Saturday, October 31, 2009


Fantasy Fest has been going on all this past week in Key West. It started last Friday with the crowning of the King & Queen and ends tomorrow when the fat lady sings...literally...@ the festival's final event, The Fat Lady Sings Tea Dance. Tonight, however, is when the largest event occurs, the Parade, and they expect 55,000 revelers to be along the route. Jeff and I are going to head that way around 3 this afternoon with the parade starting @ 7pm. That will allow us a little time to find a parking spot, check out the street fair, and maybe have a pirate punch @ Captain Tony's. Jeff and I are both Fantasy Fest virgins, so we will just have to see how much of the madness we can stand. There are a couple of webcams available so you can see for yourself and a parade cam as well. Originally conceived in 1978 as a way to boost the local economy in the slow season, Fantasy Fest has come a long way from it's humble beginnings as merely a street fair. The 10 day festival now includes a coronation [precede by several months of campaign events], balls, parties, parades [pet & people], masquerades, body-painting, costume contests, and a wide variety of other events - all with an air of debauchery. I have to get dressed now, but check back to see how this whole thing turns out. I'll be taking lots of pictures!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I think I have been perfectly clear in previous blogs that I don't measure...not well anyway. The cooking turns out just fine, baking not always so well, and I pretty much avoid sewing all together. But this evening, before settling down to watch the sunset with a cocktail and the Best of Bob Dylan [Thanks, Deb!] we had one more chore that needed to be accomplished & since Jeff was off at his guitar lesson - [YES, Jeff is taking guitar lessons! Very cool...a nice way to fine tune his playing and boost his confidence.] - so that left me to do the deed. What needed to be done was mixing the fuel for the dinghy. Since it's our only way to shore outside of swimming, it was important not to run dry. I packed up the jerry cans earlier and headed for the filling station. We have a 2-stroke motor which means oil has to be proportionately mixed into it before it goes into the tank...ah ha! Did you catch that word "proportionately"? That means I have to measure! But never fear. I did it perfect and exact and even discovered where my errant measuring cup has taken up residence. I even added just the right amount of stabilizer - very important in this salt air to keep the motor running& STARTING - and now I'll be headed back to that sunset...

Monday, October 19, 2009

On the Ball

Friday evening when Jeff got off work, we made the move to the mooring field. We chose ball N-1 for the time being but may pick a closer ball when one becomes available. Right now you can see us on the webcam but it's not a close enough shot to really recognize anything on the boat. We are the first boat in the first row to the right [or west] of the channel just past the new dinghy docks.
There are pluses and minuses to being on a ball. There's no more AC, but fortunately, the weather was cooperative and dropped 20 plus degrees during the night Saturday. There's no more electricity except for what we make with wind, solar, or the generator. So, power management just became very important. Water conservation just became very important as well because we only have so much in the tanks, and then you have to haul it out to the boat 6 gallons at a time. Getting off the boat requires a ride in the dinghy and more careful don't want to get all the way to shore and realize you forgot the car keys. Likewise, you don't want to get all the back to the boat and realize you are missing a key ingredient to dinner.
Saturday we got halfway in before noticing we'd forgotten the shopping list. We decided to "wing it" instead of turning around.
While it is certainly more work, the pluses outweigh the minuses. Our first night out provided us with a beautiful sunset that we wouldn't have seen from the dock and all the hatches are open now letting fresh air spill into the boat.
The boat gently rocks from side to side out here in the harbor as we shift with the wind around the ball...makes for good sleeping. Things are more peaceful and private. We've spent more time outside enjoying the view. Saturday I saw a turtle swim by and 2 water spouts in the distance. Normally, there's dolphins swimming around out here, but I haven't seen any yet. I'll be keeping an eye out for them.
Now, I don't want you to get the wrong impression and think we're roughing it out here. Right now, I have a pot of chili I just made on the stove, there's banana bread baking in the oven, there's ice in the ice maker, hot water in the tank, and tunes blasting through the stereo. All that, and I am twisting in the breeze with the water gently lapping the side of the boat and a panoramic view of the harbor. Life really is a ball!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lipstick On Your Collar

In order to get ready for the big move off the docks and out to a mooring ball, I did all the laundry yesterday. I'm usually pretty good about checking everybody's pockets because you never know what you're going to find in Jeff's but this time it was my pocket that was the culprit. I left a lipstick in a pocket...brand new, clinique, baby kiss, my favorite. It made it through the wash undetected and into the dryer which resulted in catastrophe. Little spots of lipstick on everything. All of my new Eddy Bauer shorts, eek. And 2 of Jeff's work shirts, double eek. So, I rushed to the grocery for a spot remover that promised to take out lipstick & came back to the boat and started spotting. It didn't seem to be working, but I was optimistic. The directions said for stubborn stains to let it soak for 4 hours or longer so I treated and let the load sit overnight.
Today I headed off for the washing machines with degreaser, detergent, spray n' wash, a tide stain lifter packet, and high hopes. How could any stain survive all that?
The lipstick barely budged. My wardrobe still looked as if it had had a run in with the Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2. I was forlorn. I checked No more shorts available. My mood accelerated to truly depressed. So I asked Jeeves what he would do to get out lipstick.

The results were many home remedies that had never occurred to me to try: denatured alcohol, toothpaste, hairspray, ammonia, & dish soap. First, I tried toothpaste and all it did was make the shorts smell minty. Not the result I was looking for. Dish soap was the next handiest thing. Eureka! The stain moved! After a little work with a toothbrush and it was almost gone. Yeah! I proceeded to retreat every spot of baked in baby kiss and then headed to the laundry room for one more load. The clothing came mostly clean with just a few remaining faded remnants. I'll retreat everything the next go around and I'll be adding dish detergent to my laundry kit. Jeff remained a good sport through the whole process...he's not very fond of those particular work shirts to begin with and this is not the first time his laundry has been affected by my lip-wear. Poor guy. But all's well that ends well, thanks to dish soap!
Who knew?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Movies in Marathon

Marathon has a movie theatre albeit a SMALL theater. It's one movie each choices...that's it. As a result, if you hear anyone in town talking about having gone to the movies and you too have gone to the movies, you have seen the same movie. This week's feature film was District 9 directed by Peter Jackson [think Lord of the Rings and 3 time academy award winner.] It was billed as a sci-fi mock documentary about alien [the Outer Space variety] refugees in South Africa and although the description did not appeal to me, here in Marathon, if you want to go to a movie you see what's showing. It was Sunday, I was bored and felt like getting off the boat for a little while. Since South Florida is currently under a "heat dome" which is pushing the heat index up well past 100 degrees, going to an air conditioned theater sounded like a good way to spend time. I called my friend, Karen, to see if she was game and we headed out for dinner [Lencho's] and a movie. Although large, loud, action-packed, and at times brutally bloody & violent, the movie ultimately had a serious premise paralleling the unjust racial segregation and the cruelties that occurred during the forced evictions of District 6 in Cape Town, South Africa during the apartheid.
My friend, Karen, on the other hand, saw the movie in a totally different light. Things struck her as funny and she laughed...out loud. Throughout the entire movie. And, because laughter is contagious, I laughed, too. We were the only ones. People thought we were odd. But, it made for an entertaining evening that her and I are still chuckling about.
So, District 9, a terrifying depiction of the human condition or, aliens as comedic relief? You'll have to decide for yourself.
It just goes to show, everyone may see the same movie in Marathon yet not see the same movie.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Boat Noodles

Living on a boat can sometimes be a challenge
when it comes to managing power, especially
when it comes time to cook dinner. Do I run
the generator so that I can run an electrical appliance [and heat up the boat] or do I use the grill or the propane stove? Right now, because we are plugged into the dock, I use the toaster oven, rotisserie, and microwave at will, but that will change when we move back out to a mooring ball.
At that point, propane will be the cooking fuel of choice.
I recently discovered a product at the grocery that was not only delicious, but lends itself to a live-aboard's sensibility as well. While looking for lo-Mien noodles for a recent night's dinner I found Tinkyada white rice spaghetti. The cooking instructions were simple yet intriguing:

**Cook 1 -2 minutes in boiling water. Switch off stove. Cover pot for about 20 minutes. Ready to serve.**

No extra propane.
No extra heat in the boat.
And the noodles promised to be "not mushy al dente," and "extra smooth."
And do you know what?
They were just as promised with a slightly chewy texture and light flavor.
I probably wouldn't have tried the rice pasta if I weren't making an oriental dish, but I thought they were great and wish that more of their products were available at my grocery store such as lasagna noodles and elbow macaroni.
Next time, I'll try the brown rice spaghetti, but between the flavor, texture, and energy saving cooking method this may be the only brand of noodle I buy again.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dogs Night Out

One of the great things about being in the keys, is that there are quite a few places that dogs are welcome to tag along and encouraged to hang out. Janus has been to one of the best [and the oldest] restaurants in Key West, Pepe's, as well as several other fine establishments such as The Schooner Wharf Bar, B. O.'s Fish Wagon, and Captain Tony's Saloon. He's also wandered around the Home Depot [in Key West only - Marathon location unfortunately has a "No Dogs" policy] and was allowed into the Ace Hardware as long as he rode in a cart. He's also been to several places here in Marathon such as Dockside and Burdine's, where the dog got served a drink before the waitress would even wait on the humans at the table. Dogs are also permitted on nearby Sombrero Beach, which seems to be a situation that is getting rarer and rarer to find.
We recently expanded Janus' doggy horizons by taking him to the Caribbean Club after our long, rainy day trek to Miami for a Dr.'s appointment. There was already one dog in attendance at the Caribbean Club, and he and Janus made friends while Jeff and I sat at the bar and watched it sprinkle out the back door. Then, Janus enjoyed giving everything he could his own little sprinkle as he toured the water-front backyard.

The next night, we met some friends at Porky's Bayside for some dinner and live music. Porky's is a local eatery that specializes in BBQ, although they also offer Sebastian Inlet clams which I find I simply can not resist.
After a photo op with the evening's entertainer, our friend and neighbor Dave Johnson, Janus settled in and waited for the food to come. He behaved himself the whole time, met a new dog who just wandered through the restaurant, and was rewarded with several french fries & a bit of BBQ.

A good time for dogs and people alike!