Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day 2010 at Melissa's House

 Our original plan this year was to bow out and make room for the kids to share the Holiday with their Dad, who was due back from Africa early in the week.  As the week wore on, it didn't look like he would make it home in time, so we shuffled our plans and made way to San Antonio on Wednesday after I got off work.  Bruce and I have graduated from the couch to the Guest Room at Melissa's house.  Quite the improvement in status!  We had a lovely evening meeting Michael's Dad for a late dinner then bed.  We work up early on Thursday morning to get cracking on the feast! 

Melissa assigned the pies to me and planned the rest of the meal herself.  She and Michael shopped at the local Farmer's Market for some fresh veggies to go along with our Old Stand By's that were scrumptious!  I helped with the stuffing, which is different every year, but always the same... if that makes sense.  She asked for the recipe and I told her that there really isn't one.  You just throw some basic ingredients into a bowl and add what you feel like adding...  This year, we nestled it in around the turkey to bake and it turned out delicious. 
Once the bird was out of the way, we reheated the side dishes that we had cooked earlier.  Let me back up and explain here that since we were up so early in the morning baking and cooking..., our dinner was not scheduled until at least 5:30 p.m. so that Michael and his Dad, Sam, could spend the day working on Michael's house project... Bruce and the girls and I took a break and went to see Burlesque, the new movie out with Cher and Christina Aguilera.  It was SOOO Good!  Anyway, back to the kitchen...  Matt showed up to help us out and we put him right to work.

He had been spending some time with his family but they weren't cooking until Saturday, so he joined us for our feast.  The plan was to bring back some of Matt's belongings for his new apartment back in CC.  But that was for the rest of the weekend.  We put him to work doing "honey do's".
There was nobody more glad to see Matt here today than Bruce... who was left alone to watch sports on TV whilst all of these "honey do's" were being done by Matt.  Bruce has finally "arrived"...  He's been replace by the young 'un's in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.  Ahhhhhh!
Finally things were coming together... the turkey was golden and steaming... the dressing was crispy on top and moist in the middle...
Now... what to do... what to do...? We need something to serve the turkey on. If only we had someone TALL who could reach the top of the cabinets where the platters are stored...

Michael to the rescue!  I can't tell you how much fun it is to have this guy around...  He brings us up into another world, literally.  Melissa told me that he's done some things around her home since they started dating.  One... he raised the shower head in her bathroom... (cough, cough)... Two... he cleaned all the dust off the top of the refrigerator.  Too fun!  I think we're going to like having Michael around.  All of this and he's very sweet and takes really good care of my daughter too!
Finally, we're nearing Feast Time!  Melissa was Hostess so naturally we asked Michael to do the honors of disassembling the bird.  This is traditionally a Male-Head-Of-Household duty but since Bruce was enjoying his "off-time", we got Michael.  He seemed a bit sheepish about it at first but settled right down to it. 
Bruce and Sam were lured off the couch and away from the the kitchen with the promise of rich rewards to come...  you can see that they're very interested in our goings-on... C'mon guys!  Pay attention!  There's ceremony here!
We didn't have to prompt Brittney and Matt... They were first in line as volunteer Tasters!  No problem, it was ALL GOOD!  This whole day was just such fun for me.  I've waited and waited for my girls to begin bringing home their men, to join us in the good times.  Now, here I am... surrounded by my wonderful husband, my two beautiful daughters and their significant other's... we're all joking and laughing and talking about "Shady Pines"... After all the eating was done and the girls were assigning the cleanup duties to the guys.... I found myself standing in the midst of all of the hubbub in the kitchen... salvaging the meat from the turkey carcass... It struck me that THIS was what I had been waiting for. This could be the beginning of the new branch of family... the new era.  And it was good. 
I snapped out of it and we all whipped the kitchen back into shape in record time.  It's so nice to have all of these able bodies around.  Poor Bella had nothing left to scavenge once we were done. 
We spent the rest of the evening waiting for our tummies to allow us to sample the pies.  We re-stuffed ourselves and that was it.  Brittney and Matt left to go have some fun with friends, Bruce and I slunk off upstairs to our room, leaving Melissa to entertain Michael and Sam for a bit longer.  We didn't even hear them leave.  The day was over and it had been a good one.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Flato Cut With BYC

This Saturday morning, we got going a bit late.  Bruce's back was bothering him but it loosened up once we started moving around.  We went to look at a Van that Bruce found on Craig's List, pretty much made a deal all but a test drive and writing a check.  Bruce will go back on Monday and do all of that if it meets his standards.  Goodbye old beat up van... good riddance.  We loaded up our stuff and boarded Elan to follow the BYC Pack out to Flato Cut.  We had a beautiful sail across the bay with nice winds and about 6 tacks.  There was no dolphin show today.  There were already 11 boats anchored in Flato when we arrived.  People were buzzing around in their dinghies.  We couldn't get our old faithful dinghy motor started so we were collected by Dean and Aleta.

We sped over to the "Raft-Up"   The plan was to bring wine (or in my case, fruity drink) and cheeses.  Everyone was passing around the plates of stuff when we arrived.  We had our own problems!  Do you know how difficult it is to balance platters and drinks while bobbing around in a dinghy pack?

If that wasn't bad enough... the motor boat we had attached ourselves to started up their motor and began dragging our little flotilla around.  Some things seem better in the idea stage than in actuality. 

It was a beautiful evening.  The moon came out full.  We all disbursed to reconvene aboard Adagio for soup at 6:30.  Bruce and I settled in and I took one look at the cool dark and decided that we were in for the night.  It's been a long week and my jammies were calling me.  We heated up some home made chili and kicked back in the cockpit to enjoy the bright moonlight.

Dean called us to see if we would like to be picked up.  Bruce declined.  Not long after that, Bill called.  He gave us a hard time about not going over and hanging out.  Called us all kinds of sissy names and ended with Poor Bruce.  I had to tell him we were having "wild boat sex" to get rid of him.  

We passed the night peacefully in the V-berth.  Bruce had closed up the boat in anticipation of it being cold overnight.  I awoke sometime in the night feeling suffocated.  Bruce opened up some windows to let in the fresh air.  We tried removing the sunshade over our bed but the moon was blaring bright.  The winds never let up but they made for a nice rocking through the night.   Morning in Flato Cut was beautiful and peaceful.

We cold see the moon setting far off in the distance over Corpus Christi.  I got this in the last moments it was visible before it retired for the day.  That moon worked hard all night!

Bruce  tried a bit of fishing while I caught up on reading my Lats & Atts in the cockpit.  His plan had been to take the dinghy around the shores to see what he could catch, but the motor still wouldn't start.  He worked on it for a while with no luck. 

One by one... the boats left the anchorage to head for home.  We lounged around, made breakfast, then pulled up our anchor as well.  We left at around 10:30 to make our way back.  We began with nice winds, which died down for a bit, then quickly built again to have our boat pushing 8 kts as we surfed the waves towards home.  Bruce had a great time while I drowsed.  All too soon, we were back to reality and off to catch up on the laundry. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

BYC Turkey Day Regatta 2010

I've had issues with my back all week, but we didn't sail on the Wednesday night pursuit race so that I would be ready for this weekend's Turkey Day Regatta.  I just had to do it!  No matter that the weather was dreary and just too cool... Melissa had her new Beau here to "Meet the Parents".  Say hello to Michael! 
We had trouble finding crew this week.  Down to the wire on Friday evening, we thought it would just be ourselves, Melissa and Michael, Brittney and Matt.  Only late Friday did we get confirmation that Bill and Josh would be out with us today.  And to round out the foredeck, our own Brett ended up with us somehow. 
We were thrilled!  I wouldn't be of much use on this day.  My back just couldn't take it.  We had planned to have me behind the wheel, but with all of these hands on board, I was off the hook.  We left the dock once everyone was suited up with appropriate jackets and foulies.  We left the gap and sailed on our new 150 head sail towards the race start line.   

There would be three races today.  We all jockeyed for position after arriving late with the start countdown already ticking away.  We ducked behind Windswept's transom then ran the line and started at the pin.  We were Off!

The course was "A" mark, #1 then finish.  We sailed upwind to A mark carrying our overpowered 150 sail.  Warrior had us pinned until they tacked away.  We were close to the lay line when we tacked and were able to sail directly to the mark arriving there ahead of Warrior.  We were thankful for all the bodies we had to sit the rail today.  The boat was heeled over the whole way.

 Brittney was back in the cockpit making herself useful in a big way!  I had hoped she would like sailing since she's come to CC.  If she doesn't like it, she hides it well.  She was everywhere on this race. 

We had a hard time finding mark #1.  We sailed high of the mark and Warrior followed us up.  The whole crew was on the lookout when I finally spotted it off to our port side.  We dove to it, rounded then drove to the pin.  It was a parade to the finish line.  We led the group with Warrior second, and Adagio third. 

By this time, I was having some issues with the back.  I was clinging to the corner railing behind Bruce to avoid pain.  We sailed away from the start area and Bruce made the decision for a head sail change.  
 The crew took down the big jib and hoisted the blade.  We took a reef in the main and headed back for the start of the second race.  Everyone was in high spirits coming off that first race.  It was cold (well... extremely cool) and dreary but we were doing well! 
 We arrived at the start line first and ran the line.  The winds shifted and we barely made the pin end of the start without having to tack and try again.  Windswept wasn't so lucky.  They stalled at the line and ended up tacking and falling far behind the pack. 
We had the same course for the second race.  Once again, everyone was on the rail. We sailed above Warrior and tacked away first.  They continued on and when we reached the A mark, Warrior had to duck us.  Bruce had called the lay line perfectly and we sailed right to the marks. 
I couldn't help but notice that Melissa was on the rail looking quite miserable.  At this point, I told her that the foul weather jacket she was wearing had a hood inside the collar.   She and Matt both took the cue and hooded up.  Things were better after that.  It was cold sitting that rail!
Brittney was only wearing a light jacket but was working hard in the cockpit.  She had no time to feel the cold.    
There was a bit of good natured ribbing going on about those who were cold could always get off their butts and work up some warm.  Melissa responded to this by donning my Red Riding Hood...

We rounded the second mark and led the pack to the finish again.  However, Adagio corrected out in the lead.  Later, Hal said that he thought he should have held course and would have made it in front of us at the first mark. This would have changed the outcome of the race and the Regatta, but... that's sailing!

We learned from the race committee that there would be a lengthy wait between the second and third races.  The crew grumbled a bit then kicked back in the cockpit to wait as we tacked back and forth.  Brittney went below and whipped up some sandwiches for everyone.  Who IS that girl...?

Melissa found it warmer in the cockpit and tried to take a little snooze.  The sun even came out a little bit to help us out, but not enough for her.  She was chilled through.


Brittney gave Michael a quick lesson on wrapping the jib sheet around a winch.  So she's graduated from Trainee to Trainer! 
Finally!  It was time for the third race to start...  We tacked in front of the other three boats and maintained control of the whole fleet.  The course was now A, B, A #1 then finish. 

This longer course with a downwind leg, provided the opportunity for our foredeck to spring into action...  Matt and Brett took control and set the pole for wing on wing.  We were in the lead!  They had no interference from those of us in the back and they did great!  They were proud of themselves and rightly so!
I was not doing so well by this time and decided that I needed to go below.  All of the bouncing around had caused my back to launch a major spasm and I was nearly in tears.  It relaxed once I had established myself on the settee.  It was a bit difficult to maintain my position with all of the tacking going on.  Not the way I had envisioned this day to go, but at least I hadn't missed the entire Regatta. 

We rounded B mark and headed back to A.  We had a substantial lead on Warrior and were going to cover them if they tacked.  The didn't tack until two thirds of the way up the course, and we should have tacked with them.  We continued to the lay line and the winds went light as we approached A mark and Warrior was able to regain much of the distance we had made on them.  We rounded ahead of them and maintained our lead around marker #1 to the finish.  We were first over the line again, but Warrior corrected out in the lead, with us in second and Adagio third.

Friday night, we thought we had minimal crew.  With the addition of Bill, Josh and Brett, our crew did just a great job!  We owe the day to these people as they made all the right calls and adjustments that led us to a First Place Finish in this regatta.   We must say here too, that Brittney did an outstanding job and Bruce awarded her the trophy as a memento of her first Regatta in which she was a big part of bring home the win!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Night Race Goodbye Daylight Savings Time...

We didn't do last week's race due to high winds, so Bruce put the call out for crew today.  It looked like it would be a beautiful night and it seems that quite a few others felt the same.  We had quite a turnout even if it is the first race after the end of Daylight Savings Time.  This means that the race begins at 5:30 and finishes well after dark. 
Tonight, the call for crew was answered by Clay, Lisa, Brittney and Matt.  Everyone took their places and off we went, enjoying what could be the last balmy evening sail until spring.
Brittney helped Matt out on foredeck.  It wasn't easy to do in the dark while you're still learning... but they did a great job.  Every time out is another chance to expand their knowledge.


It was a beautiful night out.  Everyone had a great time and as always, it's a great way to break up the work week.  We sailed out the gap and out around markers 2, 10 and then back in.  With everyone busy on foredeck getting ready for #10, Lisa and I had a really hard time spotting it.  I didn't think the GPS entry was right but had no choice but to follow it until we could see the High Range Marker.  We were well above it when we finally spotted it.   We really missed having Jacqui on the boat as our spotter.   We made a dive to round it then settled in nicely for the finish.  It was certainly not one of our better races, but we had a nice sail. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Guests on a Sunday Sail

Well it seems as if our October is lingering into November this year.  We took full advantage of this beautiful sailing weather and invited some crew and guests out for a day sail on Sunday.  Brett has been promising to bring his parents out sometime, ever since we met him.  This time we got them as far as the dock, but ended up with a waive as we did a lap inside the gap then headed off into the Bay.  Maybe next time...

We did however, lure some other unsuspecting souls out with us today.  Brittney's friend Krystal came along and brought her parents David and Christi.  We also had another of Brittney's classmates along, Ryan seen here at my right providing moral support.
Bruce put me behind the wheel for much of the early part of the sail.  This gave him the opportunity to set things like he wanted them.  I entertained the guests by explaining what was going on and what to expect.  They had many questions and I had many answers.  Amazing how one picks these things up.  I think I know enough to be dangerous and little enough to explain it in layman's terms. 
Today wasn't just an ordinary sail... It was a trial of the new (to us) jib that Bruce took delivery of this past Monday.  Our crew paid proper homage to the sail... Bruce was happy.  I think he's creating quite a lot of interest in the used sail market among our sailing friends here in CC.  Every time he finds a good sail for a fraction of the cost, he turns another sailor into a bargain shopper.
We did our usual "Hostess with the Mostest" impression today.  But this time, I had Brittney down in the galley rustling up grub.  Fitting since the guests were hers... 
Bruce completed the inspection of the new sail and got things trimmed as he liked them, then he settled down and gave the wheel to David.  He didn't even hesitate.  Took right to it and with very little instruction, did very well.  David stayed at the wheel through tacks and sail configuration changes without batting an eye.  OK, well he may have batted a little bit.  But what can you expect for a guy who is first time on the water and first time on the wheel...?
We had a completely uneventful day on the Bay, which is exactly the way we like it when we invite people out.  Our crew did a marvelous job and gained some valuable experience.  Bruce affirmed that the purchase of a used sail is a good thing.  Brittney and I  got some relaxation time away from school and work.  And I think our guests were well pleased with the experience.  All in all, a good day to have guests on a Sunday sail.