24 December 2012

Christmas Cocktail

Ean's invented a special Colombian Christmas Cocktail.  ¡Salud!

Now and always, wishing for the world, friends and loved ones, MORE JOY EVERYWHERE!

23 December 2012

Month Five in Colombia and Counting

Still in Cartagena. To explain, allow me to make a short story long.

Me and my dad on the aft deck of m/v Andante, 1979
When I was 11 years old, my parents took me out of school, and we embarked on what my family has since called "the boat trip." (I wrote about it briefly on the "forebears" page of our website.). Many years later, when I was grown up and in the Navy, my dad felt compelled to write a book about the boat trip. I found the idea of my dad as an author to be astonishing, since I never thought he had much to say - at least, as I recalled, he never had much to say to me. But a whole book he did indeed write. After reading the manuscript, I told him he needed an editor and that he used too much passive voice.

Now many more years have passed, and so has my dad. My mom is turning 83, and Ean and I have embarked on our own crazy "boat trip": let's call it Boat Trip 2.0. I find myself, more than ever, wondering about my parents and "their" boat trip. I wonder what it meant to them. I wonder if they had any inkling of the impact it would have on their daughter's life. I wonder why my dad felt compelled to write it out, so many years afterward. And now I'm wondering what Boat Trip 2.0 will mean, to me and Ean. My first boat trip had such a drastic influence on me. Who will I be, after Boat Trip 2.0? Who will Ean be, and how will we be, together?

We invited my mom to spend Christmas with us here in Cartagena. We found a sweet little one-bedroom apartment for her in the Walled City, and we have all been working to put together an updated version of my dad's book. The book, which my dad accurately entitled "Our Powerboat Experience," was self-published, and he never actually tried to sell it to anyone - he and my mom gave copies to their friends and to anyone else who expressed an interest. Apparently, many of his readers wished that the book included pictures and a map. This, definitely, we can do. All the boat trip pictures have been digitized, and we sorted through them and chose the best ones. Ean has started the painstaking process of restoring them with Photoshop. Actually, a lot of them were kinda crappy to begin with, so he is trying not only to restore them but to enhance them. We're thinking that we can figure out how to do an e-book that has a map with hyperlinks, so readers can link directly from the map to the text.

Besides the visual aids, there are other stories and details that my mom wishes had been included, and I'm asking her to fill in the gaps. For me, it's another shot at understanding the thoughts and feelings that motivated my parents to seek out such adventure. And a reminder of what made me.

My mom departs on January 1. Shortly thereafter, we will be headed for Panama.

15 December 2012

Kids in Colombia

Children.  I haven't had or raised any, but as a teacher and then an elementary school principal, I called several hundred children "mine."  

Today - here are some pictures of school kids in Colombia.  When we visit tourist attractions, we sometimes run into school groups.  The kids make me smile wistfully.  They help me remember who I have been.  Today, especially, these pictures tug at my heart.  

This first one was taken during our recent trip to Medellín.

A field trip to the Medellín Botanical Gardens
After walking around Medellín's Botanical Gardens, my mom and I disappeared into los baños to powder our noses while Ean waited outside.  When we returned, we found Ean surrounded by kids.  Like hummingbirds to a bright red flower, they had been drawn by THE IPAD.  I took this picture of them, using the iPad, of course.  Then they all wanted to know how their names would be pronounced in English.  We couldn't figure out why they wanted to hear their beautiful names in flat-sounding American English.  Como se dice Jessica?  Well, that would be "Jessica."  Angelina?  Angeline.  Juan Diego?  Uh, JOHN.  Sorry, dude.

03 December 2012

Raft-Up: Non-Productive Crewmembers Waste Space!

Fernando Botero's Cat.  Beautiful, but non-productive.
"Have nothing in your house [or boat] that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." William Morris

Space is a strictly limited commodity on a boat, so what you choose to bring aboard speaks volumes (sorry) about your priorities. When we prepared to move on to JOY, we sold or gave away a vast majority of our Stuff. But what about the stuff that came with us? This month, Raft-Up bloggers discuss our "Space Splurges" - the stuff that we brought on board that maybe we shouldn't have, but just couldn't live without.

So I pondered this topic. For about five seconds. In my mind's eye, I scrolled past the bronze bird sculpture, the electric tea kettle, the pink plastic buddha, the heating pad, and the martini shaker. Seriously, we have all these things on JOY and could not live without them. But the space used by these small items is nothing compared to our major space wasters: we call them Isabel, Percy, and Tucker.

Isabel, Percy, and Tucker are the cats. Cats on a catamaran. Cute idea. But really, they are NOT useful. And oh my heavens, let me tell you about the space we waste on them. We have three litter boxes, which we've arrayed in the forward berths. Hard to walk in there, and they scatter the litter, so the remaining walkable space is a bit crumbly. We store newspapers and bags for litter box clean up. And the litter itself. It is heavy and comes in big boxes. Then there's the food. As landlubbers, our darlings ate both canned food and dry food, and we have continued this feeding regimen on the boat. Three cats can go through three or four cans of food a day, plus dry food. And the food and water dishes take up a pretty substantial portion of our floor space. We have a scratching post, as well, which also takes up valuable floor space.  Throw in a bit of cat first aid and cat medicine. And cat carriers, in case we want to take them to the vet or pack them into the life raft. And a file folder stuffed with cat paperwork.