Month: January 2017

Meeting Zailyn

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Danny and I have fallen helplessly in love with our grand daughter, Zailyn.

She is the most perfect, beautiful little creature. Hunter and Nonna are doing such an incredible job being her parents. Nonna is a natural and it’s easy to see that she is smitten with her beautiful baby. Hunter is putty in Zailyns presence. It has been so fun for us to see him talk with her, take care of her needs and love her. It’s all so perfect.

Danny has a way of stealing her from me when ever I am holding her! Yesterday we walked through a park and Zailyn was so toasty, all snuggled down in her Oumpa’s sweatshirt.

We have loved spending time with this sweet little family. It’s going to be tough to leave in the morning. We have booked our tickets to return to the boat and our other creatures, and have so much to get done before then…including sell the Excursion and the Harley.

Our boat creatures have been very busy. They continue to make trips back and forth through the canal as line handlers for people. Not are the only making a few extra bucks but they are learning so much.

Life is good, and we are so proud of all our babies!

Becoming Grandparents

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Yesterday was such an emotional day for me. Hunter and Nonna were excitedly, exhaustedly walking that same path that I have walked many times. It’s a miraculous journey that simply cannot be appreciated or explained, unless you’re there and directly involved.I loved being pregnant and I especially loved labor and delivery. It’s an earth shattering pain so intense that it took me to the very edge of realizing my strengths on a road that only has one direction, and that’s forward.

Zailyn Sophie Ann was born at 2:27pm, weighing in at 6lb 15oz and 20” long. The first pictures that we saw of her looked like she was in deep thought – all bundled up in a hat and blanket. Hunters words to us expressed his love for us and how he couldn’t wait for us to meet “this beautiful little Angel.” He went on to say that “she’s the most perfect thing I’ve ever seen.” Such a proud daddy who is so involve with his sweet daughter, and it fills me to overflowing.

When we spoke on the phone later in the day and he described the whole experience to me, I just couldn’t stop crying, and I felt love for my son on a much deeper level that it already was. We have a deeply spiritual and life changing experience in common now.

In South Africa Grandpa is Oupa and Grandma is Ouma, so that is what Danny and I will be known as. We are so excited. We get to meet our granddaughter tomorrow night!!!

Big Sky

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Both my Mom and I came down with the flu this week. I was first and she followed a couple days later. We were achy, feverish and coughed a lot, and headaches were bad. She took care of me and I took care of her, and we couldn’t help but see the humor in the situation.At my Cardiology appointment on Thursday my doc was pleased with how my pacemaker is working for me and gave me a big thumbs up. Life is good and I am so grateful for good health.

Yesterday I drove up to Big Sky, Montana, to see Kjira. It has been so wonderful to spend time with her, and the scenery has been so beautiful.

The roads were mostly clear, aside from when they weren’t, at which point they were like ice rinks.
Kjira and Jar have treated me like a queen today, spoiling me with a lift ticket and gear rental, lunch and dinner. I feel so very spoiled and undeserving,
Big Sky is a special place for me, because the Stahn Family, who I lived with when I came to America, taught me how to ski here. So, after many many years of no skiing, my first run today was on the one I learned on, called Mr K. When looking down from the ski lifts, ground looks so far away!

The view was amazing from up on top.

Tall lodge pole pines are covered in and surrounded by a blanket of white, and the mountain is so peaceful.

We made several runs, broke for lunch, then returned once again to the slopes. It was like riding a bike for me, as I found myself moving at what felt like quite a speed, down the runs.

Kjira and Jar both snow board, and are total ninjas at it. I couldn’t get enough of the view from on top!

This is truly beautiful country!

Tomorrow I will drive back to my Mom. She is feeling quite a bit better, and so am I. This morning I loaded up on Alkazeltzer Cold and Tylenol and it got me through a good chunk of the day.

Danny and the creatures are doing well. Danny has been working on some electrical issues on the boat, as well as the furler. We are slowly making progress.

I am completely exhausted now, since I drove here at 4:30am this morning. Its time for rest. I’m excited to see how badly my muscles hurt tomorrow!

Baby it’s cold outside…

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This morning I decided to embrace the cold and explore outside…

I tried making snow angels like we did in the bioluminescence, but ice covered the snow and nothing budged – except my core temperature which plummeted!

The reason why winters are so long here is because it is so cold that everything freezes, including time.

These poor unsuspecting souls don’t even realize it, but just like in the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, everything comes to a complete standstill.

Everything except snow flakes…they just keep gliding gently to the ground, but once they hit, they are frozen in time too.

Birds don’t sing. Fish freeze beneath the ice, and horses stand frozen with icicles on their whiskers.

It’s bloody cold I tell you! Can you feel it???

To warm up I came inside, thawed my feet by trying to stick them in my screaming mothers armpits, and sewed baby blankets for my sweet grand baby who will be making her appearance soon.

We then went over and built puzzles with Margret since she’s a little lonely.

Just like my mom, Margret is an Angel. Her husband, Bill, is my Dad’s best friend. Not too long ago Bill’s brother died and the morning of the funeral Bill didn’t show up so family went over to the house to find that he had suffered a terrible stroke, which has left him unable to speak. He is still in hospital and Margret is missing her Sweetheart terribly. Please keep them in your prayers.

This evening we visited with our wonderful family in town. I love being with them. What beautiful people.

On a warmer note, the girls made it through the Panama Canal and out into the Pacific Ocean.

They loved the experience.

Danny and Aidan drove and picked them up and they excitedly told him all about their adventure.

They were impressed by the locks and were proud to report that everything went extremely smoothly.

Aidan earned $30 by helping someone in the marina de-mast their boat, and Danny discovered that the shore power plug has some serious issues.

I’m so grateful for an amazing family. Each of our 11 children are so wonderful and unique and I love them and Danny with all that I am.

The girls enter the canal

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When I arrived here in Idaho I had quite a list of things I need to collect for the boat. I’ve tackled over half of it and in between have spent time with family and friends. While driving to town yesterday, I found myself looking out at the houses surrounded by snow and ice. They looked so cold and heavy. They looked rooted into the ground like they were there to stay. There’s no moving to the next town or state or country in a few days if one felt like it. For a second the permanency of it made me feel a little claustrophobic. I realized how much I’ve grown so used to moving around, exploring new places, checking in and out of countries and feeling the movement of our home all the time. I love that freedom just as much as these people in these homes, love to be rooted to the earth.

My mom is babysitting my sisters beautiful cat right now, and we have become good friends. I decided to name him ‘Jib’, which seems to suite him well.

We spent an afternoon visiting with my niece and her beautiful little family. She recently had her tonsils out and had nose repair done and is a little loopy and oh so fun to visit with. It is so fun to see nieces and nephews with their new supposes and beautiful families.

Today we had a wonderful Sunday meal with the Keck Family, who recently spent a couple weeks with us on Tanda Malaika. It was so great to see them again.

Back in Panama, Danny and the creatures are doing well. A couple in the marina needed 3 line handlers to help them get their boat through the Panama Canal, so Jude, Mycah and Emma volunteered to go.

Their boat will be rafted together with 2 other boats we know from the marina. They set out today at about noon, and about 6 1/2 hours later messaged to say they had reached the lake, which is half way. Tomorrow they work down through the locks on the other side and descend down to the Pacific Ocean. Pretty amazing.

At this point since they are experienced they can start charging to assist as line handlers. Jude and Mycah have begun waitressing at the marina restaurant and Jude has decided that she is absolutely not cut out to be a waitress. She’d much rather prefer to work on a boat. On Saturday night Danny arrived home from his trip, and played in the band once again. Mycah sang with the band and loved it. I’m told she did a fantastic job, and can’t wait to hear it for myself. Tomorrow Aidan has a job to help some people de-mast their boat.
I miss them all so much but am grateful for this time here with family. My mother is an Angel.

United

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My second travel day to Idaho was an interesting one. I boarded my flight out of Houston and sat on the airplane for a while as mechanics tried to repair the hydraulics. After deciding that it wasn’t going to be a quick fix job, we were escorted off the airplane and told that an airbus was being arranged to take us. During this time a young man asked me where I got my tan from so I told him I live on a boat and spend lots of time outdoors. He asked a few questions and I gave him a boat card so he could read more about it on the blog.Over the following half an hour several others asked questions and I ended up handing out half a dozen boat cards. After reading for a bit, one gentleman turned to me and commented that it’s too bad we didn’t have Captain Dan there because he could have fixed the airplane for us. Someone else walked by later, chuckling, and said how he loved that I called my kids creatures. Our delay ended up being 4 hours long, and many times during that time I’d sit and watch many in the group as they say reading my blog…sometimes coming over to comment, sometimes bursting into laughter and sometimes just wanting to know more from me. It was so funny to witness it all. When the flight finally landed in Denver, wee were about 15 minutes late for me to catch my next flight, but apon exiting I read the board to find out that that flight had also been delayed so I’d be able to make it after all. That United flight also had maintenance issues, and I landed in Idaho Falls way past when I should have, but my sweet Momma was patiently waiting for me.

When I gave my mom the shells I’d collected for her she sorted through them in awe for the longest time. She loves them.

Today I got to spend time with my sister , niece and nephew, and I met my beautiful great niece for the first time. She is such a cute little bundle.

My mom sure is a young looking great grandmother!

Not one of her grey hairs are from me.

I am so tired tonight so I think I’ll turn in early. It wasn’t as cold as I imagined it would be out there, but it sure feels good to be snuggled up in my warm bed. My Sweetheart is safe in Venezuela and the creatures are safe too, so I’ll get a good nights rest tonight.

Travel

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Ever seen the movie, “Jungle to Jungle?” I feel like the kid in it!Where we are in Panama, things don’t move very fast. Today after kissing my babies goodbye, I traveled at 120 km an hour into Panama City. Danny is an excellent driver so I felt completely safe, and we passed through some beautiful scenery, but it all zoomed by so very fast. I then entered an insanely crowded airport where people seemed stressed and unhappy, and sat chatting to a sweet little lady that married at the age of 34 and has been married for 44 years and has 3 children. I told her I am also very happily married and have 11 children. When we parted ways, she said, ‘and just remember, when doing laundry, empty pockets means he’s cheating on you because he’s hiding something.’ She was so funny.

I am spending the night in Houston and will continue travel to Denver then Idaho Falls tomorrow.

After checking into my room, I took my first shower off Tanda Malaika in many many months, and I had to smile when I found myself taking a military shower like I always do. When I used the loo, I couldn’t believe how fast the toilet flushed! Unbelievable!

One good thing about me leaving the boat at this time, is that Danny and the creatures are scrubbing out black water holding tanks. I’m quite pleased with my timing. Greg the mechanic took the engine apart today and has decided that we definitely need a new sail drive on the starboard side. The rigger has removed the furler and is repairing it.

It’s so long it runs the length of almost the entire dock.

Im excited to see my mom and sister tomorrow, and am mentally preparing myself for the freezing temperatures. I’ll make sure I pick up the pace to keep up with the fast world on land, except of course, when I’m showering.

We be jammin’

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As far as marinas go, Shelter Bay is a wonderful place to be. So many improvements have been made since we were here last, and we have loved all of it.Aidan and Emma have made friends with 3 other boys their age, and after school work and chores are done each day, they disappear for hours – exploring, building forts and swimming.
It reminds me so much of my childhood and makes me smile. Before they leave home they’ll load their backpacks up with snacks, rope, walkie talkies etc and have a blast together. Like Emma, I was the only girl in my brothers and my little pack, and I acted like one of the guys and held my own. Fun memories.

On Wednesday, Jude, Mycah and I caught the extremely fast moving marina shuttle to Colon to grocery shop. We just aren’t used to moving that fast anymore!

On our way the shuttle drives onto a ferry that motors across the river close to where the second Panama Canal is being built, and it was only then while moving across the water, that I didn’t feel like I was going to hurl.

We were dropped off at 9am and were picked up again at 1pm to return. A couple doors down from the grocery store is a department store similar to Walmart, and a little farther down than that is a hardware store. Pretty handy.

I have been attending the aqua fit class and enjoying it very much. There’s a fun group of men and women from the marina that are in it, and our entire time is spent joking around while exercising. On karaoke night, everyone thoroughly enjoyed listening to Danny and Mycah. They are an instant hit.

People always comment how Mycah has such a beautiful voice and what a unique, powerful and clear sound she has.

Last night Danny broke out his electric guitar and joined the guys in the band up by the restaurant.

People loved his playing! I had a couple women come to me with their cameras saying they were taking pictures of him and had a crush on him.

This morning Danny and I met an Australian gentleman who had been there last night, and when I greeted him and asked how he was doing, he said, “I would have been fine if it wasn’t for that darn guitar player.” He looked over to Danny and said that he enjoyed his guitar playing so much that he kept ordering more beers and listening and has a painful hangover this morning. I guess Danny is good for business!

We are missing Jude and Mycah this weekend. A family that we made friends with in Honduras, invited them to Panama City to their condo for the weekend. They are having a good time and we look forward to seeing them tomorrow.

My ticket is booked to fly to (below) freezing cold Idaho this week. I am so excited to see my Mom and sister, and then to drive and see the creatures too. Not much longer now and our sweet angle baby will be born, and Danny and I will be an Ouma and Oupa. I can’t wait to hold her and kiss her little face. My surroundings will change by about 90 degrees and I don’t even own a pair of jeans, so I’ll need to take all the warm weather I possibly can, with me!

Shelter Bay

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Shelter Bay Marina is an interesting place.

It was formerly a US Military base called Fort Sherman.

Operating as a marina since 2005, it has become a popular spot for cruisers preparing to go through the Panama Canal. One can also enjoy the two thousand acres of tropical rainforest, filled with Howler monkeys, sloths, jaguars and a huge variety of birds.

The marina itself has a pool, a small gym and many activities for its occupants.

Morning group walks, water aerobics, movie nights, karaoke and weekly potlucks are some of the activities planned, and it’s all free of charge.
Mycah has been feeling ill the last few days, with huge tonsils, a sore throat and lots of fevers. Even though the rest of us have been roasting during the 90 degree days, she had herself wrapped in a blanket and still feeling cold.

Finally today she was back to her sassy self and feeling a little weak but mostly good.
We found a huge beetle that was on it’s back and couldn’t flip over, so the creatures flipped it and I played with it for a bit before they set it free. Such a beautiful little guy.

Yesterday morning I sat watching the crocodiles on the bank by our boat. The are such lazy fellas. Later in the morning the mechanic named Greg, stopped by to peak at the engines.

After checking them out he asked us if we could put the prop back on the problem engine so he could listen to it, so Danny told him he’d dive down and put it on. There was no way I was going to let him go in alone, so we decided that while he was installing the prop, I’d be in the water behind him watching for crocs. Before stepping in I glanced over toward the bank to see how many were watching, and they were all gone. (I assumed into the water since it was the hot part of the day.) While we were in I watched for movement, but the water was so murky that we only had about 3 ft of visibility down below. Nevertheless, I was ready with my Jackie Chan moves. What a thrill.

This morning I went on a beautiful walk.

Overgrown roads lead into the rainforest, where the air is thick with humidity and filled with the sounds of Howler monkeys, toucans and parrots.

It’s such a beautiful place. Vines hang down through dense foliage and termite mounds rest in thick black balls on tree limbs. Undergrowth covers the forest floor in bushes and vines that climb high toward the sunlight which streams in between large leaves. The color of flowers stand out against the greens, glowing in the humidity.

I love the assortment of shapes, textures and sizes of leaves, and I especially love to see the sunlight shining through them.

What a magical place!

When I returned to Tanda Malaika we pulled up the stern floor boards and scrubbed for a while, then took down the sails so we could take them in to the sail loft for repairs.

One doesn’t realize the weight of the sails till they are down and we are folding them up.

The creatures were so sweet to wheel them to the sail loft in a cart for us.

Tanda Malaika looks quite naked now!

Tomorrow a couple of us will catch the shuttle in to town to grocery shop and find a post office. We are so grateful for our freedom and for the love we feel for each other.

Portobelo to Shelter Bay

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This morning we left the sleepy town of Portobelo and motored 20 nm to Shelter Bay. It felt like we were the only ones awake as clouds were slowly lifting for the sun to greet the day.

A Tall Ship had come in and anchored close by in the night.

It felt like we had gone back in time to pirate days. What a beautiful sight.

It was a calm and uneventful trip, and as we neared the canal, on our electronic charts we could see the huge amount of cargo ships waiting their turn to go through the canal.

They all sat at anchor, patiently waiting…

Just as we were about to make the turn to port to enter the bay that leads to both the canal as well as Shelter Bay Marina, Jude grabbed the fishing pole that had a whizzing reel on it, and reeled in a good sized Jack. She did well reeling it in, as it tried diving deep and gave a good fight.

In Shelter Bay we tied up at the dock and got everything settled on Tanda Malaika, then went over to the pool to cool off. Mycah hasn’t been feeling well, and even though it was 82 degrees outside, she was in jeans and a sweatshirt. Later on in the day I was lying on the trampoline and looked over to the bank right at Tanda Malaika’s port side, and saw a crocodile stunning itself. I think tomorrow I may go over and introduce myself (from the dinghy).

Later this evening another one had traded places with the first one. Such sweet fellas.

Tonight we are housing a couple people that came to shelter bay by bus and have discovered that the motel is completely full. Tomorrow we will find Greg, the engine whisperer and the people at the sail loft to discuss what we need done on Tanda Malaika. Life is good, and I am so grateful.