Tuesday, June 19, 2007

And Did I Forget to Mention...

We have picked out our apartment in Paris! There were a few that we loved that were already booked (six months in advance!), but Jeff kept searching and found a great little place near the Montmartre area. I've never stayed in this area before, so it will be an exciting adventure into the unknown for both of us. We've downloaded several podcasts for learning French, so we should be able to get by. It's amazing how much I've forgotten, but bits and pieces are coming back. All in the wrong order, of course. C'est la vie!

You can see the place here:
Cozy Carpeaux

Dulaan Update

Almost forgot to add that I have finished my parcel of charity knitting for the Dulaan Project, items for which have to be delivered prior to July 1 (I guess mailing to Mongolia takes a while!). I wanted to do five pieces and, lo and behold, five there are! I made four scarves and my very first hat--pretty keen. Everything after this point will go to local charities. It's fun, however, to think that something I made will be used halfway across the world. If this keeps up, I'll have to get one of those maps to put pins in. Think warm thoughts!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Done and Doing

Whew! Since the last post, we've been doing a lot here at the HandyHouse. The garden continues to grow, although erratically. There are watermelon vines all over the place, the corn has basically come to a standstill after an attack of some kind of caterpillar, the cucumber vines are growing and flowering but not fruiting (yet), and the bush beans are making a valiant effort. Those beans in the picture are ours. It's pretty exciting to see an end result to the effort, meager though this first product may be. I've had far less tasty outcomes to some of my past "experiments," so I can only be happy with the results so far.

Jeff started a "Couch to 5K" running program and has already completed his very first charity 5K, weeks before actually completing the program. The funds from the race are going to a new playground that will have complete access for disabled children. Check out his finish line photo--fantastically photogenic that man.

We also pulled out the scuba gear a few weeks ago and went diving in the Gulf. This was my first dive in my own backyard, amazingly enough, and it turned out to be the best dive we've ever experienced. Who knew! We visited a sunken barge named the R.J. Thompson (in the picture) and went to a strange outcrop called Table Rock, which pokes up in the middle of a sandy bottomed nowhere. Fish everywhere, a nurse shark, barracuda, all kinds of corals and sponges, and very clear water. I had no idea the Gulf could be like that. Nice to know we don't have to travel for days to enjoy the amazing beauty under the sea. I also learned that no matter what I do, I'm going to be seasick. Too bad!

See, you'd think that "seasick" would be the tip-off to avoid our next accomplishment, but no. Jeff and I signed up with the St. Pete Sailing Center and learned to sail keelboats! Check one off the "Life List." These are traditional, non-motorized sailboats (in our case, the Rhodes 19' sailboat like the ones in this picture). We took a weekend course, and then took a boat out ourselves the following weekend. It's a lot of fun, but more work than you'd think given how serene the boats look when you're standing on the shore and watching them float on by. Everything seems to need constant adjusting and tweaking and tacking and jibing and hauling in and out. Whew! Still, it's a good time, and we look forward to going out more. Part of the Sailing Center membership includes use of their boats when you please (and they're not being used for classes or races), so that's pretty swell--all the fun of boating with none of those pesky upkeep expenses. Just something to keep in mind for those folks who might want to visit and, oh, say, go out on a boat in grand Florida tradition. We promise not to sink you (intentionally).

That's it for the moment. Summer break with Jared starts in just a few days, which means a flurry of camp activity and a trip up north. We're looking forward to checking in with the Hoosier side of the family! Love to all.