Daily Archives: August 21, 2012

Baking en francais

When Danielle and Roger left the boat they also left a jammed-packed pantry. Jack and I had our own pantry items, and my sister and I spent days stashing the overflow all over the boat. Over the months we’ve been aboard we’ve eaten all manner of unfamiliar foods, and as we made room in the huge pantry cupboard I moved things from the bedroom drawers and closets into the pantry. And still, four months later, there are tons of packages and cans and packets and jars originally purchased by Danielle and Roger.

Today we discovered that our bread was moldy. No problem, I thought, Danielle left a couple of bags of bread flour. I’ll bake! I dug out one of the packages and turned the bag this way and that looking for the English instructions. There were none. Ok, no problem, I took four years of French in school. How hard could it be?

Hard, apparently. I realized they don’t teach you baking terms in school, and while I could get the gist of the instructions I decided to call in the expert, my sister, who also had four years of French and has a better memory.

I took a photo of the directions. She translated and I followed her instructions step by step.

Ah, but she had gaps, too. We couldn’t figure out why I’d need a robot and where I’d get one.

Word order is different in French so we had a moment where I added ingredients in the wrong order, but we figured with bread it wouldn’t matter much. After a while we abandoned the phone and got our iPads for FaceTime. I propped the bag with the instructions against the iPad and Nancy peered at the screen and puzzled it out word by word. In the background Dave offered to convert the oven temp from Celsius to Fahrenheit.

We giggled through the whole process and we remembered a time years ago when Drew was about 8 or 9 and we were visiting Nancy and Dave. Their friends came for dinner and afterward we all played Clue to amuse Drew, and decided to play in French to amuse the adults. The problem was none of us could remember the word for kitchen–yeah, I know, pretty basic, but we had wine–so we played the whole game calling it “la salle de fromage.”

I managed to get the dough shaped into une belle boule.

“I have belle boules,” I said to Nancy.

“Big ones,” she said.

I let it rise a temperature ambiante and baked it at something similar to 220 degrees C. Nancy and I wished our Mom had been here. She’d have been convulsed with laughter, just like us.



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Birthday on board

One year ago Jack and I took a road trip for my birthday, first stopping at Blennerhasset Island, a destination Jack wanted to visit his whole life. We took the little ferry across the river and rented bikes to circumnavigate the island. From there we drove to Nashville and spent a couple of sweltering hot days with Drew and Ericka. They took us to dinner and made time in their ridiculously busy schedules to show us their new city. Plus, we went to a Steely Dan concert and got aftershow passes to see Jim Beard, the keyboard player, a homey of mine from way back. On the way home we stopped at Mammoth Cave and visited the final resting place of Floyd Collins. It was a great birthday week.







What a difference a year makes! We’re still in our extended shakedown on Escape Velocity, getting things sorted out and fixed and replaced, a normal process on any boat. We’re way behind schedule because of waiting for our autopilot ram, and now we’re waiting again for a new carb on the dinghy outboard. So it’s no surprise that despite enjoying every day on EV we were feeling a little shackled.

Strifes to the rescue! Spending a birthday with family is always our first choice so we were touched and delighted that Nancy and Dave drove hours with a car loaded with our spare parts and champagne and coolers full of birthday treats. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate but Dave got to see the boat and Nancy got to see the progress since April and it was great just to be together.


The next day, as Jack reported, we were visited by Deb and Tim who brought pizza and salad for lunch. We’ll get to see them again before we leave the area since they live in Boston. And schlubs that we are, we forgot to take photos.

I am now 61 years old, an in-between year; not old enough for social security but too old to get rehired in my career. Which is why I’m here, living on a boat with my best friend, with an ever-changing view from the back porch and a sunset every night. I’ve got no complaints.



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