Sunday, July 22, 2012

Creeping forward...

The big girl has returned safely from her adventures. She once again successfully navigated dual airports and a change of planes with no mishaps other than wasting a bit of cash on Tiger Beat style rags starring "The Greatest Boy Band of ALL TIME, One Direction!!". I'm proud of her new found travel confidence and as to the obsession with the latest boy band du jour, I am looking at it as a right of passage. I survived my obsession with The Police, she'll survive as well.

 I now have a bit of toddler wrangling help while Mark continues working on installs on the boat, which means I might actually be able to finish a blog post. Kitty doesn't want to let Maura out of her sight because she is pretty much convinced that Maura has been circling over head in a "hair pain" for the past month. So glad to have Maura back and not just because she is so darned helpful with the wee one. We missed her terribly, but I think having age appropriate adventures without the parents is important. So she is back with an appreciation of US history thanks to a trip to D.C. and a newly discovered love of kayaking thanks to camp. And I am back to the blog...

Not the greatest of shots but the point and shoot was handy. The color is accurate

Mark continues to slowly but surely install the lights and fans. Its a painfully slow process for several reasons. The first excuse, er reason is the heat. When you are born and bred in Scotland you do not easily adapt to temperatures in the upper 90s f. Working inside a boat where the temperature goes up another 10 -15  degrees will slow you down even further. Mark has been a real trooper though and has continued to run new wiring for the lights and fans, build mounting bases for our reading lamps and install them with very little complaint. The main thing left on the main salon light installation is to wire the lights into a dimmer switch. We need a dimmer switch so we can properly adjust the lights for times when we need to throw some Barry White on the stereo. Who am I kidding? There is no Barry White on Ceol Mor, only Barney that blasted singing purple dinosaur. Dimmable lights will still be a nice feature to have despite the lack of Mr. White.

Another big reason for the slow down has been that Mark's job has actually been requiring him to work. It was easy to keep up the 3 days of work, 4 days of boat work while his work project has slowed down. Now things are getting busier at work and Mark has had to put in 4 days of work a week (egads!) and had to go to Paris for a week for work. I toyed with the idea of Kitty and I tagging along to Paris with him until I looked at the airfares and realized the cost was almost exactly the same as a new dinghy. I want a dinghy more at this point in time than a trip to Paris so Kitty and I kept the home fires burning while Mark got to do a Les Miserables turn in France.

 I should have a photo of the beautiful macarons that Mark brought home from Paris but they were filled with chocolate ganache. The only person who loves chocolate more than me is Kitty. The macarons did not stand a chance.

Mark's next work trip looks to be to Norway. While Norway is the land of my grandfather, I do not feel the need to celebrate my heritage with either pickled herring or boiled and dried reindeer heart. While that trip will mean a further delay in the refit, think of the calories and money saved.

We are hoping to go out for a mini shakedown cruise in the next few weeks before Mark heads to Norway. Keep your fingers crossed that the Gulf stays storm free because you know you want to see lots of photos of....water. Brown gulf water. And rigs. 15 months to go...
Nothing to do with anything, just love Kitty's obsession with her tiger hat. She wears this all the time, preferably with nothing else.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hill Country Slacking Part Deux

After our hotter n' hell hike at Enchanted Rock, we made our way back to the hotel for a nap. That is the first commandment of traveling with a toddler ' Thou shalt respect nap time for the toddler is a tired toddler and her wrath is mighty.' The second commandment is something along the lines of 'Thou shalt have no other blankie than the beloved blankie for I am a picky toddler and will forgo the nap if thou should try to foist another blankie upon me'. Fortunately, the preferred blankie was merely hidden under the bed in the hotel and a short nap ensued vitalizing the wee one and her parents for our jaunt to Luckenbach.

What was once a real town is now the coolest beer joint in all of Texas. Kitty couldn't wait to kick her shoes off and hang out. There was a pickers circle going on and familys, bikers, retired couples and local poets all hung out in the shade of the trees enjoying the music and some cold beers. Okay, the kids enjoyed dancing on stage to the music but did not have beer. No drinking until you can order it yourself. A really great way to spend a late afternoon and early evening, just doing a whole bunch of nothing. Highly recommended

We headed back to Fredericksburg for dinner. Since Fredericksburg trades on its German heritage, every restaurant in town serves up hearty faux German food. My favorite name of a dish was schweineschnitzel ├╝berbacken. I didn't actually eat it, but it is fun to say. I was able to find stuff to eat at most of the restaurants that was appropriate for 100f+ weather. Except at the Bavarian Inn that is. We went in to look at the menu and while the early 1980s did not delight my aesthetic senses and there was a weird odor, what put me off was the menu listings for 'On the Lighter Side'. A German sausage sampler plate or chicken fried steak. They have a very different definition of what constitutes light than I do.

The next day we headed out to Johnson City to see a man about a camel. And a zebra. And some goats. This was the highlight of the trip for Kitty. She not only got to hand feed a buffalo( who has a very raspy tongue) and play with some goats but got to actually pet a zebra foal as well. She has been kind of obsessed with zebras lately. I grew up on a farm so the first thing I noticed was the condition of the animals. All of their feet were healthy (the first thing I look for), their enclosures were big and roomy and everyone appeared to be really well fed. Its actually a good business model. Breed and raise the exotic animals you love and have tourists pay to  feed them. They also have highland cows. I love highland cows.

We drove past vineyards and sunflower fields on the way back to Fredericksburg. We procured the ubiquitous peaches and preserves. After an afternoon nap and long soak in the pool, we wandered around the shops of Main street. We opted to skip dinner and instead had peach pie with Blue Bell ice cream at the Tootie pie company. It was worth every single calorie.

We woke up bright and early the next morning, hit the road and by late afternoon, Mark was back on the boat working. Seems that it was time for our regulator to receive some attention. More on that later but all in all, Fredericksburg provided a much needed opportunity to do a whole bunch of nothing. I hope to be doing a whole bunch of nothing on the boat very, very soon.