Monday, June 28, 2010


I am considering homeschooling Captain Adorable. There are many factors affecting this decision and I do not have time to go into the whole discussion tonight. I just wanted to share what my home school/unschooling experience has been like so far. My attempts to formally learn the alphabet and numbers were rejected, yet it is obvious he knows the alphabet and can count to twenty (and is learning some concept of adding/subtracting). He also knows the days of the week and a few months of the year.

However, to the point, I told Capt. Adorable about the oil spill in the gulf tonight while we were motoring up the river back home. He was fascinated and amazed and of course wnted to hear the story again and again. Tomorrow I will show him photos of the oil spill, the live cam of the gushing oil well, and the birds and animals affected. I will try to find photos of the people affected as well. I have a feeling we're going to learn a lot about oil and fossil fuels over the next week or two!

I guess this is wha unschooling is. I allow my child to experience the world around him, present him with information and experiences, then see what he is interested in (what he asks about and talks about) and then search out more information (books, photos, videos, seeing things in real life) and learn more about it together. I am enjoying doing this so far. So far we've learned about sailboats (and boats in general: water displacement and so forth), volcanoes, earthquakes, lightning, bones (what they are, what they do, how they break, and how they heal). Now I guess we're adding oil spills (fossil fuels, etc). SHould be fun!

Lots Going On

My grandmother's death has meant a lot of different things to my family. One of the many things it means is that we (well, mostly my parents) had to work on cleaning up her apartment. As mentioned in a previous post, they were here for about 5 days, spending time with their beloved grandson and oh yeah his mother (haha) and also working hard on getting the apartment sorted, packed, emptied...

Let me give you some advice people. Don't buy so much stuff, and get rid of what you don't need. Especially plastic bags. They can be recycled these days. No one wants used plastic grocery bags. No one. ;)

We did some midnight sailing, some fun at home, some disappointment on a planned activity that led to another really fun experience later, and just generally had lots going on!

We're doing a soccer camp next week. Mama has to accompany (fine with us!) and it is only an hour per day, but I think it is going to take up our entire morning every day this week. And I think Capt. Adorable will be exhausted after, so perhaps there will be more napping than usual this week. Heck, maybe I will get one or two!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

All By Myself

We had a bimini made for our boat. A bimini top is a fabric roof/shade for the cockpit. Getting one made for a sailboat can be tricky (depending on the size of the boat) because of the boom. The bimini is tall enough for me to stand in the cockpit with it rubbing my scalp. A few compromises were made with this installation (Capt. Obvious can no longer stand in the cockpit, some interference with ability to use the winches), still, the shade and comfort it gives are necessary. Anyhow, we dropped off the boat yesterday evening and the guy did the work today and we planned to pick it up after Captain Obvious got home from work this afternoon/evening.

However, the guy called from the marina where he was working on it to warn us that a storm was coming. He said that the boat was not in a safe spot and that we might want to move it. So, the family sprang into action (Oma and Opa are here visiting) and I captained the boat back home to her mooring. Pulling out of the marina made me pretty nervous, what with the bridge and other obstacles to avoid, but hardly any other boats were out, so that helped. I have of course been at the tiller lots of times through the exact same stretch of water (maybe 1 nautical mile between marina and home) with Captain Obvious aboard. And of course I've both caught the mooring and been at the tiller while Capt. Obvious grabbed the mooring, but this was the first time I did it all with someone who knew less than me (my Dad gracious agreed to help me on the boat). My Mom was also super-helpful (and quite funny) as she rowed a dinghy (not ours, which we could not get down to the dock because Capt. Obvious had our only truck) out to get us once we were moored. Captain Adorable was more than happy to fulfill his usual duties of wake-spotter and bow rider.

So yeah, I did it all by myself. And that makes me happy.

In other news, I am searching for a cap that says "survivor," "cancer survivor," or maybe "CUP Survivor." It has to be silver. Or a different color, as long as it is not pink or black. ;) I saw one recently on a cancer survivor friend of mine in a pic he posted on Facebook. Anyone know where I can get one?

Friday, June 18, 2010

We Got It Back

An eventful day!

In the morning, Captain Adorable and I went grocery shopping. Then, because he was motivated by a promised lollipop, we stopped by a diagnostic lab and had his blood drawn for some tests. I was so proud of him! He knew exactly what was going to happen, having seen it happen to me several times already. However, I could feel he was nervous. Still, he sat in my lap quietly. His arm was not tense (and the phlebotomist was kind enough to put the tourniquet over the sleeve of his tee shirt--the little things are so important) as he held it out while the blood came out. He did cry (tears rolled down his cheeks) but not for too long, and cheered up almost immediately after the needle was removed. The phlebotomist exclaimed that "someone stole [her] kid's bandaids" and went off to get him one. By the time she came back with a blue one, he was ready to ask her who had stolen her bandaids. As soon as we were out of there, I raced to the grocery store, planning to buy the biggest lollipop I could find for my brave little darling. Well, he told me he didn't want a big one because it would take years and years to finish! (I bought him a bag of lollipops, because they don't sell them singly, and I gave him the first of two immediately after completing the purchase.)

After lunch (which Capt. Adorable did not eat since he was busy with lollipop number two), we got a call from Capt. Obvious, who had just arrived at the marina to take some measurements on the boat. Our dinghy was missing! I saw it yesterday at about 3:30, perfectly fine on the mooring. But today it was gone. Yes, he had tied it on tight!

I called the police and was transfered 3 or 4 times, until finally I spoke with Corporal Lastname at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). He asked me all the obvious questions and assured me that he'd look for it. Meanwhile, Capt. Obvious was out on the boat looking for the dinghy here in our creek. Corporal Lastname asked that if we found it, I call him. Not so long after our conversation, Capt. Obvious called me to say that he had found it! I called DNR and left a message, but we were going to go get our dinghy back! I carried the sleeping (can you say sugar crash?) little boy out to the car and then the phone rang. Corporal Lastname asked me to wait for him. He met us at our house and he followed us over to the place where Capt. Obvious was waiting in the boat, right by where the dinghy could be seen on shore.

We walked out the beach and I untied the dinghy and pulled it to where Corporal Lastname was standing (he couldn't go all the way to the dinghy because he was wering his "court shoes." He examined the dinghy, saw the name and phone number written on the transom, just as I had reported, and compared the hull ID number to that written on our bill of sale and agreed that it was ours. I pushed it out to Capt. Obvious, who was on our boat, he caught it and towed it home (just around the corner). Whoever stole the dinghy had left it with a set of plastic and aluminum oars, a pair of binoculars, fire extinguisher pins, and a huge mess from the stuff that comes out of a fire extinguisher. (There was a slight bit of damage to the dinghy also...but nothing much.) The marina closest to the beach where our dinghy was found discovered their fire extinguishers were missing. Corporal Lastname said we could keep the items found in the dinghy.

Capt. Adorable and I went down to our marina to meet Capt. Obvious and take the dinghy home. It was a mess but otherwise fine. As soon as we got home I checked the answering machine and there were two messages from Corporal Lastname, asking that we return the items found aboard the dinghy because they were stolen from the other marina. Of course we were fine with him coming by and collecting the things found in the dinghy.

I think it was teenagers. Anyhow, I guess we'll have to do something different. Not sure if we have to deflate it and bring it aboard every time we go out or if we can leave it during the day but not at night or what.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Drawing Legs

As I was saying to a friend the other day I am often tempted to think that Captain Adorable is a towering genius, but then I go and look up the accomplishment and discover that it is absolutely developmentally on target. So, normal. ;) Not genius. ;) He's still fabulous and amazing to me.

Anyhow, today we were playing with markers and paper and he, for the first time ever, drew a creature. He drew what he told me was an egg and then said it needed legs and drew them! A couple of pictures later (we drew lots of pictures together, mostly of volcanoes, actually all of volcanoes but a couple also featured ocean liners) he drew a person with long, long legs standing outside a house I had drawn. Another time, he extended the arms of a creature I had drawn. I just wanted to record this development, seeing as a I have  blog handy and all.

Up till this point, Capt. Adorable's pictures have been about action. He tells the story of what is happening while he makes the picture, often painting or coloring over what has already been drawn as the story develops (or he just mixes paint on the paper). I am sure that the action drawing will continue, but this drawing of legs makes me think he sees drawings as representations, not just movement? Maybe I am giving this more importance than it deserves, but I am his mama, after all.

Monday, June 14, 2010

This Wasn't Supposed To Happen

Captain Obvious has gone off on the boat by himself and Captain Adorable is asleep (extremely early, oh dear tomorrow morning might be way early too). I cooked a nice dinner that only I ate and now here I sit by myself. I can't even listen to music since Captain Obvious has taken the mp3 player. I have to stay right here by the phone and wait for Captain Obvious to call because he needs help with the dinghy. But mean while I feel a bit taken advantage of and abandoned. It wasn't supposed to be like this. The boat was supposed to make us a unit, not separate us.

Grumble, complain, grumble, grumble, and grumble.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sudden But Not Unexpected

My grandma died on Monday, June 7, 2010. We buried her this morning. She was 90 years old (had her birthday celebration right here in my house a couple of months ago), and her death was sudden but not unexpected. I am sad and I will miss her but I am happy that she did not linger or suffer...

Her influence is woven into many aspects of my life and I will never be without her. She was, like everyone, full of contradictions. She was generous and controlling. She loved jokes and funny stories and she has bored me endlessly. She was outgoing yet often her very public interactions seemed to hide who she was. She never talked to me about my cancer but I found out today that she talked to everyone else about it...

She thought my every step was worthy of boasting about to everyone around her, yet she always told me (implied or straight forwardly) I wasn't doing enough. She wanted me to write her letters and call her, which made me feel important. She loved my husband and his family. She gushed over my darling Captain Adorable. She re-read things I wrote ages ago and asked me new questions. She hated computers but somehow managed to keep apprised of what I wrote in this blog. I considered having one of those blog books published just for her but never did.

I loved her. I love her. I will not say goodbye because she remains in my heart.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Somewhere Between Nervous and Terrified

Yes, dear blog readers, this is another post about sailing. Yes, sailing is all we do these days, so what? ;)

We had a nice relaxing sail (mostly a motor down to the Bay and back) in very light winds yesterday afternoon/evening.

Today the winds out on the Bay were predicted to be 10 knots with gusts up to 25 knots. The forecast was definitely fulfilled. We were zipping along at 6.5 plus knot per hour (a knot is more than a mile) even with the main reefed (made shorter to reduce sail area, thus reducing the amount of sail there is for the wind to push) and the genoa only half unfurled. We were heeling like mad. I have bruises, a skinned knee, some light rope burn on my hands (from pulling in the genoa), my toes ache, my finger is cut, I'm exhausted, and I think my face got too much sun (a bit red on forehead and nose). Then coming up the river we saw lightning. Lots and lots of lightning! I furled the genoa and Captain Obvious took down the main sail just in time for Captain Adorable and I to duck into the cabin before the downpour started. It was extremely hot in the cabin with all hatches shut, and I was soaked in sweat. We could see Captain Obivous and my FIL in the cockpit getting completely soaked by sheets and sheets of rain while we motored home as fast as possible in an effort to avoid the lightning. Coming up the creek they saw a sailboat in a slip get struck by lightning! We were only 150 yards away at the time!

We finally pulled into our marina just as the rain slowed to a sprinkle and then stopped, which was good because Captain Adorable and I could not stand one more second in that hot cabin, especially while all the excitement of pulling into the transient slip went on above our heads. We popped out and helped Captain Obvious and FIL finish pulling in and tying, then all sat down and had a drink in the cool of the after-rain... (the adults had beer/hard lemonade while the child had to make do with water)...

A neighbor appeared, telling us he had been worried about us! He knew we were out in the storm and wanted to check that we were ok. I guess maybe it is time to start telling people our cruising plan before we leave.

Captain Obvious wants to go out again tomorrow...I am actually, for once, not so sure...but goodness knows I'll probably end up going.

What a way to celebrate National Cancer Survivors' Day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Another Boat Story

We went out for a sail on Monday afternoon/evening. The house was hot (airconditioning was not necessary until suddenly it was...we're getting by just fine for the next few days though) and had been hot all day and I was still recovering from Saturday night and not in the mood to go out on the boat AT ALL, but the captain of my heart convinced me. And once we were out on the water, ahhhhhh, the water, the breeze, the feel of the boat, all were wonderful. We saw a ray swimming along on our way out to the Bay and on the way back (hours later) we saw a cormorant dive for and catch a fish. Makes me very happy to see these animals free and thriving. (At least I think they are thriving...)

The winds were great--we got up to about 6.5 knots! Quite a lot of heeling (maybe even a bit too much for a still-nervous beginning like me) along with the speed of course. I took the tiller for a good long while, when we were sailing back home. It is indeed fun and challenging to hold the boat on course when she's under the influence of the wind and the current. :) And I am usually not so good...but I'm learning and getting better little by little.

So, getting off the boat something terrible (but I know you want to hear about it so you can laugh at us) happened. We had to take the chemical toilet off the boat to empty the tank. Now, there was only pee and the deodorizer in the tank, no more nasty stuff, but still. Ugh. I handed it (heavy thing) up out of the cabin, to Captain Obvious, who was standing in the cockpit. Somehow or another it escaped him and splattered all over the inside of the cabin (mostly just the sink, counter, companion way, and floor) and, yep, you guessed it, all over ME! Fortunately, I was the only person in the cabin and the cushions were in the garage (since they need to have new covers made) so barely anything made of fabric was affected. Much rinsing and scrubbing later, we finally got on the dinghy and paddled to shore, me stinking like a chemical toilet. Shudder.

This evening the three of us walked down to the water and saw lots of little shrimp and some crabs swimming around in the evening light. Cool, huh?