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 this early August 2014 to show 300 select individuals what magical foods that they can create in three days in Houston. 

They are bringing their whole restaurant and workers to Dallas for 2 days and Houston.  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

Tuesday, April 29

Sunday, April 20

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.

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After a quick education about WPI-8, now repealed WPI-12, and the waiver, I have received a real lesson on the latest nonsense that is TX windstorm insurance compliance.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

Sweet Hearts on the Water

Chocolates, Strawberries, Cheesecake, Champagne, and Sailboats for Valentine's Day

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

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

Merry Christmas & Happy 2014

Christmas in Galveston at the Bishop's Palace, 2013 with Inlaws and BOI'ers

Friday, October 18

2013 ACL Music Festival: Dancing in the deepest oceans

video
Since living in Texas, I have long heard about Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival (beginning in 2002).  But no musician excited in me the desire to get a pet sitter, drive to Austin, battle 75,000 people to see someone sing in the hot October sun or the rain for 3 days, but this year was different.  The morning that the tickets went on sale at 10am, I heard that The Cure and Depeche Mode were headlining.

Thursday, October 10

Quickie Guides Ready for Racing and Cruising

Buy A Quickie Guide for Sailing Destinations in TX Kindle version (best with Fire HD 8.9 or Kindle for Ipad) with live web links.
Louisiana Kindle version, (best with Fire HD 8.9 or Kindle app for Ipad) with live web links.
Mississippi Kindle version, (best with Fire HD 8.9 or Kindle app for Ipad) with live web links.


UPDATED QUICKIE GUIDES READY TO GO
2013, Louisiana, Quickie Guide for Sailing
Second Edition, Texas, A Quickie Guide for Sailing Destinations
A Quickie Guide for Sailing Destinationas in Mississippi
2013 First Edition Texas, Quickie Guide for Sailing Destinations, $9.99 through createspace.com

Saturday, August 10

Water is our Wilderness

Walking the docks of our marina, we saw many jellyfish around the sailboats, all shape and sizes.  We saw one with a beautiful long tail called a War O'war.  Oh you do not want to get in these waters now.  With the water so warm and the temperature so high, this is when most people and dogs are jumping into the water to cool off.

The next day a friend had gotten stung by a jellyfish by Redfish Island, but they had no vinegar on board.   She was stung on her rib cage.  So she just drank lots of alcohol to numb the pain until they returned to shore.

Here are some Helpful facts from Judith Klein, MD that I had just watched after seeing all the jellyfish in the marina.  For an hour she talks about dealing with injuries in the wilderness called Into the Wild, Backcountry Medicine 101 found on ItunesU.

Tuesday, August 6

Tough Choices on Leaving

How much longer?

After much researching, organizing, and updating to cruise to blue water, one of your crew may not be up for the trip.  We apply the daily eye drops or ointment so he can see.  Bring his favorite food and toys which he ignores when he is at sea.  Why, is he motionsick? 

Tuesday, June 4

Sunny Denial is a Busy Place

Just another sunny day on the beach in Nice
My latest dangers feel like the newest drivers in the Houston area; all trying to hit me and never using turn signals. But if I avoid the rush hours and keep a far distance from them, I can make it safe and sound to the boat to relax. 

This spring has been nice and cool so much so that I have not thought about sunscreen much. I got my first redness-burn at the HYC opening ceremony forgetting how bright the sun was. Finally now I am pouring on the sunscreen again. 
 
I had always been good about applying sunscreen since high school. After returning from the peeble beaches of Nice and seeing all the old ladies that looked like the witches from Clash of the Titans, I used sunscreen, big floppy hat, sunglasses, & long flowing hippy skirts with a healthy glow to my skin, not a tan. I tried the numerous chemical tanning creams but they all made my skin smell like meat tenderizer, not a good smell for a vegetarian.

Now my work put me out in the heat of the Texas Sun 5-6 days a week but I was always fully covered with the wide-brimmed hard hat and eye protection, knocking back catbriar and saplings. 

So I guess my lapse in judgment for lacking sunscreen is a recent problem and the lack of proper clothing protection since we got the boat. 

I would prefer to stay in a bikini all day long than my old armor of jeans, flannel shirt, steeltoe boots, leather gloves, and hardhat.  Realizing again that the sunscreen is not enough (I was in denial-Egypt I will miss you). This sun and my new age is changing my skin, so back to the proven treatments of hydrate, lotion, sunscreen, hat, glasses, flowing tight dresses, & exercise... 
 
Apparently denial is a busy place:

Thursday, May 23

Walkin' on my Hands

I'd stand on my hands for a good drink too.
Here we go.  Ready for Memorial Day weekend.  Now we are not your average Memorial Day weekend partyers.  We take it to a whole different level.

Monday, March 25

Brute Show

It could happen to you!  Thankfully all charges were finally dropped.

Thursday, February 14

Ike Dike, Bad Idea?

17 feet high, 60 miles long from High Island to San Luis Pass, $4-6 Billion project to reduce storm surge for Galveston Bay. Really?

After examining the Tx A&M Master thesis that researched this idea, it bases much of its application on the Netherland's System, but they do not have 600 mile wide Tropic Storms or Hurricanes in their area.

If the new seawall is to be built to High Island and San Luis, what about the areas outside of the wall, Port Arthur and Surfside-Freeport which also has refineries and Dow Chemical Plant.

Remember that historically massive hurricanes hit Galveston Bay area once every 25 years, what will be the cost-benefit ratio for spending $4 billion for a event that may happen once in 25 years?

Personal I believe the Ike Dike is a bad idea and a colossal waste of taxpayer money!

Whatever is decided, NO ONE should stay through a hurricane! If you can, leave. Get out of its way.

Avoiding Storms at SeaThere is an excellent new video on MD School of Sailing youtube channel that discusses Tom Tursi's personal decisions on avoiding Storms at sea, A free, one hour video for anyone who plans to sail off the coast.

Long Term Impacts to the environment, look how passed hurricanes impacted our ecosystem
Farther up the coast, at San Luis Pass between Galveston and Freeport, Claudette significantly deepened the eastside channel of the mile-wide natural pass between West Galveston Bay and the open Gulf.
“Storms like this help maintain the freshwater-to-saltwater gradient, regenerate the nutrients and in turn, the entire food chain,” explains TPWD Galveston Bay ecosystem leader Rebecca Hensley. “All of the ecosystems and estuaries are affected. Storm surge and high tides flush into areas that don’t normally get saltwater intrusion. Simultaneously, with the rainfall, a lot of nutrients become available and essentially restart the estuarine process.”

Ike Dike Project Gets Financial Boost
King Ready to Launch 700-Year War

Tuesday, February 5

Stop Suspicionless Searches of Pleasure Vessels


The US Coast Guard and Border Patrol can and do board any vessel in the slip or out sailing without any probable cause. There are been numerous reports in Houma, LA of the Border Patrol and US Coast Guard boarding recreational vessels (sailboats and power) in the ICW. As a former student of Constitutional Law these meritless boardings give me great pause, and I recall the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.

Sail Magazine did a great article about the very topic in October 2012 which I will reprint here. Definitely worth the read. In fact lets take it a step further and contact your Congressman and Senator about changing The law of 1790 Revenue Cutter to now exempt recreational vessels from suspicionless searches.

Personal Handwritten Letters seems to have a heavier weight to the Congressmen (when I worked for a special interest group)
The Honorable (Contact Your US Representative)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable (Contact Your US Senator)
US Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Coast Guard Boardings and Your Fourth Amendment, Part 1
Coast Guard Boardings and Your Fourth Amendment, Part 2
Coast Guard Boardings and Your Fourth Amendment, Part 3

Friday, February 1

Quick Go Sailing

As my first order of business, I decree that all sailboats must leave the slip at least once a season and go for a quick sailing trip.  

Fussy and Frustrated with present Sailing Guides, I created my own, a Fast, and Up-to-date guide, for TX, LA, MS, and AL. A Quickie Guide for Sailing Destinations on the Gulf Coast.

Go for a Quickie.

Friday, December 14

Tuesday, October 9

There Will Be Wine



On Autumnal Equinox, there was a fierce battles of the wines from California and Texas.  No one knew what they were tasting.  Glasses are knocked about, clothes were stained, and mouths were filled with tasty gourmet delights.  Dump buckets were filled at each station with water and wine.  The water pitchers were there for cleaning the cups or palates.  Water crackers were snatched up at each table which kept me busy filling them up.  People wondered from wine rooms and stations.

Clearly some people just preferred whites over reds or reds over whites.  Those white wine loves stayed at the white wine tables for a hour before moving on. 
Rosle Vegetable Chopper (Google Affiliate Ad)

Monday, July 16

Boobs, Tubes, & Brisket

Lone Star Restaurant, sell beer in cases to go, ice cream, breakfast at 8:30am but the last rental tubes is at 5:30pm.

Vacation from the boat life to New Braunfels, this was our first time tubing the Guadapule so we tried the shorter 1.5 hour route with deep areas to swim and hang on the tubes while Whitley swims between us and pulls me to shore (she didn't need a tube).  Lone Star picks us all up at Roys, the second crossing.
  • The BEST Brisket, ribs, and sausage from City Market in Luling (potato salad from Schulenburg)
  • Homemade Hickory smoked brisket and bbq chicken from Bob and Dave (neighbors and B-days) 
  • Lil Kahuna , cabin across from the Lone Star Float House, (1 bedroom and bath, with 2 futon beds/sofas, dog friendly) 

Thursday, July 12

Tuesday, June 26

Salut to former Latitudes and Attitudes


We will miss L&A and the sea serpent. We read and watched Latitudes and Attitudes magazine and TV show since 2009. We have grown to greatly admire Robert "Bob Bitchin" and Jody Lipkin and the whole L&A crew.

We met them first at TMCA Spring Fling 2011, second at Texas Boat Show in Kemah, and last at Southwest Boat Show in League City 2012. Bob looks and acts in person just how he appears on TV.

Saturday, June 2

Friday, May 25

Close Quarters and Privacy

So close
Downsizing and living on a boat with someone else can be both pleasure and pain and now add children or big dogs to the mix.

Monday, May 21

Surfing the Waves

Very light winds and extremely calm seas accompanied us on our final leg of our journey.  Upon returning from TMCA 2nd Spring Fling we motored the entire time up the Houston Ship Channel with little traffic, but like all things smooth quickly changed.

Wednesday, May 9

Time to Let Go

Setting out to Sea
For over nine years, I have kept and protected the ashes of my beloved golden retriever, Natasha, who died tragically at two years of age in MS.  With us setting to leave our home in east Texas and move close to the water, I felt that it was time to let her go.  JT was the one that found her body and returned her to me where I kept her ashes all these many years ('because you never leave a man behind').  She never enjoyed being cooped up in a crate, being left alone, and loved being on the water. Her final resting spot needed to be in the water. 

Saturday, April 28

Me upon my Pony on my Boat

I miss owning a pony.  It is a lot of work to care for them, so our life on the boat is not conducive to owning a horse again.  But at least each year I get to go back by watching the Pageantry of the Horses on TV.

Wednesday, March 28

Dead Calm or Boat Show

Beautiful, warm weekend in Galveston Bay, we unfurled the head sail and turned off the motor. Sailing north for about 10 minutes, the winds stopped. The wind meter was spinning around like a stopwatch. Was it broken? No, just no wind to direct the windex. So we found an isolated spot in Galveston Bay to have lunch.

Tuesday, March 20

Spring has sprung!

March 20, 2012
First Day of Spring and where did the warm weather go?

Sunday, March 11

What if GPS went away...

Solar Flare, March 6, 2012
If we were out in the middle of sea and the GPS stopped working, could we find our way around?  I better hope so.

Saturday, March 10

WineO on this boat...

video
Gimballed Wine Bottle Holder and glasses
With the big wine party in September where you dress like your favorite Californian, I have gathered some great info on wines.  Good quality wines on our boat is a necessity, and of course, good for our health. Quality is most important, not trumped up prices. If a good Argentina or box wine is 7 bucks, then it is mine. Great wines are produced all over: US, Europe, South Africa, South America, Australia, Middle East, China. Do not waste my time or taste buds on bad wines.
Bring Your Wine Tasting Cards...

Friday, February 17

Boat and Smoke Alarm with fried Salmon Croquette

The dogs and I are having a quiet evening on the boat with them praying that I drop something. Fried Salmon in the air, pasta in boiling water, heated up enhanced Amy's Tomato soup, all while keeping mosquitoes at bay. Right when everything is done, the smoke alarm started going off.

All my focus is to get through the dogs to stop the smoke alarm, and to open hatches as I go. Apparently I just reached the smoke point for olive oil. I now remembered the last time that I fried croquettes, the smoke alarm went off too. Next time remove the battery before I fry croquettes, because leaving the stove is far more dangerous.

Sunday, February 5

Two Dogs Are Enough.

Update: Hooray, Rescued Golden Retriever, Sadie, adopted.
Weekly I travel this long stretch of 2 lane highway in rural East Texas with 2 dogs to go to the boat. Yesterday was different. I added a third dog from the Polk-Liberty Countyline.

Flash floods and horrible thunderstorms had torn through this area only five hours earlier. There running by herself with nothing but pine trees for miles, was a older looking golden retriever (white around her eyes like my Golden). She was carrying a purple fuzzy slipper along this busy highway, smiling and running across the road. My heart sank.

Tuesday, January 17

Cool Temperatures means Shrimp Boil

The fire is too big for this boil.

During Game Day in Clemson, SC we shared the tailgate version of seafood stew known as Frogmore Stew (shrimp, potatoes, corn, sausage, lemon, spices).  The Stew's history dates back to the fisherman and labors cooking big pots along the (Frogmore community) Carolina shores for their fellow workers and family.

Now it is a BIG southern tradition. 

Sunday, January 8

Exodus goes Topless for Christmas

One of the projects that has been on our list for a while now is pulling the mast. This project was completed over the last two weeks in December. We had a laundry list of associated projects. We replaced the standing rigging, wire in the mast and masthead sheaves. Also this gave us a chance to add a PA/ foghorn, a masthead windex and an LED anchor light. The backstay was also insulated to facilitate an antenna for our SSB. While the mast was down this also gave us a chance to rebed all of the chain plates and add new ball bearing deck organizers.

All projects tend to expand while in process and this one being no exception. Upon inspection of the wiring for the nav lights on the inside of the boat I found all of these wires to be severely corroded as well. We rewired the nav wiring from the base of the mast all the way back to the panel. All wiring connections were wrapped in rescue tape to prevent future corrosion.

With all of these improvements hopefully the mast will not need to be pulled again for 24 more years.
 
Boat Projects

Monday, December 19

For Our Shortest Cruise We Had a Ball


We disconnected from shore power, pulled away from our slipped, and motored over to the adjacent marina, Lakewood Yacht Club for TMCA's Commodore Ball, where we stayed for the night at their transient slips.  What a blessing it was to be only a few feet to the party.  We (got gussied up) dressed in the bathhouse by the pool with JT in his tuxedo and me in my glamor dress which had not been worn since 2003 (I couldn't believe that it still fits).  Kept the dogs at a distance since we did not want dog hair accessories.

Sunday, December 18

Sharpening your Boating Skills and Safety

See below links for new Texas boating laws, CPR, Captain's license, engine, compass, radar, HAM, skin, fire, man overboard, cruising...

10 Question Boating Safety Practice Test

Test your boating knowledge with this 10 question boating safety practice test.
After completing the ASA 101 course and mentoring program years ago, I rented the Annapolis Book of Seamanship, (5 sailing training videos) from Netflix last winter to prepare for our big trip. Wow what a wealth of useful information. Fun facts too , such as most men found overboard have their flys down. In the man overboard drills, the poor boy who jumped in the water better have been paid extra for those scenes; heck we just practiced with a lifesaver. While there is some outdated info such as how to use the RDF (radio direction finders), the overall information is extremely useful (I even took notes).

Thursday, December 15

From my Galley to Yours

ziti noodles, homemade tomato sauce, saute zucchini, beef medallions
A novice cook tries to transcend her hungry crew to a tasty paradise.

Crossing the rough waters of Matagorda Bay at lunchtime, I tried out my cooking skills in the galley. I should have tied my waist somehow to the galley. Even with an L-shaped galley I struggled to stay balanced. 

Saturday, December 10

Christmas Lights and Boats in Clear Lake

December is here and time for sailboats, lights, and drinks...

Tonight, Dec 10, a new display of Clear Lake boat owners creativity. Past years we enjoyed the Snowman with music in sync with its FM music site, and prior the Christmas tree (that involved a couple major oops in navigation). While it would be fun to be in the parade, we will leave that to others. I do not see how you can navigate safely with all the lights; I guess rely on your nav. equipment. The crowds are here and the parties are beginning. Ready with the Gloves, hats, lubrication to help ignore the cold. Not too bad with temperature tonight in overcast Seabrook, Texas. Our lights are on and ready for the fun.

Wednesday, November 23

Gentlemen, We Have Boat Drinks

Perfected the Margarita
Margarita anyone
Whatever season comes, boat drinks bring us to the sunny tropics. No umbrellas or silly tiki glasses needed. Pineapple juice, orange juice, limes, rum, coconut, cherries, or tequila is all you need, and you are on the white Kona Beaches of Hawaii or any Caribbean Island.