Hindsight.

Most years I post a summary of the previous 12 months here on Sheila365 – summarizing moments from fun trips, visits from friends and family, and other adventures and highlights from the year (like these summary posts from 2019 and 2018). Unfortunately, on this last day of 2020, there isn’t much to report, as COVID has curtailed most highlight-worthy moments.

Instead, today I went back and looked at my first post from the beginning of 2020. In that post, I included a picture of a beautiful sunrise that I took the previous year – as we were at the dawn of a new decade. I had to chuckle and shake my head reading this statement a year after I wrote it: “I’m not sure what the next ten years will bring, but I’m ready.” Well, I can now say that I was in NO WAY ready for what 2020 would bring.

BUT, I am still here, as are my loved ones, thank God. So, I am grateful, and I am simply trying to roll with it.

To end the year, I will just leave you with this, a picture of a beautiful post-sunset scene that I took at anchor in the Ashepoo River in South Carolina. Tomorrow is a new day.

Full enough.

I grilled pork tenderloin for dinner tonight. Over charcoal. Marinated in Allegro. Indirect. 21 mins, ~7 mins per side. Measure with meat thermometer to 145 degrees F. AMAZING.

As I waited for the meat to grill, I snapped this photo of the not-quite-full moon over our winter foliage.

Christmas sunset.

I grilled a delicious cedar plank salmon for Christmas dinner, recipe below. Julie joined us and stirred up a tasty risotto dinner. Nom nom. Sunset was fleeting, but lovely.

Grilled cedar-plank salmon:

  • soak a cedar plank in water for several hours ahead of grilling
  • slather a boneless salmon fillet with olive oil, then sprinkle generously with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a dash of garlic powder
  • place fillet, skin side down on the pre-soaked cedar plank
  • place cedar plank & salmon over direct coals for 20-30 minutes

Enjoy!

Watching from afar.

We witnessed two momentous events over the weekend, each from many miles away.

We watched a livestream of the wedding of my nephew and his lovely new wife.

When you can’t be there in person…

And we witnessed the rare conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the night sky. These 2 largest planets have not been this close since 1623, during Galileo’s lifetime. And they won’t be closer during my lifetime. To the naked eye, they appear to be a single point of light. We looked at the two planets through binoculars in the backyard. We also watched a livestream from the McDonald Observatory in west Texas, through their large telescopes. One could see the rings of Saturn, and several of Jupiter’s moons.

Back at the ranch.

After sailing Cupholder down to the marina on Sunday, Monte spent the next few days taking the rigging, booms, and mast down. Today we met Marty at the marina and we put Cupholder on the trailer and brought her home. Many, many thanks to Marty for his help and guidance as we worked to get the boat on the trailer properly. And thanks to Sue for the use of the 4Runner to do the hard work. We couldn’t have done it without you.

She’s back home. Hopefully not for long; and to return to the lake in 2021.

CBC 2020.

‘Tis the season of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count! I met up with Doray and a team of birders at Reimer Ranch yesterday. We hiked all day and saw so many birds. The first half of the day was cold, but by 4:30pm I had shed 3 layers. The former ranch, now a park, overlooks the Pedernales River. It’s a beautiful place to spend the day.

Pretty hill country cold-weather view

The next patient in the loft.

Julie and Ryan recently acquired a new-to-them sailboat. It’s an older Catalina 25. It needs some work, so we are helping them get things fixed up. Clever Monte got the outboard motor working. Now he is helping Ryan repair the electrics on-board. Julie brought over the sails, which need some mending. Their mainsail will be my next sail project. It’s in pretty good shape, except where sun damage caused some tears and deterioration where the previous owner left parts of the sail exposed.

Blustery day.

As Lake Travis’ level continues to drop, the water in the cove where Cupholder spent the last year is getting too low and the dock it is tied to will soon be aground. So yesterday, Monte and I took a drive upriver and sailed Cupholder back down to our marina, soon to be hauled out and parked at home.

It was a very windy day. A front had just passed through, so the winds were out of the north, which is what we hoped for to make for an easier sail 25 miles down river. Northerly is good, however, it was blowing 15-30 knots, with some gusts in the 40-knot range. So, it was a nice, but exciting, sail. The scenery that far up the river is always pretty, and the autumn color is finally showing up.

After a 6-hour sail, we arrived safely at the marina right before sunset. Kurt met us and helped us tie up in the strong winds. Another mission accomplished on the lake.

My internet BFFs.

At the beginning of the year, even prior to COVID being a thing, I set a modest goal to get myself in better shape. I started up a daily yoga practice with Yoga with Adriene sessions on YouTube, a suggestion from Lori that I followed up on, and it quickly became something I look forward to every day. I was a complete newbie to yoga, and I found Adriene’s yoga for beginners videos were great and eased me into it. She also has many 30-day playlists of daily yoga sessions that make it easy to keep you interested for a month at a time.

After about 4 months with Adriene, I started mixing in some other yoga sessions with Yoga with Kassandra, also on YouTube. I found they were less chatty, especially Kassandra’s “minimal prompts” videos. Adriene spends time in each video emphasizing how to properly align your arms, legs, hips, back, etc. to avoid injury. I found Kassandra’s sessions a bit more challenging, which I was looking for, and she has some sessions longer than 30 minutes, which I enjoy rotating in. After about 3 months of doing Kassandra’s more challenging videos, I found that I had hurt my right wrist and left elbow. Sure enough, I was not using proper alignment and must have put too much weight in the wrong places too many times. Shame on me. I should have listened to Adriene.

That left me at the end of August not able to do the yoga poses that put all my weight on my wrists and elbows. So I searched out some other workouts to keep me moving. And… I found Heather! Heather Robertson recorded a free 12-week workout series of YouTube videos at the beginning of the year that mix in high intensity interval training, cardio, and tabata (I had to look that up). There are 5 sessions per week, each 30-40 minutes long. They are challenging (for me), but very doable. You really don’t need much more room than what a yoga mat takes up, so the workouts are great for small spaces.

My space.

I am excited to say that I just completed the entire series! It took me a couple weeks longer than 12 weeks, as I took some time off while aboard Trident. But, even so, I did complete a number of workouts on the boat in the 4 weeks that I was away from home. Lori and I took turns working out in the salon on the boat while the other person did boat chores.

After 3 months of doing Heather, I think I’ll start her 12-week workout plan all over again. My wrist and elbow that I had injured both feel strong and pain-free now, so I plan to mix in some yoga again, with both Adriene and Kassandra.

I also began walking most days, mixing in a little bit of running.

Entering the last few weeks of the year, I’m extremely happy that I have realized my goal from the beginning of the year. I’m in better shape than I have been in a very long time. I feel stronger and more flexible. It’s not easy for me to keep it up, but I hope I do. It’s really all up to me. I am incredibly grateful to the YouTube ladies that inspire me and help me keep moving – certainly a bright spot in the otherwise dull year that is 2020. Thanks Adriene, Kassandra, and Heather!!!

Last pie.

One of my favorite restaurants, Brick Oven, closed today. They gave their customers a heads up a couple of months ago. It wasn’t for COVID-induced lack of business, rather the anchor grocery store in their location is expanding to take over all the attached businesses. We are in mourning, but enjoying a final Tuscan Truffle pizza. Best evah.

Please, please, please, Brick Oven, find a new location to re-open in. I’ll be the first one in line.

Home for Thanksgiving!

After 29 days, 1300 miles by plane, 920 miles by boat, and 1100 miles by car, traveling through 10 states, I’m back home again. Thanks, Lori, for another adventure. Thanks, Monte, for being the shore-person watching out for us as we made our way down the east coast. Thanks, Tony, for joining us for our off-shore legs. And thanks, Michelle, for the warm welcome to your hometown.

It’s good to be home.

Not wasting any time, Monte and I whipped up a nice Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, and Julie joined us to celebrate the day and our blessings.

St. Augustine sights.

St. Augustine, Florida, was the end of the boat portion of this trip. I didn’t get much time to explore the city, but what I saw was enchanting. I hope to make it back again someday.