Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter's Bone

Winter's Bone is a 2o1o film I came across unexpectedly through Redbox. It has been compared by many online to Frozen River, another Sundance release I discussed earlier this year. Both movies profile a strong female lead isolated in a rural environment, recently deserted by the male in their family, and solely responsible for dependent children (FR on the Canadian border and WB in Missouri's bleak stretch of the Ozark Mountains).

Ultimately, the two women deal with their predicament differently. WB's Ree Dolly is restricted by a cultural code that determines how and when she can accept charity, when she should talk or keep quiet, and how much input she can give as a woman regardless of the severity of her situation. By comparison, FR's Ray Eddy makes decisions based on personal want and desire. She is limited only by her own small view of the world. While both women are to be admired, the relentless Ree Dolly is without a doubt the more courageous character and her success the more honorable one. Let me know if you feel the same.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas!

Santa on waterskis, an ordinary event in Washington, DC every Christmas Eve. Photo taken on the Potomac River near the Belle Haven Marina in Alexandria, VA and posted by the Xinhua news agency in China.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

General Store

There's been a change in plans. The boat is being loaded onto the truck today and will still be transported to Virginia in early January but instead of going to Olverson's, Clementine will be now be delivered to the Lewisetta Marina on the Coan River. (There were several issues with the offload capabilities of boat yards in close proximity to Lottsburg.) This pic is of the historic general store that will soon be available to us. Online research tells me they sell deli sandwiches, make coffee, and have a reasonable supply of hardware. I'm still hoping they have showers and laundry facilities. Photo by R.W. Dawson.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Orange Line: Foggy Bottom (Kennedy Center)

A week or so ago, while on Florida furlough, I attended the symphony with my mom and dad. It wasn't until today that I realized it would make a good "orange line" post. All you have to do is take the orange line to Foggy Bottom and then catch the free shuttle bus to the Kennedy Center. This pic was taken before the performance began, even before the lights went down, but I was chastised for having a camera and had to pocket my iPhone. All in all, it was a very lovely evening.

2700 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20566

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Delta Airlines

Over the last few months, I have travelled to Florida by train, plane, and automobile. It wasn't until my third trip on Delta that I actually noticed they have a logo. While the all-red "widget" received a lot of praise when the rebranding was unveiled in 2007, I didn't like it at first. I felt it was at odds with the rest of the wordmark, a little too heavy perhaps or not sufficiently coordinated with the type. Other critics have suggested the problem may be with the letter spacing and not with the symbol at all.

According to Delta's impressive style manual, they want to appear fresh and modern. Their typeface selection (H&FJ's Whitney) does this. Their approach to photography supports their goal as well. Images are cropped close with a focus on one small detail suggesting something "greater beyond the boundaries of the piece." The idea of mystery and potential resonnates with me in terms of travel but after three gate changes, one cancellation, and a lengthy delay on a rebooked flight, I think I'll give Delta a rest for now.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fort Pierce

Clem came out of the water today and will go into storage for the next few weeks. We are paying C&J Transport to bring her north in early January. Cold weather aside, it's the only way to deal with the fact that Georgia doesn't maintain their portion of the Intracoastal Waterway and we don't have the ability to take her offshore. Florida has been a great place to take our shakedown cruise. We've learned so much and now have a good idea what work we need to do, both to improve our skill set and the condition of the boat. My next nautical post will be from Olverson's Marina positioned on the Yeocomico River in southern Virginia. Until then, on to different stuff.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Here's what exhausted looks like! (That, and the lack of a hair dryer!)

So, we made it to Stuart and were right around the corner (so to speak) from the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Suddenly we were in civilization tied up to mooring ball 65 at the Sunset Bay Marina with a busy bridge and railroad track almost right above us. We were connected to the Internet and had everything available to us.

It was then I realized that s/v Kasidah was also in the Stuart Mooring Field! I posted a note to Jon and Arline's blog and they stopped by for a visit. Unfortunately, I wasn't on the boat. (I was in the lounge online, of course). They misunderstood my blog title and their conversation with Eric went something like this: Are you Adam? No? Well, are you Morgan? No? Do you know Leslie??? Later that day, I had an opportunity to speak with Jon and Arline and explained to them that Adams Morgan is a Washington, DC neighborhood. I didn't bother to explain that I no longer live there. I invite you to follow the adventures of Kasidah here. Jon and Arline: thanks for stopping by.

Monday, December 6, 2010


In spite of the difficult start, the lake proved to be a fine crossing and was a lot less stressful with s/v Antigone leading the way. After completing route 1, we passed through Port Mayorca, traveled another two hours, and stopped in Indiantown for a fully-catered 100%-free Thanksgiving dinner. The Indiantown Marina was exceptionally nice, the owners extending their generosity to all of those with slips and even those like us who were anchored out. They even let us dinghy in to use their showers and facilities the day after Thanksgiving. This photo is of the sunset we viewed from our boat.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


It's been my practice not to bad mouth anyone or anything on "Leslie in Adams Morgan" but today I'm making an exception. After leaving Glades Boat Storage, we stopped at Moore Haven for a few hours, went through the lock, and then down the side of Lake Okeechobee to Clewiston for the night.

The Roland Martin Marina is the worst ever (although they do have an acceptable restaurant and a nice gift shop). The cleats on the dock are falling off and we had to try four or five electrical posts before we found one that actually worked. All of this for $56 a night, which is pretty pricey for what we got.

The worst insult, however, was when we specifically asked at sign-in about the canal's depth and believed the woman when she said 8 feet. I see on Active Captain now that the fuel dock depth drops to 7 feet but know for certain that it's much more shallow than that. Our 4.6 draft was definitely touching bottom. It was a tight turnaround but Eric made it and we were out of there and moving across the lake the very next morning. This map - courtesy of the marina - shows our route from beginning to end.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Martha and David (s/v Antigone)

The next day, we took off early and made our way to Labelle where I enjoyed a delicious latte at the Bridge Street Cafe. Life's pleasures at their most basic are a good cup of coffee and a hot shower. With that in mind, we slid like bandits up to the Glades Boat Storage dock a little after dark. We'd take our showers in the morning and be out of there before the office opened at 8am.

Upon arrival we met Martha and David, a cruising couple from Michigan who were headed for the Bahamas. They became our friends for the next few days and provided us with a lot of laughs, advice, and good humor. They even pulled us off a sandbar and didn't make too much fun of us for running aground.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Navigation Charts

When the weekend was over, we left Estero Island, passed through Fort Myers, and entered the Okeechobee Waterway which intersects the state of Florida. It was during this trip that Eric and I first started using charts to navigate our course. It turned out to be a great learning experience in a relatively safe environment. After a long day, we stopped at the Franklin Lock Recreation Center, an RV park with docks, showers, and electrical hookups. While the camp ground is nothing special, it's affordable, clean, and convenient. I recommend it for a night or two.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pirate Ship

I've been away again ... in Florida, of course, but this time I started my adventure in Fort Myers Beach, a real tourist town with lots of restaurants, bars, and vacationing partiers. This pirate ship was docked near the Matanzas Mooring Field where Clementine was tied up. Twice a day, it blew canons and carried singing actors up and down the waterway. Their lively performance pretty much says it all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moo - another Egyptian Kitty

Moo currently lives the good life in upstate New York with Chuck and Angie.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Staffetta Dell'Amicizia

Yay! I've been tagged by Evil Pixie! This blog award is called the "Relay of Friendship" and in good graphics form, I have replaced the badge with a new one and rewritten the questions so they no longer are a direct translation from Italian. Here goes my answers:

1. When you were young and were asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, what did you say? Well, when I was in grade school, I wanted to drive the big yellow bus that came to pick me up every morning and during that same year, I was fascinated by the library van that came into our neighborhood even though they rarely had books that fit my age group. It's funny, in retrospect, because I have no interest in cars now, let my drivers license expire 6 years ago, and have to go take the DMV test this weekend so I can water Bob's plants while he and Ans are in Mexico and Eric is off learning how to sail our boat.

Later on, around age 10, I wanted to be a writer. I developed complex characters in my mind but soon discovered I didn't want anything bad to happen to them. The dream finally died when I was in college and realized there was no way I would reach a standard high enough to satisfy my expectations. In some ways, my blog reflects this younger mindset. Nothing bad ever happens to Leslie in Adams Morgan and I never have to stand up to anyone's criticism but my own.

2. What were your favorite cartoons? Josie and the Pussycats and The Flintstones (kazoo, in particular).

3. What were your favorite games? Well, I liked Barbies the best and even though that's not a board game, which I assume to be the direction this question is meant to take me, that's my final answer.

4. Which birthday was your nicest and why? In my childhood, I remember riding a white pony on my 8th birthday and receiving a Cheerful Tearful doll, knowing full well that it was very precious to me because I would never ask for a baby doll again. And now in my adulthood, I am going to say my most recent birthday, my 50th, because I have dreaded the ticking clock for so long and finally, this year, it didn't matter.

5. What things did you want to do when you were young that you haven't done yet? Well, young is relative. I want to walk the Camino de Santiago Compostela Pilgrimage in northern Spain. I want to speak Spanish fluently and I want to live in a foreign country again. I mean to do the last two. I doubt I'll do the first.

6. What was your first love? Sports or something else? Reading. I sucked at sports. I was small and am non-competitive by nature.

7. Who was your first musical idol? Donny Osmond, Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, and John Lennon. Topo Gigio (not really).

8. What was your first sought-after and eventually received holiday gift (Santa Claus, St. Lucia, or Jesus Child)? Hmmm. I am still waiting for that Barbie Dream House with the convertible in the garage and the vanity table on the second floor.

There you have it! So, in the continuing spirit of friendship, I tag Mina (Shining Lotus), Hariklia (What-She-Said), and Jason (no vacancy), the designer who quickly rolled out a new Staffeta Dell'Amicizia badge this morning when I cried out for help. If you want to see the original, you can follow it back to Evil Pixie.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cheezecake in America!

This is Cheezecake right after going through customs in the Washington Dulles Airport. As regular readers know, my sister lives in Egypt. There are huge numbers of street kitties in Cairo and most of them die young and don't do well. My sister has been feeding an entire posse of yard cats and is now finding homes for them in America. Cheezecake had an impressive 18-hour flight but arrived safely and this *fantastic* man above handed her over to Kevin who has agreed to adopt her.

And here she is settling in and telling us all about the long journey.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I'm back in Virginia (again) and for the next two weeks while I'm dealing with colder climates and an overdriven population, Eric is hanging out in Labelle with these two guys: Don Shuler, an engine repair guy and Jim, his buddy. Both are sailors and have a lot of knowledge they are willing to share.

After dropping me off at the Fort Myers airport, the car was picked up by United Freight and Eric left the boat yard. Almost immediately, he had a major insult as one of the more experienced sailors likes to call all mishaps and delays. Tiny's line wrapped around Clem's propeller bringing everything to a halt. After a few calls for advice and with an ever-sinking battery life, Eric dipped into alligator-infested waters and untangled the line himself. I was beside myself, texting him like mad: don't go in the water, call BoatUS, see if Don will come out and help you.

Finally free, Eric then made his way through the Ortona Lock single handed and down the canal to Labelle where he has access to coffee shops, libraries, and the local USave grocery store. These little accomplishments go a long way in our introduction to boating. We have so much to learn and are having to take our days one insult at a time, each in the spirit of nautical progress.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


In general, I'm not a brave girl. I come around but only after expressing a lot of verbal insecurity and topping it off with some grade-school whining. When we first arrived at the boat yard, I was a bit timid walking down the dock. There are alligators in the water, for God's sake. But now, after living on the boat for a few days, I actually seek out the local gator and feel a kinship when I see him. On this day in particular, I was looking down trying to distinguish nature from reptile, and when I glanced up, there he was taking in the sun with half-closed eyes.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Yay! Our boat is in the water! Isn't she pretty? Everything is new (to us) and nothing is routine. In the last six days, I have perfected climbing in and out, up and down, and can move effectively around an incredibly disorganized interior. My boating vocabulary has increased. I can operate the tiller, have assisted with the anchor, and can tie up the fenders and throw out a dock line. It hasn't been smooth sailing, though. The salon cushions shrank when we tried to wash them, the engine gave us trouble, and, worst of all, the insect population is growing. The good news is Hurricane Tomas is not a threat and the local boating community is kind even when we slip up or make mistakes.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


For the last ten days, I've been in northern Virginia and Eric has been in Florida fixing up our boat Clementine, getting her ready for their trip home early next month. This is Clemen-tiny, Clementine's little sister, the dinghy.

Today, Eric replaced the screws, bolts, and washers with new ones, caulked the ribs, and painted the outside. He's still working on getting the outboard functional, but all in good time.

Me, I did very little. It's been a long week catching up at work and taking care of obligations. All the rest can wait until tomorrow ...

Friday, October 15, 2010


This sad little train station is where I boarded Amtrak to start my trip home. The safety poster reminds me of an IRA mural in Northern Ireland. The surrounding area wasn't as bleak as it looks but I sure wouldn't want to stand here alone at night.

It was a long 24 hours from Okeechobee to Alexandria, Virginia and I got to see a lot of America's country side along the way. When the train hit North Carolina and started to climb from flat swamp land to deciduous forest, I felt comforted by what's familiar, but right now it's too far a distance from my heart.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sugar Cane

Clementine is about 20 miles away from Clewiston in one direction and 15 miles away from Labelle in the opposite. In between are sugar cane fields and it's harvest time in southwest Florida. We kept seeing dark clouds of smoke in the sky and learned that farmers burn their crops prior to harvest in order to remove leafy material and help push out any poisonous snakes that might be lurking about.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Boat Yard Cat

This is Byc the boat yard cat (pronounced Bick). During the week, when Kim is in the office, Byc sleeps in a card board box and enjoys air conditioning. On the weekends and at night, she spends her time stretched out on the porch visiting the small group of people who temporarily have their boats on the hard.

Byc is too calm and friendly to have been a feral cat, but she definitely has the skills necessary to fight as is evidenced by the minor cuts and scrapes around her ears. Maybe Byc jumped ship or was accidentally left behind, or maybe she just found her way to the boat yard and decided she liked it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


(photo to come)

So here we are in the middle of nowhere ... the nearest town is something like 20 miles away and it's a full 2.5 miles of dirt road just to get out of the boat yard.

It's unbelievably hot without air conditioning. Like farmers, we rise at dawn, work until the sun is too much, and then turn in for the night at dusk. In our two days since arriving, we've gone through the entire boat, cleaned up the interior, and made the engine accessible. The galley is stocked with essentials: water, nuts, cheese, fruit ... all items that store well and don't require cooking or major refrigeration.

It's an adjustment for two people who are used to city living. We have no Internet, no television, and very little company outside ourselves and the few people who are working on their boats during the day. We sleep soundly and our daily labor produces satisfying results.

The best part, however, is waking up in the middle of the night and looking up to a full sky of stars. It's amazing how different the world feels when the Universe is right outside your companion way hatch.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Next week, Eric and I are going back to Florida to claim our boat Clementine. This time, however, there's no road trip for us. We're traveling by rail with comfy seats, a dining car, and free movies.

While making reservations, I noticed Amtrak's logo. Research tells me it was designed by Brent Oppenheimer and introduced as part of Amtrak's promise to improve customer service and overall performance in the year 2000.

With every brand, however, there's a history and this is what Amtrak's logo looked like in 1971 when the government-owned corporation was created by an Act of Congress to unify the nation's railways.

Called the chevron or the "inverted arrow" by some, it was also called the "pointless arrow" by others. The individual parts lack cohesiveness and the proclaimed patriotic colors are lost. There are many variations out there on the Web, some with the name on top and some with the name on left ... and many different designs on trains.

While it is said that an organization's logo should reflect its personality, this earlier version can be determined an accurate representation of Amtrak. It was used during a time when many different rail systems were struggling to come together as one entity.

Today, Amtrak has an online corporate identity page listing its Pantone color as 302 blue and acceptable alternatives as 1375 orange, 306 light blue, and 389 green. Their typeface is Frutiger. And, more recently, Arnold Worldwide, a creative agency right here in Arlington, VA, presented a coordinated ad campaign using the tagline, "Enjoy the journey." That's exactly what we hope to do.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Neighborhood Raccoons (Alexandria)

Every night when it gets dark, raccoons come up the back steps and eat peanuts on Eric's dad's deck. They are about the size of cats, a little skittish, but very comfortable around humans. They have long slender front paws and their sense of touch is predominant. When they seek out their food, they locate it more with their hands than they do with their sense of sight. Tonight we watched five neighborhood raccoons eat, interact, and this one was the cutest.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The boat buying process is underway. We have agreed on a price and are waiting for the settlement date. Ordinarily, since the total expenditure is not, comparatively speaking, a large sum we would treat the transaction like an automobile purchase but with the boat in Florida, the owners in Oregon, and us in Virginia, the only way we can finalize the deal without brokers is to pay for a settlement service. Hopefully, within a few days we should have all of the details worked out.

This past weekend, Eric and I drove down to Lottsburg, Virginia to look at Olverson's Marina. Tagging themselves as the friendliest marina on the bay, I was happy to see in addition to good personalities, they have clean showers, laundry facilities, and Internet service. As this dream of Eric's materializes, the one overwhelming truth is that low-budget boating is going to be a highly romanticized version of outdoor camping.

So, while we were sitting in rocking chairs on the dock talking to the owner about lumber and crime rates and a variety of topics not related to boating, we were introduced to Jeffrey Siegel, the founder of Active Captain, a boating community wiki that lately has become a big deal with iPhone apps, guidebooks, and a wealth of online information. I considered asking the man for a photo op but instead raved about his logo.

I like the way the Internet symbol becomes blue waves, and how it ties into the word Captain. To illustrate just how far this site has come, see here for an earlier version of what the logo looked like. A big improvement, wouldn't you say?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Afghan Star

After years of Taliban control, music is now allowed in Afghanistan and the TV station Tolo is holding a contest to see who will be the next Afghan Star. The final competition comes down to a diverse group of contestants (including women) and the public is responsible for determining who will be the next big winner. Everyone - male, female, rich, poor, Hazara, Pashtun - can submit their vote democratically via text message on their mobile phones. There are print campaigns, large donations, and private supporters who try to influence the outcome. Unfortunately, my first choice candidate did not win, but this documentary will remind you that Afghanistan is more than a battleground, a statistic, or a political debate. It is a country full of people with hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Orange Line: Smithsonian (Holocaust Museum)

Today Eric, his daughter, and I went to the Holocaust Museum. It's been open for a while but I have neglected going, in part because I was afraid it would be too disturbing. While there are moments when you hold your breath inside one of the rail cars, smelling the cedar, and not being able to comprehend what it must have been like standing there with a group of people on your way to a concentration camp, overall the exhibit was a celebration of those people who lived and suffered, some surviving and others not.

There is a three-story enclave filled with photographs of people in happier moments and a lower wall dedicated to non-Jews who risked their lives to help others emigrate or hide during the war. When you first enter the museum you are given an Identification Card, a small booklet with the story of a real person who lived during the Holocaust. Each card is different and the transaction immediately makes the visit more personal. Here is Sophie's story:

Name: Sophie Weisz
Date of Birth: February 23, 1927
Place of Birth: Valea-lui-Minhai, Romania

Sophie was born to a prosperous Jewish family in a village near the Hungarian border known for its winemaking and carriage wheel industries. The village had many Jewish merchants. Her father owned a lumber yard. Sophie loved to dance in the large living room of their home as her older sister, Agnes, played the piano.

1933-39: My father believed in a Jewish homeland and sent money to Palestine to plant trees and establish settlements there. When I was 10, I was sent to a school in nearby Ordea because our village had only elementary schools. I missed my family, but studied hard, and swam and ice skated for fun. Though we heard about the roundups of Jews after the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, we felt safe in Romania.

1940-44: Hungary annexed our region in 1940; by mid-1941 they'd joined the German forces. We were forced into the Ordea ghetto in May 1944, and then deported to Auschwitz. In August my mother, sister, and I were moved hundreds of miles north to Stuffhof on the Baltic coast for forced labor. The prisoners were asked to entertain the German soldiers at Christmas; I danced to the music of the ballet Coppelia in a costume fashioned from guaze and paper. I earned extra food for this, and shared it with my sister Agnes.

Sophie and her sister escaped while on a forced march in February 1945. Her mother and father perished in the camps. In February 1949 Sophie emigrated to the United States.

100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC 20024

Within walking distance of the orange line's Smithsonian stop. For more stories, click on the personal histories link above.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Everglades

We are home now after driving practically non-stop through Florida, Georgia, the two Carolinas, and Virginia. Here's my summary of Florida's Lake Okeechobee area: violent thunder storms, intense blue water and sky, and a bright hot sun. It's a world of rich fertile farm land and Walmart, surrounded by slow easy conversation about alligators, wild boar, and rattlesnakes. I'm glad to have made the visit.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Survey

My view from the porch. Clementine was surveyed this morning and she's in good shape. The boat needs a cosmetic makeover and doesn't have a lot of electronics but the hull is sound and the rigging is good.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meet Clementine ...

This is our boat pending survey and price negotiations.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


We left WDC/VA late Friday night and travelled south down I95 through North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, arriving in Florida on Saturday. We are in Orlando now and are leaving tomorrow morning to go look at our Westsail in Moore Haven. If this boat turns out not to be our Clementine, we have an appointment to see another boat this Wednesday in Fort Pierce (also a 28). The pic on the left is of our hotel room balcony, the one in the middle is us after a good steak dinner in the hip part of town, and the one on the right was taken along side Lake Eola.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Help us choose a typeface ...

I'm a little ahead of myself but have been looking at which typefaces we can use for our boat's name. She will be Clementine, a name we chose based on the adventurous spirit of the wild west. Built in the 1970s, the Westsail 28 is a "design in efficiency ... stout enough to handle anything and beautiful enough to turn the head of even the most hardened sailor." The boat is meant to travel offshore and long distance. Which typeface suits her best?

Oberon, an enhanced 1970s typeface. A little too ornate for my taste but authentic enough to the period of the boat and, while it suggests unruliness, Clementine retains a little bit of elegance.

Jezebel, based on type from the 1970s. Clementine looks a little wide and rough around the edges but perhaps this typeface is well suited to a sturdy old boat with a long history.

Studio Sable is retro in feel but still modern in attitude. Clementine is smooth, happy, and a little bouncy like waves but is it the 1970s I'm feeling or a little bit of the late 1950s?

Which typeface do you like best? Please help us out while we make this big decision. Alternative typefaces welcome! thank you!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mona's Designs

My friend Mona, a graphic designer in India, is branching out and starting to create her own cards which will soon be available in America. (We have plans to meet during my layover in London this fall if she and I are in the same place at the same time.) This card is based on a painting Mona made of traditional Indian patterns that are mostly used in block printing for fabrics. More of her designs can be found here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cherry on Top

Thank you to Evil Pixie who tagged me on my very first blog award. It's a pretty little cupcake thing and here are the rules: talk about three things I love about myself, and then pass the award on to bloggers I love.

1. Following Pixie's lead, who loves the fact that she's tall, I love the fact that I'm short. I enjoy the surprise some people get when they discover I'm not weak or timid just because I'm small. I'm strong, independent, and not afraid to speak up.

2. I love the fact that I am not your average American. I don't carry debt (other than my house). I am not religious and I'm worldly enough to know that Muslims and immigrants are not the enemy of our society.

3. I love the fact that I'm visually inclined. I appreciate interesting photography, thoughtful design, and well-written passages. Putting all of this together gives me great pleasure and I'm fortunate enough to have the skill set to make it happen.

4. I'm on a roll. Last night, when I discovered that Evil Pixie had tagged me, I thought about all of the things I love about my world externally but not about the things I love intrinsically to myself. I was stunned to realize that this might be a difficult exercise so one more is in order. I love the fact that I'm open to people and things outside the norm, that different doesn't scare me enough to walk away. More on this later and in future posts. :-)

And now I pass this award on to Shining Lotus, who has had a difficult year and has shown she has a lot to love about her awesome self.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Westsail 28

It's been a busy summer and it looks like the next six months are going to keep up the pace (insha'allah). My little nieces left WDC last Sunday and are now back in Cairo. My Facebook status line said it all:

"Leslie went to the airport: gave up her shoes, agreed to be the Christmas mule, and promised to read a whole series of books. Ah, the power of kids! Much stronger than the power of cheese!"

And, as Maya and Asia will tell you, I have a huge appreciation for cheese. Asia is now wearing my black flip flops and I'm wearing her gold ones. I have signed up for Santa duty this fall (i.e., the carrying back and forth of Christmas gifts) and I am currently reading the first book in the Children of the Lamp series (quite well written for a YA novel).

In January, Eric and I are going back to Mexico for ten days. This is a repeat of the trip we took last March but had to cut short due to the massive snow storm that delayed our flight out. My sister was generous enough to give both of us plane tickets for my big birthday and we have booked a room at the same B&B since it's lovely and the two guys running it are easy going and dependable.

But, first, Eric and I are going to Florida week after next to take a look at this boat! The couple who own it are now working in the Alaskan canneries and have decided they want to sell their sailboat and buy a fishing boat in its place. It's going to be a long drive down I95, but I'm looking forward to the adventure that will follow.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


It's been a busy week of birthday fun ... delicious dinners, lovely gifts, cocktail parties, and smooth sailing on the Potomac. Life is good. Back to blogging soon.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


After several days of temperatures over 100 degrees, we finally got some rain today ... my little niece Asia had surgery this morning and when it was over, we were waiting outside for the car to come around. Maya took a moment to walk off into the rain. If you remember from your studies, the Nile River used to rise up and saturate the fields allowing for the seasonal growth of papyrus. It rarely rains in Egypt so while visiting DC the opportunity for Maya to experience rainfall is precious to her, just like knowing her little sister is going to be okay. This is one of those times when something we are grateful for means just a little bit more to someone else.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Before Facebook

The beginning ... before facebook, there was classmates and the first email Eric sent me (although I didn't see it until after we had started chatting on facebook). Makes me smile and forgive all of the snoring that is going on next to me.

From:Eric (view profile)
Sent:March 08, 2009 04:57:46 PM
Subject:Hi, from Eric!

Hi Leslie! Do you remember me? I saw your name on the classmates website and was reminded of some good times with you. (kissing in the stairwell?)

Friday, July 2, 2010

(Another) Friday Night at Jaleo

My very best friend in the 9th and 10th grade ... reunited with our families after a great big number of years through facebook.