Audiobooks Aboard

The lack of storage space on the boat has encouraged me to adopt audiobooks as my preferred format. I can listen while washing the dishes, riding the ferry, sewing, driving, varnishing, or working on any number of other tasks. Publishers are investing heavily in this rapidly growing format, and quality has improved significantly as a result. I have recently encountered familiar voices like Levar Burton, Tom Hanks, and John Hodgman reading to me, and many audiobooks are produced with multiple readers for clarity of voice.

A Few Tips 
Until a few years ago, my experiences with audiobooks involved cassettes or CDs and long car trips. Now technology allows me to keep dozens in my pocket all the time.

Increasing the playback speed forces me to focus. At normal speed, my mind wanders, but at 1.25x or 1.5x, I must listen actively to maintain the thread of the narrative. Wayne listens at 2x speed, which sounds like an impenetrable wall of words to me. Listed run times are at normal speed; your…

Catching Up: Toronto Adventures

Neither of us had been to Toronto, but Wayne's work sent him there for a week in August. I went along to see the city, and of course, eat.

The drive from the airport into the city took us past many walkers, runners, cyclists, and rollerbladers making use of trails and parks along the waterfront. Bicycles are treated as a part of the flow of traffic downtown and share the roads with cars. Bike share stations are plentiful, and cyclists are everywhere. Yay bikes!

As certified Seattle Coffee Snobs, we expect disappointing coffee when we travel. Our first morning at the hotel brought a pleasant surprise: excellent coffee at Bluestone Lane without leaving the building. There is no comfort like surprisingly good coffee in a strange place (and in a chain coffee shop no less).

Wandering around during the lunch hour, I saw hundreds of office workers sitting around fountains and in parks, eating from take-out boxes. I remembered then that most of the shops in downtown Toronto do not have s…

Happy Pi(e) Day! Sorry I'm late.

OOPS! I wrote this post 243 days ago and just discovered my failure to post it. With Thanksgiving a few weeks away, it is seasonally appropriate again. I'm feeling iffy about my assertion that Pi Day is the year's best holiday. Thanksgiving will always be the ruler of all holidays in my book because it is so intensely food focused.

So, what pie is your favorite? This year our self-proclaimed coconut-hating hostess has requested Dahlia Bakery coconut cream pie, and I want chocolate bourbon pecan. I'll make at least one other, possibly this one or something similar. And of course there will be an absurd quantity of fresh whipped cream.

3/14/19:  Inspired by an early morning text from Wayne wishing me a Happy Pi Day, I sprang rolled out of bed early, donned my Pi Day shirt and ran all of my errands by midday. I needed time to make my first pie on the boat in celebration of the year's best holiday, which had arrived while I had my back turned.

Not quite ready for a full-on …

Holy Crap! A Toilet!

Wayne's contempt for typical waste handling methods on boats knows no bounds.
We are not squirmish types. Living on a boat requires a greater intimacy with one's humanity and the humanity of those with whom life is shared. There is no escaping any of the bodily functions of those who live on the boat. That said, the components of black water systems are next-level disgusting.

Waste hoses, and even waste holding tanks, invariably become gas-permeable, i.e. gases inside the hoses are able to pass through the hose. It could take years or months, but the gas eventually comes through. Hoses also get a build-up inside them, like plaque in an artery. When the waste system clogs (and it will clog), the hoses generally require disconnection, splattering plaque and black water inside spaces that typically receive little ventilation. The waste tank needs to be emptied and that can be all kinds of adventure depending on the available pump-out facilities. Have you ever seen a pump-out car…

Baking Along with Bookish Friends

The Bake-Along
Inspired by all of the cookbooks she discovered at the annual PNBA fall tradeshow, a bookselling colleague recently started an online bake-along. Book links in this post will take you to the bookstore where she works (SV Cascadia receives no compensation from these links. I just like to spread the indie bookstore love). We bake something from each category (pies, cakes, pastries, breads, etc), one recipe at a time, and share notes and photos in a private Facebook group. One member selects a category, then nominates someone else to choose a recipe. Skill levels and available kitchen space/equipment vary from former professionals to armchair bakers who can't get enough of the Great British Bake-Off.

The first book selected was a new, updated edition of The Joy of Cooking (11/12/19, Scribner, $40). I know that many people hold this book as sacred, but I have never liked it.  However, I could not pass up the opportunity to bake along with fellow cookbook nerds. I last t…

Catching Up: July Adventures

From the dreary viewpoint of February, Northwest summers burst with possibility, appearing long and sunny in the distance. We anticipate the late sunsets and dream of local tomatoes.  In reality, the weekends fill quickly with parties, projects, camping trips, and travel plans, and before we know it, the rain and cool weather have returned. Rain gear resurfaces, heaters fire up, and the down comforter returns from storage.

After our Bridge Blast shenanigans, we had no events on the calendar until the Cascadia festival the last weekend in July. We finally got the missing parts for our composting toilet and installed it! But that will be a separate post. As will the delicious foods we cooked.

This year, we planned to ride our bikes to Granite Falls (about 65 miles), camp for 4 nights, and bike home. While we can carry a minimalist camp setup with ease, we wanted lazy comfort and good food. We took notes over the winter when ideas surfaced. The cargo bikes would allow us most of the luxu…