I've definitely learned that I prefer my solitude to social obligations. Now that Showtime has killed the Borgias series and being in the off-season of the few other television shows I enjoy, (and figuring I won't have television in a couple of months anyway), I need to entertain myself (i.e., have ways to procrastinate on projects) and try not to have everything be boat-repair or sailing books, since my world already revolves around life aboard. I'm trying to get back to listening to a variety of educational and entertaining podcasts, which I can listen to while running or doing dishes or just walking about. Although I like my podcasts, I am very picky about what I listen to. I tried to listen to a sailing podcast but deleted it due to the sing-song of the guy's voice and the dull material. If anything is remotely reminiscent of talk radio or NPR, it's a no-go. I might actually dislike NPR even more than I dislike Jimmy Buffet music.
So, here are the podcasts that are on my plate as I feed my head:
Notes in Spanish: Inspired Beginners. They also have intermediate and advanced Spanish podcasts. It's a big change in accent for me because it is Spanish Spanish, rather than Latin American Spanish, so some of it is difficult for me to understand and I don't want to pick up the lisp. But since I have a lot of exposure to Latin American Spanish it is good for me to hear even more variety in accent and vocabulary. The beginners' level is too easy for me but since I don't live half my life in Spanish the way I did in Miami, it's good to refresh my ear as I work my way into more advanced levels. Despite college courses in Spanish and Portuguese and strong vocabulary in both, I never managed to get comfortable with future and past tenses, and need to find a way to get myself there so I am not stuck with just shopping and dining out level ability. I'm going to try to watch more movies in Spanish as well for mini-immersion and to expand vocabulary. Spanish is handy in a lot of places and especially for cruising in the Caribbean and Latin America. Having learned that the Canary Islands and Malaga have pleasant year-round weather, perhaps I'd be willing to check out those other Spanish-speaking locales as well. And I have a long love of Brazil and Portuguese, so once I've got my Spanish back a bit more, I'll work on refreshing and expanding my Portuguese, which was at one time quite good.
Wine for Normal People. From practical to geeky, but without the snob-factor. They cover different grapes, different regions, tips on developing your palate, and how to get good value in your wine selection. Check out episode 73 on alternatives to the expensive stuff and episode 55 on improving your palate.
The New Man Podcast. I'm a girl, it's true, but I still love this podcast. I'd recommend it to any guy and to most women. The tag line is "beyond the macho jerk and the new age wimp." It's for guys who are confident enough in their manhood to embrace having feelings, use them to better themselves, their relationships, their careers, and their lives. Explicit language and topics, but, hey, life is explicit. Good recent episodes with Alyson Lanier (#147) and with Kamal Ravikant (#144).
I also have a podcast audiobook of Robinson Crusoe to listen to and if I'm feeling sporty, I'll start the learn German podcast to refresh many years of German studies that are long dusty.
As some of you may know, I'm trying to buckle down, run more, eat less, and lose gobs of weight. I'm meticulously counting calories consumed and calories burned, using the web and iPhone app versions of MyFitnessPal. My target is to lose about five inches in bust, waist, and hips, and 20-25 pounds. One week into the new regimen I was down one inch and four pounds, which is nice motivation to keep me going. The other day I made a quick vegetarian burrito for lunch that logged in at 552 calories (follow the link for the recipe and photos). Not bad for a full plate of flavorful food. Not every day is easy; a lot of them are very hard. I don't do well with my tummy growling. I'd rather go run a few extra miles than be hungry. I'm trying not to be so strict that I go completely off the wagon, but I know that if I mostly hang in, the results will come.
So, with all this cold weather, the pump out boat was iced in and couldn't come out last Saturday. They put me on the list and will call me when they come out; I think I'll call them tomorrow just in case. Fingers crossed. Yes, I'm getting tired of winter aboard. Days when it's so icy and windy that I take a handheld VHF with me just in case I get blown off the bow or slip off the pier. When I bitch endlessly about the heat, humidity, and constant stickiness in the islands, remind me about how I bitched about winter aboard.
I recently had my scariest moment aboard yet. I was getting ready to do dishes and noticed smoke wafting from the engine room from behind the companionway steps. It was too thick to see what was going on in the engine room and my heart was racing with fears of burning to the water line while it snowed around us. But as I kept trying to see the source I noticed the smoke didn't smell like smoke. It was thick, but quickly dissipated inside the cabin. Gratefully, it donned on me that the "smoke" was actually steam from the water heater encountering the frigid air. I don't use the water heater often, but lately the water has been so cold that doing dishes downright hurts. So, I gave it an hour to heat up before putting on the water pump. Any time the water heater and water pump are both on, the pump runs continuously, so my loose theory is that there is a leak somewhere between them. Perhaps the boiling water began trickling into the cold, cold bilge, creating the cloud of steam that gave me heart palpitations.
But a real problem is that the leaks I had stopped are back after a year. Ugh. I think it's from the very cold and the resulting expansion and contraction of wood. For the one at the shroud, I think it'll have to be some silicone as a stop-gap to get through the cold weather. Once I have warmer, drier weather, I'll have to dig out all the 4200, fill with epoxy, and do the final seal with butyl tape.
I'll leave you with some snaps of pup on the snowy beach and Hunter in the snow.