Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Time Flies!

Has it really been this long since my last post?  Yikes!  Suffice it to say we've had a busy summer!  We finally tried the oven and while it takes forever to cook two mini pizzas, it does in fact cook food quite well!  So far we're tried mini-pizzas and an entree for two, but we've been playing with the grill as well.  I've been getting into the habit of cooking an entire package worth of pasta so that I have cold pasta for a couple of days for lunch, or if we make it for dinner there's leftovers for Kris to take to work since he can easily reheat them. Though I am quite excited...our neighbor had an extra small crock pot in her possession that she gave to us!  We had dinner with her and her nephew one night and it was shredded pork tacos from the crock pot.  She'd found a package of six pork rounds that she threw into her crock pot (1.5 qt) and it was enough food for her and Jimmy to have two tacos each the night before and for all four of us to have two more that night with sides.  I'd seriously been thinking about bringing our huge one here because it would be so easy to make dinner and four or five leftovers for Kris, and then to prep food for our next dock party/barbecue but I really had no idea where I'd be able to put the darn thing, since it's so huge.  Solution?  Free small kitchen appliances from friends.  I'd started shopping online when Lindi came by to tell us that she'd found the one that her mother had owned at her brother's house and that she'd bring it to us.  I'm imagining slow-cooked pasta sauce and all I have to do is cook pasta when Kris gets home, or hot-dip appetizers for crowds, shredded chicken....I'll let your imaginations run away with you.  So I've been searching for smaller crock-pot recipes and ways to cook staples like rice and beans and realizing that all you have to do is cut those big recipes in half!  Small batches of tortellini-tomato soup? Done!  Best of all, it can be tucked away under the settee when not in use. Not that I've done that yet.  I keep staring at it, imagining the smells I've been missing of all-day cooking without the hassle.  Whoever invented the crock pot was a genius. 

Kris has been full-tilt at work and so usually by the time he's done, he's ready to relax!  We come home, catch up with the neighbors, have a drink, dinner or nosh, watch a movie, and chill.  We still go play Ingress occasionally...we've been getting a little lax on it the past month or so.  He's been installing a new system, including all the prep work, running cables and the like, testing, troubleshooting, and getting the machine up and running so between that and actually having some issues to deal with during on-call weeks, our free time is lazy free time!  Though we have done a few evening sails, a nighttime sail last month, and we took a class to help us prep for taking the test to get our radio operating license for the boat.  (We scheduled to take the test this weekend, so wish us luck!)  

Family and Birthdays!  Kris's step-dad Roy found himself with two tickets for the Brit Floyd Concert in Utah and no one to go with him, so Kris took a couple days off work and we drove to Salt Lake City for a long weekend.  Kris got to go enjoy Floyd with Roy and we got to catch up with family and friends, see our new baby niece Willow (who slept the whole time everyone passed her around!), and enjoy the beautiful drive home again.  My family and our friend Kirby came up to celebrate my birthday and the dock turned into a last minute dock party, which was a blast!  We went down to Monterey to Allegro's for a late lunch for my brother's birthday, went to Santa Cruz for the annual Portuguese Sopa Feed with Ralph and Sabi, which we've been missing, had Kirby here for Kris's birthday weekend, and finally went down to Monterey last weekend to see my mom for her belated birthday, have dinner with the folks, and spend Sunday with friends.  And I got my hair re-dyed red again while we were there.  We planning on seeing Kris's cousin Josh soon...he's got an interview with a company in the Bay Area so we should be having a guest on the boat for a couple of days.

Summer has been in full swing on the dock!  Neighbors we've not seen during the winter season come and go, and we've had a handful of new people in the area with their boats, with lots more people going on on the weekends to sail or hang out in the area to watch the America's Cup festivities.  Chloe's jealous of the new puppy our neighbors have but she still gets plenty of love and pets when she wanders up and down the dock or when we take her to the club on the weekends for brunch or the like.  And we found bikes!  We've been waiting, budgeting, and a very affordable pair of Trek's popped up on craigslist.  We bought them, bought a bike basket for Chloe, and I've been re-finding bicycle muscles that have been out of use for awhile.  Note to self: work out more often!  But it's awesome!  So far we've biked to CVS to get a tire pump and an extra bike lock, down to the Italian place for takeout dinner, a few times just out and back, and every time that we let Chloe out of the doggie basket she goes absolutely crazy running in figure-eights on whatever lawn is closest.  She tried to jump out the first time she was strapped in and it didn't go so well so I think she's learned to stay in, even when the bike is not in motion.  I signed up for my first class on coursera just for kicks...and I'm working on stories!  Life is good.  Loving the sunny, beautiful weather in Alameda and enjoying our adventure.

Enjoy your adventure!
Allie H.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Errands and Galley Appliances!

It's Errand Day! PO box checked, gas tank filled, various and sundry items taken to storage, grocery store raided for our supply of instant mashed potatoes and a couple other necessities, trash from the car & the boat tossed, and now I'm debating whether or not to prep chicken salad for lunch tomorrow so it's nice and cold.  It's probably going to happen.  

Updates!  Strictly Sail Boat Convention was this weekend and all the yacht clubs were out promoting.  Our friend Anita is a member of Encinal Yacht Club and she invited us to take a tour of it Sunday morning when we ran into her and so we went to take a look.  It's right up the street from our gate and it's amazing!  It's got a pool, sauna, beautiful bar and dinning room, event rooms, monthly racing and cruising events that the members help organize, and unlike most of the yacht clubs around here, we don't have to spend a certain amount of money there over our monthly dues at the bar or for the brunches and dinners, so that's cool.  And in honor of Strictly Sail, they're waiving the usual initiation fee if we signed up this weekend.  So we did!  They're meeting Thursday to discuss all the new applicants so we should know and be official by Friday.  We stayed for the pasta dinner as Anita's guests, which is so fun if you've never been to one.  They have a salad bar station and then the pasta station, where you pick everything you want and hand it to the chef who cooks it up and you choose what sauce and pasta you want it with.  One of Kris's coworkers is actually a member too so it was good to meet him and it's nice to know that we know someone in the group!  It was so much fun and we met a few more of our neighbors, and we think it's going to be awesome to really be a part of the sailing community up here and to get to help out with the activities.  You can even reserve the club to have your own private parties, so we may have to have to take advantage of that!  Also, on our last minute trip to Strictly Sail, we got sailing gloves, ordered a life jacket for Chloe, and drooled over all the pretty 35 and 50 foot shiny boats for sale.  

We also figured out that our galley stove/oven actually works!  We asked a neighbor about it since he has the same style stove he told us that his is in the same condition as ours was and to try it out!  We went and got the fuel we needed to fill the canisters and tried it out.  And we made quesadillas for dinner!  I put the electric burner away yesterday and last night we tried both burners at the same time last night and it's so nice to be able to cook two things at the same time!  We have yet to try out the oven but we'll have to figure out something to make for our first use.  It's not huge, but I think I could fit in a 9x11 pan and that's more than we need.  We now need to repair the stove-side slide on table leaf as a prep station.  I may try re-configuing the outlets because everything's plugged into the power bar that hangs over the sink, which is serving as our liquor cabinet since we hadn't needed to USE the sink.  Without the support-brace underneath it folded out, you slide it on and it literally just falls right off, which it's not supposed to do.  Another project for the list!  But we did figure out that our bilge pump was only clogged and not actually broken, so we took the replacement kit that we bought back to West Marine.  We shifted a bunch of DVD's to a case and I took all the plastic ones to the storage space today, along with the clothes we traded out for the warm weather ones I grabbed the other day.  We picked everything up off the floor, swept, mopped, shook out the floor rugs,  figured out the trick to flushing the toilet when there's no back pressure...and more!  All in all a productive weekend that we hadn't planned on having and it was awesome!  Functioning on the boat day to day is really coming together and I'm so happy.  Every time we re-organize and put supplies we're just going to make it better and better and once we get into our list of projects our boat is going to be stylie.  
What are you looking to accomplish that's going to make your daily life better?
Happy Project Listing!

Allie H.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Live-Aboard Life...and Updates!

We are settled in to the Bay Area!  We paid our LAST rent check to Miami last month and just got the news that we would be getting back most of our deposit, which was surprising because the management company sent us the checklist saying we'd be charged like, $300 for pet cleaning, etc.  And they're only keeping about $85 bucks.  So we're stoked.  We're thrilled not to be paying money for an apartment we're not using anymore and we're stoked that we can catch up on a few things around here, start a couple projects on the boat, and not have $2K a month just going out the window!  It's awesome.  And it's time for an update!  

Kris is digging in at his new job, working with two new hires and settling in with his coworkers, been given a few projects and next week he starts being on-call to monitor the systems after hours from home should any alerts find him.  He's gotten some updates from friends of ours in Lugano who have moved on to better positions and we're so happy to hear some news from there from time to time.  My laptop crashed and had to be rebooted with Ubuntu and hopefully that's the last of that problem.  Kris put not the most current but the more stable version as he's been having issues with the most current version he updated his personal laptop with so we're trying to make sure mine doesn't have the same issues as well, which is nice. :)  He also downgraded himself to a cane after about 7 months on crutches and having to travel with them when he went back for work training in WI for a couple weeks.  His leg has been doing really well even though he's turned into more of a human barometer than me and my knees when a low-pressure front comes through, but that's to be expected.  Otherwise, he's walking pretty well.  We'll eventually go get another set of x-rays to get the official word but considering how many months of his life he's spent on crutches he's got a pretty good idea of when he can start using it more.  We're planning to find a pool so we can both get back to swimming and getting back in shape.

As for me, after seeing a few quotes I've liked lately, and looking around inside the salon of our boat, I've decided that life is terribly uncomplicated when you live on a boat.  The interior/exterior home repairs take the same amount of time, money, and planning.  You have just enough room for the basics, and the basics are all you need, really, and we're doing pretty good getting by with them, for the most part.  I do admit to missing my crock pot but since our fridge isn't big enough to hold all the leftovers that come from cooking in a crock pot, and not to mention I have no clue where I'd store it when not using it, or the amount of power it would suck up, the problem sorted itself out.  Not to worry, I'm still pinning all sorts of delicious sounding crock pot recipes to my Pinterest page for when we eventually do get around to getting a small apartment and cooking for the holidays.  Try as I might, I cannot imagine a turkey stuffed into our little galley oven!  I went to the storage space yesterday to retrieve a handful of things, shorts, bathing suits (as it's getting particularly gorgeous in Alameda) and, more specifically, our big saucepan.  I found it and so I threw out the cheap frying pan we bought when we first landed in Miami in the trash.  It was one of those sets that work in a pinch but that tend to scorch and warp after a long period of use and it served us well, but was too small for homemade spaghetti sauce and barely big enough for a big quesadilla so it needs to go.  It will also replace the current need for a bigger saucepan as we can actually cook more than one serving of pasta in it without boiling over and it will actually fit where the current pan one is residing.  Plus, I really just missed it and I can justify it's presence on the boat over the crock pot.  It's the big non-stick saucepan I bought at Safeway when I first moved out of my parent's house and I've loved it ever since, and it's been serving me well.  That's right, it moved from Monterey to Switzerland to Miami and back home to California.  It's a well-traveled pan.  I don't know too many people who can say that their kitchen utensils have made two ocean crossings.  I'm looking forward to having it back in my arsenal of cooking weapons as I figured out long ago that I can make a whole entree in it, one pot style, depending on the ingredients, and even rice, if I pay attention, so I love it.  

We went to Costco a couple weeks bag and stocked up with our usual snack foods and then soups, pasta sauces, tortillas, Mac and Cheese, canned chicken.  I made the decision a few weeks ago to just go ahead and turn on our fridge, so we've got that handy place for our butter and milk for Mac, cheese for tortillas, refrigeration for when I make chicken salad (honestly, what better way is there of covering up that canned chicken taste than smothering it with mayo and spices?), and the promise of putting a few more fresh veggies back into our meals.  We've been eating WAY too much fast food while resettling in a new city and not having a full kitchen to cook with.  While I love just grabbing a pizza, my stomach has been having an issue with it and we need to cook more at home and have more food options on the boat that aren't all processed or can be be made from a box or can but healthier.  We'd initially worried that it would have too big an effect on the house batteries but after having it up and running for an hour it figured out it's power cycle and everything else we've had plugged in doesn't seem to be bothered by it so I think we're good.  Our neighbor suggested that we could just hit up the ice machine in the laundry room every couple of days and put enough ice in the fridge to keep it cold so we could not turn it on but the thought of taking everything back out to re-do the ice every couple of days honestly makes me lazy.  It's small enough that if we set the bucket of ice on the shelf, it would cut down our refrigeration room by quite a bit so it would have to just be poured into the space under the shelf...thus not wanting to take everything out and put it all back in again all the time when not rearranging for a carton of eggs.  That's all you need, right?  Eggs, quesadilla supplies (all of which, when mixed together give you the most simple of breakfast burritos) and bacon. There's always room for bacon : )  And the occasional six-pack of cider.  I'm pretty sure, to everyone in line with us at the grocery store, we look like college students when we're not re-supplying our fruits and veggies.  Eggs, shredded cheese, Ramen noodles, three bags of chips and alcohol.  Yeah.  I'd look at us funny, too. :)

Weekends when we haven't made any plans we wake up, get bagels for breakfast and sit out in the sun reading away to our hearts content.  We're currently reading the Dresden Files series.  If you've seen the show but not read the books, I'd highly recommend it!  I'm also a serious chunk into the second book of the Game of Thrones series so I'm slightly behind the new season but as Kris says, I read faster than he does.  No worries here.  We've done a couple more sailing runs, in and around the estuary but we need to repair a back-stay so that might have precedence over the next trip out.  Every few weeks we get down to Monterey and see Kirby and my folks.  When Kris was in WI I spent tons of time with my mom, got my hair re-done red and chopped it all off (which I'm happy about now that the sun is out in full force) and saw my brother and his girlfriend for dinner one night with my Dad, which was good.  At Christmas, Dad bought  us all gift certificates to the shooting range and ammo for our particular guns so we need to plan a weekend where we can all meet up and go hunt some pesky clay pigeons.  We're making boat neighbor friends, Chloe's charming everyone and their dogs around the marina and the currently the bathrooms at our gate are going to be shut down for renovation starting Monday.  They're bringing in those trailers with the showers and nicer portable bathrooms and the main gate bathroom will still be open, as they're rotating their renovation schedule, but it's going to make parking fun.  And this just in!  Our friend Carla from Miami is visiting San Fran next month and we look forward to spending some time with her.  Wish we could get back to Miami for a visit but it won't be any time soon, for sure, and so it'll be nice to see her.  And our friend Bethany, from Lugano, is back home and about a half an hour away from us and it's ridiculous that we haven't seen her yet, but we're making plans.  She grew up in the same town as my parents and actually vaguely knows my cousins, as my aunt and uncle are still there, which was a fun thing to learn when we met her halfway around the world in SW.  And the annual Oakland Boat expo and seminars are kicking  off here pretty quickly.  This was were we did the Offshore Sailing seminar a couple years ago and I was told by one our neighbors this morning that there are a handful of free seminars you can sit in on so we might have to go look those up and see what's going on.  

People to catch up with and spaghetti to cook!  (A few recipes I've found including eggs cooked in tomato sauce and served over noodles...Yum!)
What are you catching up on this month?
Happy Plannings!

Allie H.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 Edition of Firsts!

So I tried this last year, keeping track of all my "firsts" for the year and I'm going to keep it up, and expand my list!  So far, notably, we're starting with the obvious:
1. Living on a boat full time, with live-aboard status at one harbor!
2. Indian food!  I've had some before but specifically, tonight, we ordered Lamb Palak, which is lamb in special creamy spinach sauce. I don't know what makes it special but I'm going to find out when it's delivered :) A few weeks ago we had Tikka Marsala and I believe I've tried that before but I'm trying new things!  
3. Boat repairs! We had a couple electrical shorts over the last couple weeks, separately, and the first time it happened overnight during the week and so spent the day without power.  Luckily, our neighbor, who is a contractor and had redone his entire boat, was around in the morning as we were leaving for work and was around well in time to help me make the repairs before I had to go pick up Kris.  He took a look at the electrical panel and figured out where the problem was, and we went to the hardware store where he has a discount code and we got what we needed.  He showed me how to strip a wire and crimp it to a new connector to stick it back on the bus bar.  Voila!  We plugged everything back in to shore power and gave it a try, and it worked!  The next time it happened we were able to borrow his tools but we pretty much knew what we needed to do.  Go me!  I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of these firsts because we have an ongoing list of boat repairs that need to be done, including replacing the head (toilet, for you landlubbers), replacing the curtains, repairing the cushions in the salon, fixing the stove/oven so we can cook more effectively on the get my drift. Lots o'stuff needs our attention!  As well as eventually rewiring the whole boat.  
4.  Okay, I don't have a four yet.  But we just bought an electric one-burner hot plate last night so I imagine cooking an omelet on a boat is in the near future :)  We've been trying to do well in our eating as our only cooking facilities on the boat has been a gas grill, but now, we will be able to get a few more homemade meals in, which would be awesome.  We also grabbed a plastic measuring cup as I've been not wanting to have the pyrex aboard the boat for it to shake loose from a cupboard and possibly break while tacking out on the bay.  I love my pyrex measures so I'd like to keep them intact! I've had cooking utensils on the boat for stirring instant mashed potatoes and such so we're ready to make more meals at home, which I'm looking forward to.  
Next week's adventure is going to be spending some time with my folks!  Kris is being sent to WI for training for his work for two weeks and so it's time to take the next wander around my hometown.  Oddly enough, everyone keeps asking if I'm going with him, but it's two weeks, in snowy cold weather, in the middle of WI, where I'm not going to know anyone or have anything to do while Kris is training, so no: I'm staying where it's nice and sunny and fairly warm!  I'm going to hang out with my mom, watch Skyfall with my dad (because we just watched it and oh, I'm so willing to watch it again for him), possibly get my hair re-dyed by my Jovita, maybe go visit some of my favorite high school teachers as I've missed doing while traveling the world, maybe sail with my dad, maybe sew something with my mom, who's going to help with my sewing machine as last time I used it, it was having some bobbin tension issues like it frequently enjoys having with me.  (I have a tote bag strap to repair, so this might be the time.)  Things to do, people to see!  And maybe another first.  We'll see.
Keep checking, and I'll keep updating!
Happy Plans, Everyone!

Allie H.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Home Sweet Home!

Before and After photo time!  And news time.  We weren't approved for a slip agreement at the marina where the boat is currently residing because of our credit but the second marina we've been talking to, Marina Village Harbor, has slips available.  And, in meeting some of the locals, we were directed to a particular person at Marina Village to request live-aboard status even though there's a wait list.  The only difference between the wait list and status is an extra fee per month. We drove by on the way to work this morning and told the guy that we'd much rather pay more and be there full time rather than go by the rules and move between harbors twice a week so that we're respecting the rules of the harbors while not having live aboard status.  He said yes!  Kris is getting his travel reimbursement this week and we'll take care of the details on Friday so it's pretty much a done deal.  In the meantime, in and around the holidays and visiting home, we've gotten the boat to be nice and homey.  I finally found the other bath rug so most of the floor is covered and Chloe can jump down and not slide and it's a little extra cushioning for her, and for us when we wake up in the morning without socks on.  I also found our slippers so we can kick off our shoes at the end of the day and relax.  
Here are the before shots:
 Recessed quarter berth.
 View from the hatchway into the boat, galley on the port side.
Galley complete with stove-top oven, sink, fridge compartment.
And here's the after, with our our stuff moved in and mostly arranged!


 Chloe watching Mom take pictures.
 So the galley is a little messy, but only when I don't put away the electric tea kettle.  Or the extra water bottle.  Or the orange juice and the huge plastic cups....well, you get my drift!
The closet for our overflow of cold-weather layers!
I'd say the place is coming along, don't you think?  We still need to replace the window drapes, as they've fallen into some disarray, and Kris found an article about a couple who'd replaced theirs with mini-blinds so that's a project that's going to be coming up at some point.  But it's coming along fabulously!  DVD's are tucked onto shelves, extra sweatshirts have a place in the little closet and we found out that the fridge not only works but is on DC power so we can keep it on while we sail if we have a couple days for of steaks for the grill.  We're also thinking of getting a small microwave.  Those microwaveable Kraft Mac & Cheese cups?  Turns out thinking that using boiling water and letting them sit for the cooking time instead of following the directions with a microwave is not good thinking....The noodles mostly cooked but it was more like cheesy noodle soup instead of pasta.  Not so good.  A small one would suffice for that sort of thing and we can mix healthier meals with cheap meals.  We still haven't stored most of the clothing in our suitcases anywhere other than in our suitcases as we have a slight leak problem in the compartment behind the settee under the DVD's that we need to fix but otherwise everything else is pretty much squared away, and the suitcases fit in the recessed quarter berth.  We shift the suitcases out every couple days to put some clean clothing closer to hand, the shower bag stays in the trunk so it's easier to access, and we don't need any of it on the boat.  Kris found a manual online for the oven and so we now know how to clean it up and work it properly.  We made our first payment for it to Mark and got the pink slip, all sorts of manuals and all the papers that came with the boat on our trip last weekend to celebrate Kirby's birthday.  I've been scouring the internet for blogs from other live-aboards on how they manage their galley and their storage space and finding recipes for easy cooking when you've got a cache of canned and a few fresh ingredients.  Chloe has been settling in pretty well.  She's figured out that if she comes to the bow-end of the settee on the port side, she can jumped into the v-berth by herself, so she comes and goes in the middle of the night when she needs water or we're rolling over her.  When she wants to play, she brings me the ball and I throw it into the v-berth so she jumps and brings it back to me over and over again for about ten minutes or so, getting a little bout of doggie exercise while she plays.  I leave her to go take a shower and I don't go the same time every day, so she's never sure when I'll be back, but the past week or so, I've not heard any crying until I step back into the cockpit.  She's such a faker.  She did the same thing with Miami-she's figured out it's her home and that she's okay to be alone for a few minutes and that I will be back eventually.  Every time we sit and look around, we feel the boat to be roomier, homier, more comfortable, working better and better.  It's good to feel more at home in our space.  We were invited last week to join a group of locals who do a barbecue every Wednesday in one of the shop spaces up in the warehouse and so we scrambled up some cookies from Trader Joe's and took along the bottle of homemade lemoncello my mom sent us home with and met several of the locals, one of whom was a gal named Wendy who lives in Marina Village and lives on the dock we'll be moving onto and was the one who told us who to talk to in order to bypass the waiting list for the live-aboard status.  She's already offered to dog-watch Chloe if we need someone!  Looking forward to not having to move the boat every few days and to be in a permanent spot that's five minutes closer to Kris's work and our storage space, literally right down the street from a Lucky's grocery and CVS, and pizza.  Yup, pizza's important.  (And yes, a few seconds ago I mentioned homemade lemoncello.)  Mom's been making it and giving it as Christmas presents and I intend to make some with her at the end of February when I hang out with her for a couple weeks.  Kris is going to be doing some CRAY training in Wisconsin and so I'm going to take over her kitchen and help her make more.  I'm also interested in trying orangecello, raspberry infused vodka, etc.  I've been collecting recipes on my Pinterest board.  I'm all for trying new recipes and I'm looking forward to this one!  
Happy experiments, everyone!

Allie H.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A New Year, and a Different Dream

It's the beginning of another year, and the dream of my adulthood has changed significantly over the past few years.  I used to dream, when I was a teenager, that I'd be highly successful in publishing a handful of novels by the time I was 25 and that breakfast would be enjoyed on a balcony table in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower off in the distance, having already traveled to exotic far off places like Egypt.  Today, I can imagine nothing better than wracking my brain over a piece of writing while the boat gently sways with the slightest of harbor currents, keeping hot water for tea and having new ideas while the sun begins to set in the early afternoon, sailing every possible weekend and becoming an expert at it all.  I'm still not published, I'm still working on second-drafts of things, but the fire is still there.  The scenery is new, the boat is a symbol of possibility, my husband is still the breadwinner while I search for employment opportunity, and the dog is curled up at my feet.  At fourteen or fifteen, I honestly didn't even imagine a dog.  I pictured a husband somewhere in the middle of it all, and I got the best one, ever, but the entertaining child/poodle is a daily delight I hadn't even pondered.  Now I can't imagine living without her.  A little furry face who loves us unconditionally because we fell in love with her and brought her home with us.  I could never have imagined that by the time I was 28, I would have gotten married and moved from one continent to another and back again within the first two years of marriage, not to mention relocating to another state by the end of the calender year.  A whirlwind that made me giddy; new sights, new places to explore, new people to call our friends.  We say it a lot, every time we move and get re-settled, but we're kind of amazing.  We truly rock at this whole “shift again” lifestyle.  When we decide that we're going somewhere, we shift into high gear.  Clothes get washes, sorted, packed into boxes or designated into suitcase piles, the apartment is half in limbo, our heart rates go up and every morning we wake up with a new “to-do” list but by the time we land where we're supposed to be, we're breathing again, we're excited, we've stopped worrying about half the little details and life is awesome.  We downshift, we acclimate, we get it together, and it works.  And yes, there are always little issues that come up and we somehow are blessed with the kind of good luck that gets us through them.  Knowing we're going to be settling in for a time is helping us to shift our focus on being thrifty and financially stable, and looking into the future a bit more definitively.  Being so close to home, being back in California, is the place to be.  In a few months we'll own the boat we're living on, in a year, we'll have a small apartment somewhere close by and I'm imagining go-bags constantly prepped and hanging out in the truck of the car so that we can spend a week on the boat at any given moment.  In Miami, it was good to be at least back on home soil.  Monterey is our heart and our home, and it's a wonderful feeling to be back near it as we settle here in the Bay Area.  Driving back and forth the couple times we've done in the past four weeks has been the most amazing feeling, knowing we can be there in a couple hours on a whim, if we like.  I'm no longer one to make New Year's Resolutions, as I hardly keep to them, like most human beings, but since we're back here and now living the boat lifestyle it's in my head to learn as much as I can about living aboard and figuring out as much as I can to make it as successful as possible.  I'm also wanting to work, at least part time, to keep writing, and spend more time with my family as I've been away from them for two years.  Life shifts in funny ways.  Kris is fond of saying that the universe gives you exactly what you ask for even though it never looks how you'd expect it to look.  That has certainly been true of our adventure thus far.  You can have dreams, and they will come true if you keep them in your heart.  You might not recognize them but if you find yourself happy one day, guess what, your dream has aligned with your life and your goals.  It's a nice feeling to be in a position to see that one of your milestones is just up ahead of you by a few paces.
Hope everyone's New Year is off to such a re-energized, positive start!
Happy 2013!

Allie H.