Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Merry Christmas

Well, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.
We started off our day pretty early...Jeff was up at 6:30 am and we were opening presents by 7.
The dog was a big help in the present opening!

Later, we had a great day at friends, Andy and Suzi's house.

Matt and Kendra joined us, as did Andy's son, Michael.

We made a huge pot of homemade spaghetti sauce and copious amounts of meatballs. It wasn't a white Christmas as a lot of you had, but it was a warm Christmas. Temperatures rose to the mid 70's and we spent time out on the deck, canal side, soaking up the sun and enjoying good company.
Be patient, and perhaps I'll get those recipes posted on the What's for Dinner blog.

If you like eggnog, I posted an interesting recipe here:
Tropical Eggnog
It should warm you up and give you a bit of the feel of the Keys. Enjoy.

Oh...and in the meantime, I got a job.
Yes, you read it right. I am now a cashier at The Home Depot. I've finished up most of my training and have spent 2 days on a register all by myself. I've even received my first paycheck. Pretty exciting.

So there's a quick holiday blog...
With any luck, the next blog will be about us putting the boat back in the water. let's keep our fingers crossed.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another Update...

Well, it's December and the boat still isn't back in the water. It's coming along though even if it's not as quickly as one could hope. They say we could be done Friday but then the paint will have to harden for several days before it can be put on the lift or the dog allowed to come aboard. At that point, we will start the laborious process of putting everything back together from the rigging, to the electric, to the propane, to the doors and drawers...the list just goes on.

In the meantime, we're still living in "The Cottage" right on US 1.

November 13th was Aviation Day at the Marathon Airport [conveniently located right across the street!] and my friend, Cindy, and I took in the exhibitions along with her son, Chris.

This is us on the Coast Guard boat.

We've also been having a good time following our friends, Chris & Randy, and their growing success as The Barnacles.

This is us at Burdines. It seemed like most of the harbor turned out for this particular event!

Karen had a birthday on the 14th of November and we had a great party at the tiki hut with BBQ ribs for dinner and jello shots for dessert. We went all out with cake, balloons, silly string, a grass skirt, a tiara, and a crown as well.

Jeff's birthday was the 15th, but he threw his back out and wasn't up for much celebrating. We had a quiet dinner at home and we'll just pick another day in the near future that he can pretend is his birthday and we'll go whoop it up somewhere.

I also had a project to complete.
I'd been waiting for weeks for the boatyard to repair, prep, and spray the faceboards that go on the front of the boat.
Jeff and I refinished these boards 3 years ago with store bought spray paint and gold leaf paint. It held up for a while but then faded and tarnished.
This time, we decided we were going to do them right!

I ordered the thin sheets of gold leaf and other supplies off the internet and found myself a very still place in the garage to work.
Any breeze at all can be quite detrimental for this delicate work.
I double-leafed both boards to a beautiful golden sheen and they have since been sprayed with a protective clear-coat.

I can't wait to see them on the boat. They should be quite striking with the new paint job.

For Thanksgiving, we decided to make the 1201.4 mile trek to Louisville, Ky. The plan was that I would pack up the car and the dog and I would pick Jeff up from work at 6pm and we would hit the road. At the very last minute, I had a bit of a panic attack about how much stuff was actually going to fit in the car and still give us room to stretch out. I called our friends Hilary and Charles [S/V Ship of Fools] who graciously dropped what they were doing to come hook me up with their "space case." It looked like a rocket on the top of the car, but it held all our luggage and stuff giving us plenty of room to sprawl out.

One of the best parts of the drive was falling asleep in the wee, dark hours and waking up to FALL. I miss leaves turning colors and that brisk chill in the air.

We arrived in Kentucky on Monday in the early afternoon [just under 19 hours] to a beautiful, sunshiney day. An hour later, we went out to unload the car only to find the left rear tire completely flat! At least we made it there!

Jeff's niece, Lainey, came over on Tuesday to spend the afternoon and give Jeff a lesson on hoola-hooping. Later, the rest of the family joined us and we ordered a couple of fabulous pizzas from a new place called DiOrio's.

On Wednesday, while Jeff ran errands, my friend, Georgia, and I went to Lynn's Paradise Cafe, a perennial favorite and Louisville landmark, for some breakfast and catching up. My next stop was to my former employers, The Rooks-Rapport family, for a quick chat and to find a warm pair of boots out my things still in their basement before they rushed off to catch a plane to Chicago for their holiday gathering. Then it was back to the house for me to help Jeff's mom, Denise, prepare the holiday meal. We made pies, mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, dressing, and dip...all for the following day. Later that evening, my friend, Angela, came for a visit and we all sat in the kitchen sipping bourbon and having a nice time.

The good weather was not long to last, and on Thursday, our traditional Thanksgiving Day bonfire in the backyard was a little soggy. Luckily, there was enough time in the early hours to get the fire started before the sun rose and the rain started. With the help of an ample supply of umbrellas, we all enjoyed the fire despite the frequent downpours.

As expected, the meal was fabulous...
...shared in good company and with a kids table for the first time ever!

Back row left to right: Jeff, me, Christy, Rob, Grayson [age 2]
Front row left to right: Denise, Kelly, Lainey [age 5], Allison, Dan, Lincoln [age 3]

That evening, I headed up to my Dad's, about an hour west of Louisville. My brother and his family had driven from North Carolina and I was excited to see my niece, Maddie Jean.
I called ahead to say I was running late and there was no way I could touch another bite so eat without me. Little did I know at that time that my car wasn't going to start. It was pouring down rain and I had a dead battery. Joy. Kelly graciously offered me his vehicle and I was back on track.

Maddie was waiting for me when I arrived in all of her 2-year old exuberance. We spent the evening just laughing and being silly.

And of course there was pie. Pumpkin and cherry.
Since Maddie helped make them, I had to have a bit of each.
Had to.
And they were both delicious.

The next day, we were off to nearby Santa Claus, Indiana, to find the great man in red. Our first stop, the Christmas Store contained everything you could possibly imagine for Christmas...except for Santa.

He was running a bit behind schedule but we were told we could probably catch him at a nearby candy store.

So we were off in pursuit of Ho Ho.

And we found him at the candy store.

Maddie showed no fear as she climbed up on his lap and told him what she wanted for Christmas.
She even went back for a big hug as we were leaving.

Then it was back to the house for a bit of lunch...turkey fritters made with left-overs and a bit of lounging about.

That evening found us having family dinner at The Black Buggy in Jasper, an Amish buffet and bakery.

Saturday morning I headed back to Louisville after a bit of breakfast.
My brother and his wife, Jolene, along with Maddie stopped by for a quick visit and then it was time to say goodbye as they started off back to North Carolina.

Jeff had his last fire going in the barrel in the backyard and it was hard to pack up and leave.

Especially, when Angela showed up with bloody mary mix and her son, Kory, in tow.

But, eventually, we all had places we had to be so Jeff and I hit the road and headed for The Chamber's Farm near Leitchfield, Kentucky.

Our friends, Donnie and Janet, have been to the boat multiple times and it was our turn to visit them.

They were ready for us too, with a giant pile of debris just waiting to be lit. Just a little before sunset, we lit the blaze and it burned well into the next morning. It was quite chilly that day with a bit of frost on the ground in the morning so the fire provided a nice, warm gathering place.

One of the best features of the Chamber's Farm is the chickens. Jeff and I were up early the next morning and went out to check out the coop. The birds were making quite the racket...roosters cock-a-doodling, hens squawking, and guinea hens making the weird noises that guinea hens make.
Janet has a lot of exotic chickens that I have never seen or even heard of before, including a pair that lay blue and green eggs.

Janus had a good time checking out the birds and trying to figure out a way in. They all seemed to be checking him out as well.
He feels right at home on The Chamber's Farm.

Donnie was up shortly after us and started in the kitchen making us all breakfast of steaks, croissants, and farm-fresh eggs. The eggs always taste best at Donnie and Janet's!

After breakfast, we all set off on a mid-morning hike. We started off through the back field, around the pond, and then through the woods, down a hill until we came to the site of the spring where the farm's water comes from. Then it was down to the road and around some of the surrounding properties. Scenically located above Rough River, the walk provided us with splendid views of the area.

We all should have known that when we went downhill that we would have to eventually come back up but I don't think any of us realized where the Chamber's were leading us. The first part of the climb was quite an incline, but at least we were on pavement. The second part found our party practically crawling straight up a thickly wooded hillside, climbing over rocks and logs and sifting through branches, fallen leaves, and briars.

We all made it up [barely] and then back to the house to recover from our forced climb.

The afternoon found us eating chili and lounging about watching movies...
...resting up for the long haul back to Marathon.

We were off the next day, hours before the sun rose, and pulled into "The Cottage" around 2am.
Another 19 hours in the car completed.

We had a really, wonderful time while visiting over the holiday.
Between the family, the food, the friends, and the fires, you just couldn't beat it!
It was great to see everybody!