Tuesday, June 30

I Feel Happy!

Occasionally in the boating community I meet a curmudgeon, 'an angry, surly, mean' individual who wants to make other people unhappy.  People I call a^* holes.  I have met my fair share of them in my life.  I learned to hang up, walk away, and avoid them as much as possible because they seem to thrive on spreading their negative vibe.  I have tried engaging with them to see the positive but they rarely cheer up and make me upset.  So if I ignore them and walk away, I feel better.

I am a naturally happy and positive person.   Seeing the glass as half full helps me cancel out any negative people around me.   Being a rational optimist, I do not understand why some are so negative. 
Happiness is more than a choice.  Once I heard, that I should just choose to be happy.  Who would choose to be unhappy?  Happiness is in our DNA, environment (location), community of people, life events, and circumstances.

It is in our genes.  Scientists have ranged that happiness is tied to our genes from 33% to 48% after examining twins.  I think that it might be much more.  Years ago my unhappiness, I contribute it to the State that I was in (full of old apathy, lack of action, and complacency), and certain people in my life.  Once I found a community with like-minded individuals, looking to the future, and a beautiful large warm State of mine.  I immersed myself in everything Texas (or South Carolinian): politics, travel, food, people, community, history, outdoors, drink, water.  I was happy again.

My maternal grandmother was a positive, up for most anything, happy, loving woman.   Being widowed for over 30 years, she did not have a large bank account.  What she had, 'was hers' and she saved.  She loved to share her talents of sewing couture, cooking for her family, and being there.   Sitting on her front porch, I have such fond memories of her laughter and wit.  JT's grandmother had the same traits, and he possesses them as well.

Pursuit of happiness is an often debated right that we are born with.  What did the writers of our Declaration of Independence from England mean?  Not such a hedonistic pleasure of being in the present only, but building a future of well being for all, an eudaimonia.  Provide a meaning to life and engage in life.  Do not just sail away from life.  Always sail to a destination to find happiness
James Madison wanted in the Constitution, "enjoyment of life and liberty...and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety" 
Patrick Henry: "Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."
Samuel Adams: "Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness."
(Learn about the brain in Harvardx MCB80x.org.) Neuroscientists have studied the brain, and tied happiness to a neurotransmitter called hypocretin/orexin
"greatly increased when subjects were happy but decreased when they were sad." In addition, the study measured for the first time the release of another peptide, this one called melanin concentrating hormone, or MCH.  
"These results, in conjunction with the current findings, suggest that hypocretin administration will elevate both mood and alertness in humans," Siegel said. 
Simply taking a hypocretin/orexin or MCH pill will not work because there is a blood-brain barrier that blocks most chemicals from entering or exiting the brain.  Interesting to note that those two same peptides have been tied to sleeping, alertness, fullness from eating, and joy in different regions of the brain.

Friday, May 15

Love in a Squall

Since the recent squall that hit Mobile Bay, Alabama, JT and I are reminiscing about our first squall (only squall since). We were dating for a few months and just returned from a cross country drive to meet my parents and explore the Texas Hill country with Whitley.  We were blissfully happy together.  

Whitley, the puppy, enjoyed looking out the window and could not believe what she saw.  As I was napping in the back, Whitley, puppy, was sitting up for the first time in the front passenger seat (riding shot gun) staring across the wide open country of west Texas.  West Texas had no green that summer, and she only pees on green.  Once we left Tyler, TX, she refused every rest area until JT found a potted plant in front of the CVS with a green spike grass in it.  She finally made water.  On the return drive we left the interstate to confirm why we both love Texas and the citizens so much.  Driving behind a vehicle where they have the courtesy to pull over into the driveable shoulder to let you pass while using their turn signals, this is where I want to always live.

Thursday, May 7

Good Wood for our Boat

Let it be sung in the streets that I love wood.  To me it is warm, strong, firm, hard to bend, my protection, and my shelter,  When we were searching for a sailboat, I love the all-wood deck sailboats like the Cheoy Lee.  JT reminded me of all the maintenance, work, cost, and possible leaks that could come from wood decks.  We found a boat with lots of wood inside and a little wood outside that we must yearly do maintenance on in the Texas heat and humidity.

Friday, April 10

Wedded Bliss for another Sailor

Groom's Cake from Kemah, German Chocolate cake chest of jewels
Oh what a joyous celebration there was in Galveston as we witnessed the joining together two wonderful sailors in wedded bliss.  No detail was missed.  We were so grateful to be invited to their beautiful wedding and rollicking party with boat themes, dinner, dancing, and much merriment into the late hours of the night.

Two sailors who share the love of adventure, exploration, and excitement have only started their voyage together.  They complement and adore each other that I foresee great joy together for them.

A wedding is a symbol, a celebration, a public recognition of what already exists.  It is their marriage to define, to make real, and to live. Marriage is a means of showing commitment to one another. It is an opportunity for mutual growth. The promises made and the ties that are bound will greatly strengthen their union as they cross over many years together.

The true art of married life is a mutual enrichment, a give and take between two personalities that diminishes neither, but enhances both. Treasuring each love and following every day with the duty to honor their mate, marriage, and family. Judging less and loving more, and accepting another way of doing something different.  The community of people in their life that share their passion and values, their physical surroundings, trust in their love to tell the truth, be kind, and the ability to make each other laugh will help enrich their union.

I was never one that dreamed about my wedding day, but when it came, I did as I always do research all the meanings and history of the ceremony.  A ring on the left hand, third finger comes from the Attic Nights of Aulus Gellius, Roman book, because it was the way to the human heart, 'the supreme organ'.

There is no advice in this post.  This is our story of eudaimonic well-being and pleasure of maintaining lasting love.  The longer that I am married and involved with the same man, the less I feel qualified to give anyone advice on finding and keeping love since each is different.

There are a few things that we do to keep our love strong.  Hug many times every day (try a 20 second hug), hold hands (try for 10 minutes), verbally confirm our love for each other, make love, look our best, defend our love, and spend time together.  Trying new and different experiences, and reminisce about them.  Think positively about my love and me.  I stay away from connecting with old flames.  All of these things have a brain reaction in both men and women that need to be replenished daily.

Why we need companionship?  When you find the right love, your brain releases norepinephrine and cortisol that increases your heart rate, causes a loss of appetite and sleep, and intense feelings of excitement.  With time together during stressful and exciting events, the chance of bonding or finding love increases.   It is more than just chemical.  For longtime love there much be sacrifice, physical companionship, adventure, attachment to family, commitment plan ('to build a nest'), and shared goals and values.

Scientists have identified many different lifespan companion-bonding hormones and neurotransmitter receptors in the brains in little cute mammals, called voles, Microtus ochrogaster.  These prairie voles are a part of the less than 5% of mammals that bond for a lifetime. The prairie voles' pair bonding, sharing of parental roles and nest building in couples makes them a good model for understanding the biology of monogamy and mating in humans.  It is not the muscrats where loves last, Mr. Willis Ramsey, but the prairie voles.

Love truly begins in the brain that makes your feel it in your heart and all the way to your toes creating a euphoric state.  Where you cannot sleep, eat, and really think only about that person. 

Using different pathways your brain sends a mix of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and hormones for love: dopamine (neuromodulator with 5 types of receptors), testosterone, estrogenprogesteroneoxytocin (bonding), vasopressin (nurture and protection, 3 types of receptors), serotonin (calming, neuromodulator with 24 types of receptors), gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), phenylethylamine (love), acetylcholine (ACTH, rest, neuromodulator), hypocretin/oxerin (happiness).  These neurotransmitters have different jobs that depends on its origin, pathway, and where it ends in the cortex. They need to be replenished to keep going.  

Do not ignore your love.

Vasopressin is used in the brain of the male voles to ignore the other female voles and defend his mate against other competing males.  Male and female's brains handle stressful events differently; the stress responses of men are seen as fight or flight while in women the use of oxytocin tends to caring for the family and creating a community of friendship.  This is why women are more social than men.

Dopamine (award), norepinephrine (originating in locus coeruleus: causing not sleeping, rapid heart rate, increase blood pressure, more alert, long term memory, learning, prevents endorphins breakdown), and epinephrine (adrenaline) are known as catecholamines which are derived from tyrosine (amino acid) with different enzymes that are made by the nerves and adrenal glands and originate in the brain and not the body because of the blood-brain barrier. These neurotransmitters make love incredibly powerful and desirable.  

Running and exercise helps increase movement of dopamine (award) and endorphins (joy, pain killer like enkephalins) in your brain.  Feeling discontent, get your heart rate up with exercise, and you may feel better together.  As an active sailor we constantly get the surge of adrenaline when facing big waves, strong wind, and cold water, but I never feel fear, but feel my heart racing and feel a wave of warm blood flow to my feet, hands, and head.  I am very focused and happy to be facing a new adventure with my captain.

Why we are faithful  to our mates? 
Emotions and the Brain by Steven Johnson, Discovery Magazine, May 2003
In the faithful voles, the oxytocin receptors overlapped with dopamine receptors in an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens; in the nonmonogamous voles, the oxytocin receptors were located elsewhere. 
In the monogamous voles, oxytocin receptors were planted firmly in the reward circuitry of the brain. The architecture suggested that behaviors associated with oxytocin release would feel good in the brains of the prairie voles but leave the montane voles relatively unaffected. If oxytocin encouraged the animals to stay attached to a partner, it was no wonder the prairie voles turned out to be so committed. Their brains were wired to make forming attachments pleasurable.   
Oxytocin receptors are located in several dopamine-rich regions of the brain, suggesting that oxytocin is embedded in our reward circuitry. 
With oxytocin triggering the drive for social attachment and the opioids supplying the warm, fuzzy feeling of being in the company of loved ones.  
Oxytocin's effects are heightened by estrogen and dampened by androgens like testosterone, which may help explain differences between male and female stress responses. 
Gifts from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. 
We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity-in freedom.
Beach Wedding Poem
Standing near the ocean tide, may love always be as constant as these never-ending waves, flowing endlessly from the depths of the sea; Love came softly upon each others heart,just as the foam comes softly upon the sand, and just as there will never be a morning without the ocean's flow, so there will never be a day without love for each other. 
Pledging their love will be as dependable as the tide; as these waters nourish the earth and sustain life, may their constant devotion nourish and sustain them until the end of time. 
Use Your Senses to Keep Your Love Strong... (we have more than five senses)
  1. Opthalmoception, sight
  2. Audioception, hearing
  3. Tactiocetion, touch
  4. Gustaception, taste
  5. Olfacoception, smell
  6. Proprioception, body's awareness of where it is in relation to itself
  7. Nociception, sense of pain (inhibited by opioid) and itch (inhibited by dynorphin)
  8. Equilibrioception, using the Vestibular nerve, sense of balance
  9. Subitizing, sense of knowing how many items there are
  10. Chronoception, sense of time
  11. Chemoreception, detect salt and co2 concentrations, vomernasal-sensing pheromones (Jacobson organ)
  12. Thermoception, change in temperature
  13. Magnetoception, sense direction, knowing where true north is!
  14. Interoception, sense of internal organs
  15. Leptin and ghrelin hormone for the sense of fullness or hunger, satiety signals (orexin)
  16. Apperception, perceive new experience in relation to past experiences
  17. Barometric, sense of weather, change in pressure (ie migraines or stiff joints)
  18. Presense, sense of another is close by
  19. Laughter, sense of humor; laughter releases hypocretin/orexin, dopamine, serotonin, endorphin, and oxytocin
  20. Intuition, 'gut instinct', linked to the caudate nucleus of the basal ganglia
Tiramisu Wedding Cake Recipe for 2-tier 9” cakes
7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
5 2/3 cups sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
3 3/4 cups whole milk
18 large egg whites, room temperature

2 cups Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or coffee powder

14 packages cream cheese, (8-ounce each), room temperature
7 cups powdered sugar
2 1/3 cups chilled whipping cream
7 tablespoons sweet Marsala
3 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cardboard cake round, 6" diameter
1 cardboard cake round, 9" diameter
1 cardboard, 12" diameter
1 revolving cake stand, 11" diameter (optional)
9 wood dowels, 12" long, 1/4" diameter
4 1/2 cups berries (raspberries, blueberries blackberries and strawberries
Fresh mint sprigs

12 cups berries (raspberries, blueberries blackberries and strawberries), optional
6 tablespoons sugar

Position racks in top and bottom thirds of oven and preheat to 350F. Butter one 12-inch-diameter cake pan with 3-inch-high sides, one 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 3-inch-high sides and one 6-inch-diameter cake pan with 3-inch-high sides.* Line bottoms with parchment. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl.

Using handheld electric mixer, beat butter in 12-quart bowl on medium-high speed until light. Gradually add sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in extracts. On medium-low speed, beat in dry ingredients alternately with milk in 3 additions each, beating just until combined (batter will be thick).

Using electric mixer fitted with clean, dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten. Fold in remaining whites. Spoon batter into prepared pans so that depth of batter is the same in each pan; smooth tops. Bake until tops are deep golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes for 6-inch cake, about 65 minutes for 9-inch cake and about 80 minutes for 12-inch cake. Cool cakes in pans on racks 20 minutes. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cakes. Turn out cakes onto racks and peel off parchment. Cool completely.

Mix Kahlua, water and coffee powder in heavy, large saucepan. Boil over medium-high heat until mixture is reduced to 2 2/3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool syrup completely.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until light. Gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add cream, Marsala and vanilla and beat until well blended. Cover and let stand at room temperature up to 1 hour.

Finely grind chopped chocolate in processor (do not over process or chocolate will clump together). Using serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Spread dab of frosting on 6-inch cardboard round; top with bottom layer of 6-inch cake, cut side up. Brush cakes with 2 tbsp syrup.

Spread 1/2 cup frosting over. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp ground chocolate. Top with middle 6-inch-layer cake layer. Brush with 2 tbsp syrup. Spread 1/2 cup frosting over. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ground chocolate. Brush 2 tablespoons syrup over cut side of top 6-inch cake layer. Using hands, turn layer cake over and place cut side down atop frosted layers. Cover and refrigerate cake.

Spread dab of frosting on 9-inch cardboard round; top with bottom layer of 9-inch cake, cut side up. Brush with 1/4 cup syrup. Spread 1 cup frosting over. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup ground chocolate. Top with middle 9-inch cake layer. Brush with 1/4 cup syrup. Spread 1 cup frosting over. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup ground chocolate. Brush 1/4 cup syrup over cut side of top 9-inch cake layer. Slide large tart-pan bottom or spring form cake-pan bottom under cake layer. Using pan bottom as aid, lift cake layer and turn cut side down atop frosted layers. Cover and refrigerate cake.

Spread dab of frosting on 12-inch cardboard round; top with bottom layer of 12-inch cake, cut side up. Brush with 1/2 cup syrup. Spread 2 cups frosting over. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup ground chocolate. Top with middle 12-inch cake layer. Brush with 1/2 cup syrup. Spread 2 cups frosting over. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup ground chocolate.

Brush 1/2 cup syrup over cut side of top 12-inch cake layer. Slide large tart pan bottom or cake pan bottom under cake. Using pan bottom as aid, lift cake layer and turn cut side down atop frosted layers. Cover cake; refrigerate all cakes until firm, about 4 hours. Cover remaining frosting and let stand at room temperature. Place 12-inch cake on its cardboard on large flat platter. Place platter on cake stand. Using icing spatula, spread 4 cups frosting over top and sides of cake; smooth top. Swirl frosting decoratively on sides of cake. Press 1 dowel into center of 12-inch cake. Mark dowel 1/4 inch above top of cake. Remove dowel and cut with serrated knife at marked point. Cut 4 more dowels to same length. Press 4 cut dowels into 12-inch cake, inserting 4 inches inward from cake edges and spacing evenly; press 1 dowel into center of cake. Refrigerate cake on platter.

Place 9-inch cake on its cardboard on large flat plate or tart-pan bottom. Place plate on cake stand. Using icing spatula, spread 3 cups frosting over top and sides of cake; smooth top. Swirl frosting decoratively on sides of cake. Press 1 dowel into center of 9-inch cake. Mark dowel 1/4 inch above top of cake.

Remove dowel and cut at marked point. Cut remaining 3 dowels to same length. Press 4 cut dowels into 9-inch cake, inserting 3 inches inward from cake edges and spacing evenly. Refrigerate 9-inch cake on plate. Place 6-inch cake on its cardboard on another large flat plate or tart-pan bottom. Place plate on cake stand. Using icing spatula, spread 2 cups frosting over top and sides of cake; smooth top. Swirl frosting decoratively on sides of cake. Refrigerate all cakes until frosting sets, about 2 hours.

Using metal spatula as aid, gently place 9-inch cake on its cardboard atop 12-inch cake, centering carefully on dowels. Gently place 6-inch cake on its cardboard atop dowels in 9-inch cake. Spoon remaining frosting into pastry bag fitted with medium star tip. Pipe decorative border around base of 12-inch cake and around top edge of each tier. Let cake stand at room temperature at least 3, and up to 6, hours before serving.

Toss berries with sugar in large bowl. Let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours at room temperature. Remove top and middle cake tiers. Remove dowels from middle cake. Cut top and middle cakes into slices; transfer to plates. Remove dowels from bottom cake. Starting 3 inches inward from edge of bottom cake and cutting through from top to bottom. Cut 6-inch-diameter circle in center of cake. Cut outer portion of cake into slices, then cut inner portion into slices. 

Rajiv K. from Austin, TX on 07/06/00
Cake rises a bunch as long as your baking powder is fresh. (cake tins that are 3 in. tall) Use a mascarpone cheese / espresso / brandy mixture (omit the egg yolks) as a filling. Add in some cream cheese for stability. Combined with the brushing of the cake layers with the liquor.. Oh, and if you want your frosting to stand up to the sun in an outdoor wedding....DO NOT use this frosting. It will get soft quickly. I used a veg. shortening based cream cheese frosting that tasted great and held up in the hot Texas sun. This recipe will make a 12" layer cake and a 9" layer cake if you only want 2 tiers. Mix in no less than a 12 quart bowl.

Friday, February 20

Nominated for Liebster Award

Questions for the Liebster Nominee from Bigdumboat: 

Our task was to answer Dyad's ten questions that they hear too often about their boat.

1. What kind of a boat is that anyway? 

Catalina 34, cruising sailboat.  We enjoy the journey and studying the natural beauty of the world, as much as the destination.  

We spend more money on beer per week than fuel for the year.

Wednesday, January 28

Run Diesel Run

We love the internal combustion engine, a marvel of human creation.  Listen to her humming along.  Never take her for granted, listen to her, know her sounds, and always maintain her parts.  Having a knowledgeable hands on husband is always a good thing.

Sunday, January 11

A year of Life, the Universe, and Everything

Second Pint of Sailing Santa, by Saint Arnold
Engulfed in reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
For those not in the know of my favorite books and author (Douglas Adams, series of Hitchhiker's Guide...), I am on the ultimate Guide's trail for at least a day or 365 days to seek the question because as of that day I am the answer.  Cold and nasty rainy day this must be a Saturday.  I never could get a hang of Saturdays especially the second one in January of 2015.

I partook in at least three pints of beer (liquid refreshments from Dr. Ink) to cushion the transition to a new age.  An evolutionary voyage through space and time that had me back in a time where I could not remember my last name.  Was it one S or two?  Not to worry the last restaurant had warm chocolate chip cookies to make the end and the beginning of the Universe a sweet transition.  

Tuesday, January 6

It Means What It is.

If I knew where I was sailing from, I could calculate where I was sailing to from Aaron Angell on Vimeo.

I created this blog three years ago because our story of our first cruise kept getting deleted from a cruising association website that we were active at that time.  I learned to write html code and how to personalize our blog so that it is easy for me or anyone to find information about cruising, dogs, or cooking.  Since blogger is free, I have been careful about not putting too much personal  information about us.  

Google had offered the analytic tool a few years ago, which I signed up for but never used until recently. A recent active visitor sparked my curiosity.  Most of our visitors were coming from search engines which I allowed and encouraged.  But what was most shocking to me is the repeated visits from the US DOJ server and social security administration server. Why would they be looking at our blog about sailing, cooking, and dogs?

Monday, November 10

Gaze Upon That Fire Show

Enjoying a quiet, cool Friday (11-7-14) night on the cockpit of the boat, JT saw a meteor shooting across the sky at 8:14pm central time zone at 233.5 degrees (over Clear Lake Shores-Kemah area) from the boat about 1000 feet (30 degrees) in the air.  He yelled down at me in the cabin to come see.  

As I threw open the cover, I saw two yellowish white lights hovering high in the sky.  Are they helicopters? No.  

They moved to the east & west slightly. Two more broke out from them showing four burning objects falling to the ground.  One began a fiery spiral, helix, to the ground, while the remaining three still lingered in the dark night sky.  I stood on the cabin steps for a couple minutes not wanting to miss a second. Another fell off to the west in a fiery spiral again and it's light finally died out close to the ground.  

JT yelled to get his cell phone.  I grabbed the phone, and he started recording when the last two fiery objects died out.  Too late.  But oh what a spectator fiery meteor show it was for us.

From the Andromedid Meteor Shower, American Meteor Society says a giant fireball reported in Texas the next night on November 8, 2014, possibly 4,000 pounds.

Thursday, November 6

Stop Pooping on my Boat

Cease Bescumbering our Vessel with Avian Ordure. 

In Texas we have lots of birds year round due to the warm weather. I accept them and enjoying their sighting, but just not their poop on my boat or dinghy or vehicles. Come migratory season the drenching of ordure on our pier and boat is unrelenting. We choose not a fimicolous lifestyle.
When Bud was healthier and we were living on the boat more, my morning and evening ritual before walking the dogs for their bathroom breaks was to clean off the bird poop on the pier. I stop at multiple sections and use their hoses to clean off the pier as the dogs waited patiently. I did not want to track bird poo and disease onto our boat and especially not in the cabin.

Thursday, October 30

Fire Prevention on Boats

First boat (Boatox) fire of the fall by the Kemah Boardwalk in September
After two fires in the Kemah area this fall (destroyed 3 boats), let's remember some good fire safety rules.  Practice fire prevention and encourage your boat neighbors to do the same. (January 2015, one fire at South Shore Harbor (3 boats burned))

Upgrade your older boats electrical wiring.   We had a certified marine electrician replace the old wires on our boat, but we still had to go after him and tighten everything up.  AC and ice box shorted out.  Be meticulous on the electrical upgrades or hire someone who is a proven meticulous electrician.  Not just because they are marina certified electrician.  We speak from experience.  Look at our worker page for a suggestion. 

Notify boat neighbors if you are leaving your canine or feline on the boat for a few hours.  Safety First is a practice not just a motto.

Check out what happened to Lobo Del Mar sailboat neighbor at Kemah Boardwalk in October. 
    Kemah Fire Department: Small Boat and Marina Fires Safety
  • Portable fire extinguishers that are properly certified. Make sure that you have a sufficient number of the appropriate extinguishers and that the extinguishers are in good condition.
  • A fire blanket may provide an alternative method of extinguishing a cooking pan fire or allowing safe escape from the boat.
  • Bucket

Service and inspect your fire extinguisher(s) yearly!!
They can’t help you if they don’t work!

Monday, October 27

No Blisters in the Sun

First Coat on the Bottom and fixing 4 blisters, not bad for 5 years

With the quarterly scrubbing of our bottom free of barnacles and growth and plus maintaining zincs on our propeller shaft in the hot Texas salty waters, our bottom looks pretty good.

We used 4 coats of antifouling bottom paint, and fixed 4-5 blisters on the hull.  Choose the right paint for your climate and your planning-to-go area.  Interlux is good and common in our area.

Tuesday, October 14

A Way to Go through Life

Over the past week I tried the delicious Pumpkin Ale from Smuttynose, Post Road, and Southern Tier with real pumpkin puree in them.  Love them.  One night enjoyed Smashed Pumpkin by Shipyard for a dessert beer.  The Pumpkinhead needs some work compared to the others.
Not fat, drunk, and stupid (paraphrased quote from the movie, Animal House).

We planned our tenth anniversary months in advance.  But with Bud's health concerns (cancer) we changed our minds on a long trip to either Marfa, Terlingua, Lajitas, Big Bend State Park, or Burnet, and stayed close to Houston.  Bud is in great spirits and very active for a 13+ year old dog with or without cancer or blind, so we could have gone on a trip with the dogs.  

We really enjoyed the Houstonian Hotel and loved the hospitality and extras in the room and on the grounds.  We plan on returning.  We didn't have to drive hours away to feel like we got away.  We drove through Memorial Park to begin the feel of heading into paradise.  No dogs allowed here though.  Keeping them at home for the night was so easy. 

Thursday, September 25

Preparing for Six Pack Captain License

We have been considering getting our Six Pack License so that we can make some money captaining our sailboat with up to 6 paying passengers on our boat.  But it is very expensive to get your license.  

Here is some basic information that I have found for our area.
Generally, operations that carry 6 or fewer passengers for hire are referred to as Uninspected Passenger Vessels (UPV), 6 Passenger (pax), or 6 Pack operations. These are your typical charter boat fishing guide or tour boat operations that may use a state numbered boat. UPV operations traveling on navigable waters of the United States under U.S. Coast Guard jurisdiction are not required to be inspected by the Coast Guard. They must comply with minimal federal standards for safety, navigation, pollution prevention and the vessel operator must hold an Operator Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) license issued by the Coast Guard.  

The Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary provide courtesy UPV examinations to assist you. These exams are free of charge, comprehensive and confidential. Contact your local Coast Guard Sector Office. Many times they can put you in touch with a Coast Guard Auxiliarist in your own town.

CODE of FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS , Title 33, navigation, and for the OUPV (Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels) aka Six Pack Captain's License, 46 CFR 11.467
  1. Drug Test Application
  2. 360 days of experience
  3. 90 of those 360 days must be within 3 years
  4. Valid First Aid/Safety Aid certificate 
  5. Passport/Birth Certificate
  6. Passed TEST 
  7. Back ground check through TSA 
  8. Passed Medical evaluation from selected doctors, TWIC
130 questions for Test
  1. Rules of the Road, 30 questions, closed book, 90% to pass
  2. Navigation General, 20 questions, open book, 70% to pass
  3. Plotting, 10 questions, open book, 70% to pass
  4. 2 part of Deck General/Deck Safety, 70 questions, open book, 70% to pass

Will Rain Fall over Clear Lake

Having our boat between Clear Lake and Galveston Bay for seven years, we had long heard and witnessed the Clear Lake umbrella effect.  Storms would be coming from the west or south and completely miss or slightly brush over Clear Lake.  Tornadoes would be hitting League City and disappear by the time that it gets close to us which is a huge relief.  Understanding the Clear Lake effect is difficult to nail down because it is not a perfect model.  

Tuesday, August 26

Leading New Cruisers to Moody Gardens

Turning into Offatts Bayou channel
Marina at Moody Gardens from the beach

We organized and lead our first cruise to Moody Gardens Marina in Offatts Bayou.  Our other sailboat cruisers had never been to Offatts.  We slowed down and stayed behind another tug to insure that everyone made it under the Galveston Causeway RR bridge together.  We radioed the bridge using their call sign to make sure that all the sailboats will be able to go under before they dropped the bridge for the train.  We all made it with no problems from the courteous bridge tender.  Dolphins greeted us along the way.

The cruise was made so much easier with A Quickie Guide for Sailing Destinations in Texas.

Wednesday, May 28

Guess Who Is Coming to Make Dinner, Joan Roca

Introduction to the Roca family (translated from Spanish by Harvard University, listed below in post)
As I try to master (or at least minor) the art of cooking (in small places), noted chefs, Joan Roca, and his brothers, Jordi (pastry chef) and Josep (wine expert, sommelier), from the restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca in TaialĂ , Spain (near Girona) are coming to Houston August 4-6, 2014 at the Rienzi (MFAH house museum for European decorative arts and paintings in River Oaks) to show 300 select individuals what magical foods that they can create (including new version of chili con carne or make ice cream with breathe with yeast).

Pictures from August 4 meal at the Rienzi from Houston Chronicle (14 courses) from Alison Cook

Second set of Pictures from Culture Map Houston, Eric Sandler
Opening dish of tapas is presented as a tree with a black lantern canopy that opens to reveal the gifts of a tiny taco, and more delicious bites.

Featuring Spanish wines: Vega SiciliaGramona, Grans Muralles and Mas La Plana from Bodegas Torres

They are also bringing their restaurant and 20 workers to Dallas for 2 days as well.  Then continue to Central and South America. 

Two students from Art Institute of Houston, International Cooking program, and two students from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Art in Dallas will be selected to go to Spain and apprentice under the Roca brothers in their restaurant.

Thanks to the BBVA Compass Bank.

Roca & Roll World Tour

Thursday, March 20

Sailing Across the Gulf

Sunset from Key West, March 2014
Sailing across the blue water to the Dry Tortugas, 70 miles south route
Center of Fort Jefferson National Park, 2 park rangers live there for 2 weeks on.
One of our crew sailed from the Dry Tortugas and back to Texas across the Gulf of Mexico.  Preparation is the key to any successful trip.  So for some added preparation, I added some ways to make the trip better.

Monday, March 10

Salt Sensitivity and the Sea

No brining for this chick.  Low to no sodium foods are impossible to find (where are no salt El Milagro Tortilla Chips anymore).  Plenty of gluten-free but no foods (without sodium) for me (sodium sensitivity) besides cooking from scratch.

The Mother Load at Central Market in Houston, are five bags enough for the month?
Here is the supporting research that 1 in 4 suffer from sensitivity to salt (possibly from sodium).  

For over ten years after moving to Mississippi I suffered from what I thought was food poisoning or acute (hot burning pain) pain in my left shoulder blade and left arm (felt like hot lava burn to my left ring finger) after eating but over the past 2 years discovered that it is the salt and it is a genetic trait.  A piece of brined turkey or pork will have me suffering all night long.

Tuesday, March 4

TWIA: Blow Me Away

After a quick education about WPI-8, now repealed WPI-12, and the waiver, I have received a real lesson on the latest nonsense that is TX windstorm insurance compliance

Wednesday, February 19

Monday, January 27

Galveston Bay and Texas Oyster Appellations

Christmas and Thanksgiving with my family always includes Scalloped Oysters: baked oysters with milk, butter, crackers like Beaumont Inn's recipe. My mother absolutely loves oysters: fried, grilled, scalloped, raw-not so much, but never had Galveston Bay oysters until she moved to Texas. 

Thursday, January 23

HYC Commodore's Ball and Table Dancing

2015, Saturday, January 17, shared the guest pier with Lakewood Yacht Club motor boat and enjoyed the HYC Sailboat Ice Sculpture with fresh shrimp, salmon, and delicious morsels before dinner accompanied by live steel drum music.
Beautiful table arrangements for our dining table
Commodore Robert Williams of HYC and Commodore Joyce Maxwell of Lakewood Yacht Club

Sunday, January 12

Ethanol Gas killing our small engines

Our little outboard engine has been a continuous problem until we started only using non ethanol gas.  From pure-gas.org are the gas stations where you can find nonethanol gas.

Apparently Harris County and all counties touching the county can not sell nonethanol at public gas stations (blame the US government, EPA regulations and statutes).  But allegedly you can get it at airports that is used for planes which is 100 octane.

Tuesday, January 7

Wednesday, December 11

Harvard Lessons for Cooking on a Boat

My total benefits for agonizing over once forgotten college physics, chemistry, and biology:
  1. searing your meat or vegetable creates maillard reaction (flavor compounds) over 120 degrees Celsuis (~250 degrees Fahrenheit)
  2. Cooking with wine or alcohol helps break down the beef tissue (reduces the crosslinks).
  3. Ledenfrost effect: for a drop of water on a skillet of 190 degrees Celsius (374 degrees Fahrenheit), gas suspends the liquid over the skillet
  4. Making cheese with whole milk and a little white vinegar or buttermilk
  5. 1 part salt to 10 parts ice & water, drops the temperature the best to cool the beer down
  6. Avocado brown when in contact with oxygen.  Cilantro has low pH (vit A) and bond to avocado to block attachment to oxygen.  Lemon, lime, or orange juice (acidic) blocks the bonding to oxygen
  7. How many and the types of meals can I cook on a tank of propane
  8. How much heat per mass of food will be needed to cook the meal.
  9. Idea of building a solar oven on the deck when anchored out
  10. Reducing chances of getting sick from microbes in our food
  11. Is my temperature of the oven or pot on the stove correct, use a thermometer
  12. Use the scale and measure in grams!
  13. Make soups thicker or thinner (viscosity) with appropriate hydrocolloid
  14. Bread Flour make my buttermilk biscuits better.
  15. Making Ice cream on the boat is so easy using small and large ziploc bags.  Large bag with 600g of ice and 200g of salt (temperature drops to 22F), and small bag with 90g cream, 100g milk, and 20g sugar placed the larger bag and shake for 10 minutes.
  16. Not a fan of chocolate, so I had to eat all those Chocolate Lava cakes-no chocolate for a year or more now.
  17. Fermentation for beer and wine.  Understanding distillation of alcohol. Why whisky or rum will stay good on the boat but not beer and wine, because nothing can grow in the high alcohol content.
  18. Making breads and pastries: thank you Joanne Chang, understanding why salt is needed to kill off some of the overproducing yeast in the bread.  Burping and farting yeast molecules.
  19. 10 sessions of research, homework, and labs (eating)
  20. Pesto (adding a little flat parsley to reduce darking of the basil)
  21. Viscosity: Mac and cheese, make a roux of flour and butter before adding the cheeses and milk-increases the viscosity and improves the taste on the tongue
  22. Elasticity: cooked proteins in bread or meat changed the mouth feel and reduces the chew factor from the uncooked foods
  23. Cooked Noodles: you do not have to wait for the water to boil before adding the uncooked noodles.  Add the noodles when the water is cold and heat it up and use less water, to save energy and water.  Adding salt to the water barely affects the temperature, so save the salt and do not add to the water.