Monday, December 19, 2016

A Christmas Past - 2011

After a long hiatus - finally a blog post.  
Kyle and I are preparing for our first Christmas without Ken. I will post some or all of the tribute to Ken that I wrote up after he died last January after seven and a half years of battling prostate cancer.  That post may not happen until after the holidays.

This is a hard time of year but it helps to think back on all the good times we had together. One of my favorite Christmases was our 2011 Christmas in Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico. At the time, we posted a few pictures (see the Christmas in Loreto post), but didn't have the bandwidth to post the videos of Kyle opening his presents. This year, after recovering the data from my dead laptop, I can finally post the video. It's short but fun.    

Kyle has been making videos of his own recently. He'd like to post them on his own blog site - yet to be created. Maybe over this winter break from school, he and I will get his new blog up and running. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Spring Break 2015

Building sandcastles

I don't seem to be living up to my New Year's Resolution to post to the blog more often in 2015, but that isn't going to stop me from at least trying to catch up. 

For those of you who get email updates, I'm not sure why the "Swinging from the Mast" post from 2012 went out this morning (When I write a new blog post, Google automatically sends an email to folks who sign up for it by an RSS feed). I was trying to catch typos in the older blog posts, but didn't think Google would consider that a new post.  

Backing up a few months to late March and early April to Spring Break -
We made a pilgrimage back to the ocean, to California. We decided back in November 2014 to go to the beach for Spring Break. November is when you have to make reservations for Spring time. Ken secured us camping sites at South Carlsbad State Beach Park for the first half of the week and at Campland on the Bay in San Diego for the second half of the week. For clarification, I mean "camping" from a well outfitted camper on the truck not camping in a tent.     

Ken drove the truck/camper out to California, leaving on a Thursday and arriving on Sunday at South Carlsbad State Beach. He had Biscuit, our dog, to keep him company on the drive. Kyle and I flew to San Diego on Sunday and met up with Ken.  

Camping Locations

 Some highlights from South Carlsbad State Park. 

Boogie boarding.

Where is that wave?

Ken had a nice view from atop the picnic table.  Biscuit - in the shade.

Kyle on the beach
South Carlsbad State Park is ideally situated just a few miles from Legoland. Kyle is a big Lego fan and this year we decided we'd spend a day there. When Kyle was smaller he didn't seem as interested in going to the mecca of Lego but this year he was ready.

The welcoming lion at the front entrance. 
Mt. Rushmore

Christina and a lion statue at the entrance to miniLand. 
Full size R2D2

The day after Legoland we picked up stakes and moved to Campland on the Bay. You might be looking at the map and wondering what Campland on the Bay was like. In short, it was urban camping. What possessed us to try "urban camping"?  Well, of course it was for me. I thought it would be nice if we didn't have to cook and wash dishes every evening since we get to cook and clean every evening when we are at home. So being in San Diego made it easier to go out and also easier to do in-town tourist things. 

It was very kind of Ken to humor me and give Campland a try. It was the densest camping I have ever experienced - too dense. We had to be careful not to hit anyone as we drove in or out. There were kids on bikes, on scooters, on skateboards and on foot. People were crowding the campground roads up until 11PM, when the Campland speakers announced that quiet time started. Luckily everyone was good about the curfew.  Too bad it didn't start at 9:00 or 10:00PM though.  Ken strategically reserved a spot for us that at least backed up to the Kendal Frost-Mission Bay Marsh preserve on Fiesta Bay - which wasn't quite as nice as the beach spots, but was better than wall to wall campers. 

Kyle and I went out in a peddle boat we rented from the Campland marina. 

Red arrow is our camping spot on the marsh, green arrow is the marina, .

Kyle on the back of the peddle boat (foot pedals)

Swimming behind the peddle boat.  

We also went into San Diego and toured the Midway aircraft carrier. We parked about 10 minutes away and walked through the South Embarcadero Esplanade Art installation.

Someone needs practice being the photographer

We took the audio tour of the USS Midway. We could have easily spent the whole day on the ship but unfortunately only had about two hours on the meter.

In the brig for insubordination. 
Downright roomy junior officer's quarters. 

And back at our parking area (after feeding the meter), we took some time to enjoy walking around and climbing trees at Tuna Harbor Park (I refrained from climbing).

Kyle and I flew home at the end of the week since Kyle had to get back to his last month in third grade and I had to get back to work.  Ken and Biscuit took another week to enjoy a more leisurely drive back.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kristin and Matthew's Wedding

We attended a wonderful wedding in early January 2015.  My beautiful cousin, Kristin, married her beau, Matthew, here in Santa Fe.  Kristin and Matthew are two of the most generous and kind people we know.

The ceremony had Quaker and Suffi elements. During the Quaker period of silence, the guests were encouraged to speak. Family and friends spoke eloquently about Kristin and Matthew. My favorite speech was when one of Kristin's family friends, Zander, stood up and talked about how Kristin has been like the mother he never had, Brigid has been the sister he never had, and Thomas, his best friend, is like the brother he never had.

A few days later, Ken, Kyle and I were talking about how much we liked the speeches. Kyle's favorite was when Zander's dad, Randy, welcomed Matthew's dog, Shilo, to the family.  Kyle said, "If you would have encouraged me a little, I would have given a speech to say Kristin is the best eye doctor and I will never go to another eye doctor in all of Santa Fe."  (Kyle has had a couple emergency visits to see Kristin - she is a godsend!).  I told Ken and Kyle that I was getting my nerve up to give a speech about how Kristin has been like the sister I never had, but didn't stand up and speak because I was hoping there would be speeches after the reception dinner - especially since a version of the "like a sister" speech had already been done so well. But I missed my chance when the dancing directly followed the dinner.  Sigh. 

The reception dinner was delicious.  It was followed by a delectable wedding cake made by Matthew and his father and dancing into the wee hours.  

A few pictures (some professional) and videos (definitely amateur) from the ceremony:

The flower girls and cousin Pamm coming in. 

Nina, Matthew's Dad, and Matthew's Basset Hound, Shilo, coming in.

Brigid and Thomas coming in.

The Bride and her father.

Leaving the chapel

At the reception -
My mom, Ken, Kyle, and me
Uncle John and Kristin - before the reception (Dottie Lopez Photography)

Cake cutting (Dottie Lopez Photography)

Looks Delicious!  (Dottie Lopez Photography)

Wild dancing (Dottie Lopez Photography)

Kyle and Lily dancing (Dottie Lopez Photography)

The lost shoe dance (Dottie Lopez Photography) 

One last video - Kids dancing before the official dancing started:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

After a Year on Land

Fresh snow on the Sangre de Cristos for Memorial Day weekend 
(written by Christina)
We haven't posted for a year now and I thought I should give a quick update on things.  

We have now been back on dry land in New Mexico since last May. Sometimes we look at the pictures from the 18 or so months we spent on Sea Biscuit and pinch ourselves to see if it really happened.  

Since last year, Kyle has completed second grade. Yay Kyle! His last day was the Tuesday before Memorial Day. So far he is enjoying his summer break. 

As for the adults in the family, I have been back at work at the State Engineer's Office since June 2013 and Ken is now officially retired.  

Over Memorial Day weekend we had a nice visit from Ken's sister, her husband, and Ken's brother.

Ken with his brother and sister 
One of the more notable things we did on the weekend was a Rattlesnake Avoidance Class. No - Kyle and I know to avoid rattlesnakes, it was Sea Biscuit (the dog - who now goes by Biscuit for short) who we were trying to train up*. Kyle and I took Biscuit to the training offered by the Natural Solutions folks out of California (I am assuming they are based out of California). The class was just outside Stanley, NM, not too far from Moriarty. Stanley is a town I can't say I have ever visited. It was a scenic setting for Rattlesnake Avoidance Class. 

We waited our turn until Biscuit was taken out into the field to learn what he could from the two rattle snake avoidance trainers. They had diamond backs and prairie rattlers stored in a cooler or cages under a shade protector and muzzled (their mouths were taped shut with veterinarian approved tape).  

Muzzled Rattler 

Setting the snakes out

The snake handler placed the snakes strategically in the field and the other trainer led Biscuit around to explore. As he approached the snakes and they caught his attention, the trainer would give him a correction with the shock collar Biscuit was wearing. Biscuit figured out he didn't want to have much to do with the snakes pretty quickly.  

Biscuit heading out into the field 

Not happy to have met that rattler. 

Calling Biscuit in. 
The training took about 7 minutes.  Kyle asked the trainer what kind of grade Biscuit would get if he were in school. The trainer paused a moment and said thoughtfully that he thought Biscuit would receive a "B" grade. Kyle and I were pleased with this grade. 

*You might be wondering if rattlesnakes are all that common here. We seem to see about two or three a year. One of our big motivators is the fact that our last dog, Truck (now a very happy member of our neighbor's home - Thank you again, Pui!), was bitten by a rattlesnake a number of years ago. It was an experience we would like to avoid. 

Truck with her head swollen after being bitten by a rattlesnake 


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Our new Sea Biscuit

We have a new family addition to announce - Sea Biscuit the dog. He is a welsh terrier puppy. Ken and Kyle picked him up last week. So far he is a great puppy. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Barra and Biking

Even though Sea Biscuit now has new owners and we are settling back into life on land, I am continuing to (slowly) catch up on pictures and stories from our time aboard. This post is about Barra de Navidad, on the Costa Alegre of Mexico (the red marker on the map below). 

Below are pictures from our first visit to Barra de Navidad when we stayed in the lagoon (Where we were eaten by mosquitoes and tortured by the local fisherman out fishing at 5:00AM right next to our boat) and also from the time we had Sea Biscuit in the Barra Marina (late January, February and March 2013). 

One highlight of our time in Barra was being able to take Kyle's bike on land. We explored the Grand Bay Hotel's golf course (respecting the golfers, of course). 

Riding along the golf course path.

Our friends from Harmony, Robert and Virginia, were also in Barra de Navidad right before Christmas picking up kids and grandkids for a visit. We all went across the golf course to the beach. Kyle had a great time playing with Coco and Toby.  

Kyle and Coco 

Kyle, Coco, and Toby

If you look closely you'll see the staircase leading to "Hidden Beach."

The map below shows you the general location of the hidden beach (green arrow) and the Barra de Navidad Lagoon.

View SV Sea Biscuit Map in a larger map  
The Green Arrow and dot in the map above show where the hidden beach is. The Blue marker to the East is where we started our walk along the beach after crossing the golf course (green line). The sailboat in the lagoon was our approximate location when we anchored in the Barra Lagoon.  And the blue marker near the sailboat is the little dinghy dock we used to get to the golf course.     

Pictures from February and March 2012.  

Taking the water taxi to Barra 
Banking around a turn 

Avoiding another water taxi 

Bike aboard 

Playing Star Wars in Barra de Navidad 

Kyle - enjoying the sunset