Thursday, March 24, 2016

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Fashion Spread for the Winter Shelter Island Collection

The girls begged us to buy them some fabric to make dresses. So we did and the following are the dresses we came up with.  It was a joint effort by the girls and Monica. One trivia about our boat: Luminesce carries two sewing machines on board- one for sewing sails and other canvas work  and another for just sewing for fun like these dresses. The crew had fun sewing these dresses in a few hours while other critical boat related activities and installations were in our captain's hands.

Anna's is in a sheath dress with a sloped round neck line and slight capped sleeves . 

She loved playing with this scrap of tulle we got at the fabric store.  Finally, it seemed fun to try to blow it in the wind but this low budget photo shoot couldn't afford a wind machine. 

The dress is perfect for a Sunday brunch but yet comfortable enough for a ride in a dinghy. 

Woe to me for working with these  models who had no respect for the stylist/photographer's artistic directions.  Asked for a pensive look but got a mischievious look holding a chin while her partner prances around in some native dance ritual. 

Can't they just pose naturally? At least one got the idea while the other one will just have to do for now. 

Always happy to include Cutip as a prop for any photo op.  Cutip, not so much.

Our Time in San Diego from Late November to Early December 2015 (San Diego part I)

We arrived in San Diego November 19, 2015 to the public dock in full sunshine.
During our close to two month stay in San Diego, a lot has happened: lots of new installments in our numerous boat systems; many meals cooked, eaten, and cleaned; quite a few visitors and visits; many new friends made; and too much money spent.

San Diego Part I
The day after our arrival was a Friday. We were glad to find that we didn't enter the harbor when all of San Diego comes out for a race in the harbor entrance. It seemed too small for all the boats vying for that perfect wind spot for that fraction of speed they might gain.

Now the views of the Shelter Island and the surround hotel marinas and Point Loma were magnificent.

As for church, we visited St.Agnes several times but found the Virgin Mary statue quite unlike others we have seen.

Has anyone else seen such a statue of the Virgin Mary holding a boat?  St.Agnes seemed to have some historical ties to the Portuguese community who had a great part in San Diego's fishing community. Wish I had found out more about it. 

On our walk back from St. Agnes, about 30 mins walk, we found tropical fruit tree plants in the church neighborhood. Banana tree with bananas growing, pomegranate, avocados, lemons, oranges, and lime trees. Would love to have these type of trees in my yard one day.

Walking back to the boat on Shelter Island Drive. Anna's hair is way too long. 

Sophia and Anna both have this idea that loitering is against the law and those who loiter usually have their  baseball caps work backwards.  Perhaps it's these signs outside of grocery stores.

We didn't make such a hoorah about this year's Thanksgiving.  We spent it wishing many of our family members Happy Thanksgiving from our boat.

Thanksgiving Dinner was pretty low key, too: marinated chicken, green beans with turkey bacon bits, and some left over dessert.  It was hard to get super festive just ourselves.  Besides, the inspiration of cooking really didn't hit me this day. But, it was definitely yummy and we thanked God for all our blessings, opportunities that allow our family to be close, and for our great friends and loving families.

A visit to Midway Aircraft Carrier 

We all anticipated greatly for Jeff's parents to come and visit us in San Diego. With them we decided to visit the famous Midway.

Hmmm... General Purpose Bomb.  How would one categorize general purpose in the military or is a code name for "dummy" bombs. 

There was an intense curiosity about the brig, the ship's prison.  The girls wanted to go back to the brig more than once on this visit.  They look very guilty of  court marshall type offense.. Just look at those eyes. 

Anna enjoyed sitting in the aircraft. Would be so cool to actually ride one of these.

This robot dude is supposed to be a copy of the real admiral that served on this carrier.  It was a little creepy to watch him tell you what he does and about the carrier.  His arms and torso moved about just like  the 80's robot dance move but seeing his facial expressions change was really fascinating but creepy.   He  furrowed the skin between his eyebrows.  Sophia watched from the corner suspiciously. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

November 12- November 16, 2015 Alamitos Bay, CA

We left Santa Barbara with thoughts of returning someday.  Not sure if it was the beaches, stucco houses with red-tiled roofs, palm trees along with citrus fruit trees in neighborhoods, or the weather.  It's hard to pin-point the reason but it was certainly an enjoyable stop over.

We knew our next passage to Alamitos Bay would include an overnight passage.  We waited until early afternoon to set out so that we would arrive in daylight, and it turned out to be a good thing we did.  We raised our sails in calm seas with 10 knot breeze.  With days getting noticeably shorter evening soon arrived.  But despite a new moon the night was a bright one, with city lights blazing all along the coast.

Look Ma! No hands!   The Hydrovane takes over as we sail out of Santa Barbara with a 10-15 kt tailwind, leaving us with more time to admire the oil rigs.
At dawn we approached Port of Los Angeles- another major commercial marine traffic area- and made it through without too much stress.  Then there was an endless rock jetty that eventually opened up to allow us passage into Alamitos Bay... which is where we suddenly found ourselves in a sea of blue crab pot buoys.  Nice color choice!  Wouldn't have had a chance with these in the dark.  At the Alamitos entrance markers dolphins welcomed us in.

We pulled into a nice end tie guest slip among beautiful mega yachts.  I think our boat of 44' was smallest at the dock.  We immediately received a warm welcome from the owners of the 61' Starbuck, a sailing vessel, as they came out of their cockpit to help us tie up.  We have been in fishing marinas and resort marinas but Alamitos was of a different variety.  This was a marina for pristine mega yachts, mostly 50' or more.  And we soon found out why they are so pristine.  Most of the boats had hired help cleaning and doing maintenance on their boats.

I know it's hard for many non-Asians to tell apart which Asian countries some of us are from.  People usually guess wrong about my Asian heritage.  It's OK if you get it wrong.  I don't know and guess wrong most of the time myself.  So, when I saw Isabelle who came out of Starbuck to help us tie up, I wasn't sure if she was Japanese or Korean.  She confirmed that I had guessed wrong- she too is Korean.  I was happy to chat her up in my unpracticed Korean mother tongue.  But why did she just stare back without a sound? Was my Korean that bad? After a half a second of insecurity about my Korean, I was relieved to know that the delayed response was due to the sudden unexpected demand to speak Korean. What was clear though was that we were happy to learn that we had something in common.  Isabelle lives on Starbuck with her husband Bill, and I of course am cruising with my family down south along the West Coast.  Let me elaborate here.  I've never run across another Korean doing what Isabelle or I do.  Koreans own boats but they don't live on it as their home or go cruising.  So, we immediately became friends and Isabelle lavished us with a delicious Korean dinner.  It turns out that Bill had Starbuck custom-built after having previously sailed and cruised another boat down to Mexico.

I finally get my fix for Korean food.  That chicken dish was really yummy. I should have asked her how she made it.  
Through Bill's many boating connections, we were able to get good discounts on some boat equipment, numerous advice on boat systems, plus stories and tips on cruising.  Their friends Ramer and Fay joined us another evening for more useful advice and lots of laughs too.  Jeff and I have been told more than once that cruising community is really friendly.  People are eager to help and share knowledge.  We can attest to that.

Seal Beach 

Girls are content after getting their fix at the beach.
Miss Muffet Cutip, a rare picture of Cutip almost smiling. 
We found this lion statue near the entrance of a Chinese restaurant as we walked around town.  Jeff has almost an exact picture of this when he was a boy travelling with his family in Thailand.  Both Jeff and Anna tried to pry the rolling ball out of the lion's mouth without success. 

Newport, CA

The stay at Alamitos Bay was especially pleasant because our family was able to meet up with my brother's family from Arizona in Newport.  It was a nice break to get away from our boat for a couple days, plus Tony brought along some special requests, like a 50 lb bag of Korean rice.  The way we go through rice the 50 lb bag is not going to last very long.  Tony's family was recently blessed with a new member, Christopher, just 5 months old. We love chubby babies and he had a lot of chubs to love.
Chloe and Anna were happy to be playing together again.  They are the same age and when Chloe lived in Seattle these girls played together often.  We missed those days when 2 year old Chloe and Anna would run through our house screaming and giggling as Uncle Tony tried to teach them the robot dance. 

Chloe is a talented gymnast. Check out her abs! Her sister, Clare, looks on.

Christopher, you are so chubby and such an easy baby, unlike your sisters and cousins. 

Cross girls and Koo girls. Why not call them Koo-Cross girls! Claire, now that you are the middle child we can exchange notes once you have a few more years as the middle child. 

The whole gang. Thanks Becca and Tony for hosting us at the villa. We had so much fun. 
It nurtured our souls to see family again.  I have never been particularly dependent on my community or family before. As I get older, however, the meaning of life sinks in a little deeper every year.
It's really important to surround oneself with a close knit network of family and friends. We are really blessed to have wonderful people in our lives, though not close by.

One dish that I have been waiting to try was this fried chicken recipe.  I don't enjoy frying food but love eating it. I wasn't ready to try this on the boat, so I waited until we met up with the Koos at the villa's kitchen.
Extra crispy chicken.  It was good despite having forgotten the chili peppers. 

We said good-bye to our new friends at Alamitos Bay. It's easy to get sucked into these stop-overs especially when there are friends and nice weather.
We hope to meet up with the Clutes again in our journey. 

Leaving LA in a nice orange haze sunset, on our way to San Diego. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 7th (Saturday) through November 11th (Wednesday) Arrived in Santa Barbara CA

After two days of being at sea Jeff and I are beat.  Being at the helm at all times and trying to dodge the weather window create a pressure similar to a deadline we are all used to in our professional lives. Once we overcome the stress of coming into a new marina, fueling and docking, we can finally relax and turn off our engine. Though not ideal we arrived in Santa Barbara marina at 1AM.  Later that morning the weather was calm with 5-10kts of breeze and sunny with temperatures in mid 70s.  It was a perfect welcome after two days of toil we just finished. Heard lots of great things about Santa Barbara and they are all true.

The rest of the day was spent at the beach. 

Jeff was lured into the sea by the girls with promises of warm water but found the water not warm enough at 65F.  Compared to the 50-55F water in the Northwest, the water here is considered warm by the girls.  

They created another pool that is warmer than the ocean. 

Where are Anna's feet?  
Sunday, we visited the Old Mission Santa Barbara.  This is the 10th mission in California.  It sits on the mission hill and overlooks the rest of the town down to the ocean.  What a beautiful location.  Although our main purpose was to attend mass, its history and the grounds were a full day of education.

Front of the church.  This mission is run and maintained by the Franciscan monks.  More about Old Mission Santa Barbara

From its nave looking to the alter.  Flash photography is not allowed so a little blurry. 

The statue below the crucifix is the statue of Santa Barbara.  The Spanish landed on this land on December 4th, the feast day  of St. Barbara. I learned that among other things she is the patron saint of sailors.  Nice. 
The mass was beautiful and the homily carried the message of filling our emptiness with Christ's love instead of worldly things.  In the back of the church the professional choir sang in the balcony.  All the hymns were very familiar but sounds were of angelic nature.  After mass we hung around for free donuts and coffee. After the museum tour, we met the pastor of the church, Father Charles, who welcomed us so warmly and invited us back on our way back up the coast.  We would love to be back in Santa Barbara!
In front of the Sacred Garden. 

Sacred Garden is where the monks come to work, and contemplate.  One senses a definitive serenity, peace, and beauty here. 
 The Island of the Blue Dolphins   
It was serendipitous that we picked up a Newberry Award Book called The Island of the Blue Dolphins from a used bookstore in Eureka.  Not knowing that it had close ties to Santa Barbara, it was a nice surprise to read this book and be able to relate to a place we visited.

The following is Anna's summary of the book and the visit to Old Mission Santa Barbra:

Daddy, Sophia and I have just finished reading Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. It is about this girl who gets left behind on San Nicholas Island which is located off the coast of Santa Barbara in the Channel Islands. She lived there for eighteen years by herself.  The story is pretty much real. She finally comes to Santa Barbara when some people from Old Mission Santa Barbara  come and take her away to Santa Barbara. You can see where she is buried if you get a tour of Old Mission Santa Barbara.  But, people do not know exactly where she is buried because they did not use grave stones at that time.  She is buried in the cemetery of Old Mission Santa Barbara. You should really visit that church.  First, it is good to go to church. Second, the church is really cool because monks live there and after mass you can talk to the priest, who is a monk.  Sometimes there are some other monks walking around in their brown robes.  Also, they have a crypt in their church, but they hardly ever open it because it is so hard to open.  When you get a tour, you can see the Sacred Garden, which is very pretty, the cemetery, the museum, and you can also watch a movie about the history of Old Mission Santa Barbara.  
By Julianna Cross. 
In front of the Juana Maria's (name given to the girl in the above mentioned book) plaque.  

Sophia's treasures found in our walk through Santa Barbara.

Walking toward the historic Court House. Notice how Sophia carries her found treasures. 

Inside the courthouse full of Moorish architectural influences.  

It's great that Santa Barbara has preserved a lot of its historical architecture. For a moment, I felt like I was back in southern Spain.  

The highly decorated mural room in the Courthouse. 

At the top of the Courthouse a 360 deg view of Santa Barbara.