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If you tried to send me a Linkedin request over the past dozen years or so, chances are I didn’t see it. Apologies if you think I was ignoring you. Please don’t take it personally. I was ignoring Linkedin.

Linkedin

A few months ago, I updated my Linkedin profile. I had originally set up my profile over a dozen years ago and wrote nothing on it. Current employer and title – that’s it. Andrew equates it to the equivalent of tumbleweeds. In large part, this was because I was happy where I was and didn’t need to be bothered with having recruiters solicit me. 

So while I was doing my rounds at the office saying my goodbyes, I decided to use Linkedin as a communication tool for the rest of my business contacts outside of Warner Bros. to let them know I had retired.

When it comes to Linkedin, my approach is to only accept connections with people I have worked with or went to school with. Basically, anyone I can readily vouch for in terms of abilities and competencies in a professional setting. Others seem to treat it as yet another social media platform to collect as many connections as they can.

I will probably go the other direction and cull individuals that I am really no longer in touch with, but I get ahead of myself.  

Adios

Over a weekend, I started to backfill content on my profile. I put all the impressive accomplishments from my resume on there and then (after a moment of reflection) got rid of all of it. I just put the names of the companies and the years of employment. I was done marketing my skills. I didn’t need a website profile to showcase abilities for a life I no longer want to pursue.

Linkedin also provides a feature where you can write articles. I was on a writing kick for serenadewind.com so I decided why not write a short blurb on my retirement. It was then that an article was going around Linkedin that drew my attention.

David Brook’s 5 minute TED Talks video Should you live for your resume…or your eulogy? The timing of this was uncanny. If you have 5 minutes to spare, it is well worth seeing. In this video, Mr. Brooks refers to a book written in 1965 by Joseph Soloveitchik called “The Lonely Man of Faith.”

Taking stock of life

This personal exercise came in handy for me to give some guidance to my mom who seems to have come untethered in recent months. I elaborated on this in a few blog posts and suffice it to say she is still in the midst of figuring this stuff out. I must admit that it is probably a harder thing to do after having a lifetime of habits and beliefs that spans 70+ years as opposed to 40+ years. 

Andrew and I married and moved in together a couple months before my father passed away. I wanted to live closer to my mom in the event that she needed any help. Within the first 6 months after the funeral, she completed the following:

  • sold a rental property,
  • bought a 2-bedroom condo with the proceeds,
  • downsized from a 4 bedroom, 3-car garage house,
  • did renovations on the 2-bedroom condo,
  • moved in, and
  • found a tenant to lease out her old place

So while Andrew and I lived close by, my mom didn’t really lean on us. Ironically, she is doing so now.

Why, after 5 years, is this happening? 

Second Mountain

Thankfully I had done my own work sorting out what I was planning to do with the rest of my life. I had a little head start in helping her redirect and not fall apart. I keep reminding her who she is and that what she is experiencing now is momentary. It is not permanent. 

She asks me for quick fixes. She prays incessantly, but has little faith. I take her through the various stages I went through and chronicled here on serenadewind, such as:

While many of you may have gone through this with your parents, this is new to me … this feeling of the student becoming the teacher. I am showing her the way to figure out what is her second mountain and how to live for her eulogy. 

In the words of Reinhold Niebuhr:

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love

No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.

 

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Before delving into today’s blog post which originated mid-April, I wanted to draw attention to world events that seem to collide with this topic.

There’s a tremendous amount of rhetoric around black lives matter following the tragedies of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Collins Khosa, Adama Traore and Belly Mujinga, and as a result, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets in Brussels, London, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Sydney, and across the U.S. 

In light of recent events, I am drawn to the word “privilege” since it is echoed throughout this blogpost. What does privilege mean among race, gender or gender identity, birth order, education, religion, income level, ethnic background, body type and other groupings including yacht clubs? Thanks to Peggy McIntosh, I am reminded of what it means to have privilege and how you can use the privilege you have to fight for equity.

How privileged are you? We all have a combination of unearned advantages and unearned disadvantages in life. And it changes minute by minute, depending on where we are, who we’re seeing, or what we’re required to do. So it is when we travel the world, we’ll introduce ourselves to different cultures and engage in interactions that allow us to see humanity in all of its variations and forms. 

 

 

Membership has its privileges

A few weeks ago, while Bill helped to validate our on-going boat costs, he suggested becoming a member of a yacht club to reduce our cruising expenses.

I don’t know about you but the image that I conjure up in my mind when someone mentions yacht clubs is the America’s Cup or an elitist, pretentious club or a rich guy sipping champagne while motoring on a mega-yacht. 

So when Bill mentioned this idea, it seemed to contradict our initial thoughts.

 

Aboard Pacific as we head to the start line of our race.

Cal Yacht Club

My first direct exposure to a yacht club came about 10 years ago. I sailed in California Yacht Club ‘s Sunset Series Regattas in the summer with Bluewater Sailing, one of the ASA schools in Marina del Rey and where I first learned to sail. 

Later on I joined CSC, a fractional-ownership club sailing a Catalina 36 called “Mystic” twice each month. In an effort to increase my time on the water and gain more experience on different boats, Jan from CSC put me in touch with some Cal Yacht Club members, and I crewed on “Pacific,” a 43′ Jeanneau. We raced in the cruising class and happened to take first place on July 16, 2014. (Thanks for cataloging my life, FB.)

At the time, I remember looking into becoming a member even though I didn’t own a boat, and I found it to be cost prohibitive. Ironically, I didn’t do any further research, which is unlike me. I probably could have found something that would suit my needs, but life got in the way.   

 

Photo courtesy of RYCT

Sailing Community

Despite our initial bias, when Bill give us the pros and cons of becoming a member of a yacht club, we were sold. Chief among the benefits was reciprocity with yacht clubs all over the world, which includes access and guest privileges to moorings and facilities.

Equally important is becoming a part of a large community of sailors, cruisers and racers. Even in the current age of communication made easy through social media and online communities, nothing can quite beat the connections fostered in-person with like-minded individuals.

Let’s take a poll

As a sanity check, I posed the question to some sailors in a Facebook Group (Women Who Sail) on the benefits of joining a yacht club and whether yacht clubs still had relevance in today’s era. The responses were overwhelmingly positive – 35 in favor and 2 against. I grouped the responses into categories and tallied up the benefits. Here are the results:

  1. Friendship/community/2nd family – 27
  2. Good facilities/mooring – 14
  3. Learning new skills – 11
  4. Boat talk/knowledge transfer – 10
  5. Reciprocal benefits with other yacht clubs – 9
  6. Traveling together/rendezvous – 6
  7. Racing / regattas – 6
  8. No bullshit – 4 

What strikes me about these results is how deeply ingrained these friendships can be. There was a sense that they looked out for each other and each other’s boats. A couple sailors were turned off by their experience, and largely it was due to a poor fit. In the matchmaking game of sailor and yacht club, that seems reasonable not to have a good match on the outset every time … to bat a thousand, so to speak.

Case study

So with that backdrop in mind, we were provided a very personal first hand account of a lifelong friendship that came about from being part of a yacht club. Bill put us in touch with one of his best friends, who shared with us his background in boating. 

Hugh did not come from a boating family. He started at the age of 15, by volunteering to launch 12′ dinghies at the local yacht club every Saturday morning. Sailing dinghies led to small keelboats. Eventually, he built his first ocean racer “Glenshiel” and launching her in 1957. The love of his life was Glenshiel v11, an Adams 40′ fast cruising yacht, upon which he has lived his dream of logging over 100,000 miles around the Pacific including a circumnavigation of Australia. 

Hugh tells us how he first met Bill over 30 years ago. 

I first met Bill one fine Monday night whilst having my regular beers with my crew at the Royal Yacht Club Of Tasmania when a beautiful yacht moored in the marina.

We walked out, beers in hand to greet the new arrival and were amazed to see the name Rachael J Slocum London on the transom. We hadn’t had a visiting Yacht from the U.K. since just after World War 2!

My hail of “Ahoy” brought a face up from down below and of course it was Bill.

In addition to sharing his time with us and answering our questions, he also sponsored our membership to the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. 

 

Photo courtesy of RYCT

RYCT

 

The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, is the largest yacht club in the Australian state of Tasmania. It is best known for its role as the finishing destination for the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The club sports a range of facilities, from a 120-berth marina to on-site maintenance facilities.

Originally known as the Derwent Sailing Boat Club, for its location on the Derwent River in Hobart, the club was founded in 1880. It was called such for thirty years until, in 1910, King Edward VII granted the organization permission to use the prefix “Royal”.

We’re officially yachties!

Membership Process

Ever since Bill planted the idea in our heads, we have popped onto the RYCT Facebook page to catch up on the weekly updates announced by Commodore Tracy Matthews.

We have also taken to watching footage of the 2019 Sydney to Hobart race, though I do keep falling asleep before they arrive in Hobart. This historic 75th race was particularly slow-going at the end, as the winds dropped to 2 knots, and it took forever before Comanche would cross the finish line. I’m sure it was more agonizing for the sailors!

Meanwhile, the RYCT board met on April 28th and our application was tabled for consideration. In the ensuing month, our application is displayed on the Club’s notice board for member review. Nominations are ratified at the next Board Meeting if there are no objections. That meeting took place May 29th, and we were officially made members!

 

Photo courtesy of RYCT

Future Sailing Plans

The rest of our sailing plans for 2020 will find us in the Caribbean in December and early 2021. Beyond that, we are looking ahead to cross the Panama Canal and head across the Pacific to the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia,

As intrigued as we are about the stories told by Bill and his wife when they rounded Cape Horn, we will likely attempt that on the next circumnavigation. In the 2021/22 season, we will have our sights on sailing to Tasmania to pour a whiskey cocktail for Hugh… perhaps The Andrew , a cocktail that was named after Serenade Wind’s captain. 

Photo courtesy of RYCT

Lucky seems to be too small a word to describe how we feel about this path. We are incredibly grateful for this initial glimpse into the future life we are embarking on. It is hard to hold back our excitement, but we remain vigilant in following the protocols set forth by the governments in California, Massachusetts and Florida. 

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Before jumping into our topic today about packing light, we wanted to highlight news about Patrick and Rebecca Childress of s/v Brick House. Their youtube channel has been an inspiration for both of us, and we were quite literally shocked to find out that they were both diagnosed with coronavirus on May 15th.

 

While Rebecca is slowly recovering aboard their boat in South Africa, Patrick was admitted into the ICU and has been on a ventilator and is experiencing kidney failure. Their insurance claim has been denied since it does not cover pandemic, so we have donated to help them out.

 

Money should be the worst and last thing anyone in this situation would need to worry about. Having Patrick come back home as soon as possible to Rebecca… that’s what is important.

 

If you would also like to help, here is the GoFundMe to support them. Thank you.

 

 

30-weeks to minimalism kicked off the first of a 5 part series on getting prepared to live on a sailboat. This begins by downsizing many of our land-based belongings. We made a yeoman’s effort earlier this year, but in this post, we take a critical eye at clothes and consider packing light.

 

This also gives us an opportunity to give you a boat tour of s/v Rachel J. Slocum. 

 

“He who would travel happily must travel light.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Business Globetrotter

In my 30’s, I caught the travel bug after my first business trip to Milan when I was working at Universal Studios. Eventually, this lead to a business development position at Technicolor, where I flew to Asia and Europe with some frequency. During the few hours I could steal way between meetings, I would visit sites profiled in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. Back then, packing light was desirable when I would be in a different city each night while circumnavigating the world.

Now, packing light is an imperative as we embark on our sailing adventure. 

Leisure Packing

When Andrew and I began to travel together, it didn’t take long nor did it take much discussion before we began to pack all our belongings into one bag. Yes ladies, one single bag. Shocking, I know.

Andrew usually took the lead, gathering all that would be needed on a trip.

The first of our trips was camping and hiking to a few of the highest peaks in California (San Gorgonio and San Jacinto). Because he was more familiar with the gear, he selected and packed in Tetris-like fashion everything that we needed into our packs. He would take into consideration balancing the weight in addition to the bulk of hard vs soft items. All-in-all, a thoughtful approach. 

When we went on our honeymoon for two weeks traveling throughout Japan and Taiwan, we each carried a backpack, opting to stay in AirBnB’s to do our laundry every couple of days for the few clothes we carried.

As a result, we discovered the pleasure of staying nimble so we can take impromptu excursions and side-trips. For example, just as when we were headed for Kyoto, we took a detour to hike Poet’s Mountain. There’s no way we would have done that with a roller-bag.

So with this background, we turn to packing for the rest of our life in a 50′ sailboat. 

Packing Light

How do you go about packing for the rest of your life?

We started by taking measurements of some of the interior spaces of s/v Rachel J. Slocum during our visit to Ft. Lauderdale in March. 

While Bill was taking Andrew through some of the topside features of the boat, his wife and I went down below while I recorded the measurements of each of the drawers and hanging lockers, paying attention primarily to the areas for personal items. 

Spaces in the bilge, under the settee, pantry storage, v-berth where the workshop is located – I didn’t bother measuring, since I envisioned all the spares, tools and provisions would be allocated to these spaces. 

So with these few bits of information, we could begin to formulate a plan.  

Clothes

One of the most impactful changes will be downsizing clothes for this lifestyle. In our house, our clothes currently occupy 5 closets, 4 dressers, and a linen closet. This is roughly 510 cubic feet of space.

While I easily have 2-3 times more clothes than Andrew, we both have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to preparing for this lifestyle. 

Storage Options

In the owner’s cabin of s/v Rachel J. Slocum, there is a single dresser (8 drawers), 2 hanging lockers, and 2 hatches above the bookshelves next to the bed.

Additionally, there are two other hanging lockers: one located just outside the v-berth and another next to the companion way to stow foul weather gear.

This is about 65 cubic feet of space compared to 510 cubic feet which we have in our home. This requires that we be ruthless to reduce our possessions by 85% or more.

In 30-weeks to minimalism , we talked about purging by knocking out each category one at a time. This helped to get rid of two closets worth of clothes, and I was quite proud of that effort. However when I looked at the storage options available on RJ Slocum, I knew I needed to start from zero and only take what I need and could fit aboard.

Technical Gear

Thanks to several years and thousands of dollars spent on Lululemon, we have more than enough athletic and technical clothes to choose to bring with us aboard. By technical clothes, we mean fast drying, sweat wicking, UPF, waterproof, windproof, and insulating yet breathable clothing.

We also have a variety of clothes from Arc’teryx, Ex Officio, Kit and Ace, The North Face, REI among others, If we want to remain comfortable at sea, gone are the cottons, silks, linens, leather, wool and other fabrics that will not hold up well to this lifestyle. A tropical marine environment spawns mold and mildew if you’re not careful. Additionally, salt water and sun will take their toll on everything. 

Storage Solutions

To store these clothes, we’ll use a variety of techniques that many apartment dwellers use to save on space. These include:

  • stackable hangers
  • folding the Marie Kondo way
  • vacuum bags for seasonal items

As for shoes, marine shoes, flip flops, hiking boots, etc. will be stored in plastic milk crates for ventilation at the base of the hanging lockers. Dirty laundry will also be stored in milk crates.

Foul weather gear will go in the locker closest to the companion way.

 

Notice the measurements labeled in both the hanging space as well as the drawers.

Practicum

To put this into practice, I taped off and measured 20″ of hanging locker space for myself, 12″ of foul weather gear locker space (of which I would take up half), and the precise dimensions of the 4 drawers I would take up on RJS for clothes. When I saw the amount of space I had available to me, it was sobering. For many women, it would be a shock.

Then, I referred to Beth Leonard’s The Voyager’s Handbook which detailed the number and type of items considered the minimum to pack for a tropical and temperate cruising destination (e.g., 10 t-shirts, 4 tank tops, etc.)

In other words, these all went into the “Yes” pile. What I had already pre-selected several weeks ago became the new “Maybe” pile. Any category of clothes that had not yet been screened automatically went into the “No” pile. 

All of a sudden, I was done and packing light became a reality. 

Food for Thought

When this experiment was near complete, I showed Andrew the approach and he was excited equally enthusiastic about the results. He then threw in the potential for taking more items if we were to vacuum seal some of the items from the “maybe” pile so that we wouldn’t wont for more. 

This is one of the many examples of the “battle of the givers.” I found a way to become at peace with less and he gave me a way to take more and not feel quite as much sacrifice. Rather than packing light, I would then be packing medium… at least until we arrive and assess what additional storage could really be found.

How to handle rejection

For the clothes that are in the reject pile, they can be gifted, sold or donated. Going Zero Waste provides some ideas for organizations that will take donations of unusual items such as bras, eyeglasses, cosmetics and shoes. Before tossing anything, we will also be taking advantage of TerraCycle to determine what to do with other waste streams.

 

How we selected clothes and linens for our voyaging life. 

Progress to date

as of May 18, 2020

The table details our approach: on the left is the choices we will make for clothes and on the right is for linens. Beginning with a list of all of the items and working from left to right, each item is assigned some relevance (marked in orange) for sailing in high-latitude, temperate or tropic climates. Each item is also given a minimum number or range required as per The Voyager’s Handbook. Additional clothes were itemized if they weren’t listed in the handbook (e.g., pajamas, climbing gear, vest, etc.) 

I filled out the next 2 columns based on a) items that fit in the allotted hanging locker and drawers and b) optional items I would like to take if there is more room aboard the boat. The next 2 columns were filled out by Andrew.

Andrew had a chance to tackle his closet with the same rigorous editing. Going into it, he thought it would be easy, breezy. About 30 minutes into the process, he realized this was going to be a grind. While I sat on the bed happily knitting, I would field his packing-related questions. By lunchtime, he had gone through his wardrobe and he felt good about the progress he made. While he didn’t take the final step as I did, which was to pack all of the items into a suitcase, he now has everything in order, except for shoes.

Linens was also a topic of conversation over the past week. We will provide more details on that when we discuss the Boat Head

 

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Pandemic Life

We are all doing our part to stay home and save lives. In other words… Cook now explore later. Many of you are cooking every single night, and my hat’s off to you. I prefer to cook a feast, and enjoy leftovers throughout the week. 

Below are some of the tried and true recipes that we feature in our home throughout the year and especially now during the coronavirus pandemic. While we’re staying at home, we are busy taking these recipes and boat-proofing them, so that we can glide into our new adventure well-fed and happy.

Parmesan-stuffed Dates wrapped in Bacon

We made a brief mention in our blog post Go/No-Go, and these certainly deserve an in-depth mention.  

Three simple ingredients make up these little flavor bombs. This delicious smoky sweet appetizer is a product of the Suzanne Goin, chef de cuisine of A.O.C. in Los Angeles. I’ve made them countless of times for parties. Each of the ingredients store well, so you can make a batch now, later or anytime in between.

These same ingredients can also be tossed into a scone to deliver a sweet-savory breakfast or filling treat throughout the day. I think they would be perfect while on passage. This recipe is courtesy of Gjelina chef Travis Lett and pastry chef Meave Mcauliffe. 

Momofuku Braised Beef Short Ribs

The flavors from this Momofuku recipe by David Chang remind me of home cooking. Much like other recipes featured here, this one is fool-proof and delicious. If cuts of short rib are not available at the market, I will opt for cuts from the shoulder, leg or rump – anything with lots of connective tissue chuck, shank, brisket and oxtail. 

One of the few modifications I will make to this is to go easy on the soy sauce. I’ll control the seasoning afterward, but once you commit to this much soy sauce, you can’t really go back.

Substitutions can also be made for the type of acid you use. Pear juice can be swapped out for apple, pineapple and orange with no discernible compromise to taste.

I’m also a bit lazy when it comes to heating up the braising liquid. After I place the browned meat in the slow cooker, I pour all the other ingredients in, give it a quick stir to incorporate and then walk away. 

Note that the aroma in the house will drive you bananas. Make sure there’s adequate ventilation or possibly try to do this one overnight. Because if you’re sitting in the saloon of your boat with these smells wafting over you, you may quite literally eat everything out of your fridge and pantry.

 

The Soup Nazi’s Indian Mulligatawny Soup

					ELAINE
			Do you need anything? 

					KRAMER
			Oh, a hot bowl of Mulligatawny would 
		        hit the spot.  

					ELAINE
			Mulligatawny? 

                                        KRAMER 
                        Yeah, it's an Indian soup. Simmered
                        to perfection by one of the great 
                        soup artisans in the modern era.

                                        ELAINE
                        Oh. Who, the Soup Nazi?

                                        KRAMER
                        He's not a Nazi. He just happens to
                        be a little eccentric. You know,
                        most geniuses are.

 

Todd Wilbur of Top Secret Recipes published this recipe many years ago. My first attempt was in 2008 when I was nostalgic for a Mulligatawny soup featured at the commissary of Universal Studios. With whatever I had in hand, I threw this together one rainy afternoon. Paired with a side of crusty bread, this will hit the spot in the days to come as we binge watch Seinfeld episodes. 

Craig Ponsford’s Ciabatta

These days of retirement allow me to once again explore the world of baking artisan breads. Mix four ingredients (flour, water, yeast, salt), vary three dimensions (temperature, time and technique) and you can develop so many different types of crumb.

One of my favorites is the baker’s percentage formula offered up from Craig Ponsford, a renowned baker in Sonoma, California. It takes a lot of time and is a very wet dough, but the results are worth it. 

A few years ago, when Andrew baked cozonac for me, we got a hold of some fresh yeast. He portioned it out and placed it in the freezer. I pulled out a 100 g portion and made a poolish. Most of the poolish I refroze and the first portion I used as a starter for two loaves of no-knead bread, baked in a Dutch oven. And for Easter this year, I surprised Andrew by baking 3 loaves of cozonac for him, but putting my own twist on the recipe by adding dark chocolate chips and omitting raisins. 

Once we get through all the yeast, we will be embarking on a sourdough adventure with our own homegrown starter thanks to the inspirational sourdough bread Youtube video from Patrick Ryan. 

French Onion Soup

Certain sections of the grocery stores were sold out of items: flour, pasta, potatoes and onions. When I grabbed a bag of Mayan sweet onions, I should have taken a closer look. They had softened within a couple days, and I had to quickly use up a lot of onions in a short period of time. I turned to a tried and true recipe for French Onion Soup from The Joy of Cooking. Luckily, I also had a few quarts of homemade chicken broth in the freezer so this recipe came together pretty easily. 

These days, I am inventorying items that we will be taking aboard s/v Rachel J. Slocum. The versatility and comprehensiveness of The Joy of Cooking will make it a definite choice. Some celebrity chef cookbooks will probably not stand the test of time.

What will survive will be the recipes I have collected and cooked over many years. Those will need to be digitized so I would still have them as a reference. 

Breakfast Casserole

When I worked at Warner Bros, my department was big on potlucks. Each birthday was generally celebrated with bringing in food to share in honor of our work colleague.

Most of the time we celebrated with a breakfast potluck. Muffins and donuts were often featured. Since I prefer savory foods, I would usually come up with a salty option. I would alternate between this breakfast sausage casserole recipe or a spinach and cheese strata, depending on the ingredients I would have on hand. 

This background in cooking in large quantities helped a lot when it came to cooking aboard sailing vacations, when we would each take shifts in cooking for 10-12 people and you want the food to come out at the same time. 

Shepherd’s Pie

In Good Eats, host Alton Brown would describe the science of cooking, which I found useful.

What happens when you introduce heat to a protein?

How do glutens form?

What is Maillard reaction?

For me, understanding these aspects helps me become a better cook. I find these cooking shows offer recipes that deliver the goods compared to other celebrity chefs whose shows are beautifully photographed, but whose recipes taste like crap. 

Here is Alton Brown’s recipe for Shepherd’s Pie. We try to keep to ground lamb for authenticity and taste, but if you find lamb to be too gamey, try 50/50 with lamb and beef. 

Boat Life

These recipes translate well to boat living, for the following reasons:

  • Provisioning

When you consider provisioning for a boat, think in terms of ingredients that serve as the basis for several recipes. Mirepoix is a great example of this. Carrots, celery and onion with chicken broth make a delicious soup on its own. In its individual components, the onion is the basis for french onion soup. In aggregate, the mirepoix in chunkier form can be used with the Momofuku recipe or in smaller diced form can be used with the Shepherd’s Pie.

  • Storage

These dishes profiled here also store well, not only the finished product but also the ingredients. Carrots, celery or celery root, and onions keep for weeks without refrigeration. Same with figs, flour and many pantry items. Once cooked, the items portion and reheat well for serving.

  • Family-style

When I was cooking aboard a Leopard 384 in the BVI, these recipes allowed me to serve a hot meal to large crew in a pinch. Traditionally, I have made the braised short ribs and both soups in a slowcooker. Both can be started on a stove top and finished in an oven. 

We are also experimenting in pressure cooker-friendly recipes so we can retire the slow cooker, and opt for an energy and time efficient method. We wrote about the Country-Style Pork Ribs prepared in a pressure cooker. Turned out, they weren’t as tender as the low and slow method. They are a decent option when you look at the big picture and weigh all variables. 

When we experiment with the beef short ribs, they were fantastic! The preferred method will be to use the pressure cooker from now on. I would even say they turned out significantly better than the slow cooker option, which yielded cuts that ironically had toughed up. We are throwing that batch into ramen to compensate for dryness. The pressure cooker version was tender and melty.

Parting Thoughts

As we continue to be in our “cook now explore later” mode, we’ve been watching a fair amount of sailing videos, most recently Sailing Project Atticus.

In this episode, Desiree was providing a tour of the galley, including where she stored provisions and her use of combining canned goods with fresh produce to create meals. It then occurred to me that I cook almost entirely with fresh food. Over the next few weeks, I have an opportunity to hone in the skill of cooking with canned food.

In the next culinary adventure post, we will profile our favorite recipes that primarily rely on canned goods. Stay tuned!

 

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

This post was originally written in February, 2020. These days, there are very few options to buy items with stores shuttering temporarily due to stay-home measures to slow down the spread of coronavirus. This message becomes all the more relevant for those of you who would like to take stock of what you have around you, and MacGuyver it up! 

 

make vs buy

It’s been about 10 days since I began to bullet journal. So far, it’s going well. I’m taking a somewhat minimalist approach so that I build pages as I need them. And I try not to do anything too fancy or flowery.

I do however have to carry a small cache of writing supplies, which can be awkward.

 

Typically when a need arises, we generally think about buying a product. It’s a pretty ingrained habit that we all share. We all live in towns where there are plenty of places that would be delighted to sell you their wares. So it is perfectly natural to hop in your car, drive to the nearest store, and purchase whatever it is you need.

Now think about being in the middle of an ocean when a need arises.

Cabo Rico 38 Photo: Neville Hockley

Where is the nearest store?

Maybe if you’re lucky, it’s a few days away.

But maybe you’ll be in the middle of passage making, and you’ll have to improvise a solution to your need before you reach shore. While needing a pencil case and being stuck in the middle of an ocean seem like two unrelated topics, they marry up in my mind as follows:

Here is an opportunity to break a habit. Rather than instinctually driving to the nearest Michael’s, Office Depot, etc., why don’t I look around my house and create a solution based on what I already have?

This is the beauty of upcycling.

Current items around you suddenly become raw material to be transformed into something else which serves a better use.

I’m a sucker for life hacks and upcycling videos, so when I came across a youtube video from WhatsUpMoms  that seemed to serve my need, I went about and assembled the supplies: duct tape, ziploc bag, and scissors.

Five minutes later, I had a pencil case. I felt pretty proud of myself being resourceful. 

10 days later…

The duct-taped ziploc case turned out to be rather flimsy. In my haste, I had chosen a ziploc bag that had already been used for my knitting projects, so the zipper had a tendency to go off the rails (so to speak). It was time to improvise another solution.

Ironically, my first instinct kicked in. My brain fixated on a cute pencil case at Michael’s with the tag line: “Stay Humble. Work Hard. Pet Cats.” I had to shut down that thought and challenge myself to be resourceful.

 

 

So, the next idea was to knit a pencil carrying case. I scoured the nets for patterns and settled on a felted pencil case pattern from Lion Brand Yarns. I went into my stash of 100% wool yarns, selected a skein of black Patons worsted weight yarn, doubled up the strands and happily began to knit this project. Two days and two loads of laundry later (in order to felt the finished object), I have a new pencil case. It’s in need of a button to secure the opening, but other than that, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. 

Another 10 days later…

The pencil case is still holding up well. While it may not have a cute tag line, there’s nothing to stop me from embroidering a design and making it not only my own but stylish.

Post Script

Six weeks ago when I wrote this post, who could have envisioned the world and circumstances we live in today? Many businesses shuttered temporarily; some may be going out of business as they don’t have sufficient working capital. We are donating and financially supporting some of our favorite businesses, because we see the long term value in them or believe in their mission. This is part and parcel of serenadewind’s non-profit charter. 

However, when the services and products are not available, we are also left with the choice of giving up or doing something about it. We choose the latter.

As individuals hunkered down at home, here is an opportunity to not be a victim to a situation. Necessity is the mother of invention. Improvise a solution based on what you have at home. If you are short on ideas, there are so many life hack videos to help out with that. Here are links to life hacks or upcycle ideas to get you started. Check out MacGuyver episodes (original or reboot) to find inspiration.

The point is to feel empowered, take action and stay positive. 

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Going with the flow

It was fairly early on in our relationship and Andrew introduced this notion of going with the flow. I am a planner. I have always looked at an empty day as filled with opportunities to cram activity in every hour – no, every last minute. This is especially true when traveling.

Meeting Andrew however changed my approach to life in a meaningful way.

Starting Small

Not long after we first met, we began to spend entire weekends together. We lived 70 miles apart and often times it wasn’t worth splitting weekends at each other’s apartment. What became readily apparent was my tendency to plan these weekends with gusto, given they came at a high premium with the commute. In very much the same way as my friends who have children, and their weekends are non-stop with back-to-back activities, our weekends often become more exhausting than the work week. 

At some point, Andrew asked the question, “Why don’t we just take it easy. We’ll play the weekend by ear. When we wake up Saturday morning, let’s see how we feel. And then we can decide what we want to do.” 

The planner in me paused, reflected on this suggestion and replied, “Yes, why not?”

In effect, I was starting to open up to the possibilities that come with going with the flow…

“All things change, nothing is extinguished. There is nothing in the whole world which is permanent. Everything flows onward; all things are brought into being with a changing nature; the ages themselves glide by in constant movement.”

Ovid

 

“Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river.”

Lao Tzu