11 August 2014

Catastrophic Molting

Finally, the boat is sold.  S/v More Joy Everywhere has found a new owner – someone who we’re certain will take good care of her and restore her to pre-lightning-strike glory.  She will ply the Pacific from Panama for a while – but there are plans for grand voyages to South Pacific Isles, and we wish her fair winds and following seas.

As we walked around starry-eyed for a couple of weeks after the deal was done, one of us was apt to remind the other: “Hey, we don’t own a boat!” And when we sat down to dinner and raised our glasses of wine, one of us would say, “Guess what!?  No boat!!”  Not Owning a Boat made us ecstatic.  Reminds me of the video that was making the rounds in the cruiser community a while ago – “I’m On a Boat” – only in reverse.  I’m NOT on a boat, mothafuggas.  In your FACE!
To get beyond the fists-in-the-air victory dance, we needed a bit more time and space.  In the past year, we have taken a few mini-vacays to explore California’s central coast (and remind ourselves that we are still "Travelers"). On our first trip as Boatless People, up to Cambria, I found a hook upon which to hang my boat baggage.

When you go to Cambria, you putter around the little town, sip wine, eat at Robin’s, buy olallieberry jam from Linn’s.  On your way out to the vineyards in Templeton and Paso Robles, you drive on roads so scenic that the view should be declared an “attractive nuisance.”  You tour Hearst Castle and walk on the beach.  And then you drive just a few miles up the coast, to the Año Nuevo State Reserve, so you can look at the Elephant Seals. 

May is the end of molting season for the elephant seals of the Piedras Blancas colony.  But “molting” doesn’t really cover it.  It’s called CATASTROPHIC MOLTING.  They come up on the beach after months at sea and shed a layer of skin and hair all at one time.  Can I just say? It’s ugly.  We stood and wondered.  We walked up and down the boardwalk and took pictures.  We picked up the copy of “E-Seal News,” to better understand who and what we were seeing.  
 It occurred to me.  Ean and I have survived two catastrophic molts in the past few years – once to start the cruising life, and again to end it.  We were brave and foolish, and it led us to heights of joy and depths of sorrow previously unscaled.  The transitions were ugly.

It's been a year, now, since we flew from the boat and opened a new chapter.  A year to start aching for the sunsets, the dolphins, and the sounds of a boat under sail.  A year to make a few tentative decisions about who we want to be, now that we're not cruisers.  But our mantra has been GO SLOW.  No more catastrophic molting.  No big moves.  No irreversible leaps.  Instead, we're taking pleasure in the small "yes."  Yes to one thing at a time.  Yes to a thousand steps that lead to yet another new chapter.  No, we haven't figured it out. But yes, we're on our way!

04 October 2013

Reporting from Lompoc: Several Brief Updates

Here's all the news that's fit to print.

  1. The Blog.  Contrary to recent evidence to the contrary, we have NOT abandoned the blog.  Our plan is to become a "travel blog" - and even while we are based here in Lompoc, we will sneak in some short trips here and there (like to Australia to visit my friend Ann?).  So we are morphing, from one thing to another... evolving right before your eyes... let's see how it goes.  Besides the travel, we want to keep our friends and loved ones up to date on how we're doing, so some of our posts might be progress reports on the Big Northside Reboot.  Anyway, be patient with us as we transition.

  2. The Big Northside Reboot.  Here's the short, short version.  My family owns a piece of property, here in my hometown, that is in need of some tender loving care.  It requires extra attention, in particular, because we currently have a HUGE vacant space, and it's going to take some creativity and some $$$ to re-purpose that space.  On top of the gaping hole at the end of the center, it might be said that Northside is in the midst of a mid-life crisis.  It is 45 years old, it's been the same old thing, year after year, and it's getting a little... tired.  So our aim, here in Lompoc, is to rejuvenate the property and find some new tenants.  But more JOY everywhere! is not going to become a Northside blog, so if you're curious and want to learn more about the process, "like" Northside Lompoc on Facebook.

  3. Other projects.  I will continue to coordinate The Monkey's Fist (along with Jaye, who thank goodness picks up the slack when I am distracted for a while).  Ean, meanwhile, has started a new website called Colombus's Egg.  (This link takes you straight to the "about" page, because Ean explains it much more eloquently than I do.)  If you want a daily dose of goodness - trust me on this! - go "like" his page on Facebook: Colombus's Egg.

  4. S/v More JOY Everywhere!  On the same day that I published our last blog post, about the egret in the dinghy, Joy was struck by lightning.  Big puff of smoke, bad smells of fried electronics.  We had already made reservations to fly to California, and we decided, for the sake of our sanity, that we would keep those reservations.  That last week in Panama City was absolute hell.  I try not to think about it.  After the lightning strike, we accepted an offer, and for a few weeks we basked in optimism that Joy would soon have someone to love her and take care of her properly.  Alas, that offer has now fallen through, and Joy is back on the market - now for $165,000.

  5. Operation BABSAM.  (Buy a boat, save a marriage) Although the boat has not been bought, I think I can say with some degree of confidence that the marriage has already been saved.  We are SO relieved to be off the boat and on to something new.  We've learned a lot about ourselves and how important it is to prioritize "us."  And we KNOW how fortunate we are - even in the midst of our trials and tribulations (aka "first world problems") - so we haven't been throwing ourselves any Pity Parties.

We have a few more cruising-related blog posts that we plan to write, but now is Too Soon.  Our desire to write about it and our sense of humor disappeared in that puff of smoke that I mentioned in #4 above.

There you have it.  Thanks, everybody, for caring about us and for wanting to know what happens next.  Our hearts have been warmed by all the well-wishing and positive energy that's been sent our way!  

10 August 2013

The Nature Channel on JOY

With our morning coffee and the cruisers net this morning:

Breakfast time!

Oh my, that's a big fish.  Better hold it over the dinghy,because it's still wiggling.  

Drop it in the dinghy a few times, peck at it.
It's getting deader, but not any smaller, so....


Wow.  That was a big fish.

Stretch... gulp, gulp...

Lip-smackin' good fish.

Phew.  That was a big one.

Breakfast over...

Time to go...

Note:  This.  One of the things I'll miss about living on a boat.

05 August 2013

There and Back Again (pt. 2)

(Wherein, after more than a month, Ean finally recounts his adventures at his next and penultimate destination on his 4 cities in 3 weeks tour of the U.S. Here is part 1. And here is the part before part 1, which may aptly be referred to as part 0.)

Ideas and Ersters

Arrive: Boston.

photo courtesy of
Years ago, when I visited the city for the first time, I happened on the the Freedom Trail, a self-guided walking tour. Having no better idea of how to explore the city (I had gone there on a lark, i.e., hopped in my pickup one day and thought, "East. I've never been East before. Go East, young man, say I. Go East"--I'm pretty sure that's a verbatim account. I chose Boston somewhere along the way only because I decided I wanted to see the actual art museum from whose actual store my condo was actually almost entirely decorated.) it occurred to me that beginning at the beginning, sort of, of our history, seemed like as good a place as any. I had no idea to expect anything other than some aerobic exercise and a congeries of historical factoids. But to my deep surprise, if the Boston Museum of Fine Art was my personal Mecca, the city itself was an unwitting hajj to the seat of my identity as an American, an identity, I might add, I never particularly knew I had or had ever given much thought to. A very typical American attitude, I suspect. Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, the Old North Church, the names, so familiar, on the gravestones at Granary and Copp's Hill burying grounds, Bunker Hill, the U.S.S. Constitution: These are places where men and women fought for an idea, a revolutionary idea, with words and deeds, in ink and in blood and birthed a land, the land of my birth.

All that AND oysters. What's not to love?

I've been back since that trip and now Boston is standard anytime we are on the East Coast. This time, I was again at a lack for specific plans--save for the MFA, of course, also standard. So, I employed a little deductive reasoning which went something like, "Big city. Symphony? Boston has a symphony. Is it symphony season? Wait, Boston has the Boston Pops. (checking Internet) What's playing at the Pops today or tomorrow, the 3rd or 4th of July? ...Boston Pops on the 4th...that rings a bell. Why does that sound so familiar...? Oh, oh, wait, OMG, THE POPS ON THE 4TH? THE BIGGEST FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION IN THE COUNTY, THAT'S ALL! OMG, WHAT SERENDIPITY, WHAT LUCK!+! ...Well then, that takes care of tomorrow. Wonder what I should do tonight?" (In the interest of complete accuracy, I actually arrived on the night of the second, but after a full day's drive and what would have entailed a long train ride into the city (far too expensive to stay in Boston proper, and no need with their awesome T system), I opted to hike over to the local Legal Seafood and begin "Oysterfest" with all due haste.

Me and Buddha, we go back
more than a decade
By the next morning, the pace which I set for myself must have been getting to me because I didn't get a move on until about 11 a.m. and didn't get to the museum until 2ish. Sad, because it meant a scant 3 hours to see all that I could, a small percentage of what I would have liked. Ah, but wait! Artemisia (the goddess of art, no?) smilethed down upon me. The museum was open until 7:30 for reasons I couldn't care less about.

Seeing again much admired objects of art is like seeing old friends only I do most of the talking. And so many old friends to see! Not to mention new ones to meet. As it happened, I ran out
Hey, whatcha doin' up there?
of steam before I ran out of time; I left a half-hour before they closed. Sorry to leave, but hungry and on the hunt for...more oysters, of course. These I found at a place noted for the variety they offered. So before bidding a fond adieu to MFA, I set my blue dot's (a.k.a. the representation of me on my iPad map app) sights on my prey.

The place was so crowded (can't imagine why on the 3rd of July. It's a good thing I never remember to take crowds into account before I decide to go somewhere--I'd never go anywhere cool), I was lucky to get a seat at the bar. But there I happily sat with my water and beer and JD on the rocks and salad and dozen oysters leaving little room for the patrons to either side of me. Oh, well.

I confess--if "confess" is the correct word to denote something one does which feels very right--to having an ulterior motive for wanting to be at the Pops 4th Celebration. Boston, as I've said is where I go to feel American, especially when it is where I can stand in solidarity with other Americans deeply unnerved by a recent terrorist attack. Boston, could have, would have been well within their rights to have, and in light of the fact that they'd received threats maybe should have cancelled the whole event. But then again, how could they? Bostonians, too, feel very American. It is their birthright. And as such, they feel they bear a special responsibility to show the world they will not be cowed.

They also felt a special responsibility to have every conceivable branch of law enforcement--from Harvard police to the National Guard assist Boston's Finest in preventing a reprise of that tragedy. As for attendees, checkpoints controlled access to the esplanade where pockets had to be emptied (bag, backpacks, purses of any kind, and coolers with wheels (?) were strictly forbidden), people were "wanded" and wristbands were issued.

I expected that attendance would be comparatively small, but having nothing to compare it to, I decided not to take any chances on getting a good seat, or rather, bit of ground and arrived just before 1p.m., six-and-a-half hours before the start of the show, my iPad and a book alone for company. What followed was the longest six-and-a-half land-based hours of my life. However, knowing that once I chose my spot, further sustenance would be long in coming, I began the day with...why oysters, of course. On the recommendation of my server of the night before, I headed to the North End to a place renowned for their oysters, only to find that, alas, they were closed for the holiday. No matter, or not much, at any rate; the restaurant two doors down boasted a selection of oysters and was open for business. I was their first customer.  I ordered 2 each of 6 different types and an antipasto plate--it is the North End, after all. Happy was I to discover that by the last oyster, I had had my fill of oysters. Off to the esplanade!

You already know that the festivities went off without a hitch because you heard nothing about it. Upon entering the park I was asked whether I wanted to see the show or the fireworks. "Can't I see both?" "No," the gate person responded and doing an admirable, albeit unintended, impression of the scarecrow, explained that the fireworks display was on one end of the esplanade and the show on the other. Having a presence of mind with which I surprised myself, I asked if I would be able to see the fireworks from the stage area and was told no. "Well, can I hear the music from where I can see the fireworks?" There were speakers throughout the park and so, I was told, I could. That decided that. In fact, there was a jumbotron LED screen about halfway back upon which I was able to see as well as hear the whole show.

...And then the fireworks.

I thought it was just for the 1812 Overture, it and the cannons that boomed and reverberated to the beat. But that was just the preview, the pre-dusk appetizer, if you will. The main event was no less than 30 minutes long with illuminations I've never seen before. Smiley faces!? Clusters of lanternlike flairs hanging motionless, drifting on the wind, extinguishing themselves slowly, slowly (no shots of either, sadly; I was too mesmerized to move). Color combinations and monochromatic explosions were accompanied by a medley of songs, triumphant, sad, and grateful.

Afterward, I followed the ever-attenuating crowd toward what I hoped would be a useable T station and despite a few missteps found a train that would return me to the parking garage where my car would, in turn, carry me back my dank, little chamber of a room (or so I told Jane).

Farewell, Boston, heart of my American heart. Until next time.

Next stop: The Big Apple

02 August 2013

"Normal" for Cats on Boats

I just collected a bunch of great blog posts about what passes as "normal" when you live on a boat.  You can find links on The Monkey's Fist.  In most of these posts, you'll detect a bit of wistfulness for the "old normal" - life on land, with big beds, unlimited ice, short walks to flushing toilets and showers with unlimited hot water....  But also the recognition that the "new normal" includes some pretty cool stuff, like dolphin visits, self-sufficiency, and home travel (that is, traveling with your home).

Isabel, chilling out in the salon
Now that we are getting ready to move back to land, I've been thinking about the adjustments in store for our useless crew: Isabel, Tucker, and Percy.  Mostly, they've done a great job adjusting to being on the boat - but I think they will be thrilled to be back ashore again.  Here's what "normal" has been for the past two years:

Our home rocks and rolls!  When the cats jump up on the beds, they've learned to jump a bit higher than necessary, and they land on all four paws.

Our home has windows of odd sizes and in odd places.  Some windows can be used as doors, but others are not safe to climb through!  All of our cats have gone overboard (once each, only while dockside) - Percy jumped out a porthole and found himself in the water.  The overhead hatches are a source of endless wonder.  They frequently sit on our bed and gaze skyward.  They jump down on us from the open hatches with a battle cry - "Death From Above!"  Our salon hatches are favorites for passage to and from the bow.

Our home makes weird noises.  I still remember how Percy flew the first time he was on hand to hear the electric toilet flush.  Generator and engine noises no longer faze them.  They've learned to ignore the random creaks and the slaps of waves hitting the hull.

Our home is hot.  They're used to the tropic heat and they've been mostly very healthy - except for some itchy ear problems.  Poor Tucker has been driven nuts.

Our home has a lot of great hiding places.  It's not as big as a house, but the spaces are carved up in much more interesting ways.

They've learned to share.  Since we moved on a boat, the cats make due with fewer litter boxes (2 instead of 3) and fewer bowls (only 1 water bowl now, and 2 food bowls).  They hang out together - for Isabel, especially, this is a huge concession.

They've transitioned from canned food to dry food.  A sad few weeks.  We took this drastic step in Colombia, when a can of cat food cost $2.50 and the grocery stores only kept a half dozen cans in stock.

Tucker now poops on newspaper instead of in litter.  Saves on litter and mess, and saves him from sneezing.

On land, they used to love going outside and rolling in the dirt.  Now, they still enjoy the great outdoors - but no dirt.

On land, they used to try to catch birds.  Here on the boat, they try not to be caught by the birds (pelicans and egrets are scary).

Do not mess with this guy - he will peck your little brains out!

Click on the monkey's fist to read others bloggers on this topic.

The Monkey's Fist

27 July 2013

Answer: Lompoc, California

Question: Where am I from?

This is a query that depends on context, isn't it?  Lately, when someone asks where I'm from, I say, los estados unidos.  If I'm pressed for a state, I say California, even though I haven't lived there for over two decades.  It's easy.  Most people here in Panama have heard of California.  (Wisconsin: not so much.)

Sometimes, I'm asked, by someone who actually wants to know about my hometown: "Where in California?"  It's a big state, after all.

Lompoc: 34.6392° N, 120.4569° W
If you're a Pacific Coast sailor, I cut straight to the heart of it:  "My hometown is just inland from Point Conception."  Respect.

But for landlubbers, additional context is important.  Never lived in California?  Maybe you're really just asking: "Are you from Southern California (beaches and blondes and sunshine) or Northern California (San Francisco, fog, Golden Gate Bridge)?"  Then my answer will be: "Southern California."  Or if I want to be confounding and slightly more accurate, I might say, "Southern Central Coast."

You want more?  Perhaps you're from California, or you've spent some time there?  Still, I won't just blurt out, "Lompoc," as though you should know.  Usually, I circle around, asking, "Do you know where Santa Barbara is...?"  If your reply is sort of vague, I'll say, "A couple hours north of LA."

If I get the sense that you have walked down State Street and driven up Hwy 1, I follow up with "... and San Luis Obispo...?"  More head nodding...?  Okay, finally, I give it up: "I'm from a town called Lompoc, right between Santa Barbara and SLO."  If you've made it this far through the gauntlet, you might reward me with insightful comments that show some understanding of what Lompoc is all about.
"Oh yeah, where the prison is."
(Federal Correctional Institution - low security men's prison)

"I went to the Flower Festival once: it was [insert one here] cold/windy/rainy/foggy."
(Lompoc weather is NOT SoCal weather)

"Isn't there an Air Force Base around there?"
(Vandenberg, third largest AFB in the US)

One of the many flower fields of the Lompoc Valley (image from here)
Maybe you're wondering why I'm talking about my hometown.


Lompoc, California, is not only the answer to "Where am I from?"  It also answers the question: "Where am I going?"

Lompoc, of all places....  Team Behr is moving to Lompoc.  We are going there, maybe for a few months, maybe for a year or two, because we are part-owners of a piece of property that could use a bit of tender loving care.  We are the only owners who happen not to have anything better to do at the moment.

Our s/v more JOY everywhere is for sale, and although we just substantially reduced the price, we know that it might take awhile to find new owners.  So while we wait to see what happens next, we're going to go hang out in my hometown and take care of some family business.

We think it's going to be fun, believe it or not.

Think about the blogortunities.
I CAN go home again!

Everything you ever wanted to know about Lompoc, and more

Stop calling it Lom-pock; it's Lom-poke

My high school got painted a different color

Look: I'm wearing pants!

15 July 2013

There and Back Again (pt. 1)

You may, dear reader, find yourself wondering what, exactly, it was that precipitated and ultimately culminated in my decision to take an impromptu three-week hiatus from my life at sea, or more accurately as it has sadly come to pass, my life at anchor. Verily, I grant that to leave one's wife and three small, furry children behind and embark upon a whirlwind tour of the east coast of the U.S. is worthy of a raised eyebrow, but pray, let us, to all possible extent dispense with the howsos, wherefores and other such idle speculations; I aver that the inclusion here of those sundry causes and details will add nothing to the recounting of my adventures thereat. The delight and wonderment I experienced during my travels which I will here, however inadequately, attempt to recapture and relay to you shall prove a sufficient recompense for your time. Put otherwise, I took a powder, period, end of backstory.

Sailing (which I recently heard described as the most expensive way to travel fourth class) has ruined me for making travel plans. So when Jane asked me, and a few days later my friend Whitney asked me, and then a day or so after that Jane again asked me what I was going to do with my time, I could say only that I didn't know. All I knew when I landed in Ft. Lauderdale was that I was going to visit my friend, I had never been to Epcot, I had a wicked oyster jones going and I'd be damned if I was going to miss a chance to see some live theater. and of course, there is my abiding commitment to go to at least one museum in every city I visit. (I made an exception for Kissimmee because, well, firstly, it is Kissimmee, and secondly, in my view, Epcot counts as the equivalent of at least one museum.) I had some wants and three weeks to fill them; the wheres, I felt quite sure, would dawn on me in due course.

And so they did. Being a logical sort, as I believe myself to be, I decided to head right for the motherlodes: For museums, the Smithsonian; for oysters, Boston; for theater, New York, in that order, two days per city. To the better versed in geography than I was this must seem like an odd itinerary. What can I say? So, New York is south of Boston; I get that now.

Living Languages
My two days in D.C., which is to say my two day plan for the Smithsonian, was delightfully derailed by its annual Folklife Festival. Though I'd never been to one before and knew nothing about it until serendipitously stumbling upon it, the Festival, it seems, is the Smithsonian's annual celebration of people and their cultures. This year, as perhaps in all years, it highlighted three topics: Hungarian Culture, African American adornment, and my fav, One World, Many Voices. From their webpage:

The Festival program highlights language diversity as a vital part of our human heritage. Cultural experts from communities around the world join us to demonstrate how their ancestral tongues embody cultural knowledge, identity, values, technologies, and arts.

Through performances, craft demonstrations, interactive discussion sessions, community celebrations, and hands-on educational activities, highly skilled musicians, storytellers, singers, dancers, craftspeople, language educators, and other cultural practitioners are coming together on the National Mall to share their artistry, knowledge, and traditions; to discuss the meaning and value of their languages to their cultural heritage and ways of life; and to address the challenges they face in maintaining the vitality of their languages in today’s world.

Garifuna musicians

Russian musicians

Not long ago, you may have seen it, Mental Floss published a list of 38 Wonderful Words We Could Use in English. Somewhere between asking Garifuna scholar Ruben Reyes to translate "more JOY everywhere!" for me for our website and listening to a talk given by a Putumayan poet, it hit me: What if tomorrow, the last speaker of Scottish died without leaving a trace of his language behind. The world might lose what is indicated by "tartle: the nearly onomatopoeic word for that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can't quite remember." Or, what about the Georgian word, shemomedjamo which describes what happens when you're already really full but your meal is so delicious you just can't stop eating. "I accidentally ate the whole thing," they say. If Portuguese disappeared and Galician went with it, we might lose what the word "saudade" so precisely describes: "a deep emotional state of nostalgic or deeply melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves." And these reminded of something National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis points out:“Language is an old-growth forest of the mind.” Which, in turn, reminded me of something I remember him saying during a TED Talk:

The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit.
Can you read it?
Ha! Not bad for Day One. Day two (a Monday; the Festival would not reopen until the following Thursday), was spent at the museum proper...oh, right, The National Museum of Modern Art and National Portrait Gallery. As befitting the thrust of the previous day's activities, I first visited  the museum's permanent collection of Folk Art, which, I thought, bore and interesting resemblance to Western European art prior to and during the Renaissance with regard to its preoccupation with Christian motifs.

Is he doing what I think he's doing?

Wait just a gall durn minit! They didn't have cell phones back then.

It's a governor. Don't know what it did then;
don't know what it does now.

This model for an improved prosthetic
had a leg up on the competition

What if you lose your house key?

Models for early American patents was next. Early on, so the story goes, patent clerks couldn't envision the final product from descriptions and drawings alone; they needed to see an actual (though not necessarily full-scale) model in order to determine whether or not to award a patent. Consequently, a whole industry grew up around patent pending model making. Thus an unintentional art form was born.

On the Portrait Gallery side, I made a trip to the hall of presidents. Having recently read Dolores Kearns Goodwin's book, A Team of Rivals, I was especially interested to see the section on Lincoln. I did, however, discover that Lyndon Baines Johnson was the first American president born in the Twentieth Century. And I heard this snippet from a famous presidential speech:

We had a bad banking situation. Some of our bankers had shown themselves either incompetent or dishonest in their handling of the people's funds. They had used the money entrusted to them in speculations and unwise loans. This was of course not true in the vast majority of our banks but it was true in enough of them to shock the people for a time into a sense of insecurity and to put them into a frame of mind where they did not differentiate, but seemed to assume that the acts of a comparative few had tainted them all. It was the Government's job to straighten out this situation and do it as quickly as possible -- and the job is being performed. 
Any guesses?

Behind that, there was an exhibit of the winners and some of the other entries in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Though portraiture has never been a favorite subject area of mine, owing, I presume, to my affinity for cubes, I was very much moved, not only by the depictions themselves--some self-portraits; far more not--but by the plethora of media used. Film on glitter screens, string and brads, a weaving, accompanied the more traditional, charcoals, paints, and inks. First place went to a 2010 five minute and fifty second video with sound by Bo Gehring titled "Jessica Wickham" after the portrait's subject. Its exquisite beauty needs no help from me. See for yourself.

The strangest thing happened to me while I was viewing this exhibit, something I've never experienced before. I had a definite sense that I'd seen some of these portraits before somewhere. I was sure of it. I even knew what the artist's statement that accompanied them said before I got close enough to read it. More than that, I could vaguely remember what their display location looked like when I'd seen them previously and where they were in physical relation to one another. It was such a bizarre feeling that I even asked the guard if she knew whether they had been exhibited somewhere before the Smithsonian. She didn't of course. I wonder if it's possible to visit too many museums.

No museum visit is complete (for me, that is) without at least a swing by its modern art collection.
Everything I love in one installation: The U.S., bright colors and TV! Genius!!

To look at her is to see her whole life encapsulated in one instant.

There was certainly more to see, I mean it is America's National Museum campus. I'd like to be able to say that I've visited every single one sometime before I'm D&G. But I had a very important date in Annapolis: The first ever Mofi Writers' Conference, hosted by fellow Monkey's Fist organizers Dan N' Jaye. The "conference" was, in truth, an improptu (see, it's that aversion to planning thing again) get together of some Mofi folk who happened to be around. There is nothing quite like "meeting" people you "know" for the first time; it's weird and not weird at the same time. We had a really good time talking about matters both marinerly and not. Dan and Jaye brought snacks, Suzanne, brought a not-so-red velvet cake (beets just can't compete with red dye #24 it seems), John, our new best Mofi friend, brought noshes as well and, yes, there was even Monkey's Fist IPA. All there wasn't, of course, was the reason for our very collective existence: she was watching Hombre de Acero at Albrook Mall in Panama City and she was deeply, sorely, missed, but we "sailored" on without her as best we could and drank a toast, or many, in her honor.

Later, back at my hotel in College Park, I had just one thing left to do after a very long day: find and book a room in the Boston area so I'd have somewhere to live the following night.

Next Stop: Boston, MA