Reading Time: 4 minutes

Maximizing priorities

A few months ago, we launched our 30-weeks to minimalism initiative. This helped tremendously to sort through what we needed to take with us aboard RJ Slocum.

I turned to the experts (the Women Who Sail facebook group that I am part of) and searched for ideas in the past on what we do once we figure out what stays and what goes. Local auction for furniture, estate sale broker (e.g., Grasons ), consignment shops, Free Cycle and simply giving stuff away to friends and family. 

Unfortunately, we were in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, so the usual outlets of selling items or donating to charity were not available to us. What to do?

I took the ideas that worked in the past and weighed them against our goals. In order of priority, here is what we want to maximize first:

  1. Matching gifts – finding the best homes for each item
  2. Speed – showing progress while not living in disarray
  3. Value – adding more funds to our cruising kitty

 

1 – Matching gifts

Given the fact that we have the summer months to do this, we already started to think about which of our friends could most appreciate or use some of these items. We are happy to give these things away and seek no quid pro quo.

This of course is a slow-going process, in particular because it is being handled solo while Andrew works full time.

 

2 – Speed

I was stewing over the lack of progress. The fact was we rearranged items (much like deck chairs on the Titanic), but nothing was moving out of our house. I was still staring at closets full of clothes… and everywhere I looked, we still had a house full of stuff.

My frustration came out one weekend in early June. Andrew was blindsided by this one Saturday morning during his first cup of coffee.

He asked, “What can I do to help you?” 

Over the next hour, we had a discussion about what we want out of this process, and it boiled down to the priorities we set above. My frustration however came from feeling as though I was handling this all by myself when we agreed months ago that this would be a team effort. I was also annoyed over the delays caused by coronavirus, and he assured me that, in time, charities will open up again, and those avenues will be available to us once again.

It was then that I realized that my impatience was my undoing. 

The other factor we need to weigh is the unknown stowage space aboard RJ Slocum. Other than the few measurements taken for lockers and drawers for clothes, we don’t know how much space remains. This is a variable that we won’t know until we head back to Ft Lauderdale at the end of summer. 

So inevitably, we are resigned to shipping to Florida more than what we can fit on the boat. As a result, we’ll have to do another round of purging once we get there, which is another lesson in learning to go with the flow

 

Wedding photos taken at Side Door, Corona del Mar. Feb. 2015

3 – Value

When we can’t find a friend who wants an item and we think we can fetch some doubloons to top up our cruising kitty, we will look to sell the items. This could be once-worn couture wedding dress, Japanese sword, bespoke dresses (sari and qipao) made in Mumbai and Hong Kong, designer clothes, shoes and jewelry, etc. I’ve started a spreadsheet detailing where these items would go to keep everything organized. 

Some of the organizations include:

If you want a copy of the detailed spreadsheet, send us an email and we’re happy to share it with you.

 

Go Green

In September after we have a chance to evaluate the stowage situation on RJ Slocum, we’ll re-evaluate what we have and then there will be a flurry of activity before we ship anything to Florida.

I’m intrigued by participating in some local organizations, such as the Facebook Buy Nothing Project and find their mission and principles are consistent with our philosophy.

Just as we discovered when we decided to pack light, we came across Going Zero Waste  provides some ideas for organizations that will take donations of unusual items such as braseyeglasses, cosmetics and shoes. Before tossing anything, we will also be taking advantage of TerraCycle to determine what to do with other waste streams.

It’s not easy being green. 

 

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Lifecycle of Ingredients

If you’ve followed our Culinary Adventures, you’ll start to see a theme of no waste in this household. We love cooking and riffing off recipes. Sometimes, this will evolve over the lifecycle of ingredients to create some fun, novel adventures in cooking and help us when we live aboard RJ Slocum.

Turkey 5 ways

It all started when I was a kid and the values instilled in me by my parents when it came to economizing and thrift.

Not only were they homesteaders (before it became en vogue) growing avocado, corn, sugarcane and wheatgrass in our backyard, my parents never wasted food once it was cooked. Bulk dishes became leftovers that extended over days (or sometimes weeks) until depleted.

I’ve taken that principle and elevated it to a new art form … because, you see, I like variety.

The lifecycle of ingredients made up of leftovers became a culinary challenge that I learned at Wellesley College, my alma mater. The dining hall weekly menu would feature something like the following: 

  • Monday – roast turkey
  • Tuesday – turkey soup
  • Wednesday – turkey pot pie
  • Thursday – turkey tetrazzini  
  • Friday – turkey ice cream (just kidding)

Journey vs Destination

This was, of course, all very surprising to Andrew because he has a different approach to cooking. He once told me an anecdote of his culinary experiment to master the art of cooking fried rice.

His process would be to cook a batch of fried rice and if there was something off about it, he would throw it out. All of it. Andrew would then repeat the process over and over again. The garbage would have countless pounds of fried rice ready for the dumpster. In his quest for mastery, he valued learning the skill over the end product.

I can understand that principle… in theory.

Had we known each other back then, however, I would have quietly siphoned off each batch of fried rice into Tupperware containers and place them into the freezer to be repurposed for other dishes, such as

  • a cheesy frittata
  • roll them into balls, cover them in panko breadcrumbs and fry them up
  • place them in a rich flavorful broth with some hand-torn roast chicken 

We would have made a great team back then, as we do now.

Stage 1 Meals

I share this backstory so you get a feel for how we will be approaching our life aboard RJ Slocum.

The kinds of dishes that will be prepared at anchor will primarily be bulk cooking that can be tailored and elevated when we are on passage. Here are some of the ideas that you can take with some basic stage one meals laid out in the following hierarchy:

  • Stage 1
    • Stage 2+

 

  • Braised beef or pork
    • poutine
    • ramen
    • fried rice
  • Grilled salmon
    • salmon cakes
    • chowder
    • pasta salad
  • Steamed rice
    • fried rice
    • congee
    • risotto balls
  • Roasted chicken
    • chicken soup
    • chicken salad/sandwiches
  • Roasted vegetables
    • vegetable soup
    • strata
    • omlette
  • Bread
    • pizza
    • breakfast casserole
    • french toast

The best way to incorporate these ingredients is with eggs, milk, bacon and cheese along with varying up herbs and spices to give them another dimension. Taste the dishes as you prepare them and you’ll be able to adjust along the way so there are no surprises with your final product.

While we’re still observing social distancing and staying at home to prepare our meals, we are using this opportunity to continue to refine our skills for life aboard a sailboat.

We hope you find these ideas useful.

 

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Catching Zzz’s

Since December, I have battled with fairly persistent insomnia. Falling asleep isn’t my problem. It’s staying asleep.

Usually, I will wake up in the small hours of the morning and stay awake for a few hours. If I’m lucky, I will drift back to sleep around 5 or 6 a.m. If not, I push on until the following night and crash between 9 and 10 p.m. In the past, insomnia occurred in my life when there was great upheaval.

Over the course of the past 6 months, the events which caused upheaval include:

  • Internalizing on the debate that began on the Whiteboard
  • My mind pinballing on the implications of turning my life 180 degrees
  • Post-Warner Bros. and experiencing retirement living 

Couple these factors with the coronavirus pandemic and it’s impact on our near-term sailing plans. and it’s no wonder insomnia has been an on-going battle.

Many of you may also be experiencing insomnia. Sleep has become the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic as reported in The Harvard Gazette.  

Short-term Goal

Even before I left Warner Bros., I had outlined my short term goal which was to focus on health and in particular being able to restore healthy sleeping patterns.

Rather than continue taking OTC’s (e.g., Benadryl and melatonin), I decided to seek help. I wanted to find a healthier and sustainable solution. As many of you who cope with insomnia know, addressing the root cause takes time. In the mean time, making little progress in dealing with stressors also can cause stress and compromise sleep.

So at the same time I am working on this, I went to see my acupuncturist, Dr. Lee

Eastern vs Western

My parents were way ahead of their time. During my childhood in the 1980’s, my parents introduced us to acupuncture among other novelties such as wheat grass juice and solar energy. 

My dad was a licensed practitioner of traditional Chinese Medicine. During his schooling, he would practice on my brother and I. We would have to make up symptoms for him to diagnose, and he would use a ballpoint pen to mark where he would place the needles. When I relayed this story to my acupuncturist, Dr. Lee laughed saying his father who is an acupuncturist in South Korea did the same thing to him as well when he was growing up.

Unfortunately, my father’s practice languished as this form of medicine wasn’t a covered benefit. Acupuncture did not make its way into the mainstream until decades later, well into the aughts. Once it became a covered benefit under Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act (enacted in March 2010), the use and practice of acupuncture took off. 

Given this background of exploring alternative approaches to living and taking into account eastern medicine and lifestyles, I didn’t have any skepticism toward acupuncture.

We live in a plural society, and I embrace the benefits of all that it entails. 

Orange Acupuncture

For the most part, I have received acupuncture treatments primarily to boost my immune system and help me recover from the flu. Since December, Dr. Lee has been helping me out with insomnia, and at the same time, has treated me after various accidents.

It must be said that I am a clumsy person. Bruises and scrapes are fairly commonplace, and they occur for the following reasons:

  1. Active lifestyle – snowboarding, rock climbing, and sailing (boat bruises)
  2. Tunnel vision – I tend to be focused on a task at hand and unaware of my environment, thus colliding into desks, coffee tables and other hard objects.
  3. Curiosity – wide interest to try new things, most recently longboarding

1 – Active Lifestyle

At each visit, I provide him with a rundown of my sleeping pattern chronicled in my Bullet Journal. On a few occasions, I will also mention my latest injury.

Dr. Lee may be surprised that a near 50-year old woman engages in these types of activities that would cause injury, but he is also sympathetic and worried. Here is a rundown of what has happened so far this year:

The first accident came as a result of taking a whipper in the climbing gym and my spine took a blow against the harness. The second accident came from the dock debacle detailed in Project Slocum, Part 5, and while I had a few bruises and scrapes, nothing really required treatment. The third came from a longboard accident earlier this week. 

In the spirit of maintaining our social distance while still trying to stay active, Andrew and I started to longboard around our neighborhood. Five minutes into the activity, I took a hard fall and landed on my butt. Luckily, I didn’t land on my tailbone. This fall however injured my wrist and compressed my spine, which needed some acupuncture treatment. 

So, even though I am near successful in getting back to a healthy sleeping pattern, it seems my continued clumsiness may require additional visits to the acupuncturist. 

2 – Tunnel Vision

Andrew is particularly observant and noticing things around him, as well as getting a read on me and my moods. He is always on the look out for me as well when we do things. This complements my lack of awareness. Could be that I am accident-prone, space cadet or have a tendency to be utterly preoccupied in my own thoughts – no matter the reason, bumps and bruises, scrapes and falls, as well as torn ligaments are part and parcel of the life I choose to lead.  

3 – Curiosity

As a result this, Dr. Lee tells me I shouldn’t keep putting my body to the test. 

But I wonder, why not? What is life for but to live it to its fullest? I realize I am not in my teens or 20’s, however I’m certainly not being reckless. Within the confines of what is reasonable, I say “Carpe diem!”  

For fans of the movie Dead Poet’s Society, John Keating played by Robin Williams challenges his students to live life, whispering the legacy of students who came before,

“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your life extraordinary.” 

Support Local

And so I will continue to take calculated risks so I can live a full life. In the process, I may continue to accumulate some minor injuries. It’s a small price to pay… and it could help to support local businesses too. 

From A to Z, here are the other small businesses that we are supporting:

  • Altayebat – Middle Eastern store that has the freshest butchered meat and our favorite place to source lamb, puff pastry, pistachios and brown sugar cubes
  • Cortina’s – family-owned pizza and Italian market, which has the best pizza and sandwiches for take-out. Great source for cheeses, in-house pasta and porcini mushrooms which we have ordered in bulk at cost
  • International Meat and Deli – this is a family-owned Romanian store where we stock up on our supplies of sausages, in-house smoked bacon, Borsec and Vegeta
  • Orange Acupuncture – weekly visits to treat some chronic conditions (insomnia and allergies) with occasional accidents or sports-related injuries. The latest came while learning basic martial arts when I tweaked my back while tumbling on the mat. 
  • Pollo Fresco LLC – farm fresh chicken and eggs… whenever we have a hankering to make Hainan chicken, we’ll stock up chicken from here
  • Sender One – while our climbing gym is closed during this pandemic, we continue to donate to help cover furloughed employees 
  • Zion Market – small chain of Korean grocery stores that carry marinated bulgogi, beef shorts, and chicken teriyaki. Some locations have a Paris Baguette (where I stock up on cream bread for the absolute best grilled cheese sandwich). Note, this is a great place to source wheat flour for baking when all the major supermarket chains have run out

 

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Where’s the nearest barber?

Part of embarking on this new adventure is learning to give up the convenience of specialists all around you to cater to every whim and need (e.g., doctor, mechanic, plumber, and of course barber). In this case, I will become Andrew’s new barber, every 6 weeks.

For about a year now, I have been cutting my own hair. A large part of this had to do with the fact that my stylist of 5+ years moved back to South Korea, and I couldn’t find a suitable replacement. Every hairstylist I have encountered has done a hack job, and I vowed that I could do better than any of them. 

DIY Upskill

So one Saturday morning, as I was browsing through Pinterest (one of my all-time favorite apps, btw), As we talked about in Eye of the Storm, I discovered Pick Up Limes a couple years ago and in particular their pin on DIY Long Layers Haircut.

I watched it a couple times and headed straight to our bathroom with a pair of crafting scissors and started to snip away.

Fifteen minutes later, I had myself a new do.

Andrew shook his head at this, and decided if I was going to be serious about doing this again, that I would need proper equipment. In short order, an exquisite pair of Mizutani Japanese-forged scissors arrived on our doorstep so that I could cut my hair properly.

The second haircut went a lot more smoothly, thanks to the sharp blades. While I may have nicked myself a couple times, I was pretty pleased with the results in the end.

Leveling-up

It’s one thing to cut my own hair because long hair is fairly forgiving. For good reason, I was more cautious with cutting hair that framed the face, as every flaw and mistake could be readily seen.

A few years back, Andrew and I also had decided to shave our cat’s fur in the spring. Our older cat Oreo in particular has issues with mats, and it pains me to have to give him a sedative in order to get him into a car and transport him to a vet in order to be shaved. There isn’t one step in the whole process that doesn’t seem cruel and unusual to me.   

So we decided, we would shave Oreo at home. We did the research and settled on an electric clipper set that was fairly quiet and well-reviewed. On one sunny Saturday morning we got everything set up for the grooming event… 

Oreo, however, was not a willing participant in the event.

Needless to say, that should have been predicted. As mentioned previously, I am a notorious saver and I hate, hate, HATE wasting anything. In this case, it killed me to have a perfectly nice clipper set and let it go to waste. Andrew, however, was a willing participant in this event.

We got set up in our bathroom, and I happily shaved his head. After about 10-15 minutes, the deed was done and when Andrew looked at himself, he was not enthusiastic. 

I may have cut off too much hair.

There’s an old picture of Andrew he carries around with him since it is on his green card. His head is closely shaved and it gives him a rather militaristic look. I gave him much the same look to his chagrin and that of our daughters, Emma & Silvia.  

…Try, try again

We all love Andrew’s locks, and so it was with some caution that I consider cutting his hair once again.

Luckily, there is Legit Mom from Youtube to the rescue, and I can once again study a 15 minute video and put it into practice on my willing and loving volunteer/victim.

And then, be able to do it again every 6 weeks…

Every 6 Weeks

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many retail services including salons and barbers are closed. While you may opt to go native, we thought you might also find it helpful to try this out for yourself or for your family. 

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Rather than overreact to coronavirus media hype, set your waypoint & maintain a steady course through these rough seas we call life.

In the midst of the media onslaught on coronavirus, we all want to do the right thing. We hear advice from the experts while at the same time we are deluged with misinformation.

  • How do you make sense of all this?
  • Do you give into the fear and follow the panicked hoarders?
  • How do you stop from screaming at those who aren’t taking this seriously?

Here are our top 5 strategies to stay sane during this time.

1 – Unplug

With the amount of media coverage on coronavirus, it’s pretty hard to achieve a balance. I see a suggestion on Facebook encouraging people to post some good news. It’s a fine effort, I suppose. In my experience, I find it far easier to modify my own behavior than the behavior of others.

So, after updating myself on the news in the morning, I unplug.

I walk away from social media, news feeds, and conversations about coronavirus. This obsessive focus on the latest announcement isn’t healthy for me. It certainly can’t be healthy for anyone.

Find ways to occupy your time. Read a book. Watch a movie. Go for a walk. Play with your dog or cat. Tend to your garden. Learn a new skill. 

I am recently retired, so I’ve had to deal with a different transition alongside adjusting to coronavirus. Because I don’t have work deliverables and work colleagues to distract me, I find other ways to distract myself from the media.

I spend my days writing, knitting, playing piano, talking to Andrew, chatting with my mom and my friends on the phone or Facetime, making jewelry, playing with my cats, going on walks, reading books about sailing, experimenting with a new recipe, generating new content for serenadewind.com, and brainstorming about our future plans on a whiteboard, 

2 – Introspection

Whether going into the wilderness or carving out a little time on your own, this is a great opportunity to embrace solitude. There are time-tested benefits and we hope you will find inspiration in these quotes:

  • Originality thrives in seclusion, free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone – that is the secret of invention. Be alone – that is when ideas are born. ~ Nikola Tesla
  • A man can be himself so long as he is alone. If he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer
  • The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil. ~ Thomas A. Edison
  • I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude. ~ Henry David Thoreau
  • I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person. ~ Oscar Wilde

We elaborated on this as well in our post Selectively Social

3 – Deepen relationships

We’re all in this together. Why not make the most of it? Take some time out each day to talk with each family member. What is each person going through? If the answer is “despair,” check out Trey Ratcliff’s video on this topic. 

Despair is a necessary and seasonal state of repair, a temporary healing absence, an internal physiological and psychological winter when our previous forms of participation in the world take a rest; it is a loss of horizon, it is the place we go when we do not want to be found in the same way anymore. We give up hope when certain particular wishes are no longer able to come true and despair is the time in which we both endure and heal, even when we have not yet found the new form of hope. ~ David Whyte 

Brainstorm about your future plans, as we did when we started this whole journey in our Whiteboard post. Look at this collective moment in time to re-prioritize your life.  We elaborated on this as well in our post Project Slocum, Part 3

4 – Go into the wilderness

Observing shelter at home measures, which I support wholeheartedly, we have all become quite sedentary. Many of us may also be stress-eating. All this will lead to the nation (or the world for that matter) gaining the “COVID-15.” 

All beaches are closed. National parks same. Points of interest around the world where people tend to congregate – they are all shut down. For us personally, climbers are also warned against climbing at their favorite crags during this time. 

So, how can we be more creative about spending time outside and yet still practice social distancing?

Orienteering anyone?

A few weekends ago, Andrew and I drove to the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains. I’m familiar with a few hikes there back when I was training for summiting Machu Picchu. With that background, I knew the location of several trailheads and decided if the parking lots were full or if we were turned away, we could park off the side of the road and head into the woods.

I have a compass app on my iphone, and even if I didn’t, we could Bear Grylls our way up and back on our own off-trail hike. Pick a heading or a landmark and head towards it for 2 hours. Hang out in the middle of the forest and breathe in your surroundings. When you’re ready to go, hike back to the road. 

As luck would have it, we snagged one of the last remaining spots at the Icehouse Canyon Trailhead for Timberland Mountain. Modernhiker is a great resource in general for hikes in Southern California. I pulled up the website and familiarized myself again with the route. 

The cool part of this trail is that it runs alongside a flowing river, filled each spring when the snow melts or after storms pass through, such as the ones we’ve had this season, We decided to scramble on the rocks and take photographs. While other hikers remained 50+ feet away on trail, we were secluded and adequately distanced from everyone else. 

While I can imagine park rangers the world over cringing, we are at an unprecedented time. For those who embark on this activity, remember to act responsibly, which includes the following:

  1. Keep your distance from other hikers (6′ or more)
  2. Leave no trace (pack out all trash)
  3. Dispose of human waste properly
  4. Keep a low profile and minimize noise
  5. Respect other hikers and be mindful of hiking etiquette 
While more parking lots at trailheads are closed, rangers didn’t seem to stop hikers from venturing on trails while observing the guidance above.

5 – Chart a waypoint

In the end, Andrew and I have found that we take all of the information we gather each day about the events and we weigh them all in balance. Rather than have a knee-jerk reaction to all the media hype, we use our own judgment to chart a course, to establish a waypoint to our destination, and to maintain a steady course during the rough seas we call life.

We hope you find this helpful. 

 

Reading Time: 8 minutes

A Week in the Life

Tumultuous would be le mot juste to describe the week which followed our trip to Ft. Lauderdale. As the week progressed, we would have to face a go/no-go decision with regards to purchasing s/v Rachel J. Slocum.

While we were enroute to Los Angeles, Bill had drafted a term sheet which summarized our discussions on Saturday. This agreement was waiting for our consideration when we got home. (I’m sure Bill was waiting, too.)

Quite frankly, I was tired of thinking about the boat or anything related to boats for that matter. I needed a mental break to let the emotions of the trip wash over me and then dissipate. What I did not need was to cycle everything back up and get back on the boat-buying treadmill.

So, we zipped off a quick acknowledgement email and bought ourselves some time.

 

Monday

Andrew and I decompressed in different ways on our flight back to LA. While he watched “Motherless Brooklyn,” I took a nap. During that restless sleep, my mind was at work on structuring a deal that could work for us. It was one that would differ from a traditional, straight-up boat purchase.

A traditional contract would consist of a security deposit and a final payment for an asset (i.e., the boat), I proposed an idea that adapts from common business practices and introduces an earn-out provision, which is contingent on milestones and incorporates a services agreement. The services would be agreed-upon in advance, but would assign dollar values to the transfer of Bill’s knowledge and experience sailing s/v Rachel J. Slocum to us as the new owners. 

So that morning, I went to work drafting the agreement and talking through it with Andrew. At the same time, we also evaluated the economics of the term sheet. While it captured the discussion accurately, the terms were fairly one-sided and shifted a great deal of financial risk onto us. This was consistent with a traditional contract, so we were not surprised. Luckily, we had the other agreement in the works as a counter proposal. 

Go/No-go Decision

In addition, more information was pouring in about coronavirus. On one hand, Trump began to discuss about wanting to cease the lockdown measures because he believed them to be an over-reaction to a scenario that was no worse than annual fatalities arising from garden-variety, seasonal flu or automobile accidents.

In contrast, we were also reading about how current live-aboard cruisers were impacted. Many of the stories came from those sailing in Europe, in the Caribbean, and French Polynesia – the top 3 destinations we had in mind. Those especially in hurricane zones were in a tough spot. Therefore, it was not a scenario that we wanted to jump into immediately.

For these reasons, Andrew and I agreed to put everything on hold. If anyone has a crystal ball, use it for a greater purpose than this. While this has a material impact on our lives, we acknowledge this is a first-world problem.

 

Tuesday

The first test of our resolve to put everything on hold came mid-morning, when Bill replied with a comprehensive and thoughtful response to our counter-proposal.

We went through each of the pages and the gist of it was this; he agreed in principle to the broad strokes and wanted to iron out some details that caused some logistical issues. Bill also insisted on an immediate answer because he had already arranged some work to be done this week (haul out and in the water survey). He did not however want to proceed until a deposit was wired.

Bill also referenced the same bit about Trump’s stance. So while it is political suicide, it shows promise on opening up the lockdown and its impact on restricting movement. To us, that was one dimension of the pandemic’s impact. We had many more issues to contend with to our transition: the actual health consequences as well as market disruptions being the chief amongst them. 

I hardly think people are going to be snapping up used clothing and furniture that I put up for sale at this time.

Hand sanitizer? Most definitely.

Brown suede couch fashioned after Coco Chanel’s sofa in her atelier in Paris? Hmm… not likely.

 

Wednesday

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he did not believe the state would be able to reopen by Easter. The next 6-8 weeks would determine what is realistic. At the time of this writing, 50% of the state’s positive tests were people between the ages of 18 and 49. All the more reason to exercise caution especially when interacting with higher risk cohorts. Newson further suggested dramatic social distancing measures could continue until mid-June. 

Go/No-go Decision

Bill wrote back indicating that Miami was now ordered to shelter-in-place as well. It was just a matter of time. Both sides were now in agreement about placing Project Slocum on hold. 

Stuck = Alone Together

As more people comply with shelter-at-home measures, it struck me that everyone would have an opportunity to take advantage of this time to reinvest in their relationships. 

  • Amongst significant others
  • Parents and children
  • Amongst children

Just as suggested in Project Slocum Part 3 , the voyager’s life provides ample opportunity to strengthen and define the most important relationships in your life. We all now have the gift of time. No more commutes for us all!

In our first two posts (Whiteboard and Sailing Around the World), we revealed how important time was to Andrew and I. Time is the only asset that cannot be replenished. It is not limitless. And in these uncertain days, we all have an opportunity to grow closer together and deepen relationships with those you care about, family and friends. 

MacGuyver would be proud

We also have an opportunity to learn to become more self-sufficient. It could mean doing more cooking rather than relying on take-out. This could also mean improvising a solution to fix something. We wrote a little bit about this during our early Bujo days in Upcycle R Us.

Here’s another case in point. At the moment, we are concerned with Oreo’s health, and we would like to track his weight. However, the bathroom scale was broken.

Did we go to a store and buy a replacement? No.

Did we order one from Amazon.com? No.

Andrew saw this as an opportunity to open up the machine and do a little tinkering and investigating. Turns out, a contact point had corroded due to an old battery, and the plate needed replacing. He went on a scavenger hunt in the garage and our home office to find a similar gauge metal plate. After cutting it down to the appropriate size, he then soldered a wire to the new contact plate. In the time it took me to whip up a dinner of Bacon-wrapped Dates courtesy of recipe by Suzanne Goin of A.OC. in Los Angeles, he fixed the bathroom scale.

Self-sufficiency… it’s a beautiful thing. Give it a try!

 

Thursday

While we do touch on coronavirus and its impact on us here on serenadewind.com, it seems appropriate to offer some counter-programming (so to speak) to the 24/7 coverage that exists on the pandemic. The naval-gazing posts generated in February serve that purpose. We all need some distractions to keep sane.

The social isolation created as a result of shelter-in-place measures can take its toll. In my case, I actually have a tracker in my Bujo on the amount of social interactions I participate in. As we wrote before, Andrew and I skew on the introversion end of the spectrum. We are selectively social, so we do not have a high volume need for interaction. On the other hand, we are also not complete shut-ins.

As Andrew was fielding back-to-back work conference calls, I was getting a little antsy and started reaching out to some friends to check how they were doing. My climbing buddies and I commiserated about not being able to work on our projects. We did each find some creative ways to stay active. When I reached out to my work colleagues, many were overwhelmed at the office closing the financial books on the quarter. Time and again, they did thank me for spearheading the work-from-home initiative a couple years ago. Without having implemented it department-wide, they would be royally screwed right now.

Unexpected Gifts

I happened to recount the Ft. Lauderdale dock debacle to a good friend, and she said she had a Nikon D600 camera on the market. She would give me a great deal on it and also throw in a Nikon D90 as well. This is awesome for a few reasons:

  1. From a sailor’s perspective, this is pretty cool because you always want to have spares on the boat.
  2. Because we are motivated to look for self-sustainable options, we love the fact that we can recycle an item she no longer needs.
  3. The Nikon D90 is one generation older than the D7000, so it’s a camera that’s familiar to me. The newer D600 gives me an opportunity to learn and lean into one of my core values, curiosity.

So when I heard her generous offer, I felt as though fate was gently supporting us on this journey. Whatever our needs, the universe would acknowledge them and offer us gifts.

 

Friday

After a week, we finally ate through 5 pounds of braised beef. I had followed the time-tested recipe from David Chang’s mom and published in GQ.  Not sure I can count how many times I have made this dish, but suffice it to say, it’s delicious. It reminds me of my childhood. Unfortunately I couldn’t find cuts of beef short ribs at the store, and so I opted for beef shoulder. As you can imagine, it stretched for many meals.

One can easily grow tired of the same dish, so I had done variations on a theme by using the same ingredient. From a poutine to ramen to stew to fried rice – this single ingredient of braised beef is incredibly versatile as it can form a base for many dishes.

Today, we experimented with cooking country-style pork ribs in two ways.

  • Option 1: “low and slow” in a slowcooker for 8 hours
  • Option 2: pressure cooker for 45 minutes

Before the sun set on the day, we finished them off on the grill for some smokiness and char. Both Andrew and I collaborated on this venture, so we were pretty excited to see how the results turn out.

Any guesses who won?

 

Invest in Quality

When Andrew and I moved in together, I began to realize that he made some thoughtful choices when he selected certain household products.

By way of comparison, I usually buy items if they are on sale or if it is mentioned in a magazine. His purchase of a vacuum, hairdryer, clothes washer & dryer, rice cooker as well as pots & pans demonstrated how well-made products can transform your daily living. These products were of the highest caliber, some not well-known, but ultimately evaluated for the purpose intended. 

In today’s cooking experiment, we are using a pressure cooker made by Cuchen. We use it almost exclusively to cook rice on its quick setting (15 minutes). Naturally, there are recipes included with it, and while we had flirted with the idea of trying them out, we never had the time. Perhaps we never made the time for it. 

Delicious Efficiency

Now when we translate this into boat living, the practicality is that we’ll be running the Lugger engine for an hour each day. During that time, the Lugger will be:

  1. powering up the water-maker to top off our water supply
  2. restoring the freezer/refrigerator to its optimal temperature
  3. topping off batteries to the max capacity
  4. cooking a delicious meal (45-minute braised ribs)

That is pretty damn efficient!

The country-style pork ribs will feed us well into early next week, and I’m sure I will come up with many variations on a pork rib theme to entertain our palettes.