We've discovered that the evening lighting in our boat is very, very dim. Perfect for relaxing and, as it turns out, heading to bed around 7:00 pm. We have been in bed every night prior to 8:00 pm and sleeping soundly until the alarm goes off at 5:00 am. I feel so rested in the morning, and it's just another check in the box as to why it's so good to be back to this life.

My Love of Pop and Books

Relaxing in the airport waiting on a plane to take me home after a short visit with my grandpa. Shortly after my grandma passed, he had a stroke and he's been living with assistance ever since. I found a cheap ticket and realized a visit was due. I find that I get really sentimental and weepy when I come - memories flood my heart and I realize how lucky I am to have had such great family which has loved me so much. It's hard to see my Pop slowing down and have difficulty communicating with me; when he says, though, "I love you" and grabs my hand it takes everything I have not to erupt with emotion.

Pop, me, and my mama
A beneficial visit it was (short but sweet) and now I find myself in the airport, thankful for the trip and something more commercial - a new book.

On the way down, I finished the first library book I've borrowed in a long time. Back to the boat means back to the library because books are heavy (especially "those hardcovers" my husband says!). I read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" on the way down, and I splurged on the above for the way home - "The End of Your Life Book Club".  I'd been wanting to read both (if you haven't had Polio or other serious diseases, you have to thank Henrietta Lacks). I love that the book above has uneven page edges. That's not why I bought it, but I just love when books do this : )

I'm a book reader and a "Kindle-tryer". I love books in my hand, I love to go back through the pages, peek at the last page, highlight and circle on the pages, and espeically hand the finished book to a good friend who I think will also love the read like it did. I think I can have both in my boat life, I just have to assure my "weight-concious" hubby that books are either from the library or in transit.

Dim but Very Bright

The dim light glows every morning and evening - NPR is the set station on the radio. We've traded countless choices on Hulu and Netflix for news and stories.  Without (reliable) internet service, NPR has become our go-to entertainment. Maybe entertainment isn't the right word; the station has become our comforting background and companion during breakfast and dinner. No more fear-generating news and drama on the tube.

We do hear the phrase "fiscal cliff" too often, but it's tempered by things like a societal analysis about the cancellation of the "Dirty Jobs" show (which shows happy hard-working men and women do jobs that are neccessary and filthy) while shows like "Honey Boo Boo" are all the rage. The reporter was validating how hard so many Americans work and a show that highlights that is increasingly becoming beat out by shows which glamorize less-than-stellar behavior. When this happens, our norm for living and life changes.

My husband said the other day that he realized how he had spent the last two years on land, and in front of the t.v. I talked about how much I ate. We both came to the conclusion that we heavily consumed while living on land. For us, boat life is healthier and more fulfilling. This wouldn't be the case for everyone, but it is true for us. Last night we took a one-mile walk with the pooch, partly hand-in-hand, among the setting sun and the falling leaves. It's been years since we've had walk like that.

It might seem to some that our life is less rich, but it's dim in a good way. Every morning and night we're lit by a few bulbs but our experience together is bright. Through DVDs from Netflix, NPR in the background, and at times pure silence, I feel like I'm talking deeper with my husband and definitely strengthening our bond. There's so much more time together and for us, it works!

And, the pooch is steadily getting over his "home"sickness. He no longer howls when we leave for work. I think he's realizing that trading stairs and windows for longer walks outside and chasing rabbits off the leash is a much better way to live. At least that's what my pooch-intuition is telling me.

Recipe: Rice with Cajun Shrimp and Black Eyed Peas

This is the first dish that I cooked aboard on the new boat. Excitedly, I succeeded in using only one cooking pan and the small rice cooker.  My husband brought home the rice cooker when we lived aboard the previous time, and it has been with us ever since. It's so easy to cook up some rice (if you're plugged in at the dock) and the make a simple topping.   This meal was just that  - Rice with Cajun Shrimp and Black Eyed Peas.

1 15 oz can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed but reserve the liquid (I like Eden's beans, no BPA in the cans.)
1/2 lb. of cooked shrimp
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 cup of salsa (divided)
2 tbsp. olive oil (divided)
1 tbsp. cumin
1/2 cup water
1 cup of rice, or more, cooked
Assorted toppings: avocado, sour cream, cheese

1. Cook rice in rice cooker or on stove top. Set aside.
2. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in pan over medium high heat.
3. Add 1/4 cup of salsa and 1 tbsp. cumin to pan, cook for 5 minutes and stir often.
4. Add drained beans, bean liquid, and water to pan. Cook for about 12 minutes until water has boiled away.
5. Remove bean mixture from pan.
6. In a plastic bag, place shrimp and taco seasoning (I used 1/2 of the packet) and 1 tbsp. olive oil.
7. Add the shrimp mixture to hot pan and cook until heated.
8. Add bean  mixture back to the pan to heat up.
9. Divide rice into bowls, top with bean-shrimp mix, and then top with toppings. Enjoy!