Adventure Updates

Happy Sunday, folks!

I figured it was high time that I gave you an update on all of our adventures.  The beginning of the week was slow going, because I had to go to a 4-day-long training.  But since Friday, we have made up for lost time!  The interior work on Breaking Tradition is about halfway completed, so it looks like we will be able to move to our slip at the marina at the beginning of August.  We’ve cleared out the cluttered places in the apartment, so we will be able to empty it out over the course of a very LONG day, by the end of July.

Here are some more details on our progress:

A Place to Call Home

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I have mentioned that Breaking Tradition is in the town of Clear Lake Shores, which is some distance from the marina where we keep Kiwi.  What I didn’t tell you is that, when we drove into this town, it was love at first sight.  Clear Lake Shores is mainly located on a man-made island, where everybody drives golf carts to the park to watch the sunset on Saturday nights.  Clear Lake Shores is the yachting capital of Texas and boasts having more boat slips than people.  Breaking Tradition is currently at a rental slip at a private residence.

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Clear Lake Shores is a duck sanctuary as well!

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Since we were smitten, and since it would be very difficult to move Breaking Tradition to Kiwi’s marina, we decided to try to find a slip in Clear Lake Shores.  That led us to Legend Point marina, the closest marina with facilities, to the boat’s current location.  We looked at the marina and loved it–it’s secure, has a lot of grass, and has two pools and hot tubs as well as a clubhouse.  It seemed perfect for us!

We thought it might be a longshot, since they do a credit check.  (Our house will be on our credit report for one more year).  But we tried, and we negotiated.  And we can move in August 1!

Great Purge #3

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Earlier in the week, I worked on decluttering in the apartment, after my training sessions for work.  We emptied out the walk-in closet and are now using it as a staging area, for items that will go to the boat.  We emptied our closet and got our bedroom down to just furniture (to be donated right before we leave).  The dining room, living room, and bathroom are down to just furniture, and and we have made progress on Beanie’s room and the kitchen.

The challenge in Beanie’s room has been the toys.  We gave her the master bedroom, so that she could have room for all her toys!  To pare down, we divided her toys into three piles: toys to keep at the boat, toys to donate, and toys to take to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Grandma and Grandpa have offered to have a “toy library” for Beanie, so that we can keep some of her toys at their apartment, and she can exchange toys when she visits.  We thought this was a great way to meet Beanie’s desire for novelty, and to allow Grandma and Grandpa to “give” her “new” toys, without buying and adding to her collection.

As far as the kitchen is concerned, we are preparing to have very limited cupboard space and only a small dorm fridge.  A lot of our storage containers have been purged, and we will eventually downsize to a smaller (however better) pressure cooker.  Our slow cooker and blender will stay.  We do plan to splurge and have etched “Breaking Tradition” flutes made!

Progress on the Boat

We have had an extremely productive three days!

On Saturday I got to work painting the v-berth.

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And then we added carpet…

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Rob made a counter top and got to work on the galley.

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Today, we brought Beanie to the boat for the first time.  She enjoyed playing with her Pokemon toys in her new bedroom.

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We put up some of her posters.

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We brought her “Where the Wild Things Are” picture that was a part of her nursery before she was born, and has been a part of her room everywhere we’ve lived.  It started out in her room on the boat.

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Beanie decorated her space with stick on stars.  Tomorrow she will add dinosaur stickers.

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She definitely had a great time!

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Today, my goal was to finish the head.  On Breaking Tradition, the head takes up the entire hallway between the v-berth and the main salon.  The sink and cupboards are on one side, and this is where I found a perfect place for Beanie’s picture.  We will be putting in a new counter top tomorrow.

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The toilet is on the other side which, happily, didn’t require any painting.  We will be putting a picture over the rotten spot on the wall!

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Otherwise, the boat’s previous owner stopped by today and helped us with the electrical system.  Which is very exciting, because we’ve never had a boat with a 110 system before.  On Moonraker, everything ran off of an extension cord and power strip.

All in all, we’re making good progress, and I feel very optimistic about moving to our new marina at the beginning of the month!

Letter to My 16-Year-Old Self

Don’t worry, you’ll get an update on our adventures soon.  We’ve been working on emptying out the apartment, and this next week we will get started on the boat.  When I have significant progress or news to share, I definitely will!  In the meantime, I’ve wanted to do a post like this for awhile, and the timing seems perfect right now.

Pictures are from a trip to Palm Beach in Galveston.

Pictures are from a trip to Palm Beach in Galveston.

Dear Bethany,

(Yes I’ll call you that, because I know that’s what you want to be called.  And here’s one little secret–in the not-so-far-future, they will!) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I know you feel hopeless right now, and it seems like life is an endless stream of rejection and self-doubt.  I will give you some reassurance, but, for reasons you don’t yet understand, I am not going to tell you what is around the bend.  You need this journey.  You need to see first hand the strength and wisdom that you already possess. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA But I will tell you that there are changes, just around the corner.  BIG changes.  Within the next year, you will lose.  But, more importantly, you will gain.  And both of these changes will set the course for the rest of your life. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA At this juncture, you think that you know your future.  You are relatively sure you know the rather calm path your life will follow.  And I can tell you that you’re wrong. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA You have already discovered the kindness that is a part of your very soul.  But you have yet to discover that you have an adventurous spirit as well. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA You will not lead a pre-determined life.  You have more choices at every bend, than you can even comprehend.  You will be one of the few people to see all of the choices, and you will use this to create a life that is uniquely yours. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just wait until you see where you’re going to live when you’re 35!  You will never guess…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA You want to know if it will get easier.  The short answer is yes.  The challenges you face now will not persist relentlessly. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I know you don’t want to hear this, but it will also get harder.  You will face challenges, but you will find the strength within yourself to not only survive them, but to thrive and grow from them.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You will survive, you will thrive, and you will contribute to the world in so many ways that you can’t even imagine.

The remaining pictures are from Clear Lake Shores, the current home port of Breaking Tradition.

The remaining pictures are from Clear Lake Shores, the current home port of Breaking Tradition.

You will have the opportunity to make every one of your dreams a reality. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA You share a stronger connection to everything and everyone around you, than you realize.  You will make so many true friends, who will be willing to travel to the end of the earth for you.  You will experience unconditional love over and over, and it will become even stronger after you finally recognize its presence. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I am telling you all of this, that you may have hope.  But I don’t want you to do anything differently.  The mistakes you will make are only a part of the journey.  You will learn so much, grow more than you can fathom, and you will find no room for regret. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love you, Bethany.  And the time will come, when you will find that love within.

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Love,

Yourself, 19 years later

(I can’t tell you my last name!)

Breaking Tradition

Rob and I have had some weird anniversaries.

At the conclusion of our first year of marriage, we had a wonderfully romantic time eating the top layer of our wedding cake, camping in the middle of the woods.  Much to our surprise, the top layer was banana…

On our fifth anniversary, we both had horrible colds and made a trip to the doctor together.  

After six years of putting up with each other, we got a baby-sitter and went for a moped ride, where I broke down 10 miles from home.

My dad had heart surgery on our tenth anniversary.  (Thankfully, it went well!)

We dragged anchor in Charlevoix on our eleventh anniversary.

Last year, instead of celebrating twelve years together, we dealt with the stress of emptying out a house, after ten years of living there.  At that time, we didn’t know if we would have a home in Houston, when we arrived.

This year, we figured we would celebrate our lucky 13th next weekend, with a must-find-a-boat trip to Louisiana.  There were some inexpensive boats there, in our price range.  We would buy one, then have an adventure down the Intercoastal Waterway, back to Clear Lake.  We would then dock the boat at Kiwi’s slip, and Beanie would attend the school in that area–I gave her teacher permission to give them her files already.

But life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

The day after the fourth of July, Rob did his daily check of Craig’s List, and something unusual was waiting for us.  It was a Ericson 35-1, from 1967, the same year that Moonraker was made.  It needed love and an engine, but it was a cutter rig with a furler, steering wheel, and a lot of other equipment we’ve never had the experience of owning, on a boat.  It even came with an inexpensive slip.

Its name was Breaking Tradition.

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When I first saw this boat, docked in the delightfully eccentric town of Clear Lake Shores, it was Moonraker all over again.  There is definitely room in my heart for two loves.  (Or three?  Sorry, Rob!)

 

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We will have our work cut out for us.  The interior will need new cushions, and there is a lot of cleaning to do.  It will be difficult to get this boat into our current marina, so we will need to find another.  (Or come up with a shower, if we keep the slip it’s in!)

Back where I belong!

Back where I belong!

We will need to repaint the interior, fix the galley.  And…yeah…come up with an engine!  Or find a tow to a marina…

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Beanie will be attending a different school.  We’ll need to research that, and make sure all of her paperwork finds its way there.

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The boat is 35 feet long, but at least 1/3 of that is cockpit.  We’re probably dealing with less than 300 square feet for Rob, Beanie, the cat, the fish, and me.  And right now, it has no fridge.  We will have some decluttering to do!

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But we’re excited about the boat.  It’s more than I could have possibly hoped for.  And we love Clear Lake Shores.

The boat is famous, by the way.  Its hull number is 7, and there are not very many, if any, more of its kind.  Google “Breaking Tradition Ericson 35-1″ and you WILL find pictures of this boat.

It’s still crazy that we’re doing this.  As a family of 3, we’re doing this.  Not for 91 one days a year, but for 365.

Life has become an adventure again.  Stay tuned.

Texas Women Bloggers

 

Lesson #9: Just Listen

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Note: This is the ninth of my 35 Lessons in 35 Years.

I have a strange tendency, in social interactions.  I get nervous, fidgety, and become very eager to fill the pauses in the conversation with fascinating and funny stories.

Now, telling a good story is wonderful, but it does nothing to ease my nervousness in the interaction.

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Did I talk about myself too much?  Have I made myself interesting?

Do they like me?

I think for most of us, conversations are a lot higher-pressure than we want to admit.  We’re planning out what we’re going to say, while the other person is talking.  We’re not doing this because we don’t value the other person.  We’re doing this, because we want them to like us.  We don’t want to be judged.

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And yet our efforts turn into a cycle.  We play our role, plan our words, and make it through one interaction avoiding judgement.  But then, we feel more pressure in the next.  We feel like we need to wear masks, and hide behind personas, so that we will be liked.

So how do we change this?  By realizing that we are misunderstanding the entire situation.

The people we talk to are not focused on us.  They are concerned about their own words, and about avoiding judgement for themselves.  They, too, are stuck in the illusion.  And if we offer them a way out, they will more than likely be grateful for it.

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The way out of the illusion is to listen.  Listen to what the other person says, hearing without judging.  When you inevitably begin to plan out what you’re going to say next, think of questions that you can ask.  Be genuinely interested–not because what you have to say is unimportant, but because your curiosity will be healing to both you and those around you.

I remember a time that I visited two friends, and they both spent the entire time talking to me.  It was as if a listening ear opened a floodgate for them–they were yearning to feel valued, to be related to without fear.  And at the same time, I heard their stories, and saw how we were similar.  Our fear of being judged comes from the misperception that we are different, inferior, vulnerable.  By listening to those around us, we can see are shared fears, our shared love, our shared humanity.

It is through seeing past the illusions of fear and judgement that we truly discover our connectedness and ability to love.

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Sunday Supper: Low Carb, Gluten-Free Enchiladas

Happy Sunday!

I have decided to get back into the habit of posting recipes every week.  Last night’s dinner was my inspiration for today’s selection.

I don’t do well eating carbs.  My recent trip to Michigan, filled with midwestern breads, rolls, potatoes, and–most importantly!–potato salads satisfied my need for nostalgia, but left me 8 pounds heavier than when I had left.

Back at home, I found that my intense craving for Tex-Mex food was at odds with my need to get back on track with eating low-carb.  Fortunately, I found this recipe, which involves tortillas made from eggs and almond flour.  The tortillas do taste “eggy,” but within the casserole, they are excellent.

This dish is also gluten free.  Unfortunately, it does involve a lot of cheese, so it is not Paleo.  It could easily be adapted to be vegetarian, but substituting beans or mixed vegetables for the chorizo.

Here is my adaptation of the recipe:

8-10 Low Carb Tortillas

1 small tube browned chorizo

2 cups shredded cheese

2 tablespoons butter

3 ounces brick style cream cheese (1/2 of brick)

1 cup broth

1/2 cup sour cream

2 rings cut off of a habernero pepper, finely chopped

Chipotle Pepper (ground)

To Make the Tortillas

4 eggs, beaten

3 tablespoons water

1/2 cup almond flour

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ground flaxseed

4 teaspoons grated parmesan

Dash sea salt

Generous dash chipotle pepper (ground)

1.  Whisk ingredients together to make batter.

2.  Pour batter in a thin layer on greased skillet.  Spread to make a tortilla approximately 6 inches across.  DO NOT POUR TOO THICKLY!

3.  Cook over medium heat until tortilla begins to set.  Flip and cook until done.

4.  Makes 8-10 tortillas.

To Make Casserole

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease casserole dish.

2.  Mix chorizo and 1 cup cheese in large bowl.

3.  Divide mixture evenly and roll up in tortillas and place seam side down in casserole dish.

4.   In the skillet, with remaining juices from chorizo, melt butter, stir in cream cheese and cook on low until melted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

5.  Stir in broth and simmer over medium heat, whisking until smooth and slightly thickened and bubbly, stirring frequently.

6.  Stir in sour cream, habernero, and chipotle pepper to taste.  Heat until warm.

7.  Pour sauce over enchiladas in casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

8.  Cook for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

 

 

Lesson 8: Everybody has a Story

Note: This is one of my 35 lessons in 35 years.  I know I’m doing two in a row, but that’s where the muse is leading me today.

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I have to admit that I have been looking forward to writing this post.

In high school English class, one of my favorite books was The Canterbury Tales.  I loved the idea of traveling on a journey together, and listening to everyone’s stories at night.  Because every story–true or not–tells so much about the teller, and provides a lesson for the listener, to either take or leave.

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In life, we’re all on that pilgrimage to Canterbury, and if we listen carefully, without judgement, we can hear the stories of our traveling companions.

Because everybody has at least one good story.

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Sometimes it’s a humorous story.  Often it’s a story about courage and overcoming, about beating insurmountable odds.  Sometimes it’s a story that the teller readily shares, and other times the telling of the story is the precious result of much listening, curiosity, and non-judgement.

The stories we tell are not factual accounts.  Over time, the details will change, so that the story becomes a reflection of who we are and the message we want to share.

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I started this blog with storytelling as my goal.  And I have shared with you many stories, both serious of humorous.  Stories of adventure, and of lessons learned on the way.

I would argue that every blog tells a story, even if it isn’t an obvious storytelling blog.  Pay attention to what you read, because the story is there.

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However, there are some excellent blogs that focus on storytelling, and I would like to share those with you today:

Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom
In the same spirit of Rachel Naomi Remen’s Kitchen Table Wisdom, Pat shares stories, around her “virtual kitchen table.”  Her stories are both nostalgic and timeless, and through reading her blog, you quickly begin to see Pat as an old friend.

The Joy of Simple
Lyle shares stories of living in a small apartment in Montreal.  This is a minimalist blog with a very personal touch, and I think you will enjoy reading it.

The Great Jollyhoombah
While this blog has officially ended, it still remains published, and I recommend stopping by, to read a story beautifully told.

Just a Backpack and a Rollie
This is a fun and insightful blog about a couple who are “rethinking retirement.”  Nancy shares her stories of living simply and adventuring.

The Smallish Blog
Evelyn shares tales and tips from living in 450 square feet with her family.  Her stories are spiritual, insightful, and sometimes just plain funny!

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Please feel free to share any good storytelling blogs that you enjoy reading.

But more importantly, please take the time to listen for the stories that the people around you have to share.  There is so much that we can learn from one another, if we only take the time to listen.

 

Lesson 7: Love versus Unconditional Love

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Note:  This is one of my 35 Lessons in 35 Years.

Like most people, I’ve spent much of my life seeking approval.  I wanted to be seen as strong, smart, driven, and responsible.  I made my choices based on this desire.

As a result, I had no opinions of my own.  I liked the same music as whoever I was with.  I went straight to college, after high school, and made that the primary focus of my life for 6 years.  I waited to get married.  I got a job in the area.  I left the trailer park we had been living in, to buy a house.

None of these choices were “good” or “bad”—there just were the choices I made.  There is no reason to regret any of them.  What does matter is that I made these choices with the goal of pleasing those around me.

I once read, in Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen, that the phrase “unconditional love” is redundant, because all love is unconditional.  And that anything else is just approval, which is a judgment.  I liked this, and I wrote a blog post about love and approval, Last Winter.

But I don’t entirely agree with what I’ve written.  Because I now see that approval doesn’t even exist.  People grant and deny approval based on their own fears and projections.

When people approve or disapprove of others’ actions, it might be because:

  • They’ve chosen a course of action that has made them so happy, that they want everyone to experience the same happiness.

 

  • They are feeling insecure in their choices and are seeking validation, by having someone make the same choice.

 

  • They have regrets about past choices, and wish to make amends by advising you to choose differently.

We all do all of these things, so we need to be understanding when we’re on the receiving end.  But we also need to realize that there is something going on, that has nothing to do with us.  It is important not to take the other person’s words at face value, and to understand that our choices really do have no bearing on whether the other person loves or accepts us.

Realizing this is difficult, when the opposite seems to be true.  It’s hard to remember that the person who seems to be disapproving of us and our choices, is really just acting out of fear.  Making choices based on this fear will do nothing to alleviate it in the long term.  So it is not worth it, to sell ourselves out, to make choices that are not true to our deepest dreams and desires, just to put a Band-Aid on someone’s deeper fear.  In the end, we need to answer to ourselves, regarding our choices.

I remember something one of my blogging friends said in the comments, on one of his posts.  He said, “We do what society wants us to do.  But who is society?  People!  And people want other people to be happy.”

So live your life, be happy, and don’t let fears of disapproval stand in your way!