Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Frolicking in the Surf

 West Palm Beach, Florida

 I decide to go diving and take advantage of one of the free hotel nights that we've earned over the last two years by booking though hotels.com. They give you a "free" night for every ten paid nights you book though them. The value they spring for is equal to the average cost of the ten paid nights.


We have enough credit to get an ocean view room with a king bed on the top floor at the Hilton on Singer Island in West Palm..


 The surf is fantastic and the water temperature is a perfect 84 degrees.



 Our room isn't quite ready at check in time so they give us complementary breakfasts and also comp the $18 resort fee which covers Mrs. Phred's Pinot Grigio habit.


The dive master gives the dive briefing, He says the bottom time on the 85 foot first dive will be 60 minutes. My dive table says 24 minutes, so I ask him WTF? He says "everyone" uses a dive computer which results in longer bottom times. However, I am not investing in a computer at my advanced age. The other five younger passengers are all using Nitrox, but I'm still breathing air.... The tables have worked for me since 1965 so I close my mouth and stick with my table (it's in Spanish but with Arabic numerals).


They've opened the locks on Lake Okeechobee and dumped the muck into the gulf stream, so this is the worst visibility dive I've ever experienced. We sink into murk and gloom with 5-10 feet of visibility. We do manage to hit the wreck. I find that with the darkness and my declining eyesight I can't read my watch, air gauge or depth gauge.  That makes me feel uncomfortable. After a while, the dive master leads the other divers off the wreck and then proceeds to become totally lost. I decline to follow him and surface after 15 minutes....this is no fun...I knew the visibility would be poor, but this was way beyond my expectations...The next dive on the trench by the Breaker's Hotel is a little better.


A selfie with Pinot Grigio while waiting to check in.


Dawn on the Atlantic Ocean.


We drove back to the West Coast after the dives....it belatedly occurs to me that I missed the chance to get the great sunset on the same day over the Gulf of Mexico....a lifelong ambition along with:
1. A week on the Thorfinn diving the Truk Lagoon in Micronesia.
2. Seeing the Aurora Borealis.
3. Seeing the Southern Cross (see #6).
4. Catching a salmon on the Kenai River...Wait! I did that in August. 
5. Experiencing one more total eclipse of the Sun in 2017.
6. Carnival in Rio (see #3).
7. Renting an apartment in Chiang Mai for a month.


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Dijon Honey Pecan Crusted Salmon

Yet Another Salmon Recipe

1/4 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1.5 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 pound salmon
salt and pepper
1 lemon




Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

In a small bowl, stir together butter, mustard, and honey. Set aside. In another bowl, mix together bread crumbs and pecans.

Brush salmon with honey mustard mixture, and sprinkle the tops of the fillets with the pecan/bread crumb mixture.


Bake salmon 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until it flakes easily with a fork. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with a wedge of lemon.



Sunday, 13 September 2015

Painting the Rent House

 Sarasota, Florida

 We're back for at least six months in Sarasota. I have a week scheduled on a sailboat in November to dive the Bahamas, but that's about it for awhile. The last time I went on that trip in 2013 I gained ten pounds because of the great food and unlimited free rum....Yo.Ho.Ho!


We swooped across Oklahoma; spent a week in Conway, Arkansas and then another three days in Atlanta before coming back home. This dog belongs to Bruce and Felicia. .His name is Aloysious....Bruce is a highly decorated Navy SEAL Captain. We killed four bottles of Pusser's Rum over three days and he explained why a Poop Deck is called what it is....My favorite Aloysious is Aloysius Lilius (1510-1576)  doctor, astronomer, philosopher and chronologist; the "primary author" of the proposal that, after modifications, became the basis of the Gregorian Calendar reform of 1582.

 Aloysious proposed that every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100, but these centurial years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. For example, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not leap years, but the year 2000 is That pretty much straightened out the messy rotation of the Earth about the sun. However, every 40,000 years, we will have leap year on years divisible by 400 and that's close enough for awhile..



We had broasted chicken at the Buffalo River. The Buffalo National River flows freely for 135 miles and is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states. The river changes  from running rapids to quiet pools while surrounded by massive bluffs as you cruise through the Ozark Mountains down to the White River.


We spent a little time with some beautiful young friends in Conway who call us Uncle Bob and Aunt Carol. With any luck, they should be here to see some amazing changes in the 22nd century...


We took a dip in Norfork Lake up in Mountain Home, Arkansas. It's ridiculously overfilled at the moment.


The Buffalo has some very scenic carved cliffs.


Somehow this shot of our two oldest grandchildren on Hadrian's Wall in England made an appearance in my Conway Album.


So how did I end up spending a week painting a rent house? Jason and Carolyn are young professionals who have acquired ten of these since 2007. They rent then to University of Arkansas students and others (and they allow pets). This particular house had four bedrooms, a big living room, a long hallway and a complex kitchen. Apparently I have acquired a reputation as a frustrated house painter who grooves on covering ugly sins with a fresh coat of paint....this is not entirely untrue...the act of physically renewing and old structure is much more satisfying than building a clever database, lying about financial results or making a Citrix server relational database application available to 500 users...anyway...Jason asked me if I wanted to paint a rent house and so I said "sure" and sacrificed a t-shirt, shorts and some sneaks for five days of rolling beige...Carol also did some work on the house Jason and Carolyn are renovating....here she is countersinking nails on woodwork before  painting trim in the new kitchen...