Late summer lake day.

We are about a week away from the end of summer here in our Central Texas home. Today we motored over to the Lake Travis In-the-Water Boat Show on Cupholder. Turns out we were the only sailboat.

We did tour a 45′ $880K+ motor cruiser. Nice RV. I’m sure it throws a horrendous wake.

Then Kurt and Barbara rescued us and took us out for a drive in their new red convertible. Awesome!!

The view from Lake Travis Steak House:

A day in the ATX.

I joined Rachel and Becky on their second day in Austin.

Monte made crepes for breakfast. Then we headed out.

Spelunking at Inner Space Caverns:

Boot shopping at Allen’s Boots:Zilker Botanical Garden:

Chillin’ at Barton Springs Pool:

Mural tour:

Boot scootin at the Broken Spoke:

Mr. Dale Watson:

Good night Austin!

Doo-hickeys.

First some terminology…

Sailboats have barriers along the perimeter of their decks that are meant to keep people from falling off. We call these barriers lifelines. Lifelines have gates that can be opened to let people walk through them when docked or rafted up. These gates are typically created by putting a piece of hardware that opens and closes on the lifeline at the gate called a pelican hook.

Still with me?

Pelican hooks have a tiny little ring that you pull to open them. It’s usually difficult to grab the little ring just right.

To make it easier, you can put a little fob, or lanyard, on the ring that you can more easily grab and pull the pelican hook to open the gate in the lifeline.

Long story short, today I made a set of these lanyards for Nirvana’s lifeline gates. 2 for port, 2 for starboard.

Installed…

Here’s how I made them if you’re interested.

The easy part is learning how to tie the individual cobra weave knots. So I’ll leave that out and just share one of many links that I looked at to help me figure out the basic cobra knot: here. The hard part was figuring out the best jig or setup to easily secure the cord while tying the cobra knots. I’ll share what I came up with.

What you’ll need:

– 95 paracord (1.75mm wide)

– measuring tape

– knife

– lighter or hot-knife to melt cut ends of the cord

– carabiner with 2 big paper clips attached (the jig I came up with)

– tweezers and/or a crochet hook to pull the working ends of the cord back through and under the cobra weave knots to bury them and finish the lanyard

To make a 3-1/2″ finished lanyard out of 95 paracord, I used 44″ pieces for each lanyard. Cut to length and fold that in half.

Tie a simple overhand loop knot 3 1/2 inches from the midpoint of the piece of cord. This defines the finished length of the lanyard.

The carabiner and paper clips make up my jig for holding the cord while tying the cobra weave knots. Other people use different things; pegboards, wire harnesses, etc. Basically, you want something you can pull against to keep the cord taut while you are tying the cobra weave knots with the two working ends of the cord. This is what worked for me.

The carabiner can easily be clipped onto a drawer handle or hook. The paper clips make it easy to loop the 2 working ends of the cord to start the first cobra weave knot. And they make it easy to slip the finished lanyard off them as well.

Before tying the first cobra weave knot…

After tying 3 to 4 cobra knots…

Keep tying cobra weave knots (9 or 10) until you have about 1 inch of the loop left. Remove lanyard from carabiner and paper clips.

To finish the lanyard, you need to pull the working ends of the cord back under the length of cobra weave knots that you just tied. This will bury them and keep the lanyard from coming untied when it is in use. This is where the tweezers and/or crochet hook come in. I pulled the working ends under about 4 or 5 of the knots.

Then trim and melt the cut ends of the cords; the finished lanyard…

Good luck!

Momma’s got a brand new bag.

My boat sewing projects continue. This week I made a pair of new halyard bags for Nirvana. These replace the tattered ones that originally came with the boat.

They sit on the bulkhead in the cockpit and stow all lines coming from the rope clutches on the top of the house.

Nice!

They are made from vinyl-coated polyester mesh, Phifertex Plus, which has a slightly tighter weave than the original material. I added grommets in the bottom of each pouch to help water drain.

Frosé in the house!

It is HOT in Austin this summer. A cool drink goes a long way to make you forget the temperature outside. I have recently been introduced to a lovely pink frozen beverage called Frosé, made from rosé wine, but presenting as a slushie. Brick Oven Pizza served up my first one (and several since then). Pretty good!

Ever since then I’ve wanted to try making my own. We have a Cuisinart electric ice cream maker which we use to make delicious sorbets. So, I asked myself, “Self, can our ice cream maker successfully make frosé?”

The answer is, “YES!”

Today I conducted a test run. Inputs:

    – 1 Bottle of chilled rosé wine
    – 1/3 c chilled simple syrup (see recipe below)
    – 1 Cuisinart ice cream maker w/ pre-frozen canister. Our model is ICE-25R but is likely replaced by a newer model by now.

Pour wine into the canister, add simple syrup, and stir. Put canister in ice cream maker and start her up. At 15 minutes it was freezing nicely.

I ran it for another 10 minutes and it looked ready.

I scooped some into a wine glass, added a paper straw (no plastic!), and put the rest into the freezer for later.

Delicious! I highly recommend. Cheers!

Simple syrup recipe:

– Heat 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan over medium heat. Boil 1 minute. Cool and refrigerate.

June!

The first dip in the water marks the beginning of summer for me on Lake Travis.  I wait until after Memorial Day to jump in the lake.   That happened this past weekend, and it was marvelous.

Monte and I anchored up in a lovely cove overnight on Saturday.   Though the wind went completely calm overnight, it wasn’t too hot.   But we did battle with no-see-ums and mosquitos, a first for me in about 15 years of playing on the lake.    No matter.  It was wonderful to be there.

We enjoyed a weekend floating in a full lake on our noodles with Marty, Sue, Kurt & Kevin.   Welcome, Summer!

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Happy anny.

We recently celebrated our anniversary.  Tonight, we had Lori and Pooh over for dinner and popped open one of our oldies.

It was a bottle from a winery that we visited on our honeymoon – an almost 20 year old chianti that we brought back with us.  The cork didn’t leak or budge in the last two decades, so the wine was really pretty good!  I am very happy to be able to share it with friends.

Pause.

This week a friend of mine died unexpectedly – a fellow sailor, a husband, and father of 3, who worked in the IT industry by day, and sang karaoke at night.

This week is also the 3 year anniversary of the unexpected death of a cousin of mine who was my age.

Mom died not too long ago, not unexpectedly, but creating a great hole in our hearts.

An aunt died without any warning signs, mourning the loss of her husband 2 years before.

My sister-in-law’s brother died this year unexpectedly as well.

The impact of all these losses piles up, in the mind.   And it causes me to pause.   And maybe because of that when I saw this quote posted this week, it touched me:

So live your life that the fear of death can never

enter your heart.

Trouble no one about their religion;

respect others in their view, and demand that

they

respect yours.

Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all

things in your life.

— Chief Tecumseh’s Words of Wisdom

I shall strive to do so.

See the forest.

Another shot from yesterday’s walk through the woods.   I found myself literally surrounded by trees as far as my eye could see — much like I feel with my todo lists from work and home.   It was a reminder to try to keep the big picture in perspective, and not get hung up on the little things.

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Treasure trove.

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I recently discovered OpenCulture, a website that touts itself as “the best free cultural & educational media on the web.”  And i’m a fan!

They have compiled a listing of free audiobooks, movies, massive open online courses (aka MOOCs), and bunch of other interesting tidbits to enlighten and amuse.   I’m currently listening to a dramatized reading of Brave New World, narrated by its author, Aldous Huxley back in the 50s.   I read this novel in a mind-expanding and life-changing English literature class when I was in highschool.  It’s a treat for my brain, now that I have reached such an advanced age.  🙂

OpenCulture also has daily posts that usually are clickworthy, you can add them as a blog (using their url) to follow via your WordPress Reader page or another RSS reader, or like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Check it out!

New dawn.

I woke up this morning extra early – given the time change yesterday.  This was the glorious sunrise sky that lay right out side the front door.  I was prompted to go out and take a look when i noticed that the light coming in through the windows was making the entire inside of the house glow pink.

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And, what is that sparkle on the horizon?  Could it be something new coming my way….?

Red skies at night.

Lovely sunset.
Lovely sunset.

Today is the last day of my vacation.  Tomorrow it’s back to work for me.

My day started with a mimosa and ended with a glass of champagne — with this absolutely gorgeous sunset squeezed in between.  I snapped this as we headed to BB Rover’s for a quick dinner.

Monte and I have discovered the Showtime series called The Tudors.  We don’t have Showtime, but BBC America is broadcasting past seasons’ episodes via cable.  Yesterday and today have been a marathon session of season’s 1 and 2.   I found seasons 3 & 4 on Amazon Instant Video, so we can stream them for free at our leisure.  🙂  Speaking of leisure… I can’t wait til Friday!

Good advice.

THINK.

“And we must study through reading, listening, discussing, observing and thinking. We must not neglect any one of those ways of study.  The trouble with most of us is that we fall down on the latter — thinking — because it’s hard work for people to think.  And, as Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler said recently, ‘all of the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think.'”

                    — Thomas J. Watson, 1915 (audio)

IBM founder Thomas J. Watson was an inspiring figure and entrepreneur.  He introduced the “THINK” slogan in the early days of the company to motivate and inspire IBMers.  It was the first US trademark registered by IBM.  Over the century, this one-word slogan has adorned IBM buildings, publications, ads and presentations.  Back in the day, IBMers carried around small, leatherbound THINK note pads to capture great thoughts and ideas.

The original ThinkPad.

Those little notebooks later inspired the name of the IBM ThinkPad line of laptops in the 1990s.  I’ve always thought that was clever.  I think TJ Watson would, too.