Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh, Tannenbaum...

Since we don't currently have a usable living room, we decided against having a Christmas tree this year. We had already purchased (and started using) our big gift to one another, the Dyson Animal Vacuum. It's sad that this was our biggest material desire, but since replacing the carpeting upstairs wasn't cheap, we wanted to protect our investment. Also, we had a burning hatred of our old vacuum, and Dysons are way cooler.

So while I was at work Saturday, Mark decorated thusly:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pay it Forward-Holiday Edition

On my way into work to do volunteer spays and neuters for the shelter, I decided to treat myself to Starbucks. After ordering, I got to the drive-through window and handed the barista my card, only to be told, "the lady in front of you already paid for your drink." So I left with my chai, a big smile, and a determination to "pay it forward." Which, I'm guessing, was the point of the nice stranger's gesture.

I didn't have to wait very long. Running errands this afternoon, I saw a man waving a sign for a store closing sale. He was wearing a Santa hat, and smiling and waving at every car that passed, despite the cold rain falling. I brought him a hot coffee and all the trimmings. :) -S.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Under the tree

Yesterday, we had an early Christmas celebration with the Popes. Sandy thought this was the safest spot in their house, away from the hazards of baby Alexandra and the crackling fire.

And what's a celebration without a cuddle on the sofa?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas wreath making

Jocelyn came over today, and taught me how to make a wreath. She had scored lots of free tree clippings from the local nursery, and we found other greens and pine cones on a quick walk down my block. Above, the master with her wreath and a garland for her mantel. I was pretty happy with my first attempt, below. Not bad for a total expenditure under ten bucks!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

New Jersey

The weekend following Thanksgiving, we visited Andrea, Rick, and baby Wesley in New Jersey. Check out cute baby Wes:

and the whole cute family (including Rick's son Dylan):

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Mom and Don hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year. Shannon's friend Stephanie joined us, since she was on call the the animal hospital and couldn't get home to California. It was a great meal, and a fun time.

Mom and Sara show off their matching outfits, then invited Don to join their cuddle.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


It's been awhile, we've been busy working on the new house, getting the old house ready for sale. Not much new to report, haven't even been boating much. Or at all.
So here's some color from the backyard. We love it here. ~M

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Labor Day Sail

Over Labor Day weekend we met Micah and Erika aboard their boat "Entropic" on the West River for a raft-up. Jon, Jocelyn, and James were also present. Sailing and grilling ensued. Here are the first photos we have of our boat underway from the "third person."

photos © Erika Nortemann

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Digs

From time to time I would browse local real estate listings, mostly just to amuse myself, as anything worth moving for was well above our affordable price range. About a month ago I was busy being obsessed with a quaint 1940s waterfront cottage with a deep water dock and an amazing view of the creek where our boat is kept. It was still well beyond our means, but the view was very tranquil, and after sailing out of there for several months we had fallen in love with that creek as a base for our nautical adventures. Nearby another listing popped onto the map, a moderately sized relatively new house with a nice yard on a quiet street. And not just any street, it was the street that led to our marina. In fact this house was right across the street from the entrance to our boat's beloved home - we could easily walk to the boat! And the price actually seemed reasonable, at least compared to what similar places in the area had been going for in the past 5 years.

We called our friends Andrew and Nancy and invited them for out a sail that weekend with the ulterior motive of using her real estate connections to get us in to see the house. It had plenty of room with 4 bedrooms, a bathroom on every level, a big kitchen with room for a full sized dining table (while not blocking the front door as in our current house), a two car garage, and a finished basement "pub" and game room. Oh, and did I mention a POOL? A good sized in-ground swimmin' hole with beautifully landscaped surroundings (the owners also ran a landscape company). And the best part, while standing on (either level of) the large back deck, all you could hear was nature. Not just cars whizzing by a few feet away, but actual wildlife; birds, breeze in the trees, etc.

The asking price might have been low (or at least closer to reason) but it still was going to more than double our monthly payments. Plus the house itself had been "run hard and put away wet" and would need some work, so we rounded down to a more comfortable figure and had Nancy submit our bid, figuring there was a greater chance of being heartily laughed at, than of actually having our offer be accepted. Well, they must have been in a good mood (in addition to needing to sell quickly) as they did accept our offer, with one caveat; we had to settle in less than two weeks. Surprisingly the banks actually agreed to give us more money, in addition to our current debts, and Ben, our friend and mortgage expert, pulled off a really quick turnaround on all the paperwork and legwork involved and the sale concluded in record time.

So now, (for a very limited time - we hope!) we actually own two houses and over HALF an ACRE of Anne Arundel County collectively.

And now, let the moving begin!

Photo Gallery - Our New House

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cruise to St. Michael's

This weekend, we sailed to St. Michael's, MD with guest crew Becky and Don and furry crewmember Dylan. Good winds Saturday made for a fast (although choppy) sail down. We anchored just outside the harbor Saturday night, with dog dinghy service provided by Ben and Jen, who sailed down aboard Outre Mer. Ben, Jen, and baby Alexandra also joined us for dinner.

Sunday morning, after a cuddle and walk for the dogs, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and watched the traditional log canoes race on the Miles River. At noon, we moved to our slip at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. We spent the afternoon enjoying the exhibits at the museum and window-shopping in the quaint town. Then we joined the Popes for cocktails and dinner aboard Outre Mer.

Becky and Don at the Hooper Strait lighthouse on the Museum grounds.

Dylan agreed with Sandy that sailing is relaxing, and fun.

Monday's return trip was much calmer, with gorgeous weather.

Bloody Point Light.

Furry crew.

Mirror image.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Andrea's Baby Shower

Mark's sister Andrea is expecting a baby boy in August. We drove up to NJ this weekend for her baby shower. It had a beach theme, which suited Andrea perfectly.

Andrea's childhood buddy Newton dressed for the occasion.

Andrea is very proud of her baby bump :)

Andrea and Rick's friends all pitched in to make the shower a success, and help them prepare for baby's arrival. Baby Boy Ryker will be one lucky guy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Photo Credits

Great covers for the June and July issues of SpinSheet, huh? Mark took both shots! His coverage of several sailing events on the Bay is also being offered for sale on the SpinSheet Photo Gallery, right alongside the pros. I'm not the least bit surprised, but so proud! -S.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Caitlin and Kelsey are "Nauti"

Caitlin and Kelsey joined us this weekend for a nautical adventure. We boarded Friday night, after they returned from their beach vacation and Mark and I finished work. After spending Friday night aboard in the slip, we set out Saturday morning. Caitlin took the helm for much of Saturday, both motoring out of our creek, and sailing almost all the way to Kent Island. She was a fast learner and a very conscientious skipper. Eventually the girls gave the helm back to Captain Mark, who made a great footrest for the stern rail seats.

Kelsey quickly got her sea legs, learning quickly to go down the ladder into the cabin, and didn't mind at all when we heeled over a little while sailing.

After "sword sandwiches" for a quick lunch underway, we returned to the Rhode River and found an anchorage with close proximity to our favorite small island. Mark and the girls dinghied Sandy ashore for a walk and beach romp.

The girls and I swam around the boat, while Mark cleaned the bottom of the boat. Then we set out for the island again for the girls to play on the beach, leaving Sandy to guard the boat.

When we returned, it was time for the treasure hunt. Given clues that referenced safety items and boat terminology they'd learned underway, the girls searched for puzzle pieces that created a map of where the treasure was hidden.

We returned to the island after dinner to find the treasure-a chest full of jewels and a pirate flag.

Saturday night, we got to see the phosphorescent marine life that light up when the water is disturbed. We'd just gotten snuggled in our berths when a squall blew through, but the anchor held, the girls were calm (it was nothing compared to Iceland wind and weather, apparently) and it was over quickly with no damage done.

Sunday, after a big breakfast and a water battle on the beach, we headed back to the slip to retrieve Jen, Pete, and baby Nicholas. They joined us for an evening cruise to a waterfront restaurant on the West River, where Jack and Janet met us for crabs and cooing over Nicholas.

On the sail back, while Kelsey (unasked) was stowing the winch handle, Pete asked something about one of the ropes on the boat. Kelsey corrected him, "DAD, they are called LINES!" We are so proud of our new crew!