Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Last of 2014, The First of 2015

Now that our house has sold and we have recovered from all the holiday insanity, this might be a good time to bring everyone up to speed regarding our first Christmas and New Years while living on our boat, Adventure US 2.

                                                                   JLee's photo

Adventure Us 2 is tied up in a slip on K Dock at a marina on Galveston Bay in Texas. Somehow, probably through some kind of cosmic intervention or similar extraterrestrial mumbo jumbo, we ended up on the same dock with a few equally minded couples who are as crazy as the two of us  mesh well together.  It seems that every time we get together the conversation goes straight into the bilge and we laugh until we cry. The cast of characters is extremely diverse and I would be remiss in any description of our holiday gaiety if I didn't at least qualify our antics by taking up a small portion of your time by offering descriptions as to their character flaws.  Please be advised. The words that follow are my own observations after years and years of therapy practice observing people in the wild frontier.

Introducing the cast:
Angela, Martin, and their dog Chloe drive from our sister state Oklahoma every chance they get, to spend time with me Mystic, their Hunter sailboat.  Angela is a very creative woman and can craft most anything from scratch.  I suspect she can even make her own clothes from cotton bolls she collects from the cotton fields lining the roads of OK.  Martin, her service provider, is a connoisseur of peppermint patties and other fine after dinner mints. 

                                                        Martin, Angela and Chloe

Cheri and Alan are from Dallas and just recently moved on board after accidentally selling their home.  (How does that happen?) Last month Alan was kicked out of retired from the fire department and is preparing their boat, Consort, for adventure.  Cheri is K Dock's wine connoisseur, quick witted red head, and resident judge of local talent including, but not limited to: My Michael and Martin's tongue contest. Don't ask.

                                                              Alan and Cheri

Steve and Deidra are the highest ranking couple on the dock because they have been here the longest. Local legend has identified a possible connection between Deidra and the wine fairy, but that is strictly a rumor. Their trawler, Osprey is the closest boat on the dock to shore and therefore they have been appointed "K Dock's" sentinels, and as such they get the honor of dealing with our late night boat rocking antics. (I swear it was Martin's idea.) Trouble, their dog, is aptly named for her lady like manners and outgoing personality. Close your eyes and imagine the phrase "here comes Trouble" and you'll get the idea.

Steve and Deidra
                                                                  Angela's Photo

Rounding out the group of personalities is the keeper of the golden fleece, marine, and scuba instructor; Gilbert  Gabriel. Gabriel is always quick with a fork and plate joke and keeps us all entertained.   A few vagabonds always seem to find their way into the mix, but the main players seem to remain the same.  

                                                Michael's Photo

Having described the cast, on with the story line.

Each year there is a Christmas boat parade in Seabrook that kicks off the holiday season. Our little group decided to have a 'wine and cheese' party on the peninsula of our marina so we could 'oh' and 'ah' at the Christmas lights. It was cold that particular Saturday night with temperatures in the 50's, but as the adult beverages began to flow the temperature seemed to warm until we were all toasted toasty.

                                                                Internet Photo
At the close of the parade, we gathered our remaining beverages, food, and lawn chairs and headed to K Dock. No sooner had we all settled into place when Alan appeared with a milk crate full of liqueur bottles ranging from an unopened bottle of Patron, to a mason jar of vodka half full of pulverized habaneros, (this was truly the hottest firewater any of us had ever tasted) only adding to the mix of beer, wine, and Uncle Sneezy's moonshine that we were already passing around. This led our conversations right into the deepest, darkest, recesses of the bilge.  I'm happy to report however, no one fell off the dock, but we probably should have all been sporting some kind of life preserver jacket .             

                                                                 Martin's Photo

The Christmas break found all of us abandoning ship and heading in different directions, but the sentinels were waiting and punched everyone's card upon our return to make sure no one escaped every soul made a safe return.  Once we were all accounted for; Steve suggested we spend new years eve on their trawler, anchor out to watch the fireworks display Kemah puts on each year and then return to port to spend the remainder of the year on their boat.  Good thing we planned a simple menu because the last day of the year decided to go out with a roar. Wind was howling out of the north east at thirty knots, and the ice cold water had two to three foot waves. On the way out our marine took a few full frontal waves over the bow, but quickly recovered and retreated to the safety of the top deck.  Even a soaking wet marine couldn't curb our insanity enthusiasm.  Everyone else held on to each other Osprey's grab rails as she bucked, kicked, and thrashed her way out of the channel into the bay.  The coast guard was standing by at the entrance monitoring vessels crazy enough to attempt a late night expedition into the pitch black, cold waters of Galveston Bay on a night all sane boaters should be tucked away safely in their slips. We only saw two other boats off in the distance when normally there's at least sixty or a hundred.

Internet Photo
Captain Steve did an outstanding job keeping us all on board, and he expertly docked Osprey in her slip with plenty of time to toast to the new year. We all decided to toss together a pot luck morning brunch the next day which consisted of: wholesome steel oats, fresh fruit, nuts, honey and Angela's home made scones. Oh, and lots, and lots of champagne.  Have you ever tried champagne with orange mango juice? It's our new dreaming of the Caribbean sunset Mimango brunch drink. Yum!

                                                                Janet Lee's Photo

Brunch gave way to dinner with a rest period in between for power naps. Dinner was hosted on Adventure US 2 where we enjoyed My Michael's scrumptious New Year's Black Eyed Peas.  Other contributed culinary delights included corn bread and awesome greens.  Desert was several games of Cards Against Humanity and as you might suspect, wine.  Yep, our conversation went straight to the bilge.  How could it not?  The 9 of us, adult beverages, and Cards Against Humanity is a dangerous combination!
                                                              Janet Lee's Photo

                                                                        Internet Photo

The start of the new year was so fabulous I can hardly contain my enthusiasm for what shenanigans the remainder of the year has in store for The K-dockers.   

By the way,  K Dock throws great parties!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It's a New Year, 2015 to Be Exact

2015 has arrived and as is usual for this time of year, I have a cob stuck in my butt because of something that was said to me.  Last year I wrote about the same kind of incident, and you can read about it here.  

Why this time of year?  Well, maybe it has to do with some unfathomable, unexplored, or undiscovered, physiological flaw in my genome. I was born on the fifth of January and it always seems, at least to me, I get overly sensitive each year around this time.  Perhaps I arrived in this world kicking and screaming to such a degree that I have to deal with the remnants, or fallout from the trauma on an annual cycle, like a form of annual déjà vu. (think Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day) But now it gets translated by my psyche into introspection, rather than physical discomfort.   Whatever the case may be for my rumination; my thoughts cogitate until I find a suitable release. Lucky for me I get to regurgitate my feelings by heaving up my thoughts in text, and you, unfortunate reader, must suffer through, or move on to the next blog.

So what has caused me to bury my conscious mind in thought?  It's not all that heavy; I was simply asked if I had made any "new year's resolutions".  I know right?  That should not translate into a stumbling block of sorts, and it wasn't at the time.  I answered the simple question with a straight forward response and said I was going to drink less, or eat less red meat, or give up some other pleasure that isn't good for me.  (When I told Janet Lee about this incident she called my resolutions dim-witted because: "A.) you can only give up pleasurable vices at Lent, and B.) you don't even follow iconic western religious doctrine because your not Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, or evangelical".  (She has such a great way with words.)  That should have been the end of the whole shebang, but because it is still January, and not Easter, I am sitting at my desk trying to get my thoughts transcribed before I find myself perpetually stuck in the labyrinth. 

I am not a Buddhist but I find the Buddhist concept of viewing reality as it is, and not as it appears to be, very alluring.  In other words being truly present in life.   To do so one must give up all notions of the past and future.  The past is irrelevant, except as a source of experience, and the future has yet to unfold. Frankly it will never unfold because it is always yet to occur.  The future is for all practical purposes make believe, or as a friend of mine would argue, useful fiction.  The only usefulness of the future (and the past for that matter) comes when we start to measure time.   The very second future becomes reality; it no longer exists, because it can't exist in any other form (other than the future).  Preparation for the future by western standards however, is not necessarily a bad thing as long as one doesn't use the future to escape the present.  The goal is to stay focused on the present.  Here is an example.  

It is winter in Texas.    Although not as cold as some parts of the country, winter still means colder temperatures.    Being focused on the present, in this case, means recognizing the environmental change and living with the change. Wearing clothes suitable for colder temperatures and not pretending we can still wear clothes we wore at other times of the year.  Focus on the present and understand what the present represents.

So what does this prologue have to do with New Years Resolutions?  Simply this: A resolution made at New Years, or for New Years, no longer exists.  It symbolizes an escape from the present because to change that which we wish to change requires future action, and that can't happen.   It's a prescription for disaster unless you do it now.  Right now, this very second now. Now, now, now.  You get the idea.  So dear reader, time to show up and be present, stay in the present, because that is all there is.

Thanks for listening.  Peace out.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It's Been Awhile, By H. Michael

                                                                      Internet Photo

Occasionally time gets all fuddled up and Adventure Us 2 seems to always come out on the short end.  In part, attribution can be ascribed to our complicated lifestyles.  It seems forever a challenge to carve out enough personal time to get it all accomplished.  The month of November alone found us getting re-acquainted with the Twisted Sisters motorcycle ride on hunter's weekend in Bandera, diving in Cozumel for a long weekend, and hosting the mother of all garage sales to liquidate our possessions prior to closing on our house.  Not to mention three (3) birthdays and Thanksgiving thrown in for texture.  By the way, we closed on our house the very next Friday after our garage sale.  (Yea that’s right, we are officially homeless.) We did this all while still feeding the job monster for, what is normally, a forty (40) hour work week.  If truth be told, on average, we actually spend over fifty (50) hours with commute times added.  JL invests closer to sixty hours taking care of her work habit.  Please understand I’m not offering this as an excuse, or even, as Janet Lee believes, a cheap attempt to get some sympathy, and compassion flowing in my direction. 

                                     Janet Lees photos of Bandera
The truth of the matter is I have always admired people with the ability to work a full time job, spend time hunting and gathering, work on their boat, play with the kids, tend to the livestock, paint the house, go to the moon, and still find time to write a blog.  I occasionally read a blog and the author does all of the above and has twins under one (1) year old, and another young daughter under four (4).  Jeez. Where does she get the time?  

Previously I mentioned that we sold our house and we are now officially one crucial step closer to living the dream.  Janet Lee and I have been working toward this moment for the last five years, so don’t wake me yet.  I want to bask triumphantly in the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment, oh I don’t know, for at least the next five years.  We still have an eight (8) by eight (8) storage locker and an SUV that is functioning more like a closet than a car, but at least we have cleared the major hurdle.  Now if I can just get JL to realize she doesn't need thirty pairs of shoes; we’ll be on our way.
This is only JL's  boot collection.