Friday, February 24, 2012

A Full Boat [Part 1]

Right now, I am less than a month behind in my blogging because I am getting ready to tell you about life on the S/V Thin Line - January 29th through the 31st.

Our first round of company arrived:  Jeff's mom, Denise, and her husband, Kelly.

It was only a short visit, but we love seeing them whenever we can.  They rented a condo in the Sarasota area for a couple of weeks and came down to the Keys before checking in.

They arrived on Sunday afternoon and we shuttled them back to the boat to relax and catch up.  Eventually the subject of dinner came up and we had to make a decision on where we were going.
We decided to meet friends at Castaway's and had a great dinner and a lot of fun.
Those of you familiar with our boating lifestyle understand to get back and forth from the boat to land and back again requires a ride in a dinghy.  And if you go out at night, you do this in the dark.

For safety's sake, a light that can be seen 360 degrees around is required.  We've had various lights on the dinghy...the preferred method being a solar light on a pole.  But our pole was displaced in a towing incident and the solar light has conked out.
But never fear!  We have a back-up battery-powered light equipped with a suction cup.
Normally, you would use the suction cup to secure the light on top of the motor, but sometimes...
...boys will be boys!

Monday, was not the prettiest day we've ever seen in the Keys but we didn't care.  The overcast skies and wind weren't going to ruin our day.  We started off with coffee and tea in the cockpit and then I made us a breakfast sandwich of smoked ham, cheddar and muenster cheeses, and apple pressed in Cuban bread.  We didn't really have any plans for the day nor did we really care to make any.  The boys ended up taking off in the dinghy to take water to a neighboring boat and Denise and I played cards.  When the menfolk returned, we were given the choice of going to the grocery or cleaning the grill.  Us, girls, opted for the former.  The goal was to bring back the biggest chicken we could find so we could smoke it on the Cobb grill and since cooking a really big bird takes 3-4 hours, this was going to be an all day event. Denise and I returned from our shopping expedition to messy boys but a clean grill.  It was time to get that chicken started so while Jeff lit the flame, I prepped the poultry by stuffing it with pieces of orange, apple, and lemon, and then sprinkled it generously with garlic, pepper, and jerk seasoning.
Now it was time for cocktails and a casual afternoon aboard the S/V Thin Line spent in good company.
Needless to say, the chicken turned out magnificently - smoky, juicy, tender - and served with mashed potatoes and mixed greens, you just can't ask for a better dinner...or a better day!

The next morning, we all went for breakfast at the 7-mile grill and then Kelly and Denise headed north.  It was a great visit...even if it didn't last long and Denise did beat me at cards 3 out of 3 times!
We hope to see them again soon.

Stay tuned...More company to follow!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well now that's it February, I am slightly overdue on writing about my birthday which was January 11th.  This year, my birthday fell on a Wednesday and instead of taking the day off, I opted to not mess with the schedule and keep my 3 day weekend intact.  The up side is that I was scheduled to work the garden center that day...a nice, low-key, low stress kind of day and technically it was now my "Friday."

Jeff met me after work with a cocktail and then we had a nice, "date night" dinner at Frank's Italian Grill.  I had escargot and veal...not at the same time, but both very tasty.

The next day started with a bottle of Champagne and a dinghy ride to Burdine's for fuel and french fries.  Burdine's makes the best fries and it was a great way to start the day.  The rest of the day was spent imbibing and relaxing on the boat.  Thursday nights at the marina are "Movie Night" and in honor of my birthday I got to pick the movie.  I chose Grosse Point Blank - one of favorite all time movies.  If you haven't seen it, you should.  The soundtrack in itself is well worth the watch. We went to shore a bit before sunset and joined the festivities.  A friend of ours had made me [by special request] Puerto Rican eggnog or "coquito" and I had the jug of it in tow.  I shared quite a bit of my eggnog treasure, but by the end of the night it did me in and it was time to go home.

Mystery Booze Birthday Jello Bear
The next day I slept in late and recovered. 
I had to be ready for Girl's Night! 
Hilary was to be our hostess on the new Ship O' Fools for the evening.  We had lots of girls, lots of food, and lots of fun!  One of best parts was the giant jello "gummy" bear made by friends Jenny and Matt and soaked in booze! I had a great night of dinner, dancing, and dice with all my favorite "Boot Key Harbor Babes!"
[I think I see T-shirts in the making...]
The new Ship O' Fools...great party platform!

It took a concerted effort & VICE GRIPS to get the Vodka open.

Saturday came as an extension of my birthday celebration...but I had to share a bit of the limelight with a fellow Capricorn/harbor resident who was also having a birthday.  The good thing about sharing, was I also got to partake in the oyster fest that was planned for his big day.  At noon at the Tiki Hut, a 50 pound box of oysters arrived fresh from Apalachicola and we started shucking.  We made quick work of the mollusks and when the box was empty, we all headed to Dockside, a local restaurant accessible by dinghy from the harbor.

Little did we know, but another birthday treat was on it's way to our table...

...a giant platter of stone crab claws!

I carefully cracked my share into my bowl of butter, topped it with a squeeze of lemon, and made "mmmmm" noises as I slurped down the sweet, tasty treat.

Another unexpected treat came when we realized that the entertainment for the evening was our good friend, Dan Sullivan.

[Click here for a video of Dan that night.]

What a great time with a whole table full of friends!

Sunday morning came and when I had to go to work, Jeff announced that my birthday was over.  But that's alright, I had a great time while it lasted!