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 4000 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 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.

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

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 (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 has been 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. 

As we entered the lobby, the hotel felt like a large mountain lodge with high ceiling, a huge fireplace, leather chairs, dark wood, and beautiful antique decor.

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.
USCG National Maritime Center

Navigation Rules Online
( online book)

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
281-461-6186, Seabrook

Tuesday, August 26

Leading New Cruisers to Moody Gardens

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 bridgetender.  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

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.

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 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 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

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 for both weekends.

First weekend sold out in a matter of hours.  No worry we wanted the second weekend as our anniversary present anyway.

"Please do not take me until after I get to see and hear both bands play."

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.

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

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.

Sitting back and consuming large amounts of quickly produced beer called american lager with no flavor, or drinking from the dogs water bowl.  That would be a hard one to decide.  it may depend on if the dogs eat anything today.

Well all funny business aside.  Good and Great Beers are no longer in short supply. 

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 wandered 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...

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...