of looking like this lady. I remember as a child, I was told not to scowl because if someone hit me in the back of the head, my face would stick like that forever. It seems like many older women must have been beamed upside the head because so many of them wear the scowl. When I see these people, I have to smile. Just to ensure my face never sticks like that.

Lola and I returned to the dock this morning, after our walk. An older couple was pulling up in their dinghy, the woman all a-scowl, as you can imagine. At the top of the dock, Justin's scooter secured a parking spot (for my car... I let him borrow it last night and it looks like he saved himself a spot with the scooter, but ended up taking the bus home instead.)

Anyone who lives around here knows how we covet parking spots. Apparently this older couple must have spied the spot from their boat and thought it was empty. They came ashore to empty some trash and move their car to the "empty" spot, only to find out the spot wasn't empty at all. When the scowler realized there was a scooter already in the spot, she relayed the information to her husband in a snippy voice. Then she turned to me and demanded, "Is that YOUR scooter?" "No," I replied, all the while thinking, What difference does it make whose scooter it is? Or, Is that scooter not entitled to park in a spot? And, If it were MY scooter, were YOU going to tell ME to move it? Especially after YOU addressed ME in that tone? Sometimes I chuckle at the way people communicate. Everyone knows I love old sayings and quotes. So here's one for the old scowler:

"You catch more flies with honey."

Anywho, I proceeded to my dinghy which was loosely looped around the post at the end of the dock- the very same post Mr. Scowler was in the process of tightly tying his own dinghy to. I told him I just needed to release my line before he went to work hitching and double hitching and triple hitching his line on top of mine. His response: "It's okay. We're only going to be here a couple minutes." Good for you, sir. "I'm leaving right now," I retorted as I undid his line, hopped into my dinghy and coasted out of there. For the record, a *couple minutes* in Scowlerville is much longer than the *one-hundred and twenty seconds* it equates to in my world.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sailing: Take Six

Yesterday afternoon Justin took us sailing on his boat, "What, Me Worry?" Looking back through my postings, it looks like this must have been our sixth time sailing. Our progress was stunted for a few months while Ben was fixing the exhaust...but I have a feeling things are about to change. Here are a couple pics from yesterday afternoon:

Ben & Blair making faces
(Sorry, Blair. I think I took a better pic with your camera!)


Alana & Justin

Location, Location, Location



This weekend is the Red Bull Air Races here in San Diego Bay. Ben left early this morning for some business and pleasure in D.C. The sky has been overcast all day but I can see (and hear) the planes from the boat. Blair stopped by with some friends to watch the races for a couple hours. If the weather clears up tomorrow, maybe I'll snap a couple pics.

These two pics are of our new location. We're much happier in the new spot. The trip to the dock is perfectly convenient... and we are situated past the edge of the mooring field so we have an unobstructed view of the bay (and still a beautiful view of the city). We are farther from the walk/run/bike path which makes it much more peaceful.

(That's Mother Culture 3rd from the right)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Endless Summer


Growing up, I was happiest during the summer. No school. Long days. Warm weather. Sun shining. Life couldn’t get any better than it was in the summer.

Growing up in New England, I relished the summer. Summer was my reward after enduring a harsh winter each year. I used to dream of going to California. I’d never been there, but I knew what I’d seen on television and there was never a shortage of sunshine or warmth in California.

I remember working 10-hour days in Connecticut. Two seasons a year for five years, I rarely saw the light of day because the sun had come and gone while I was tucked neatly inside my cubicle, far away from any window. Bleak days, they were. No one should have to endure a day without sunshine.

Fast forward nearly a decade.

I’m in San Diego. I wake up [almost] daily to the sun shining down upon me. The only cold season is the occasional chilly or windy day sprinkled here and there between all the sunny, seasonable days. (I’ll admit there are days when you’ll find me hiding in the shadow of a building just to get a moment of relief from the sun.) I work only as needed to survive. Never a 10-hour day (unless the weather is not to my liking).

I’m on permanent summer vacation.

Some people aspire to be doctors, lawyers, business people, millionaires, what-have-yous. For a while, I wasn’t sure what I aspired to do. This morning it occurred to me. I aspire to spend my life on summer vacation. So that’s what I do.

Always in search of the
Endless Summer.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tasty Libations

I had a really tasty drink last night while watching Justin perform at open-mic night at Portugalia. I can't remember what the bartender called it. Maybe Benadicta-something. Or maybe something else completely. The point is, it was delicious and I wanted to share the recipe (or at least my hazy version of it).

Here's what you do:
1) Fill a pint glass with ice
2) Fill the glass 3/4 full with Vodka
3) Add some passionfruit nectar
4) And a splash of grenadine

It's really refreshing. Not too sweet and you can hardly taste the alcohol. Dee-lish!

Since I'm sharing one recipe, I might as well share a couple more (and these ones I found online so I actually have the correct measurements).

*****
Chip Shot
(It's like Coffee with Bailey's, only better!)
2 oz. Hot Coffee
1 -1/2 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream
3/4 oz. Tuaca

You know the drill... And don't forget the whipped cream!

*****
Skinnygirl Margarita
2 oz of Tequila
Tiny splash of Triple Sec
Juice of four Fresh Lime Wedges

Combine all ingredients over a glass of ice and garnish with a lime wedge. (Go easy on these. They sneak up on you fast!)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Elation

I am a true believer in the saying, "You are who you surround yourself with." Over the past 7 years in San Diego, that has made me:
a) A dumb blonde
b) A fun-loving brunette
c) A person who just wants to get laid, no matter what the cost
d) Someone who believes money buys happiness
e) A chihuahua with big ears
Some of those don't sound so bad. But I prefer small ears. And I know from experience money doesn't buy happiness and marriage doesn't guarantee sex (C'mon ladies, sex is not meant to be used as a tool).

I'm pleased to announce that, lately, I'm elated. And I owe my elation, in part, to the people I surround myself with. There are a lot of happy people out here on the mooring field. People who truly understand that money DOES NOT buy happiness. People who don't sell their souls to the she-devil simply because their biological clock chimed their 35th year (and I say she-devil because most people out here are men). People who can honestly say they love their lives. And they mean it. And it's refreshing. And it rubs off.

I am a happy person by nature. (Yes, Mom, it's true!) But I'm often overwhelmed by a deep sense of sadness because I feel like many of the people with which I've surrounded myself in the recent past wear a false facade. And I'm not easily fooled. And it truly hurts me to the core.

But, to quote the great Bob Dylan, times they are a-changing... and I'm pleased to be surrounded with happy, like-minded people.

Thanks people! <3

Monday, May 4, 2009

The 'Hood


I took this picture a few nights ago while we were rowing around the 'hood with Adam and Jasmine. It was an interesting night, to say the least. We happened by one sailboat inside which a man was screaming and banging on something. We thought maybe he was trapped in his boat (or even held captive in a boat) and it was a little unsettling at first. We tried to call the police but didn't have the correct phone number. All the while, he continued screaming and banging. It was not even a banging really, but almost a clicking. Or banging followed by clicking. Maybe it was the dark of night that had me spooked, but I wasn't much interested in hanging around to see if the clicking sound was that of an empty revolver or of something less precarious. (Sure, an empty revolver may not sound dangerous, but who knew if a box of bullets was just a reach away?!) After a while, we decided this particular boat must be the home of Crazy Paul and we continued on our way. I've never met Crazy Paul before. In fact, his nickname isn't really Crazy Paul but I'm certain his real nickname is too offensive to post here. Anyway, I've heard a lot of stories about Crazy Paul and after that night, I asked around to many of the neighbors and they all confirmed that was indeed Crazy Paul we heard screaming and banging and clicking. Never a doldrum on the mooring field.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Moving Day

Today is moving day for Mother Culture and crew. A few months ago, San Diego Mooring Co. added about twenty-five new moorings (not shown on map) along the wall on Harbor Drive. In the next hour or two, we're moving a few spots westward to one of the new moorings (see blue sailboat icon on map below). The new moorings don't attach directly to the wall so no one will be able to mess with our lines. It's also further from the wall and the park benches so we will have more privacy. And it's closer to the dinghy dock, which will be convenient for more than one reason. We're just waiting for another boat to finish up at the dock so we can empty our tank and clean the boat... and then we're outta here!

View New Address in a larger map

When Was The Last Time...

You Did Something For The First Time?

Last night, while we were out rowing around the mooring field, for the first time in my life, I saw phosphorescence (a.k.a. bioluminescent plankton) in the water. At first, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Ben caught one of the glowing worms on the end of our oar and we were able to see it out of the water. When he released it back into the water, it emitted a cloud of luminescence around its fluorescent green body. Pretty neat.

I found this blog with information about these bioluminescent marine worms: Marine Fireworms