Thursday, January 31, 2008

It Looks Like a Terrible Accident -

But it's not. It's the RP Flip, and it's doing that on purpose.

Congratulations, Wenley - I'm pretty sure that is the weirdest boat I've ever seen!

Anybody got any stranger ones?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pier 40 vote tomorrow - Cirque du Soleil, or grassroots?

Interesting post on the Hudson River Watertrail Association's NYCKayaker list today from one of the members of the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club.

I'm so out of the Hudson River Park scene these days, it feels like another country. Not missing the politics much, either.

But I thought this one was worth posting about here, since it's pretty major - seems that tomorrow the Hudson River Park Trust votes on the fate of Pier 40. M. provided a link to Streetsblog, which has an excellent post with asynopsis of the situation and links to various newspapers that have covered the story.

Pier 40 is the largest pier in the Hudson River Park (non-boating NYC residents may recognize it better if I call it "that hulking sky-blue thing at the end of Houston)". If I'm recalling correctly , it was built sometime in the 60's to the most modern specifications of the times - including some sort of unique galvanic system to protect the pilings (oh, how I WISH I had time to research right now, aesthetically the pier is no charmer but I think the construction details are pretty interesting - but it's a busy week at work & I've got things I have to finish tonight, don't really have time for even this, let alone anything I can't provide off the top of my head). It was expected to make the owners a lot of money as it was going to be far more efficient than the older piers - except that they hadn't quite figured in airplane travel taking off the way it did (pardon my pun)(no, don't, there's no excuse).

This is going to be a very interesting vote because as I've mentioned here before, there are 2 competing proposals. One from a group of NYC residents who would like to see the pier retain something of it's current character (particularly the playing fields where I understand an awful lot of kids have an awful lot of non-couch-potato fun) - the other is basically the owners of the Cirque du Soleil, who want to turn it into a year-round performance center where people can go pay scads of money to sit on their duffs & watch other people be amazing. No, I know that's not fair, I do hear they are great & I'd love to see one of their shows sometime - just ahem maybe not somewhere where their having a performance venue maybe means that there will be that much less affordable access to active recreation for everyday people in the area.

From a boating point of view, the current manifestation of Pier 40 (which like Pier 63 was never meant to be permanent, but which like Pier 63 a lot of people kinda like) houses a full-service kayak shop with lessons & storage, New York Kayak Company, a branch of the volunteer-run not-for-profit Downtown Boathouse (they offer free sitatop kayaking in the embayment all summer there), and a branch of Floating the Apple, another nfp that builds & rows classic wooden Whitehall dories. There was also usually a mooring field there in the summertime - on that, I know no details. I don't know where all of these stand right now or what will happen, but there have been an awful lot of people getting on the water out of Pier 40 & I'm sure they've all been following this very closely.

Let's hope that whatever happens, they all get more considerate treatment than the paddlers of Pier 63.

Dolphins Blowing Bubble Rings.

Amazing video & interesting explanation - check it out at Litoralis.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Who Wants to go Seal Watching?

On the Upper West Side?

ps - don't forget the guidelines!

pps - thanks for the tip, Jack!

I'm such a shill today! Only for personal friends, though. S'alright?

Who Wants to go Swimming?

In Connecticut?

News Flash!

Hey! Look! It snowed!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Eyre & Eyre, The Perfect Pair

Tonight, I finally feel like I'm starting back en route to joining the ranks of healthy people (although still sniffly & the bug is taking a good parting shot in the form of a nasty earache - hot-compressing right now, believe it or not). But this weekend? Oooooooh, was I a sickly chick. I sort of expected Saturday to be a down day, but Sunday was nice & although I'd written off the Greenwich pool session or paddling, I was hoping to be able to do something low-key, like go to the Aquarium & have a quiet amble on the boardwalk.

Couldn't even manage that, though. Don't know what this was but it just knocked me off my feet for 48 hours straight.

However, I did still manage to have a little bit of fun. Hahaaa, take that, foul bug! Without a tv, the routine went eat soup, read, sleep, read, eat soup, read, sleep. I didn't have any new books around (yes, Stevie, I already finished A Speck on the Sea, thanks, another good one!) but I have plenty I don't mind revisting.

Among those are 3 fairly recent acquisitions. I had stumbled across a Jasper Fforde book in the giveaway bin at work, became instantly addicted to the Thursday Next series & ran out & bought the 1st 2. I can't say everybody would like the series as much as I did but I think anybody with the least bit of bookworm in 'em would - the hero, Thursday Next, is a British detective, except that the Britain she's in, people care about arts, literature & drama to the point of rioting...and as can be the case when people care strongly about things, there's many a skulduggerous plot afoot centering around those things - and ferreting out such skulduggery is the type of detective work Our Heroine does. Thrilling, what? In the first one of the series, a nefarious evildoer is threatening the Great Works of England by...snuffing out characters. Yes, the actual characters in the books, starting with a minor character in Dickens, just to show that he can - and his next move? Mwahahaaaa! You get the idea, right? And Thursday has a pet dodo who loves marshmallows & goes "plock". Yup. OK, either this sounds horrible to you, in which case never mind, sorry, or it sounds like fun, in which case it's worth a try.

It is helpful, but not entirely necessary, to start with the first one in the series, the one I've just been talking about, The Eyre Affair. As the title suggests, Jane Eyre, both the book by Charlotte Bronte and the namesake of the book, are central to the plot. Mr. Rochester too!

Mr. Fforde is of course smart enough to realize that not everyone on the planet who picks up his book is going to have read Jane Eyre, or at least not recently enough to recall all the various plot twists, so he is kind enough to make sure that the reader of The Eyre Affair gets enough of an in-a-nutshell plot outline to not be totally in the dark. I had read Jane Eyre, but far enough in the past that I did appreciate the synopsis, but I also found myself thinking that it would've been even MORE fun if I had reread Jane Eyre RIGHT before I read The Eyre Affair.

So finding myself with an entire weekend during which I was basically glued to the couch anyways, that's exactly what I did. And it WAS more fun!

About as much fun as I possibly could've had feeling the way I did.

Not saying that reading both in one weekend is a perfect plan for everyone (I happen to be an extremely fast reader) but if you happen to like Jane Eyre, and this Fforde fellow sounds like fun, I'd highly suggest digging out your old copy of the former, picking up a copy of the latter (it would be especially cool to do that at an actual independent bookstore, but you know where to find books online if you don't have time), and leaving your next reading slots open for the next ones in the series.

Oh, gosh, and speaking of next reading slots...

One of the things I love about my building is that there are evidently a number of readers living here, and we've got a totally informal building book exchange going. There's a deep windowsill just outside the elevator, and books who are in need of new readers end up there all the time. I've put my share down & picked my share up. It's nice & it's interesting, you never know what's going to turn up there.

The one thing you do know is that at least a couple of books turn up & get taken every week. Good turnover...

But THIS...oh me, oh my, what's a reader to do?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Honeycomb Pudding from Grandma J's cookbook

Note to Library Lady, 3/10/13 - I went to publish your comment that was in moderation and I think I must have deleted instead - and I hadn't even read it properly! :(  You were saying that you think this recipe actually originated with someone in your family? Love to read the story if you'd have the patience to re-type! 

I found myself wanting a comfort dessert tonight.

I had some fun plans for the weekend but they're all probably not going to happen now because I came down with a stupid cold yesterday. It wasn't bad enough to warrant staying home from work but it is bad enough to warrant not going up to CT to see TQ, or go to the pool, or anything. Sniff, boo hoo. Poor me.

Lucky for me, I'd made a big pot of chicken & duck soup recently, so at least I have good feed-a-cold dinner food, but for some reason tonight I was really craving something molassessy, like in the Indian pudding family. I pulled out Grandma J's All-New Fannie Farmer (circa 1959 & my personal motherlode - or grandmalode - of recipes full of comforting buttery goodness) and scanned the custards & puddings section while I had my soup. Naturally there was a recipe for Indian pudding. 2 in fact. But that stuff turns out to be a little more complicated & time consuming to make than I felt like dealing with - but on the next page over there was a beautifully simple recipe for something called Honeycomb Pudding, so I made that and it was just what this sniffly singleton wanted, the whole thing mixed up quick & not a lot of pots & pans to wash. Really perfect. And it came out kind of attractive, too, so I thought I'd do a Rosie-esque "Food Porn Friday">post.

Here is the screamingly simple recipe:

Set oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit (sorry, I thought for a second about translating for the rest of the planet, but I'm fading pretty quickly here)
Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup molasses (mmmmm, molasses...)
1/2 cup butter, melted in 1 cup lukewarm milk.

Beat thouroughly. Stir in

4 eggs

Pour into baking dish. Bake until firm (about 45 minutes).

I threw in some cinnamon and cloves, that was good, nutmeg & ginger would also go well, the recipe started with a suggestion of adding nuts, raisins or dates.

Nice thing for a single person is that the recipe halves beautifully; if you had a small enough baking dish you could even quarter it & that would be plenty. The recipe claims to serve 6, but it comes out very moist, rich and sweet and unless somebody had a seriously over-the-top sweet tooth, I think I could've served at least 4 people, maybe more, maybe even 6 if they'd had a good dinner, out of my half recipe. The recipe also suggested serving with lemon sauce or whipped cream & that WOULD be good, a nice tart lemon sauce or a totally unsweetened whipped cream would balance the sweetness nicely, but toppings were just way beyond tonight's ambition level.

Blogging about it, though, is not. I love simple recipes & I think I'll do this one again.

BTW, you can't quite make it out in the picture but it does end up with an interesting honeycomb-like effect going on in places.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mushy Pea Quest

Quick, quick, I must write about the Quest for Mushy Peas before the Quest for Mushy Peas fades off into the Land of Unwritten Posts!

Well, it's not THAT exciting. No visions, no dragons, no nobody in no samite white or otherwise, none of that good stuff that make a quest properly questy.

No, this was flat-out curiousity, coupled with a late night at work and the fact that I live in one of America's 10 most walkable cities. Seriously. Saw it in some Yahoo news article a while back - the only thing that shocked me was that we were all the way down at #8. What? A city where car ownership is thoroughly optional, and not a very attractive option at that? Oh well, whatevers.

Anyways. First things first. Why mushy peas, of all things? What drives a thoroughgoing vowel-flattening Yank get curious enough to walk a mile, in January, for a curious English delicacy?

Just that I just recently realized this was an actual, intentionally prepared, dish. I can't remember the first time that I heard the term "mushy peas", but I had heard it here & there & I thought that it referred to something like peas that been boiled to death & then left to quietly expire in a steam table or something.

However, earlier this year, somewhere in my blog ramblings, I ran across some expat UK blogger who was actually thrilled because someone had sent her a tin of mushy peas.

OK, that makes the boiled to death theory look weak. I could go out in my kitchen & boil some peas to death in twenty minutes or so. No import forms required.

That was my first clue, but not quite enough to turn it into a Quest. More of a "Hm, that's interesting".

But then Tillerman did a Fish and Chips on Friday and in the comments, there were a couple of references to the goodness of this mushy pea dish. I left a comment about how I'd just recently realized that the term "mushy peas" was not "a self-deprecating reference to the British approach to cooking vegetables". Tillerman's response began: Oh, Bonnie. How could you.

Wow. He actually sounded wounded by my cheerful ignorance. These mushy peas must be something special.

Officially curious, I googled them. I found a Wikipedia article, and tons of recipes. They sounded pretty good& I was thinking maybe I should try making them - but then it hit me that I LIVE in NEW YORK CITY.


You can buy anything here if you just figure out where, and it didn't take much figuring to figure out that of all the shops in NYC, the one most likely to carry mushy peas would be A Salt and Battery. Naturally.

Checked their website and bingo! Plus the shop looked to be within a pleasant walk from work. Perfect!

That was all between Christmas and New Year. I was a titch on the busy side so I filed that thought away under "Things I Should Do Sometime".

Last week ended up being sometime. I'd gotten backed up working on a big project at work, so I was putting in some yucky hours at the office. One nice thing about living in NY is that no matter how busy you are at work, you can always still get in a good walk after work - I'll either walk a subway station or two down the line, or get off the train a station or two or three early. Great way to unwind after being stuck in a cubicle.

So Tuesday night last week, I was wrapping up around 7:30, I was hungry, it was cold but not too too cold and I thought "Hey, this will be the perfect night to go find those mushy peas!" I checked the shop's website, noted the location & set out for Greenwich Village.

Now the Village is a wonderful place to walk - it's full of nice old buildings in a nice human scale, funny little cobblestone side streets, there's good people watching & window shopping (hasn't suffered the full scale mallification of some older neighborhoods).

Part of the fun is intersections like this:

Above a certain point, Manhattan is laid out in a nice sensible grid. Everything's rectangular except Broadway, which cuts across diagonally. Streets run east to west. Avenues north to south.

This was all laid out in the Commissioners Plan of 1811.

The grid holds rational sway above 14th street, and once you've figured out which direction you are facing when you come out of the subway, it's pretty hard to get lost.

Below, all bets are off.

To me, part of the fun of walking in the West Village is this sense of maybe not knowing exactly where I am, or what I'm going to see around the corner.

If I have an actual destination, sometimes it takes a little extra wandering before I find it. I like that. If I'm meeting someone, I'll make sure I've got my walk mapped out before I go. If not, though, I'll allow myself the luxury of just getting a general idea of where I'm trying to go, and then just wandering in the right general direction until I get there. Makes for a nice meander.

Tuesday night, I decided to do that. Looking at the site, I knew I was looking for a street called Greenwich & that the row of Anglophilic shops in which the chip shop is located was going to be north of where I got onto Greenwich. I'd been to Greenwich Street before, so I had an idea of where I was going. I nevertheless managed to get a little turned around, the meander seemed longer than I'd expected it to be, and with every moment meandering I was getting hungrier & chillier - but JUST when I was thinking of throwing in the towel & trying again - yes, there it was!

Funny, though...seemed to go off in a different direction than I was expecting from what I'd seen on their map.

Well, I was probably just a little disoriented. That happens to people sometimes where west 4th street and west 10th street cross.

And funny...looked awfully non-retail. There's streets in Manhattan that are clearly shopfront retail thoroughfares trying to entice pedestrians. And then there are those that aren't and you just don't expect to be able to buy anything on those (at least not anything legal).

But I was absolutely positive I was looking for Greenwich. And here it was. So I followed it. Maybe it got more retail at the end? I followed it north.

It ran, shopless, up to 9th Avenue, where it ended, shopless.


Could the chip shop be south?

I'd walked too far and was too cold and hungry to try, especially since looking south when I first hit Greenwich, that way looked even less promising than shopless north.

I gave up & went home.

I looked at the website.

Suddenly it all made sense.

Friday, I was ready to try again. I looked at the map a little more carefully to make sure I'd find the place this time, and before long -

There I was at Greenwich.

Greenwich AVENUE.

It had simply slipped my mind that Greenwich Village holds both a Greenwich Street and a Greenwich Avenue. I'd been to Greenwich Street for something at some point in the past & that was all I thought of, leaving work in a hurry with no more than a quick glance at the map.

And there it was -

And that's their menu board up at the top, after a short wait, I was hustling out the door with my mushy prize (and some cod and chips too!).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Racing Rules

So as I mentioned yesterday, tonight was the Sebago Sailing Committee's first meeting of January.

Started with Thai food and scheduling of cruise days, racing & a couple of special events & then quickly moved on to the evening's main course - a racing rules review.

Well, for me it was an introduction.

I do actually know your basic rules of the road, starboard tack vs. port, windward vs. leeward, etc.

Racing Rules - well, I know what they are like I know what a Plain Bob Minor is. So tonight was really the first overview.

Generally, on the whiteboard & the little kit that Holly has to demonstrate scenarios, stuff made sense. But as we moved on, things got a bit complicated from time to time because a lot of the people there are experienced & started talking fine points.

I guess some of us newbies were getting a little deer-in-the-headlights looking because at one point one of the older hands interrupted a debate to assure us that with the level of sailing and number of boats involved at Sebago races, as long as you know the basics, you can still have fun.

Actually the same guy produced another moment that was oddly reassuring. In the middle of talking about racing on the Bay, he let out a lovely, sonorous "Boooooooooonnnng".

That being, he explained, what the channel markers they'll use as one or more of their race course markers sound like when you goof up and run your boat into one. "And then everyone in the bay looks to see what happened".

Now why do I find this reassuring?

Because I just know that if I can actually make it to any of the races (they're on Fridays now, could possibly happen) I am gonna screw up.

And what that Boooooonnng said was, so do the older hands. And they can laugh about it afterwards.

Good to know, huh?

Now that doesn't mean that I'm going out there thinking it's OK to hit a nun with a dinghy.

But in the quite possible event that I do, I won't be quite as mortified. However, I do think I'll be trying to put in a little time on this site. Holly sent that out. Looks like fun.

Shortly after that, before any beginner heads actually exploded and scared the cats, the review was wrapped up and we finished with a little Australian skiff racing. Wooohoo.

I think the biggest problem I'm going to face this summer will once again be not having anywhere near enough time to do everything I want to do.

I'm pretty used to that by now, though.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Holy Mad Cow! Frogma Is Three (and change)!

Well, tonight, I was totally going to wrap up the whys and wherefores of last week's Quest for the Storied Peas of Mushiness, but first I was reading a few blogs including the EVK4 SuperBlog's 1000-days-at-blog post (congratulations, Ed, and hey when exactly did the bloglet become a superblog?).

I was about to leave a comment saying that part of why I'm finding Reid & Soanya's unusual epic so fascinating is because I know I'd be going nuts right about now (I could never sail PAST Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, etc., etc., like they are doing - we're talking a whole string of wildest-dream vacation spots, I'd be going "So, howsabout you drop me off, I'll take the dinghy in, go paddle with Francis, check out some ugly cat statues, you go sail around and come pick me up in a week or so, I won't bring so much as a durian so YOU can still get the record, OK?") & I've actually been impressed by Soanya's commitment & the fact that aside from seasick days, she still seems to be happy where she is -

And I guess I was thinking about doing things for long stretches of time, and before I could start blithering, it hit me that my blog had to be turning 3 in here somewhere - and I went & checked it out and sure enough, I posted my first post on January 20, 2005.

Three years and 2 days.

Seeing as how every paper journal I've ever kept has sputtered out after a couple of weeks, I have to say I wouldn't have given it that long...but here I still am. Wow, happy belated birthday, Frogma.

Now I think I'm supposed to do some sort of very thoughtful review of the 3 years, but, well, yesterday was awfully thoughtful and, um, it's late, and I need to go to work early because the Sebago Sailing Co-Chairs are holding a Sebago Sailing Committee meeting at their place & with thai food, sailing videos and talk of these Racing Rules of which I have heard tell all on the agenda as well as the basic scheduling, I can't resist going. So I need to wrap up, which I will do by saying THANKS for reading and commenting and writing your own blogs and making this all a lot of fun!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where I'm From - The Navy Brat Version

Fascinating school-assignment-turned-blogger-challenge over on Five O'Clock Somewhere. Well, I do occasionally make attempts at waxing poetic so how could I resist? Plus there was this very simple template to follow. Only OK, I couldn't quite follow it. Y'know, I think that's why I stick to old-school doggerel - rhyme & meter does a better job of keeping my logorrhea in check!

But FWIW, here it is, it was certainly an entertaining rummage through the recollections. Thanks, Tillerman, for posting about it!

Where I'm From - Navy Brat Edition

I am from flip-flops, plate lunch, manapua, malasadas, Dee-Lite guava chiffon cake and an ipu on the piano.

I am from the staining red dirt, from red and orange shag rugs that didn't show the stuff and from taking off your shoes at the door. I am from the lanai, the mudroom, the hibiscus hedge holding secret hideout, the city lights sparkling against the black of the night sea.

I am from pony waves, from palm and ironwood and don't get sand in the car, and never turn your back on the sea. I am from sunburns and Solarcaine, I am from never being done playing in the water when it's time to go home. I am from staying far far far away from blue bubble man o'war floats in the sea, and popping the beached ones with sticks.

I am from crawling into bed next to mother when the night gets scary when you're very very little and father's at sea. I am from her making paper chains to cut links off of to show me how long it is to a special day.

I am from plumeria blossoms, plucked from the top of a lava rock retaining wall, dropped in brown paper shopping bag to be strung for a welcome.

I am from waiting for the fathers and the husbands to come home from sea - at the airport, or at the dock (plumeria lei fragrant in your hands, straining for the first sight of quiet black boat, lei of her own drapes her sail and the joy of there they are!), or waving as they pass below where you watch on the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am from white plastic Christmas tree, birds in tinsel nests.

I am from packing lives into boxes and moving away and moving back and moving away, from making friends, losing friends, making new friends, knowing you'll move on again.

I am from kids are cruel, getting picked on for being new kid, haole kid, shy kid, bookworm, officer's kid (parent's rank apparent from where you got off the bus); picking on because your clique decided somebody else didn't fit...

I am from doing your part, pulling your weight, going along and not complaining.

I am from you aren't supposed to say thank you to a compliment, you say "Oh, no, I'm not very good" or people will think you're stuck up. From life isn't fair, and it's wherever you left it, and you have to get back on the horse when you fall off.

I am sometimes from giggling in the kids' pew tearing programs into squares for origami, folding menageries of birds, rabbits, jumping frogs. I am from `O kou aloha nĂ´, and the louvered sanctuary full with island breeze, from potlucks with twelve different kinds of homemade teriyaki.

And then I am sometimes from base chapels. Little brown chapel in eucalyptus grove that one wonderful year was autumn-leaved with monarchs, chapel looking out across dry ridges and spicy-smelling juniper scrub of tiny Mediterannean island, chapel among evergreens (sanctuary hung with quilted hangings like the schools of salmon in the nearby Hood Canal).

I am from Oh hear us when we cry to thee, for those in peril on the sea.

I am from submarine bases. South Carolina, Hawaii, Connecticut, California, Washington. I am from gold crew, blue crew, radiophone calls where every precious sentence ends with "over". I am from cross-stitch samplers that say "Navy wife - it's the toughest job in the Navy" and SOWC and pewter mugs with dolphins and boats' names (a tiny one for baby me, diminutive dolphins a thumbnail wide and Wardroom Henry Clay). I am from community that cares for it's own.

I am from family far flung but close-knit. I am from Ida and Edna, William and Fred, from a line of Kathleens. From New Jersey, Texas, Michigan, from relatives who'd welcome us to homes that mostly stayed the same while our furniture would be in one house or another

I am from jeeze, that's enough, I am from let's just say that for even a relatively non-nomadic Navy brat to write of where she's from is a tricky task.

We are from not being from anywhere.

Me less than some.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Winter Scheming...

Well, here's one way to make a long cold winter evening seem not quite so long and not quite so cold.

oh boy oh boy oh boy.

Hm...say, can anyone tell me if that map has a Puffin territory look to it?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Welcome Back, Tillerman

Tillerman's back from Cabrete! Hooray!

In honor of his return, what could be better than a nice cod and chips with a side of mushy peas?

Well, actually what could have been better would have been if this had been posted as Fish On Friday as I'd originally intended. But it's been a terribly long week at work and I got home last night after the 2nd Mushy Pea Quest trek of the week, photographed & ate my dinner & then simply crashed around 10, waking up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Mushy pease do turn out to be quite tasty. Serious comfort food for a chilly day. They were actually quite reminiscent of my homemade split pea soup, which tends to come out more porridgelike than soupy.

How mushy peas actually became the subject of a postwork quest, and why that quest took 2 entire evenings - if you can call evenings when you worked until 7 or 8 pm "entire" - details to come.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Sylvie the Dog, in characteristic waiting-for-owner-Joe mode.

She's not the most outgoing dog in the world, but I respect that in a dog. She reminds me of Mistie, the Sheltie I had when I was a kid. She was friendly, but dignified.

But find a tennis ball and oh boy.

I've played with her pretty much every time I've seen her since I joined Sebago & I think she's decided I'm OK. Not as fantastic as Joe, of course, but an acceptable sort of lesser being.

She surprised me the day I took this picture, though - she'd come down to the dock to see if her guy was around, then walked over to me & gave me a couple of licks on the nose.


Back on duty, here.

Y'know, that is one way that a plain old canoe beats a sea kayak. You can take your dog for a ride.

I worked as a camp counselor one summer when I was in high school in Washington State. I really enjoyed it, but the funny thing is that I think some of my favorite memories from that summer were a couple of weekends when we didn't have kids. Can't remember exactly how Mistie ended up there, my folks may have brought her up, but at any rate, although she wasn't a big water-dog (in fact if she heard the word "bath", her ears would go down & she'd quietly get up & leave the room - not fast, that would be too obvious, just sort of "Oh, I just remembered something I needed to work on in the back room" - of course if you were teasing her you'd call out "OK, no bath" and she'd come running in all happy and waggy and talking about how great not taking a bath was!), she did decide that having me paddle her around Lake Helena in a big aluminum canoe was OK with her.

Otherwise she would've been sitting on the dock waiting for me, just like Sylvie!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Silly Sailing Picture Break

So over at Messing Around in Sailboats, Adam has asked people to blog their favorite sailing photos.

Well...ordinarily, I don't think I'd be able to pick. Maybe that one of the Rosemary Ruth from the other day - but I took a few nice pix over the years I worked on the Adirondack, and on top of that Adam didn't say it had to be one of your own so that would be a major tough call...

But I'm just wrapping up that @#*#'in report that I was whining about yesterday. Actually I'm really glad I did come in yesterday - like the kids say, "it's all good" - yeah, it was a rotten way to spend a pretty pretty Sunday, but I did walk out feeling a lot more comfortable with the report & next time shouldn't be half so clunky. Had to get a bit more instruction to finish, but I have slogged through the bulk of it now.

So - yay. I don't mind working hard if at the end of it I can do something better (that's just all-around true - work, boating, whatever).

But cripes, I've worked very very hard this week and it's only Monday. Four more days, and I am going into salt-water withdrawal after the first totally non-boating weekend in a while (I got spoiled over the holidays).

So somehow I find myself feeling all nostalgic about taking this shot:

I Decide To Shoot a Beer Commercial in Anegada - Photo Hosted at Buzznet


OK, break time's over!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I Owe, I Owe, It's Off to Work I Go -

And on an absolutely smashingly gorgeous Sunday, too.

Sigh. I'd rather be paddling. Or maybe today would've been nice for a Coney Island boardwalk stroll.

But I owe some people a report.

I thought I had an older version of a similar report upon which it would be simple to base the new one, but when I started trying to plug info into it on Friday, I discovered that what I really had was one of a former co-workers demonstrations of what an Excel wizard he was.

Anyways, this thing I though I would be able to use to produce a similar report turned out, upon closer inspection, to be so complicated that it's going to be easier to just take the information I already collected & build a new one from scratch. I don't think it's going to be complicated, just time consuming. Did a little mental cost-benefit analysis & decided that the relaxation I would get from paddling would be less than the relaxation I would get from going in, getting this thing done with nobody bothering me, and having a reasonably complete first cut at the presentation in the can before I leave.

Funny how that works, sometimes.

Of course I should have known that nothing this guy had produced working on his own would be simple. My own stupid fault.

Thank goodness yesterday was fun. I did go to the Rivers of Life thing I'd mentioned at the AMNH. Plans ended up being rather thrown to the winds - there were very small children involved, and the programs didn't quite go over with them, so we bailed & just spent a nice afternoon catching up - but JH and I did end up going back to the museum in time to catch the Great South Bay baymen's talk, which was actually the one I was the most interested in catching. It's fascinating to listen to people who actually make a living (or try to make a living) from our local waters.

I have some connection to the waters I paddle & sail, and I have actually earned a fair amount of money doing so, but I'm basically a dilletante & I know it & when I get a chance to hear people like this speak of their view on our waters, I jump at it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Misery Loves Company.

Remember this boat?

It was first featured here in July, on the night we didn't want to go home (ahhh, summer!).

Well, it's still right there where the owner dumped it. Just looks a lot more miserable, now.

But look - awww - now it's got more company.

A very spoiled Spoiler.

Clearly this dumper wasn't as concerned about being identified as the dumper of the white one.

They didn't go to the trouble that the white boat's owner did to anonymize theirs. Maybe they just figured this is the boat dumping place. That's sure what it's starting to look like.

Or maybe being from the Patchogue Shores Marina, they just figured Brooklyn's as good a place as any to dump their hunk o' junk. Hey, it's the city, who's gonna notice?

Well, let the record show -

Yo. I noticed.

p.s. - apropos of yesterday's post - reading the Times on the way to work this morning, I noticed another article about a well-known eminent domain case. It just seems like there's so much of this going on.

p.p.s. and apropos of nothing - Wow! Look! NYC's got a new public toilet!

OK, maybe that doesn't sound that thrilling, but NY is notorious for lack of facilities. Funny thing is that the Times writer is all falling to pieces over the Star-Treklike marvels of this wonder of modern sanitary science - but I seem to remember using similar facilities in London when I was there during & after college (late 80's/early 90's - just at the right time that I now can't give blood because I could have mad cow disease - if I ever start mooing and lashing my tail, take cover & don't wave anything red).

Actually I seem to recall a push to get these several years ago, got nixed because the proposed designs weren't Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.

Lunchtime Links

Quick lunchtime post, just to get a couple of things up I've been wanting to mention -

1. Broadwater news!

This was sent to me by Harry Bubbins at Friends of Brook Park - he's one of our more active local activists. These days, it sometimes seems like our local governments are far too eager to hand over land to private, corporate endeavours - we've got 3 of these in play in Brooklyn alone right now, Bruce Ratner's land grab at Atlantic Yards, the Brooklyn Bridge Park where there's concern that the park is going to just turn into a private backyard for the condominiums, and Coney Island. Broadwater wasn't a residential/business complex, it's a 10-story tall LNG processing barge (I'm using Wikipedia references as they do a pretty good job of giving both sides of the story) that Shell would like to park in the middle of Long Island Sound. Area boaters have been protesting this vehemently & although it hasn't been shot down completely, at least it looks like the government controls that are supposed to protect our environment are in this case being enforced, and Broadwater Energy is going to have to go through all the hoops something that size SHOULD have to go through before it can be plunked down in the middle of the Sound. Yay.

2. On a lighter note - my friend Marcus is off again. Or at least in the planning process. Sounds spectacular, assuming the bears leave him alone - good luck, Marcus! And thanks, Wenley, for posting about it - I'd heard about it but somehow this Brooklynite needed to get reminded by everyone's favorite Spanish kayaking bad-boy blogger about what her fellow Brooklynite was up to. To make it even more global, I spotted Wenley's entry on Paddling Planet, an aggregator run by Rene Seindal, in Denmark.

When it's not being the worst, isn't the Internet the best?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sunday Paddle -

No, I didn't get out of work in time to go paddling yesterday, or today. I think that 100 days of boating thing that a lot of people are setting as a goal isn't one that I could dream of pulling off given my current work situation (busy) and travel from work to the club. Even in the summertime it's a shlep - with a giant bag of winter safety gear, it becomes daunting.

But boy, yes, I went paddling on Sunday!

Now in normal northeastern kayaker chronology, we have theoretically entered Pool Season. The chlorinated fun seems to roll into action in January - during the holidays, we're all just too busy, but once we've cleared New Years...pool time!

It does look like I missed a fun pool session. But I'd looked at the forecast...and mmmm. Weather like this in January is a gift not to be missed if at all possible.

Or as I said to Chalu in my response to his mentioning that I was missed (thanks, though, nice to be missed) - The pool called.

But the bay called louder.

And I was selfish selfish selfish and didn't tell anybody about it. Decided to make it a solo. No, you're not supposed to do that.

But with a forecast like we had, and conditions like this...

(Canarsie Pol around 2)

seguing to this (Canarsie Pol a couple hours of those evenings like the inside of a shell...)

I just couldn't resist.

It was an unusually short paddle for me for the wintertime - just out along the shoreline to the Gil Hodges Bridge and back. Usually with the amount of crap that I have to pack up and put on, I tend to make 'em longer. But OK...I was feeling lazy here on the first non-holiday type weekend in a while. So I gave myself the morning & lazed. In addition, though, I guess that as the winter season stretches on, the packing up of gear that at the beginning of the winter is sort of time-consuming & haphazard (oh, cripes, where's my other good glove, and the lid of my thermos, etc...) gets refined & a lot smoother. By now, I've got everything collected & a lot of the stuff that I stow in the day-hatch (lights, vhf, flares, first aid kit, all that good stuff) just goes from bag to day hatch and back to bag. When I get home again, stuff does come out for washing, drying, charging, whatever - but once whatever is done, mostly it just goes straight back in the bag ready for the next go, instead of making it's way back to the gear shelf in the linen closet. It's still a ton of stuff to haul around on public transportation (you non-city-slickers with your cars, think of me next time you're tossing your gear in the trunk & be glad!), but the organization is a lot better than it was - so the inclination to go for the two or three hour afternoon spin, which I just lose when the gear first starts piling up, starts to slide back in.

Still, sitting under the bridge looking out at the lower harbor and Breezy Point, I did regret not having gotten an earlier start. The temptation to keep going was there.

But I did have some things I had to do at home, so I wheeled under the bridge and headed for home.

Got back to the Paerdegat as the gulls were settling down for the night (say, if a gull that lives by the sea is a seagull...does that make

and the sunset just got more and more amazing. "Pool"? What is this "pool"?

Back in the Paerdegat - I know it's late for festively decorated boats now, but the lights on the Holiday Yacht (shoot, why didn't I think to get out & check for a name??? - next time maybe!) were reflecting so perfectly. So here it is. Only thing disturbing the reflections were the ripples off my bow.

Fabulous 2nd paddle of 2008!

Weird Weather

So my favorite bloggers in California are taking stock of their possessions to see what the wind left.

Meahwhile, I'm sitting here in Brooklyn, it's nighttime, and I have all the windows wide open. Fresh air in January?

Even found myself thinking it would be a really nice night to paddle. Warm, quiet, and clear. Stars (the entire set of 37 stars that you can actually see on a moonless night in New York City were out, spectacular!) and everything. If I had only gotten out of work earlier, like this guy.

It IS still January, right?


Monday, January 07, 2008

For Sale - Schooner Rosemary Ruth - (Not A Joke!)

Update - March 2013: Hooray! The Rosemary Ruth has found a new home. I'm sad we won't be seeing her in NY Harbor any longer, but I'm happy for Richard. There are some possessions where it's handy to have a spare. Spare paddle, yeah. Spare warm clothing, yeah. Spare room? I wish I had one of those. Spare schooner? OK, not so much. Congrats to the new owner, hope you have many happy hours aboard the RR!

I know that last time I put up a boat for sale notice, it was a joke...

This time, it's real.

Yes, the Rosemary Ruth, the most charming schooner in New York City, as featured in many a warmly (even on some pretty frosty days!) reminiscent blog posts, both here and on fellow NYC waterblog Tugster, is looking for a new owner.

And if I had more time, more money & more know-how, trust me, I wouldn't be posting about it here.

However the fact is that I can't even afford a sailing dinghy, and as for upkeep, well, between lack of free time & insufficient knowledge, I'm afraid that if I owned a sailboat it would end up looking like a candidate for the Blog of Unloved Boats (that's the photo blog I think would be funny to start but I don't have time for that, either).

So not being a potential purchaser myself - here's full details (and lots of non-silhouette pictures) of the Rosemary Ruth.

I hope Richard can find a good owner for the schooner. I've had some wonderful times on board.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Remember what I said yesterday, about how famous kayakers get famous?

Passing on skills to others. Isn't that a worthy route to fame?

It is, indeed, a funny kind of fame. Intensely admired within the circles of the paddling world; beyond that, little known.

Sometimes kayaking fame is so low-key that it doesn't even cross the very permeable boundaries between divisions of the sport.

I'm thinking of a name that's been being mentioned with admiration & sadness on a couple of the message boards and blogs I follow - Cindy Cole.

I have to admit that I did not even know who she was when I first saw the Kayak Quixotica post. I've never attended the famed (among my Greenland-style paddling friends)Delmarva Paddler's Retreat of which she was the co-founder, and originally...well, I wasn't going to post here about it.

But then I started reading more about what she did, and what people were saying in their reminiscing...and I realize that although I never met her or learned from her directly, chances are very good that at least some of the various Greenland skills I've enjoyed learning over the last few years, I may indeed have gotten from her - just at a remove or two.

Greg Stamer, another person who has done so much to popularize skinny-stick paddling wrote a very moving elegy on the QajaqUSA forum. He closed thusly:

"For those of you who knew Cindy, I hope that you will take a few moments and reflect on how she touched your life. She was a very kind and gentle soul and will be missed."

Well...I never met her.

But I think she's probably touched my life anyhow.

That's a good life, isn't it?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Let Us Now Talk of Famous Paddlers

Just thought I'd put up something I'd posted on that might amuse here as well. The topic was "Who are the most famous paddlers or best paddlers you have interacted with, and what happened?"

Here was my answer:

I've paddled with a number of fairly well-known paddlers.*

The one that springs to mind as having the funniest story attached is a morning workout with Bob Twogood. Only, um, it ended up not being WITH him.

I was a business partner with Eric Stiller at Manhattan Kayak for about 3 years. Eric went out to Hawaii one winter, took a surfski lesson from Bob, and came back raving.

Monkey see, monkey do, next time I went home to visit my folks in Hawaii, I too took a private surfski lesson. Also came back raving & ready to race. Unfortunately my surfski rudder picked up every last leaf in the Delaware-Raritan Canal so despite Twogood-tuned racing stroke, I came in dead last (or to use the proper terminology, "DFL") at that race . Oh well.

Anyways - next time I went to Hawaii I got in touch with Bob to see about lining up another lesson. Instead he suggested that I meet him and another racer or two for an early AM workout in Kailua Bay.

Wow. Cool.

So off I went at first light. It was going to be me & Bob & one other person. I was psyched, this was going to be fun.

And then -- I can't even remember what it was but I went to get something out of Bob's truck.

Being a long-time resident of New York City, I automatically locked the door of the truck as I closed it.

Of course, his keys were inside.

It was fun anyways but it would've been a heck of a lot more fun if Bob could've come along instead of waiting in the parking lot for his wife to bring the spare keys...

Mwa mwa mwa mwaaaaa.

I was absolutely mortified.

Actually my other best paddling with famous kayaker (ok, not a famous-kayaker but a famous person who was going to kayak) story also failed to happen - I almost got to be a kayak stunt double for Kim Catrall. She ended up having the usual preconceived ideas of NYC water quality & nixed the paddling episode though. I was bummed, I was gonna get to join the stuntpeople union and everything!

*note concerning paddling with famous and/or good paddlers: I'm not trying to show off with that opening sentence. As was pointed out in the forum, it's not really a big deal to paddle with famous paddlers. Generally the best-known paddlers are not just good paddlers, they also tend to be terrific instructors who spend a good bit of time on the road teaching in various venues. That's one reason they GET well known - they're not just inspiring by pulling off awesome feats of physical skill, they're also spending time teaching others the same skills. The number of serious paddlers out there who haven't spent at least a little time being taught by one of the Nigels or the other folks who populate the magazines has got to be pretty small!

I've Been Invited to a Virtual Tilley Party!


Now maybe if I sit over here a little ways away nobody will notice that my hat is not an actual Tilley, just a serviceable $10 Duane Reed knockoff...

Thanks, Tillerman!
I'm thinking I may have to celebrate being one of Tillerman's Top Ten for 2008 by trying something new for dinner one of these days.

There will DEFINITELY be a post.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

No Time To Write - here's some moving pictures! Plus interesting event at AMNH.

Got a ton of stuff to do at work so may not write a whole lot this week, but look, I actually played with that-there moving-picture feature on my optio. I am slow to embrace new technology, sometimes - totally love the digital photography thing but never quite sure what to do with the movies. This came out pretty though - January 1st, 2008, Sebago frostbite regatta, near Canarsie Pol.

Camera & overdramatized voiceover by TQ - thanks!

BTW for a different perspective on New York water - maybe not quite as up-close-and-personal, but a wholeheckuvalot warmer and drier - check out the 1/12/08 program at the American Museum of Natural History! Looks like a very cool day. In fact all three of 'em do, but the New York one is naturally of special interest to me & my kayaking & sailing friends around here. It's tied in with their Water: H20=Life exhibit. This is one I've been meaning to get to, anyhow - sounds fascinating.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Sunset, Paerdegat Basin, Canarsie, Brooklyn - 12/31/2007

Sun clears the clouds after a raw & blustery start to New Year's Day. Jamaica Bay, near Canarsie Pol, Brooklyn, NY, 1/1/2008