Thursday, March 21, 2013

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Sailor's Life For Me

The Lord of the Manor and I have a long history of boating. When I was about 13 my dad built a plywood sailboat from some plans in Popular Mechanics. I figure the boat must have looked a little like this one I found on the Internet. I sewed the sails out of who knows what. I'm sure I had no idea what I was doing, but we sailed that boat a lot out in the San Joaquin Delta and up at Camanche Lake. Out of all four kids I seemed to be most interested in sailing it.

The Lord of the Manor's family lived on a little canal right in the middle of town and had a ski boat at the dock in their back yard. They spent their summers messing about in small power boats; exploring, water skiing, and camping on a friend's island. When we were dating he taught me to water ski and we spent many summer evenings cutting through the sloughs on the glassy water.

When we were in our mid twenties a friend of ours suggested getting sailboats and going cruising. Hmmmmm, sounds interesting, so within two years we had sold our house, business, and car and took off to Mexico. We had to cut our trip short when the people who bought our house stopped making payments. We came home, recovered what we could, and swallowed the anchor again. We started another business, bought a house, had two kids, and tried to turn our backs on boating.

But nautical things still seemed to pervade our lives. We named our business Harbor Signs. We decorated our walls with photos of old sailboats. We collected kerosene lanterns, anchor lights, and nautical bits and bobs. This becket is on a sea chest that LOM made for Teen2 when she was little. We worked those beckets late at night after the girls had gone to bed using The Ashley Book of Knots for reference.

Here are the bits off our second sailboat Tilly Whim, a beautiful Laurent Giles design that sailed like a dream. After we sold it, successive owners let it go downhill and it was finally cut up and thrown away. The yard owner gave this to us later.
 Here is a photo of it on a mooring at Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. It's the one in the middle with the green sail cover.

 And here is a photo of the young sailors who owned it. Can you believe we ever looked like this?

And here is a photo of the old sailors who are actually thinking of getting another sailboat and trying it again. What are they thinking?

Thursday, March 7, 2013


We have been here Amongst The Oaks for almost 18 years. We first fell in love with the oak trees and the look of the neighborhood. Then we remodeled the house and fell in love with our little English cottage. We have also grown to love our neighbors, and all the fun things we do together every year.

Our children learned to ride their bikes under the shade of these old oaks. We watched our little girls scuff through oak leaves on their first days of school, and later watched our girls drive the old VW around the tree in the middle of the street on their way to high school.

We have had wonderful parties here: Tea Parties, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Gourmand, Easter, Christmas, Boxing Day, Birthdays, Mothers' Days, and Fathers' Days. We often planned our parties around the seasons of the oaks; spring is best but the pollen can stain white table cloths, summer is warm and relaxing but needs an awning, late summer is impossible because of the annoying gall wasps, fall is nice again, but the leaves fall in your food, and winter can work if the fireplace is going.

We have cooked literally hundreds of meals in our beautiful kitchen, sometimes me, sometimes LOM, and sometimes the guests! I can't count the number of friends and family who have rolled up their sleeves to help create all those memorable meals.

We have opened our home to guests from near and far, some staying a short time, some staying as long as a month. We have allowed our neighbor's grandson to use our living room as a set in a movie he was filming. We have truly LIVED in this house and it has handled it all beautifully. This home has been very good to us and we are very comfortable here, but now it's time to say "Goodbye."

You see, we are approaching retirement and somehow we just can't imagine rattling around in this house, doing the same old things year after year now that the kids are gone. We still have adventures to pursue and are thinking of taking a different tack, so to speak. Besides, this home needs a young family to liven it up and use it properly so we will be putting it on the market soon. Lately we have been primping and cleaning and touching up paint. Next we will plant flowers in the hanging baskets, and call the realtor. And then, you may ask, "What will we do?" I'll get back to you on that.