Friday, September 21, 2018

Pardon moi!


Je suis Laura.
Je suis 57 et j'apprende le francais.

I admit it. I cheated on the last half of that sentence and had to check everything with Google translate. But the feelings are solid.
I am 57 and I am learning French.

The first question I tend to get, when I admit this out loud is:

The most sensible answer is that my husband and I plan to do some pretty extensive travel in the upcoming years. We have traveled a small amount and when we have been in countries where English is not the first language we tried our best to learn at least some polite phrases: Hello, Good-by, Thank-you, Those aren't my children...
We didn't want to be those 'ugly Americans' who give the rest of us a bad name.

A more personal reason is the fact that, while I am a good one half German descent, I am a solid – one quarter, last name Jolie, drinks coffee from the saucer and loves bread, straight from Paris to the coal mines of the Midwest, French.
According to my husband, my mocking dismay of things with the typical French movie concierge 'pftttttttt' is genetically rooted.

The second question is sort of a quizzical, humoring, aren't you a little old for this, HOW?

My answer to this is a little more convoluted.
The easy answer is: Duolingo. Which I will get to in a bit.

The how of how I reached that easy answer is the one which will take a moment.

I always wanted to learn another language. I am a voracious reader and even as a youngster, found it very annoying to be reading a wonderful book only to have the fantasy broken by the main character speaking a phrase, or worse, a sentence in a foreign language – usually French, as the language seems to lend itself to quoting.
N'es pas?
Everyone I knew who had been to high school learned either German or French. And while German should have been my biggest interest, growing up with all those Germanic genetics, my exposure to the language was limited to the names of Grandpa's sisters and the Lord's Prayer at the family reunion.
My grandparents rarely spoke the language unless it was related to food – schnitzbrod, springerele -and did not teach it to their children. I am sure this was a result of the desire to acclimate to a new way of life and distance those children from what had been less than desirable politics in the homeland.
And then there is the fact that French is just so romantic.
It is pretty to listen to.
German is not so melodic on the ear. It is more of the Heavy Metal Band of languages.
Especially compared to the beautiful lilting, quality of French.
(This is most likely due to the fact that the French never seem to pronounce the hard consonant sound which might end a word, favoring the flowing vowel sound running into the next word. Complementing the musical quality and adding an extra layer of frustration to 57 year old ears trying to discern 'fille' from 'filles'.)

I was extremely disappointed to get to high school and find that the only language our school offered was Spanish.
But, it was Spanish taught by a tiny little old lady who went by Senorita Skelly and was so old that we were all quite certain that the fiancé she lost had most certainly been a Spaniard and 'the war' in which he had died had been the Spanish revolution. Possibly the Spanish Inquisition...
I can't dismiss this education however.
Seniorita taught me enough in two years to give me the confidence to surprise an unsuspecting shopkeeper in Cabo and get me into trouble with a Spanish speaking patient.
I have taken to tempering my 'professional' Spanish with the opening phrase 'Yo hablo espanol un pequeño. Muy pequeño!'`

(It should be noted that at this point in proofing this post, my husband asked if I really meant to use incorrect Spanish in the above paragraph. To which I responded....pfffffffttttt.....)

My Midwestern hospital based nursing school required no foreign language so the years between high school and today lacked the obvious answer to language education.
As our children grew up, my husband suggested I take a class at the junior college but I ineveitably would make the decision mid-cycle and always miss French 101.

I gave an attempt at free on-line classes through Open Culture, a great service offering an extensive variety of independent learning options. I enjoyed the classes until we hit the alphabet lesson. A was E. I was E. In fact, nearly everything sounded like a variation of E to me.
It didn't help that I only practiced about once a week.

But, this was before I had a smart phone and learned about Duolingo.
note the varying times on each pic - you can practice anytime!
(It should be noted here that I have NO affiliation nor am I getting paid by Duolingo. I am just a huge fan.)

Duolingo is an on-line language service offering 81 language courses in 37 languages including Klingon!
It offers a free or a paid version.
Naturally, the free version requires a small amount of advertising. But the interruption of ads is minimal, save for a brief readable ad between lessons and less than 30 second video ads to earn 'gems' when you choose.
I opted to try the free version, hesitant to actually spend any money on what promised to be another failed attempt to broaden my horizen. Five months in, I am still using the free version.

My first lesson – Basics 1 – taught the very simple 'I am a woman/ Je suis une femme. You are a man/Tu es un homme.' About five phrases in, the Duolingo Owl – a darling, ever supportive green cartoon popped in to say "great job!" The positive reinforcement worked and I managed to get through that first lesson losing only three of my 'health' points but winning 59 gems!
this is my current lesson selection. and my awesome gem count!
Did I mention these lessons are set up on the game format?
You have six health points in which to learn your day's lesson with the option of earning health with practice or buying health with 'gems'.
Each point earned with practice is rewarded by a 'great job!' by the Owl and a trumpet fanfare.
Those 'gems' you earn can also be used to place a bet with yourself that you will complete 7 days' lessons is a row – thus earning more gems which can in turn be used to bet again. They can also be used to purchase bonus lessons in flirting and idioms.
(Let me warn you now. Don't buy that flirting lesson on your second day, even if you have enough gems. While the phrases are classic – 'do you want to have a drink?' 'do you come here often?' - they are extremely complicated for day two and it will drop your gem accumulation to a dangerous level when comparing with your gem hoarding husband.)
Lessons take about 10 minutes and are a combination of translating from written French to English/English to French, spoken French to English/English to French, word matching and repeating phrases aloud. Initially the lessons were so repetitive that I began to think the app was broken. But as the phrases began to stick in my head I understood that they were actually teaching me the language as a small child would learn. Hearing and repeating very simple things first before branching out to full sentences and using inference to figure out words not yet learned.

The app makes it possible to practice anywhere. Which I have done – in the car, on the train, on the deck and one weekend, on our boat! If you don't want everyone on the morning commute to critique your pronunciation you can mute the speak back option for an hour at a time. Or if you forget your headphones you can make the entire lunch room Répète après moi s'il te plaít.

Doulingo does not teach the typical phrases first – my name is; where is the bathroom; what time is it...
As I pointed out before, they teach as a child would learn. I learned some basics first, then some greeting phrases, followed by plurals of those basics before ever learning colors, foods, or types of clothing. I have yet to learn the actual alphabet or where the bathroom is. I can, however order vin. And fromage avec du pain. 
I can't count to ten. But when there is vin, who really wants to count?
thank you little green owl, or should I say, Merci petite chouette verte.

I have found that I will randomly translate a thought from English to French in my head. Which completely cracks me up and causes me to confuse everyone on Facebook with my cryptic French posts about the weather and petits chiens et chats.

This is not to say that there aren't some problems. The biggest for me is a lack of understanding of the grammatical rules. Duolingo offers no explanation of why chiens and chiennes is different. (the answer is male vs female – for us slow learners)
And as best as I can figure it, if there are multiple things then you slap an 's' on the end of EVERY SINGLE WORD in the sentence – He has red shirts becomes Il a des chemises rouges. Where not only is shirt -chemise- plural -chemises- but so is the act of being red – rouge/rouges.
Its no wonder babies cry for absolutely no reason when they have yet to master speech.
It is only through repetition and some truly painful brain usage that these patterns begin to sink in.

My other big problem is more of a personal one.
They say it is so much easier for young children to learn a language. I believe this is because youngsters have much better hearing. There are days when the subtlety is completely lost in my half century old ear canals and goes back to the one lesson I learned from Open Culture.
Most French is pronounced with an ending of the final vowel sound sliding into the next word rather than differentiating with an ending consonant sound.
Thus explaining why a single woman eating a pizza - La femme mange une pizza.- Sounds exactly like, although clearly spelled differently from, many women eating a pizza – Les femmes mangent une pizza.
The best I can tell, you take a lot of information from context and just how many chairs are filled at the table.
Le journal et le vin. Also, post-it tabs. Tres jolie!
It helps tremendously to get a notebook and keep lesson notes.
It also helps that I have an addiction to notebooks, finding a brand new one just for my French lessons, complete with multicolored sticky tabs and a new ink pen.

I have not missed a day since I started lessons, although the app feels that I blew my streak the day I did a lesson before we went to the lake. Being afraid the internet would be less than helpful I practiced early. However, the app didn't count the lesson, I think now its possible I didn't actually pass it, but anyway... I blew my streak. Which the app keeps handy count of, giving you an encouraging, daily total. Then when you blow your streak, that green owl offers you a handy way to 'buy it back' for REAL dollars.
Sorry Owl. I may spend my fake gems to bet on myself or learn pick up lines for when I find myself single in a Parisian bar but I will not give you real dollars to keep tabs on how consistently I do lessons.

Yet it is a little painful to have my husband point out that HE has not only more gems than me (he is a tightwad when it comes to fake gems) but also a longer streak. Never mind that he started two months after me or that he is learning Spanish, a language which he has taken actual college classes as well as a brief Spanish for Law enforcement course.

I retained enough from Senorita Skelly to know when he is faking it.
And then I just look over my champagne flute, eat my baguette, roll my eyes and reply 'pffffttttttt!'

Monday, July 23, 2018

Can't even Pull off Angsty...

Well, as seems to be my M.O. - I had high hopes of sticking to a writing schedule with the Sunday Picture Challenge being a fiction installment and a post later in the week on something more 'coast-y'.

One post in and I lost all ideas.
And interest.

I wish I could pinpoint a cause.
Life is good around here.
Maybe that's the problem.

I have no angsty, dysfunctional complaints.

I mean, take a look – even the first 10 random songs on my ipod are happy...

American Kids
Kenny Chesney

First off, let it be known that I have exactly ONE Kenny Chesney song on my ipod. I hate to admit that there are a handful more of his that I like, as long as they are the more Trop-Rock and less of the whiney country ones.
Second, note that this song is about people who have everything and are enjoying it.

Hello, I Love You
The Doors
A love song in its most bare element...and Jim Morrison...come on, long haired hippy with a smokey voice....

Hot Fun in the Summer-Time
Sly and the Family Stone
Its right there in the title. Hot fun. In the Summer....

Whenever I Call You Friend
Kenny Loggins
Of note, this was the FIRST Kenny on my playlist. He will always evoke good 'feels' for those early adult days when nothing was complicated.
And, its a song about friends no matter what...

The Way
So, this one I had to look up.
I was ready to blame this one on the kids and their one time joint use of our i-tunes account until I listened to it.
On the surface it is a song about two people chucking everything and taking off together. Living the dream. Oh sure, it is probably, in that 90's manner, a superbly depressing take on excess but on the surface...well...its right there in the refrain:
"anyone can see the road that they walk on is paved in gold
and it's always summer, they'll never grow old"
This is the most accurate description of my current situation there ever was.

Chasing Hemingway's Ghost
Scott Kirby
The story of an artist following his dream.
Or, how I like to see myself...

Hungry Heart
Bruce Springstein
This may actually be the saddest song on the list. Guy deserts wife, meets some tramp in Kingston, leaves her too...
But Bruce is notoriously hard to understand and there is just something exciting and energizing about the music...

The Tiki Bar is Open
Jimmy Buffett
(written by John Hyatt)
Alcoholic on the wagon falls off because the Tiki Bar is open...
Again, maybe if you scratch the surface not the most inspirational.
But, its summer.
This is a bouncy, happy song.
And we just got back from an awesome Tiki Bar in Chicago...
Three Dots and a Dash - the wall of skulls as you wander down the stairs from the alley...
Three Dots and a Dash is morse code for V as in Victory

note the 3 dotes, and 1 dash garnish
the signature drink and glass

Jason Mraz
The song's title is LUCKY.
Come on people.

Brown Eyed Girl
Van Morrison
This actually had me laughing out loud.
For starters, who doesn't love a good Van Morrison tune. And this one is such an iconic song.
A friend of ours, who played drums in a weekend band, once lamented the fact that all they every do is play Brown Eyed Girl, left our table when the break was over to return to the first request of the second set from the table full of bridesmaids – you guessed it – Brown Eyed Girl.
Also, I am a Brown Eyed Girl.
And, if you haven't noticed, every RomCom this side of 2005 is required by law to have at least three Van Morrison songs in it.

I was a little sad to see my new favorite song – Havana by Camila Cabello – didn't make the random cut. But hey, its my blog and I can add her in just like this...

Here's wishing each of you a non-angsty, happy-go-lucky playlist and summer.
I'll be back, eventually.
Hope you will be too!
the result of Three Dots and a Dash...
exotic flower and skull pics sold separately 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Cuba part one

Welcome to Summer here on the Coast of Illinois. This season I am trying something new. Mondays will be a fiction post, inspired by the Sunday Photo Fiction bloghop, a group dedicated to 200 word fiction inspired by a photo. I may be pushing the 'boundaries' slightly. I am hoping to make each post story-like, but Big Picture, I am shooting for a serialized story based on characters from an old fiction piece that I have yet to finish but hope to one day. 
A little background on this - Egypt- was a story I started years ago through an on-line writing group. It is a romance/mystery/adventure sent in Cairo in the 1930's during the beginning of what would become WWII. Initially I had hoped for this to be a stand alone story but as I worked on it more and more I found it lent itself nicely to a series of stories founded on the main characters love of playing 'hide and seek'. But as adults, seeking a greater good. 
Sounds heavy but I assure you, it is not. It is the sort of story I want to read in the summer, heavy on romance but exciting and adventurous. Not in that bodice ripping harlequin manner but more of a Casablanca, The Mummy (Brendan Frasier version)way. 
To help maintain the 200 word limit, and avoid too much more explanation let me introduce the main characters.
Celia - the female lead, a photographer.
Grayson - her brother, the instigator of the game.
Miller - a special forces sort of agent, Celia's love interest.
Al'Rhoubi - Grayson's right hand man.

I hope you enjoy the series. 
And if fiction isn't your thing, check back towards the weekend when more of a 'sailing' theme will prevail.

And now, without further adieu...

Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding, from Sunday Photo Fiction

part one

Every town has one, she thought as she stepped through the door into the cool pale darkness. Questionable cleanliness, so much graffiti carved into the beams it was a nod to the a higher power that they still held. She took a deep breath, but rather than clearing her head, the dense smells of stale beer and old seafood sent memory spinning.
From a shadowy table in the corner, Miller waved her over, bottle in hand. "Just as hot as Cairo, but much better beer." He slid an opened bottle across the scarred surface towards her. "Any word?"
She took a drink.
"None yet." She turned her chair, angled between the table and door. "We wait. Like always." The waiting was the worse, both tedious and exciting. Drug-like.
"Wouldn't it be easier to just tell us what crusade we're on?" he knew the answer before the question left his lips.
"No. It's not how Grayson works. Never has been. Never will be." She stretched, remembering. "You think those kids will be okay?" The faces of the brother and sister waving from the train as it sped on to Lisbon haunted her.
"as sure as..." Miller's reply trailed off as the light from the open door was eclipsed by broad shoulders of a broad man.
In the stranger's hand was a white envelope. Even from their place in the corner, the writing on its face familiar.
"Well, here we go." Celia stood. "Senor?"

Who is the mysterious stranger? What does the letter say? 
Come back next Monday for more.....Cuba....

For more posts in the SPF click here:

(Sunday Photo Fiction or SPF links can be found here: )

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


It is 6am here on the Coast of Illinois and the temperature is already near 80, humidity in the triple digits. (Yes, triple digits. That's when it is so humid you can actually watch the moisture squeeze onto plants...)
look closely. you can actually see the droplets forming. even in a still picture...
Just two months ago we were complaining about the cold and lamenting the fact that summer would never arrive.
We were fools in that earlier time.
never thought we would see these again...
Now, older and sweatier, we understand.
Summer is here. If not calenderly, then at least in a temperate manner.
can't you hear them singing...Hot Hot Hot.....
I, for one, am thrilled.
There is nothing better than sitting on the deck in those early morning moments, eating breakfast, sipping coffee – which still manages to get cold despite the thermonuclear power of the rising sun – watching the cat melt into the deck as the squirrels desicrate the bird feeder.
I long to absorb every once of humidity, every bit, until my hair is so frizzy I can barely fit through the door. I delight in the dampness on my skin from the sheer effort of turning the page of the book I am reading. I consider it a free cleaning when my glasses fog to opacity when I exit the air-conditioned space of home to get to the car and then, in reverse from car to house.

Because in just a few short months it will be winter again and that person who lamented the slowness of summer only to immediately bitch about the heat and humidity, will return to their giant puffy coat and whine about heating bills.

Enjoy the moment!
to me, nothing simultaneously says cool shade and pourable humidity like these leaves.
(this brief, slightly griping post brought to you by a little too much sun exposure while reading in the sun...)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Almonds for Breakfast

Sitting here, late on Saturday morning, regretting the peanut butter graham crackers I ate at 2am when I couldn't sleep but really needing a little something to accompany the acidic, delicious coffee I am drinking.
It has been a funk inducing week. Family stuff – everyone okay, but still worrisome. Work stuff – superbly annoying to the point of resume searching.
But, the weekend is beginning and I will not let the week win.

Nectarine, Parmesan, Marcona Almonds. Would never have eaten this for breakfast 40 years ago.
But reading Provence 1970, and remembering our trip to Switzerland...

My go to weapon against this funk...

Now settle down. I know 'eating your emotions' is not healthy.
But, eating good food is a totally different treatment.
And good food doesn't mean fancy. Or expensive.
'Good food' triggers a sense of well being – safety and love from tomato soup and grilled cheese as a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons; excitement and laughter shared over a ridiculously large bag of whip cream served with key lime pie, closeness only good friends have shared over a glass of wine....

The second question to the family, after 'are you feeling okay' has been, what can I bring for lunch, dinner, snacks....
The powers that be at Work have fed us daily with lunches, snacks, even candy in areas where we aren't suppose to have candy...
There is nothing I love more than to cook a wonderful dinner for family and friends. Yes, it's a lot of work. But it's also therapy, creativity and ultimately an opportunity to create a shared experience.
And it's those memories of shared experience, triggered years later by that spicy salsa or that gooey breakfast biscuit which remind us of good times and provide hope for the future.

Food can't solve everything. But, sharing food, even the most modest meal, can sometimes be the most powerful medicine.

~Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.~
Anthony Bourdain

(I don't like 'jumping on a bandwagon' but I also feel an obligation to use this medium for good. Suicide is a devastating act. It's effects reach much farther than just the victim. If you feel alone and need help, don't be ashamed. If you have a friend or family member you are worried about, don't hesitate. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255). We all need a little help every once in a while.)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

What's Your Number...

Got your attention, didn't I.
Well, I am not talking about 'that' number. 
I am talking about your Great American Read number.

Please Note!
The following opinions are MINE and MINE alone.
I don't mean to insult anyone.
But if I do, you'll get over it...

my stack on the deck under a palm tree. one of my favorite places to read.
note, there is also mint which is pretty tasty in many summer beverages to be had while reading...

For me, this is the start of my Official Summer Reading List.
In grade school my list consisted of Scholastic Summer Weekly Reader and whatever books I could find at the library. I read alot but the only book titles I can remember are The Boxcar Children and The Bread and Butter Indian.
We tried reading The Boxcar Children to our kids. Turns out there were a whole lot of beatings I didn't remember when I read that book....
In middle and high school, the library still figured prominently but my reading was influenced more and more by popular movies, school assignments and friends.
Until I discovered Hemingway and Nancy Mitford.
After that I exclusively read The Sun Also Rises and Love in a Cold Climate/In Pursuit of Love every summer until John Irving entered the picture.
Those weren't the only books but they were always in my stack of to be read at some point.

Thankfully, Rob is also an avid reader and it wasn't difficult to keep that spirit alive in our children. We spent many a Wednesday and Saturday morning at Mrs. Clark's story hour at the public library, followed by an hour of checkout at the desk for the twenty five pounds of books they managed to pick.

And now PBS is getting in on the fun.
Through a national survey, the fine people at Public Broadcasting have compiled a list of 100 favorite books. The list can be found at The Great American Read.
There is a companion program on PBS which speaks to each book on the list, why individuals – in their own words – chose the books they did. There are author interviews and interesting facts surrounding different books.
And, you can vote for your favorite with the winning book to be announced later this summer.

Not being one to miss a chance to feel dumb, I read through the book list only to find that I have only read 25. Thankfully The Sun Also Rises is on the list.
I did not count it 17 times. Even though I have read it at least that many.
I did start an additional 8 on the list, only to never finish them as they were either too dumb or too smart for my taste. (I am a middle of the road reader. I don't want to be preached at – 100 Years of Solitude guy, but I also don't want to spend my precious reading time wishing I could hunt down the author and asking them how they got such ridiculous work published – Left Behind, series dudes...)
Breaking down the list even more, I have seen 15 movie adaptations of the 25 books which I have read – I only counted The Great Gatsby once even though I have read it nearly as many times as Hemingway's work and seen the Robert Redford/Mia Farrow version of the movie about as many times as I have read the book. There are an additional 5 movies for books which I have not read, and never will – Hunger Games chick.
I really wanted to count Hatchet on my read list as the kids both read it for school and then had Rob read it to them repeatedly which forced me to hear about the poor kid who's plane crashes in Canada and ends up eating nearly as much trout as Hemingway's characters catch in every book he has ever written.
I also wanted to count The Book Thief, which was our daughter's first favorite book of her young adult life; a book which took her to the Jewish Book Festival where she met the author and had her copy signed. But, I have yet to actually read it. Sounds way to sad. Too sad is also a reason I won't read a book.
Two of our son's favs made the list – The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy – which is on my Not Read but Saw the Movie list, and Game of Thrones series – which is on my Have Not Read, and Won't Watch the Series list. (Sorry George RR Martin, I tried but there was way too much gore and not enough dragons for my taste.)

We were discussing the list at breakfast and Rob also suggested counting out the Books I Read as Graphic Novels (or comic books as they were known when we were younger) but not as Actual Books but that just seemed silly.

My summer reading list does not reflect the Nation.
Currently I am reading The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. It is a sweet book about love and loss but not in that 'ooooo, I am suh intellectual' and more in the 'now where did I leave my glass of wine and my baguette' way.
Which is perfect for summer reading.

Summer books should never require too much thinking. Rather, they should transport you to a place or time far removed from anything you have every experienced. Winter books can be a little heavier in subject. Turns out I have a lot of rules for what I will and won't read. Starting with IT MUST BE AN ACTUAL BOOK and not that e-reader nonsense. If I am going to read a book on a computer then I am going to play Home Design instead.

The other books on my list include:
The Little French Bistro, also by Nina George
(although I don't like reading books by the same author, one after the other)
Provence, 1970 by Luke Barr
(because a teacher Rob worked with loaned it to him after hearing about my love of cooking)
Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen
(because he is the best for summer reading and one of the few who I WILL read one after the other)
Henry and June by Anais Nin
(because I have never read any of her work, but I did see the movie...))
The Fermata by Nicholson Baker
(because I mentioned I wanted to read a 'sexy' story but not in that gross 50 shades way)
and of course,
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
(Why would I want to re-read a book I have read so many times? Because there is something in the story which really speaks to me. Plus, after reading A Dangerous Summer which is the actual account of what is fictionalized in The Sun Also Rises, it seems the thing to do.)

Have you made a summer reading list?
Did you check out the 100?
What's your number?

And, as an aftermath of the April A to Z blogging challenge, I am now part of the Road Trip, in which participants are asked to visit as many other blogs as you can. I hope to hit at least a couple a week.
Here are a couple of blogs for you to check out: – for some interesting and funny on-line dating stories – and find a darling new children's book

And of course, don't forget to check out the folks on the No, You've Really Got to Read this... sidebar!

I have also been notified that the EU has a new policy regarding 'cookies' and privacy. Blogger, my hosting site has added a comment about cookies for those of you who are reading outside the US. If you see it, please let me know. 
I am unable to see the comment here. However, I will continue to maintain my stand on cookies as stated below and will maintain everyone's privacy to the best of my ability. 
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Bottom Job!

There are several questions to ask yourself before buying a forty year old sailboat.
Is the Keel intact?
Is the hull structurally sound?
Are you prepared to spend one beautiful spring day sanding until you turn blue?

Have you lost your mind?

For good or bad, our answers to the above questions were all 'yes'.
Except for the sanding part.
That information was withheld.

The hull, or the underwater portion, of our fixerupper is fiberglass – layers and layers of it.
The Keel, the big fin underneath, is lead.
Both are covered with marine grade paint to protect them.
Or in our case, were covered.
Over time and exposure, that paint peels and no longer protects sufficiently.
Just like a house.
Except you can't put aluminum siding on a boat.
At least I don't think you can...


The normal person would pay to have the boatyard powerwash and repaint. Or, as the Ozark Yacht Club calls it, a Bottom Job.
But, from those original questions, we have established that we are, in fact, not normal.
Plus, we spent the 2018 boat budget on a new propane outboard and a port-a-potty.

Which is why I found myself, on a lovely April afternoon, sanding the bottom of the boat, which is up on jack-stands on a parking lot right off the Bagnell Dam Strip. There is no electricity. There is no running water.
Just a whole lot of gravel and sun.
Sure, I am in the shade...

This is after 10 minutes. Ten. Minutes.
Truthfully, the sanding wasn't terrible. It took a couple hours but we got the worse of the peeling paint off. Sure we inhaled a moderate amount of fiberglass and lead dust. But you know, live and learn.

The sanding was followed by a vigorous brushing with a stiff, long handled broom and then an alcohol wipe down.
Rob chose the alcohol wipe as
      1. there was no water to rinse the excess dust off
      2. alcohol dries very rapidly.
Oh, and
                       3. inhaling all those alcohol fumes just added to the amazing quality of the                                    day....

Once we regained consciousness, the boat was taped off and Rob rolled while I edged and painted the smaller areas around the jack-stands where the roller wouldn't reach. (Sorry about the paint on those straps, guys.)

Blue tape. Blue Boat. Blue paint...
Fancy Hull Paint. Only used about half the can!
Goes on smooth...
Clean up was a little dicey.
It was a toss up between being 'green' and trying to wash all the rollers and paint containers in the bathroom at the yacht club or remaining members of the yacht club.
At the end of the day, everything went in the trash.
Looks brand new! And to think, this will be underwater the next time we see her.
We brushed off as much blue dust and paint as we could before heading down the hill to clean up a little.
With the lake three hours from home, and our 'lake house' on jack-stands, we opted to stay the night at the Quality Inn.
It says a lot about the desk clerk that she never mentioned my interesting blue tan or the homeless quality of my clothes.

Sunday was spent taking Blue Skies, our wooden sloop, out on the big lake. She was neglected all last year in favor of the fixer-upper.
We set her up in the parking lot, with one good reef in the main as it was fairly windy, even in our cove.
In the land of power boats and fiberglass, this is a sight for sore eyes.
And if anyone doubts that a boat has a soul, they should have been holding the bowline as she hit the water.
The minute Rob pulled the trailer away, she strained at those lines, just begging to sail.
It was an amazing feeling, holding her back, sails still down and no tide or current.
You get a much neater reef when it's done on the parking lot.
We had a fantastic afternoon, even with one reef. We did put the jib up after a bit and even ventured out into the main arm near the dam, where the wind really picked up and Blue Skies soared!
Wing on Wing. Don't get to do this very often.
The weekend wrapped up with that three hour drive home.
We were slightly sunburned, pretty stiff and sore and not a little exhausted.
But it was so worth it.

Cool Change was ready for an exciting new year of sailing.
Blue Skies had her water fix for a bit.
And we learned a little more about sailboat ownership:
      1. I look good with blue highlights in my hair.
      2. Alcohol plus paint dust = permenant blue paint on your hands.
      3. Eagles get a kick out of watching people attempting to get their photograph and instead coming about in a complete circle. Twice.
Nest and Eagle

Fuzzy as it's from my phone. We have seen this guy out and about early in the morning.
Can't believe he lives so nearby!
Next time the boat hull needs painting we will opt for the professional Bottom Job.
But only after they buy us dinner first.

*As it so happens, this is a possibility. I just got an email from the Ozark Yacht Club offering Dine and Detail – you order up your boat work and your dinner from the Lakeside Cafe. You have a lovely waterfront meal and the boatyard does the work!

You had me at Torpedo Tacos...