Sunday, July 26, 2009

Take Me Out to the Baaall--Gaaame

Robert and Kathy invited us out to Whataburger Field to attend a Hook's game on Sunday evening. We have been asked several times but have never been free... this time it worked out. We finally got to go to a game. I was soaking it all up! The venue is really nice! We walked in and I could smell the cotton candy. I didn't see it, but I knew it was there somewhere and I had to have it. Ahhh... there it is! Robert and Kathy got dinner... I got dessert!

We found our seats in the bright sunshine. The field was well manicured and we arrived just as they were doing a tribute to our troops! The crouds cheered.

It was all very heart- warming and patriotic. The flag was waving.

The players began to take the field and warm up. There was non stop stuff going on everywhere.

I had a great time trying to get pictures of the ball in action. I think I did pretty well. The pitchers were fun to watch. They all had their ritual stance.

The batters and umpires were fun as well. I was never any good at baseball but at least I kind of get the rules.

Kathy and I took a walk around and I ran into an old friend from childhood that was working at the field. She told me to get the guys and bring them over to the shady side of the stadium as there were plenty of empty seats available. You didn't have to tell me twice. It was much nicer out of the hot sun.
There was an intermission during which lots of shennan
igans went on including a tug of war with this thing.
The game started up again and there was lots of drama. The Frisco team wasnt' doing so well... We had great seats now and I got good pics of the teams.

There was some discussion about what to do since they were losing...

There was this very close play... don't worry, I got it all down!

The pitcher got all dramatic about it. It all ended with the Hooks 10 and the Frisco team 2. I had heard that they weren't doing so well this year. I was glad we came when they won! Thanks Robert and Kathy for the invitation!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

BYC Boards & Dogs Day

This was our only weekend with no plans in recent memory. It's funny how that just isn't possible... plans materialize. I spent the morning packing for Hawaii which is a week and a half away. I got things squared away and in manageable condition and we were free to play. BYC was holding their annual boards and dogs event. They have several sunfish. Larry was checking out people and making sure they were competent to take them out alone. Bruce is an old hand at it and was given the thumbs up easily.

I, however... am a different story. I've never taken one out before. Neil was kind enough to take me for a spin. I got in the middle and off we went. I was nervous.

We took off down the course. I was getting the feel for it. It wasn't so bad after all. I got a little wobbly when the wind gusted but Neil did very well in keeping it pretty safe.

I began to think maybe I could do it when I remembered that they usually make you dump it over and right it by yourself before they approve you for solo. I'm thinking maybe Neil has plans to dump us when I decided that maybe today, with all of the club as witnesses... would not be the day. I asked Neil to take me back to the dock and I'ld try it out another day.

I got safely back on shore and watched as Bruce hot dogged back and forth on the course.

Larry finally decided it was time to call everyone in off the water and get the race started. The skipper's meeting was held on the back deck. They laid out the rules and set the heats. Bruce was in the first heat against Doug and Neil. He was sure he would be defeated.

The starting sequence was 5 minutes and it was difficult to time it with no watch. Bruce was across the start line early and had to go back around. This was all it took... Doug and Neil were off and running.

The crowds roared and cheered! It was all very exciting. The racers had to go up to a bouy near the CCYC and back to the one off our dock twice. Doug ended up the winner and moved on to the next heat.

Bruce was defeated at the start and was relegated to the shore with the rest of the spectators. I felt kind of bad for him. It's been a long time since he had a sunfish out and he looked like he was having such a good time.

One by one, the racers were pared down to the finalists. Doug ended up the victor of the day. As they finished the racing, it was back to the party. The guys worked on putting the boats back in the racks.

Bruce wanted one more spin around the marina and got the OK from Neil to take the one remaining boat out. He took off across the marina and realized that the centerboards had all been taken out of the boats. It was impossible to tack the boat without it and he flipped over. Not only was it impossible to tack without the board... it was also impossible to right the boat once it was down.

We watched as Bruce tried in vain to get it back out of the water. Neil and Larry took one of the sail-less boats out to rescue him. It was all very pitiful. Poor Bruce. He was all wet! They gave him a centerboard and he sailed the boat back to the dock. Here they are giving him crap about it all. Everyone had a good laugh about it though. It's such a good group.

We turned our attention to the coming dinner. The burgers and dogs were on the grill. We all went inside to cool down and eat. It was a fun time. Once the sun went down, we migrated to the back porch again to enjoy the cool evening. A good time was had by all. Maybe next year I'll have learned how to sail a sunfish and will beat them all!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Third Annual Rockport Yacht Club Lighthouse Regatta

Bruce and I got together 6 of our friends to form a crew for the Rockport Yacht Club's 3rd Annual Lighthouse Regatta. We have never done this race before and we were really looking forward to it. We had attended the skipper's meeting in Rockport on Thursday night and it looked to be shaping up to be well attended.

It was a beautiful day with wind... not normal for this time of year. The race start was just north of the lighthouse in the Lydia Ann channel. We joined about 25 other boats in the channel near 2pm as they all jockeyed for position at the start.

The Channel isn't so wide and there were a few anxious moments as we watched in horror as Tomcat struggled with their spinaker while sailing right into the path of an oncoming barge. They only got one honk of the horn instead of the "immenent danger" 5 blasts, but if you get the horn... you were in the wrong place!

We had a 26 mile course ahead of us and it was getting crowded. We had chosen to be in the spinaker fleet for the day. Bruce said that we had enough able sailors to fly it. The winds were a bit high in my opinion, but the guys were gung ho. The girls were just happy that the bimini hadn't been struck yet. It was a warm day. But Bruce remembered to take it down at the start. Darn!

We didn't get a great start. There were a number of boats well ahead of us in the channel for a good stretch.

We managed to fly the spinaker comfortably in the channel as we moved up on boat after boat.
The guys trimmed and worket it. Clay was our foredeck man extraordinaire.

I began the race as the spinaker trimmer. Duties were assigned around. Everyone had theirs. Krystal was to assist me. I found her ready to take over so I gave her some instructions and let her go. I hung around for a bit watching her. She had it down!

I was free! I've officially given over the job of spinaker sheet to Krystal. She's stuck with it until she can pass it on. I'm now rail fluff. I joined Patty in the shade on the rail to watch the race.
We had a long racecourse to go. It wasn't boring because all along the way, we watched the progress of our competition.

There was much discussion as to whether or not we could carry the spinaker once we made the turn at marker #71. We would turn to starboard and it was questionable. We began watching other boats that had made the turn to see if they were making it.

It looked like it would be possible so the decision was made. We rounded the mark and headed up. We were heeling and struggling a bit, but it seemed manageable. Just when it looked like we would settle in... the spinaker came down with a big POP! The shackle holding the sail to the halyard came loose and the guys had to bring it in fast to keep the sail from going into the water. We put up our jib quickly and got back on our way. We looked over to see this boat barely keeping it together with their spinaker. I was glad we had it down, although I wish it had been by choice. The rest of that leg was quite comfortable.

We went out and rounded a platform in the bay, then came back on a romping run to a marker near the shore. We were in heated battle with a couple of our competitors. Here you see Windswept just passed us to round the mark.

Then it was back up to a platform across the ICW. We were all sitting the rail. The winds were blowing and the clouds were looming dark and ominous. We wondered if we would make it in before the storm hit.
We rounded the platform and made our way for the barn. There were only a small handfull of boats that finished before us. We felt good about our race. Too bad we didn't have the spinaker for the bay portions of the race though. We felt we could have done much better than wing on wing. We really weren't set up with the correct sail configuration today. It had been an exciting day!

Once we were securely in our slip, Bruce wanted to get the sails folded and stowed. We had no rain... it passes us over and broke up. But Bruce was taking no chances.
Steve volunteered to go up the mast to retrieve our spinaker halyard. Bruce was glad of it and took him up on the offier.

It's not an easy thing to go up that 50+ ft. mast. We all stood watching as up and up Steve went...

Jacque and Clay were slowly wenching him up.

Once up at the top, Steve quickly grabbed the halyard and dropped back to the deck. Nothing was damaged... there was the shackle at the end of the halyard and the one attached to the spinaker. The one on the spinaker had broken. It wasn't really necessary anyway so no harm was done.

We finished upat the boat. Some of our crew left for home, Steve and Jacque joined us at the Rockport Yacht Club for the festivities and dinner.

We ended up with a third place trophy for the day's troubles and joined the BYC bunch as we swept the awards. We had done the club proud!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Couple's Shower for Mark & Laura

Melissa and Brittney came down from San Antonio on Friday night to help me with preparations for the Couple's Shower I had volunteered to throw for my brother Mark and his fiance, Laura. I knew that our summer was filled non-stop with trips, regattas and events and so it would be hard to throw planning a shower into the mix. The kids, my mother and Carla made it all possible. We had done much of the preparations on Saturday. Sunday dawned quiet with everything organized. We were in good shape. I let the girls sleep in.

Once everyone was up and about, we kicked it into high gear. We organized the decorations, the food, the entertainment... There were just a few last minute things to throw together.

Even Bruce was pressed into service. He was great. He made no plans other than to be at my beck and call for whatever jobs needed doing. And he did them with a smile.

Brittney was our designated bartender. She's a pro and had my home bar organized and in shape in no time. She made some things in advance so that it would all run smoothly.

Mother did the final decorations and helped lay out the food on the table. We had bunches of leis ready to greet the guests.

We had no idea how many people would show, but as the time approached...we were ready!

First to arrive were our friends Steve and Jacque. I can always count on them to be there with bells on.

It wasn't long before the rest of the guests arrived. I greeted them at the door with leis for all!

Mark and Laura were so excited. Even so... I can never get a picture of my little brother without this doofy look on his face!

Brittney kept everyone's glasses filled. We turned them loose on the food. I hoped it would all be gone by the time this was over to keep me from attacking it myself.

We mixed and chatted for a while. My mother had planned some surprise entertainment and I wanted to give them time to get ready.

Finally it was time for the presentation to begin. The surprise was a small group of Polynesian dancers! They were so cute! They did some dancing and then set Mark and Laura up with white grass skirts and did a little hula lesson.

It was lots of fun! there was hardly room to move in my livingroom with these people trying to shake it! Mark and Laura were good sports about it all. Hopefully this will be enough preparation for the wedding festivities. I think there is a Luau planned... I'm sure there will be more hula!We fed the hula dancers then they took their leave with fond wishes for a long and happy for the Bride and Groom.

Next on the agenda was the Newlywed Game. We had chosen some fun questions in advance and I asked Laura's sister Ana and her truely newlywed husband of 3 months, Danny to be contestants. The other couple playing was Jacque and Steve... not so newlywed but still in the perpetual honeymoon faze in life. They were game! It was very funny for all of the non-contestants. Danny and Ana won hands down.

Steve and Jacque will get over it, but I'm not so sure about Mark and Laura.

Gift opening came next! Mark and Laura were so cute opening the presents. They got lots of nice household items. Mark is the cook in this relationship... I'm sure he went home happy with his loot.

I was presented with a very nice hand made vase as the hostess gift. Thanks Mark and Laura! The party wound down and the guests began to depart. Nothing left but the cleaning up and as Mother took most of the fruit home, there was not much else left. My kids were absolutely fabulous and worked like beavers until the house was all back to normal. An hour after the last guest left, it was like it never happened. We were all tired but glad it had gone well!