Friday, December 11

 Sadly, my beloved wife Laura passed away on 12-16-19, four days after suffering a massive stroke.  She was my sailing and adventure partner for 16 years.  Until we meet again, I will love you always.


Friday, April 26

Waiting to Return to Sailing

Jefferson sailing out to Galveston Bay
BM Boat Works is to paint our Exodus.  We have been waiting since early March and not started yet.  No home for a couple of months.

Sunday, June 18

Texas 2017 Cruise before the flood and winds

In mid May of 2017 Whitley, JT, and I took some time off and headed out in to the Gulf.  I had hoped to make it to Alabama, but the weather forecast and wind conditions did not look very cooperative.  We headed back west as we did before. Spending a few nights at Moody Gardens, we tried our luck at some hot tub visits.  We had enough food and wine on the boat for a month of good eats.  Whitley and I explored the outer ridges of Moody Gardens, Rain Forest and Aquarium pyramid which I never realized had so much to explore outside of the pyramids.

We headed out to Surfside Marina to jump off to the Colorado River bypass, Matagorda Ship Channel, or Port Aransas.  Meeting up along the way with a huge gathering of dolphins in Chocolate Bay, they jumped out of the water, played, blew water on us, and tilted the heads and looked at Whitley as they came out of the water.  There is a merry band of sailors that can get Miss Whitley super excited about the dolphins.  She barks in her high pitched, hello bark, for them to come see her, and I am not better.

Whitley, 14 years old, crossing in the Gulf of Mexico to Matagorda

Wednesday, September 28

Weatherman or Sailor

The more that I sail, the more that I learn about the clouds to forecast what to prepare.  Most every day or event planned this year, the weather forecasted was wrong or late.  We canceled or changed some of our gatherings because of the forecasted storms.  We can take the wind but the lightning I am more cautious.

A month ago we were out sailing in the bay.  The winds were perfect blowing about 15 knots from the east.  As we edged passed the line of cloud front, the winds stopped dead.  We had to turn on the engine and pull in the sails, but the chop on the water was still high for no wind.  We head back, and the winds picked back up under the clouds.

Sailors hear
  • "Mare tails and fish scales sailors furl your sails"
  • "Rainbow to windward, foul fall the day; rainbow to leeward, rain runs away"
  • For the barometer watchers, "quick rise after low, often portends a stronger blow"
  • "Red sky at night a sailor's delight, red sky at dawn sailor take warning"

Thursday, September 22

Lessons Learned Cooking for Sailors

Poaching Lobster

Head first add the 1.5 pound active lobster into the boiling water and cook for about 12-15 minutes in the boiling water.  Confirm by measuring until internal tail temperature at 165-170 F
Lobsters have harmful bacteria naturally in their flesh. The bacteria can rapidly multiply and release toxins that may not be destroyed by cooking. Minimise the chance of food poisoning by cooking the lobster alive.
If you ordered live lobsters, they will have been out of water for almost 24 hours when you receive them. Occasionally, one may appear weak or lifeless. This is a normal occurrence. In most cases, as long as the packaging material is in good condition, and the refrigerant is still cold, your lobsters will be fine. The best way to check is to boil the lobster. As long as the lobster’s tail curls when cooked, and the meat in the tail is firm, and in one piece, then the lobster was alive when it was cooked. 
Because lobsters require careful packing and prompt shipping, you should only purchase lobsters from a company which offers a 100% guarantee if any lobsters arrive in poor condition. 
Lobsters grow by molting, or by shedding their shells each year.  Just after they molt, they are soft and fragile until their new shell has hardened, and they are known as new shell or soft shell lobsters, sometimes called “shedders.”  After their new shell hardens, they are known as hard shell lobsters
Soft shell are tender, sweet, and delicious, and represent about 90% of the catch during the summer months.  They are prized by maine natives, and are less expensive than hardshell lobsters as well, but they contain less meat than a hard shell lobster of the same size, because their body has not yet grown into its new shell, and so the lobster’s shell is larger than its body. 
Soft shell (or new shell) shell lobsters do not travel well, and should not be purchased for live delivery; most reputable companies will not even  try to ship live soft shell lobsters because they are unlikely to survive the journey.  Some companies do, however, offer precooked whole soft shell lobsters. 
The “green stuff” that can be found in cooked lobster is tomalley, which serves as the pancreas and liver.  Some consider it a delicacy. 
Female lobster can have up to 10,000 eggs. Once cooked turn red and considered a delicacy.

Thursday, August 11

USODA Optimist National Championship Comes to HYC

First weekend 220 little sailboats set up and out into the Wuzzie Bay to race all afternoon from Wednesday until Sunday.  The concept of team racing in single-person sailboats was new to us.  We enjoyed watching the coordination, communication especially the many different languages, dedication, and intense competition by these children.  

USODA stands for the United State Optimist Dinghy Association for those under 16 years old.  

Safety officials, US Coast Guard, referees, judges, spectators, and volunteers motored around the different courses.  Our captain volunteered himself and our Boston Whaler to help with races.  One story was of the children from Spain using their native tongue to keep their strategy secret until one of judges spoke to them in their native tongue.  They asked what region of Spain that he was from.  Netherlands...

Second Weekend another group of 280 boats race all afternoon for four days as well.  The series of races were based on the first to cross the finishing line.

Our new (combined wood-plastic) wonderful walkway donated by a fellow sailor was completed and perfect for the children to walk the boats on little carts to Shell Beach for launching. No more tripping on popped up boards and the walkway was raised so no more under water at super high tide.  If you fall now, it is because you drank too much.  Keep your shoes on puppies because it can get a bit hot or run fast to the grass.

Sails, vendors, children, boats, tents, parents, and water containers covered the grounds.  The sun, heat, and humidity were merciless.  There was no wind to begin the day until the afternoon.  So swimming in the pool was the best option to cool down, but by the afternoon the water was too warm from the hot sun.  Up to the bar to cool down before heading to the sailboat with A/C and Whitley.  A whole new wait staff was hired to help serve all visitors.  They must have been stress since it was difficult to wiggle a smile out of the new servers. 

Sadly the Friday night social and happy hour had been cancelled.  The menu was very limited and the kitchen help seemed confused.  Hopefully these problems will be fixed after the Club settles back into its groove.

Tuesday, June 14

Good Grief

I have been hoping that JT would do an entry about the loss and memorial for Bud, our yellow labrador Bud was his dog before me and his follower.  I asked about doing a memorial service for Bud with our close friends and family, but he is not ready.  The pain is still too much, and he wants to keep Bud just for us.  I respect his emotions since it took me nine years to let go of Natasha Baytop, my first Golden Retriever.

I wrote the memory of Bud's death on Whitley's travel blog from her point of view, so that I do not forget or change the memory.  I had asked JT to read it three months later, but it was still too much and too soon.  It brought all the grief and sadness of that day back.  I was sorry that I encouraged him to read it.  

Cruising to Bolivar and Offatts

Beautiful Spring Day at the Houston Yacht Club marina and ready to sail to the Texas coast.
HYC boat group shout at Laguna Harbor on Bolivar peninsular

Tuesday, March 29

Batten and Bruised Cruise

From Naples, Florida to Mobile, Alabama... What happened to Houston?  

On a pleasant day with clear sky, clear emerald green water, dolphins, and bright full moon that lit up the sky we left Naples for Houston.  No celestrial navigation tonight since only Orion could be seen with this bright moonlight.  Four hour two-man shifts I choose the 1 am - 5 am mark because of insomnia, a sailor's delight on the Gulf.  

Hello at the end of the trip on Monday morning, after a good sleep, breakfast, and scrub in the marina shower.
Change occurred quickly with four days of winds up to 48 knots, heavy stinging rain, lightning, numerous storms, and breaking equipment (a surprise nighttime storm, rudder chain broke, temporary emergency tiller split, autohelm broke, GPS chartplotter gave off readings, oil pressure kept dropping after adding more oil so could only use the engine until oil ran out). Passage weather and sail flow got the forecast wrong.  We changed our heading from South Pass to Biloxi and somehow ended up on Mobile Bay by the tow boats.

Lessons Learned...

Wednesday, March 9

Galveston Art Walk

 On Saturday March fifth, we left Whitley on the boat with a big cushy dog bed, water, and 'Law and Order' playing on TV.  We headed to Galveston to meet up with over a dozen of our close friends to sip wine, and stroll around downtown Galveston looking at beautiful works of art for sale.

At the elite Rooftop Bar of the Tremont Hotel we watched the sunset over beautiful downtown Galveston.  We lubricated our minds with wine and spirits, and coated our stomachs with fancy local cheeses, crispy table crackers, and halite-rich charcuterie.  Frank Billingsley, KPRC's weatherman, came by our table and gave us assurance of the night's cool weather forecast for the art stroll.

Heading out on our long stroll down 23rd Street, we stopped at a new pub-gallery called the Proletariat (Marxism term for working class, meaning selling their labor to live) and enjoyed some Goose Island beer from the GI representative while examining melted vinyl albums with hand and face imprints.  Onward to Post Office Street we meandered around five packed galleries with painting, sculptures, and photographs as they graciously gave out wine to sip (remember to tip if you sip):  
  1. Affaire d'Art
  2. Peck Art Gallery
  3. Vacation on Canvas
  4. Wiley Gallery, 2128 Postoffice St, (met James 'Jim' Phillips wood sculptor (Hurricane Ike killing 30,000 trees, national attention of Ike-wood sculptures, and his amazing talent with wood carving changed a hobby to a profession))
  5. Galveston Art League

Tuesday, September 29

Art of Night Time Sailing

After the end of summer on the bays in Texas, I can let the secret out, and reflect on all the cool, relaxing, and solitary evening sails. With normal afternoon temperatures ranging from 98 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, high humidity, and low wind, we have learned to bide our time in the air conditioning until the perfect hour, nightfall. We love an evening sail.

Monday, August 31

The Amazing Mr. B, canine crew

Bud at the dog park 2014
As active outdoor people, our dogs represent our lifestyle and personality. For the past year we have had to slow down since Bud could not keep up due to his cancer and age. Last year the canine oncologist gave him a few months of life without their treatment, and well over a year later he is still our traveling companion.  We are loyal to Bud as he is loyal to us.

Life with Bud has been filled with funny, frustrating, loving, joyous, heroic, and sad memories. Bud's whole life with us (12 years with me) has been a Bucket List. From hiking in the snowy mountains of Colorado and New Mexico and the deserts of Arizona and west Texas to the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico Bud has seen more and done more than most.  The funny and loving memories with Bud are the ones that I cling to keep me happy.

Thursday, July 30

Somethin' 'bout My Dog

Jimmy Buffett sings it well in 'Somethin about a Boat'...

"Just a-waggin' that tail
Grinnin' that grin
Somethin' 'bout my dog
Makes her my best friend...
That gives a man Hope"
Bud's spot as JT plays his guitar, 9-3-2015
Enjoying the marina by the water

Friday, July 24

Eyes of a Sailor

Once this sailor, Yachty, hit 40, her vision was supposed to change overnight.  Well it did.  Six inches in front of my face things got blurry, but it got better.  Or as much wiser people have told me that I just got used to it.  I tried out a few reading glasses at Target.  The lowest level of 1.0 diopter worked, but I did not like any of the styles.  

When do I need to see details 6 inches in front of my face?  Playing the violin, I have discovered.  I cannot see the bow on the string without closing my left eye.  Glasses, I will need when I decide to play the violin again.  Too much humidity to keep my violin on the boat.

Wednesday, July 22

Bottlenose Dolphins of Texas

Enjoy watching Delphinidae Tursiops truncatus (bottlenose dolphin) pods in Galveston Bay, Texas every year.  

Last summer every evening a female and her baby would swim up Clear Creek Channel by the Seabrook Marina pool to feed and play.  We would sit by the pool and watch the dolphins jump and play with each other or the kayaks and SUP, stand up paddle boarders.  Unfortunately we have not seen them this year maybe because of the high level of fresh water and hyacinth this year kept them away.

My first dolphin sighting was right when I visited the Texas coast in the summer of 1999 crossing on the Galveston ferry to Port Bolivar.  Majority of the passengers walked to the front of the ferry to watch the dolphins jump the waves.  It was fun and free for my first time dolphin watch.  But what got even more exhilarating was when the dolphins seeked us out on the sailboat.

Tuesday, July 7

Gnarly Dreams from Sailors

First Canoe Trip, fast asleep, life on the water
Hiding eyes to sleep together
If I ever decide to crew on an another boat, knowing the crews' training, idiosyncrasies, and sleep irregularities are essential for a safe and fun journey versus dangerous and scary.  Since everyone sleeps or naps in shifts, watching another sleep can be a real education about problem sleepers.  Whether it is sleep apnea, dream enactment (RBD), sleep talking, sleep paralysis, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, lucid dreams, or insomnia affects the lives of the other crew.

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.

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.  

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.

Thursday, April 23

Life Jackets and You

I heard it time and time again, "Auntie I don't like it.  I'm hot. Why. I know how to swim." I start with the authoritarian approach that you wear it, no option or negotiation.  Later, sometimes way later, once they understand that I mean business and will not weaken.  I explain to them why, and I will now use this detailed story because stories have the most impact for memory.  

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.

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.

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.  

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.  

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.

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

Sunday, April 20

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?
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 burning down my left arm to my 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

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

HYC Commodore's Ball and Table Dancing

2016, January HYC Commorodore's Ball for Commodore Gordie Keenan and Commoradorable Ruth Keenan
Excellent Food Spread for the Ball
photo by Ed M. from HYC facebook page

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

We rented a recently updated older home a few blocks from the Seawall for the extended week.  Much more room to move around than the boat like last year and a full size kitchen to prepare food for the six of us plus 2 dogs.

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.
  24. Use Ice water to revive wilted lettuce in 30 seconds
  25. Aioli is an emulsion garlic, olive, oil, and egg yolk, (alioli is without egg yolk)

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.  In the morning that the tickets went on sale at 10 am, 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."