Friday, June 29, 2007


More Hibiscus

We got another knitter cranking out hibiscus flowers! Check out Vanessa's Blog for her pink flower - more like the "real " thing than my blue one. So now I'm challenging all you knitters - show me your Hibiscus! (or is that Hibiscusus? Hibiscusi?) Send me your blog URL or photo to my email address on the sidebar.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007



We just found out that the sailboat docked next to us got hit by the lightning last night! Their antennae on the top of the mast splintered and shed pieces over the nearby boats. You know, I thought I smelled hot metal and insulation last night as I was trying to fall asleep during the storm. Too close for comfort.



While fiddling with the "Old Shale" aka "Feather and Fan" lace pattern the other day, I noticed how it formed a nice ruffle when I bunched it up. Hmmmm....think floral petals? So off I went - and this knit Hibiscus flower is the result!

Jonesy had said that one of the chemo caps I made recently was "blah" so I wanted to add a removable flower. The lovely hibiscus bushes around here inspired me to knit up a replica - I know, there aren't blue hibiscus, but it had to match the hat - or rather I'm still so conventional that I have to have things "match".

Whew! Last night we had a massive tropical storm complete with constant thunder and lightning. I had never seen lightning like that before, we were completely surrounded and there were no breaks in the action as the sky glowed and flashed and the rain pounded the boat decks. With these tall metal masts sticking up in the air all of us sailboats are like lightning rods. Thank goodness our Niki Wiki is a Gulfstar Sailmaster and, thus was built in Florida where they take special precautions against lightning damage from a strike in the near proximity. We are what they call a "bonded" boat. But a direct strike will still wipe out our electronics.

I got an email from our younger son yesterday and he wrote: "Thanks for writing! I feel like I'm the parents waiting to hear from my youngen traveling abroad..." When did we switch roles? But he's right. He's the one in this relationship who has the steady, responsible job and household, and waits for word. We're the ones out gallivanting in strange lands. Oh, and the term "youngen" he used is how they pronounce "young one, or youngster" in the American southern states. Our family spent 7 years in Georgia and had to learn the local dialect/accent. I remember going to a meeting at my sons' school and the speaker kept referring to the "chillins". I finally figured out that he meant "children".

Oh Look! There's a blue hibiscus! They DO have those! For those knitters who have braved my blogging babble here are the instructions for your own hibicus (come on Vanessa - go for it):

Cast on 62 stitches using long-tail cast on method Row 1: K1, [K2tog twice, (YO, K1) 4 times, K2tog twice] 5 times, K1
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: same as Row 1
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: Knit
Cut yarn with tail of about 12" long. Thread tail thru the stitches on needle. Sew side seam using mattress stitch method. Gather center by pulling tightly on yarn tail and secure with a knot on the back.
Center (stamen?) of flower: Cast on 5 stitches and knit an I-cord about 3/4" long. Bind off.
Sew I-cord center into hole in middle of flower.
I'm thinking maybe I'll sew a couple of seed beeds onto the center near the tip.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Summer of Socks 2007 - 1st Pair Done

Got Socks! I knit this little pair of "Lace Anklets" in the last 2 days as part of my "Summer of Socks 2007" participation. These are purple, stretchy cotton shorties for my sister Dana. The pattern is in the newest Cast On magazine (May-July 2007), but I made them a little bigger (used larger needles) so that she can machine wash and dry them. Hopefully the Cascade Fixation yarn won't shrink too much!

So while I was very, very busy knitting up these puppies, Jonesy was worked on the sump pump in the front of the boat, removed the non-functioning ice maker, and fixed a couple of leaking lines in the back of the boat. Well, at least he can do his work lying down!

Knitting on and on....

Monday, June 18, 2007


We're on CNN Online!

CNN Online has picked up our story about how we've retired to live and travel on a sailboat as part of their "Life After Work" Special Report. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to Your Stories and then click on "Gallery: New Adventures" to find us. Pretty cool, huh?

I got this carrot at the open-air market in the little town of Jarrertaderas. See, in Mexico this isn't considered lower quality - I mean, you're just going to chop it up anyway so who cares if it's deformed? You would never find this carrot in the markets of the United States. I kinda thought it looked like me from the waist down when I have to pee and can't find a bathroom! Whatever, it was certainly tasty!

And, speaking of food, check out the little rock that I found in the dried beans yesterday. Looked like a bean - but would have certainly been a tooth-chipping experience had I not sorted through the beans and found it. Again, the beans (after soaking all day and then 25 minutes in the pressure cooker) were tasty last night on the fresh corn tortillas.

Hmmm...this is a caution sign here in the Paradise Village complex - "Caution Loose/Free Animals". Huh? I hope they are not talking about the 400 lb. Bengal Tiger or the full-grown Puma in the little zoo here! Loose? Crap - do they ever really get loose?

And speaking of dangers - check out these coconuts high up in the palm tree. There are literally hundreds of these coconut palms loaded with these "bombs" on the grounds here. If one of those babies decides to fall on your head, you're in a serious world of hurt. In Hawaii, they constantly trim off the coconuts in the trees on public land to avoid an accident - and lawsuit. Not Mexico, if you're dumb enough to sit under a fully-loaded coconut palm that's your problem.

No worries about these bananas that are part of the landscaping. They hang from shorter trees and have to be cut down anyway.

I quite literally bought this little wood folding stool right off of a young guy's back! I was admiring it - and he offered to sell it to me. Sold!!! We scrambled to exchange pesos for stool at the bus stop and I was quickly on my way with my new purchase. He was on his way with his $100 pesos (about $9.75US), but without his stool - I guess he had to stand the rest of the day. There are many high cupboards here on the Niki Wiki and I need a little boost now and then.

Knitting? Same stuff, different day.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Life in Paradise Village

Come on in! This is the lap pool we can use as part of our marina fees - isn't it lovely? The little splash at the far end of the pool is Jonesy doing his laps. The heat and humidity have been really oppressive lately so instead of walking, we are swimming for exercise. This is a quiet pool - no kids usually because there is also a giant pool with two crocodile water slides nearer the beach. The kids can splash and scream all they want at that pool. No, I haven't tried the crocodile slide yet - kinda afraid I'd get stuck.

After swimming, I usually settle into a chaise lounge and knit for a while. Knit what? Well, I'm still just doing mindless knitting these days. I finished one baby doll blanket, and have started another in a different color. Plus, I've completed one cotton chemo cap, and am decreasing for the crown on a second cap from the cotton yarn I bought in Puerto Vallarta the other day. Yeah, I'm kinda stuck on the "Old Shale" lace pattern these days. I modified it a bit (like so many knitters over the years) to only a 12-stitch repeat for these smaller projects. Trick: To keep the garter stitch edges of the blanket from pulling in, add short rows every 2 stitch pattern repeats (8 rows).

Jonesy thinks that the cap knit with the varigated cotton is too "blah", so I'll knit up a flower with the matching blue yarn and safety pin it to the hat. That way the recipient can remove the flower if it is just too much for their tastes.

A pair of leisure socks for the Socks for Soldiers Yahoo! Group, is on the needles as my "travelling knitting". There is a need for more guy socks so I'm using a gray varigated Regia yarn for this pair. The leg is a simple ribbed/ladder pattern I just kinda made up. Sure, if you search enough pattern guides you'll probably find a pattern just like this's just simple knits and purls and over the years, I'm sure some other knitter(s) have come up with the same design.

Well, we have been working away, crossing things off of our list of things to do before next cruising season. Jonesy has changed the oil, oil filters, and fuel filters for the generator, checked out the fluid level and functioning of our steering system, cleaned up the dinghy, and ran fresh water thru the outboard engine. Of course, new chores keep getting added to the list. The ice machine just won't work any more. Bummer! We don't use it while we are out cruising because it is an energy hog, but we were really looking forward to having lots of ice this summer.

These are some pics of Hibiscus flowers growing here in Paradise Village. You can see my hand in the yellow flower photo - that's how big the bloom is!!! Also another walkway, this time with Bougainvillea flowering across the arch.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Another Fiber Artist Onboard?

For the past couple of days, Jonesy has been working on what he refers to as "his knitting" (really, splicing - specifically an eye-splice). He's made us a new "snubber" for the anchor as our old one was frayed and no longer reliable. How fun to have another fiber artistist in the family! I'm loving the guy even more now (if that's possible). Now that he's completed this fiber project, he's looking at other splicing projects for the boat and there are a lot of opportunities.

Well, the rains have finally come - so far we've had two downpours complete with thunder, lightning, and high humidity. So, we have turned on the air conditioning on the boat - ahhhh - very nice. We only venture outside to go to town, do laundry or swim in the lap pool, then scramble back to the boat and hide in the cool air.

Topside, Leonardo and his helper Jorge are scraping, sanding, and heat-gunning off the old crusty varnish along the toerail, bumper rail, and in the cockpit. Varnishing woodwork is a constant chore for boaters - and one that we decided to pay for rather than to do it ourselves. Had we been in a cool climate, we may have tried to do the work, but it is just too dang hot and humid here in Puerto Vallarta for too much manual labor for these old cruisers. So, we outsourced it to Leonardo. Meanwhile, we're doing the "inside" work where it's air-conditioned!

We sent the mainsail out to have it repaired too. The leech edge was ripped in several places - all due to UV exposure. Sure, we have a rolling-furling mainsail, but there is a 3" gap on the mast where the sun constantly beats on the fabric causing damage. So, our mainsail is now about 9" narrower because we had to have that fabric cut off. No biggie - everything else is fine with the sail, and it's not like we are racing sailors looking for that extra .01 knot of speed.

Here's a pic of my progress with my Lopi Fair Isle Sweater/Coat that is part of the Misery Loves Company Knitalong. I have now completed one sleeve and am working on the second. Sure is tough knitting with this wool in the heat!!! I was knitting up in the cockpit the other day and looked down to see "dog hair" all over the boat. What? We don't have a dog. was shedding Sheep Hair from the Lopi yarn. I sure hope that it doesn't shed that much when I get to wear this thing sometime in the distant future.
Oh! I found some cotton yarn the other day - going to knit up some chemo caps with it. It's a sportweight called "SinFonia" and is made in Mexico by the large thread company Omega. Lots of colors too! Interestingly, most of the ballband is written in English rather than Spanish.

Friday, June 08, 2007


End of the Line

So what happens if you jump on a Mexican bus and ride it until they make you get off? Yep, you get to the End of the Line - in the middle of nowhere. Just resting busses and a little shack for the bus drivers sits in this open area.

We were done with our errands in Puerto Vallarta (stopping by to pick up the mail - which we still haven't received), our tummies were full with tacos, and we had nothing to do. So, we decided to ride a bus to Pitillal - nope, we didn't know where that was. It was just the next bus that came along. Turns out that Pitillal is a rather large town on the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta towards the mountains with absolutely no tourists present. Okay, back to my regularly scheduled knitting...

Monday, June 04, 2007


Our new "home"

Here we are, safely tucked away in our new home for the next 5 months. Ahhhhh...we're allowing ourselves a few days of rest, then we'll hit the list of repairs and upgrades we need/want to do before heading out next cruising season.
We didn't have any rain on our entire 7 month cruise! A few drops fell the other week - just enough for a fellow cruiser to declare on the VHF radio to the fleet that there was fresh water falling from the sky - but that was just a teaser as it didn't even cover the deck of the boat. Just enough to leave ugly gray spotches and show how dirty everything was. Actually, we haven't experienced rain since leaving Sacramento at the end of May - over a year now as summer is California's dry season! We hear that we'll be getting plenty though over the next 5 months. That's when we'll discover where the boat leaks from topside!
I finished the second pair of Big Black Socks for a soldier, and am about half way done with a simple feather & fan lace big baby doll blanket for one of my guild's community service projects. It's so nice to have some mindless knitting to pull out when I feel like playing slug and vegetating. Plus, this stuff will all leave the boat when I go back to the states for Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp and to visit my sons. That means more space on the boat for new yarn!!!

We're off to check in with the Port Captain this morning, and take a bus into the city to pick up mail (Yippeee!) and to do some provisioning. After I TAKE A SHOWER up at the Yacht Club. Yes, a REAL shower where the water stays on ALL THE TIME! I hope I remember how to do it, you know, like don't breath in the water flow and drown. Stuff like that.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?