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It’s been raining here in Sunny Seattle, so I haven’t been to Raven for about a week. Before that, my dad came out twice to help us out. He and I put up the dodger and most of the life lines/stanchions. The Mister had a few friends come by as well to help put on the dingy davits and some other heavy lifting items.

We’re talking to a contractor about the counters in the kitchen and bath and I think it will turn out great. It’s a load off knowing I probably won’t have the state of our counters riding on my (lack of) carpentry skills.

Last Sunday I took a friend down and he took a few great pictures of Raven and the Marina. Click on the picture to see the full album. My friends on G+ have already seen these.

WildlifeWildlife by Fiona Wood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was honestly surprised at how delightful this book is. When I started the pre-release I thought, “oh another upper class, private school, white girl, coming of age.”

While all of those things may exist in this book, it contains a fresh edge. The students are taken out of their natural elements and into the woods and we don’t get a good feeling for how privileged they are. They all seem like teens, with their own personalities and quirks. Sib especially, because even though she’s met fame, it hasn’t changed her into a different person. She cares about the world and her friends, even if she does overlook some obvious faults for far too long. She is a real person.

Lou’s grief hits you head on. As a biker myself, I can feel the loss of her boyfriend who died in a biking accident. She’s simply putting one foot in front of the other most of the time, but her personality wins through when she sees the atrocious way that Sib’s friend Holly treats others. We get to know her better as her grief gives way to living, and her dry humor and smart replies are priceless.

I was a little confused at first that a school would send students away for 3 months to live in the woods and experience some pretty intense backpacking trips, but then I realized it’s set in Australia. I could see that…

A joy to read.

Update: And now that I’ve found this article, I really want to read Six Impossible Things. Hurry up and come out in the US!!!

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Raven has been here for a little over a week now, and we’ve already done a bit of work getting her back to sailing mode. None of which will feel real until we get the mast and rigging back up.

We have cleaned the inside up a bit and put up the dodger to protect the cockpit and entryway. I cleaned the master head as the sink drain exploded during the journey and there was drain gunk spattered about. It wasn’t too bad. The Mister went around and taped up all the holes where the hardware was taken out for the trip and just in time. It started raining soon after. I guess our unlikely hot summer is over.

On Tuesday night we spent our first night on Raven to test it out. It was super comfy and I slept very soundly, which is not always possible for me. We could hear the trains, but otherwise it was quiet and peaceful and I love the sound of trains going by. And I got to wake to this out of our stateroom portal (notice all the sailing terminology?? Eh?)

I just had to add a quick post because Raven is arriving today after a brief hold up in Redding California due to construction on I-5. She has been decommissioned and I feel that I should share the pictures we got of that from the broker, as it is kind of awesome to see a sailboat without it’s mast or rigging.

I don’t think I’ll make it down to see her until Friday, but it’s pretty exciting to know she’s here. Oh, and if you’re in the market for a beautiful Gulf 29′, check out this page.

Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of VietnamCatfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam by Andrew X. Pham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A gritty bike journey through the US West coast, Japan and finally, Vietnam. An (Andrew) bikes through all these places in search of himself, even though he is often more lost on his introspective journey than when he began. Interspersed with the tale of his travels are flashes to the past when he was a child in Vietnam before, during, and after the war, and as an immigrant in the US, ending up in Los Angeles.

An has a lot of self hate, and he seems to be searching for a way to like himself: if he can only find a reason to like the Vietnamese, he might learn to like himself. I’m not certain that ever happens, but he has a grand adventure trying.

All in all, very entertaining. I always wanted to know what would happen next and I found his ability to keep going despite his setbacks inspiring. I would have liked a bit more of an ending, but this is a memoir, so I’ll have to live with reality.

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I was looking around the internet today, recouping from a biopsy on my precious day off from work, and came across this list of “Top 10 Things” to hate when living aboard. The list did not surprise me. I am expecting to hate doing laundry in a laundry room and the lack of space is something I expect as well.  It is good to be reminded of the condensation issue and I really didn’t know that power and flipping breakers might be a problem. I think it will be fine when it’s just The Mister and me, but when the kids are here, we sometimes put a lot of strain on the power grid. The comments on the post are worth checking out–people have come up with some great solutions. And there is also their previous post that lists the Top 10 Things they love about living aboard.

I had already decided that I needed a place to store my road bike and camping gear off the boat. Mildew is not my favorite thing, especially in tents and rust on my Surly!!??!! Not happening. I know I can get a storage space in Ballard fairly cheaply, but I’m also thinking about a place where I can get away occasionally and possibly do some sewing projects. There are office spaces at ActivSpace that go for $260 a month. That’s a lot more than a storage space, but utilities are included. If they had wifi, that would be wonderful, but that is not offered that I see. They are wired for internet, but I don’t really want another bill.

I was considering a membership at Makerhaus along with a storage space as a possibility, but I see that they are going away September 16th. This makes me sad. I did a tour in the Spring and wanted to come up with some reason to join because their offerings are so cool. Having access to all of those tools and space to set up the laptop and work on personal projects would have been great. Luckily I have a lot of time to figure out an alternative that will work for me. It would be nice if the space is something The Mister and I can both use, anyhow.

Update on Raven: She’ll be here on Monday! Once the ball gets rolling, it goes fast. I am so excited!

 

We were downtown this afternoon, playing tourist, when I remembered there was a Cost Plus nearby. They have all kinds of interesting kitchen gadgets, and I was pretty certain that they would have the size of spice container I wanted. And they did!

Spice Containers

I only got four for now. I’ve filled them with some of my most used spices and the size seems perfect. Here they are on our current fridge.

You might think I like curry and chili powder…and you’d be right.

If these continue to hold up over the next few months, I’ll buy more for the more ordinary spices, like basil and marjoram. 

The Mister spent some time cleaning out Serenity and I stayed with the kids and pumped up the paddle boards for a little fun. I figured out that the pumping is what makes my arms sore, rather than paddling. That explains why kayaking on Friday didn’t do me in.