Friday, November 28, 2014

Forecast: Calm Sea and Dramatic Voyage

People have begun whispering in my ear that my blog has become boring because I'm not writing about slashed jibs, lost anchors, and captains knocked overboard by rogue tidal waves.
Photo courtesy of NOAA
I've been blithely sitting on my butt, playing guitar, nursing a swollen foot, and watching Mad Men on Netflix. BIG yawn.
To rectify the situation and give you, dear readers, another armchair-traveler adventure worthy of the name of this blog, I turned to Pope. He is the master of creating swash-buckling escapades at sea, and he immediately embraced the challenge.
The primary plotline will have to wait til January. He is planning a rollicking week in a sub-tropical clime that is undoubtedly replete with sea monsters, pirate lairs, and beautiful sirens laying in wait to lure boats unto the rocks.
The best I can do for now, to satisfy your enormous hunger for tales of mischief and mayhem on the water, is a sneak preview.

We will be chartering a sailboat on the French island of Guadeloupe. According to the World Wide Web (that bastion of reliability), there are lots of reasons to look forward to sailing (and blogging) there. These might (or might not) be among them:
1) The volcano La Grande Soufrière (French for "big sulphur outlet") erupted in 1976. You can climb to the top of the crater--to hasten your death, perhaps?

Photo courtesy of F.C. Whitmore.
U.S. Geological Survey

2) The mancenilla tree contains a dangerous toxin in the leaves and fruit. A beauty to look at. But don't sit underneath when it rains!
3) The days are long. But the mosquito that carries the virus chikungunya bites both day and night. The virus has been reported in 27 Caribbean countries (and Africa, Asia, and South America).
Photo courtesy of CDC
4) Die happy. The local rum (spelled rhum) can be a killer, especially the brew from the island of Marie-Gallante--59%.

5) Swimming and snorkeling are rewarding. Watch your feet--you could get impaled on a sea urchin.
Photo courtesy of NOAA
6) Little birds called "sucriers" will sing for their supper, then steal your dessert.

7) It's hot and steamy--sunstroke territory. And those delicious coconuts could fall from the trees on your head.

We aim to please, readers. Captain Pope is dedicated to creating an action-packed adventure, floating in a leaky tub on a deep ocean, in just a few short weeks. And First Mate Amber is committed to bringing you the whole story, in all its glorious and gory detail. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Recipe for Retirement

Missing lately from this website: Amber L. Jones, star blogger, amateur sailor, exemplary editor, and travel enthusiast. Where have I been, you might ask--glibly conversing in French on a tropical Caribbean isle? Traipsing the jungle in search of medicinal herbs? Crafting a tofu cordon bleu in a culinary course?

Getting warm! For those of who cynically think I've just been sitting on my arse, sobbing and moaning and nursing a broken foot, think again. I've been busy in my metaphorical kitchen, whipping up some tantalizing recipes. Why, just a month ago I donned my chef's hat and hobbled into the night to cook up some Halloween magic.
Photo courtesy of Jim Colwell

After that, I limped slowly into our Capitol Hill kitchen and cooked up some fresh organic greens, onions, and tomatoes, lovingly grown by my gardening partner, Pope.
I admit, I have spent a lot of my time lounging on the green sofa. But not all of it.

The metatarsal is mending, according to new x-rays. But continued swelling, soreness, and nerve damage after 7 weeks has kept me resting, elevating, soaking, and limiting my excursions to within 1-1/2 blocks of a bus stop or metro station.
 And then there's the little matter of the black eye. Some people think I went sky-diving and crashed a second time; but no, it is courtesy of a clumsy curtsy on crutches. 
Yet the bum foot is not enough to keep me from getting out and brewing up some fun! Bring on the rum and becherovka--my spirits are high, and I'm cooking up a recipe for a happy retirement--whether on my feet or on the same old sofa.
High up in the ingredients for my recipe are good friends and simple pleasures. Start with Belgian waffles around the corner on Barracks Row, with my old friend Sally, visiting from California.
 Stir in a day on the town in a borrowed wheelchair, with vivacious Leslie from New York City. (If it weren't for this darn foot and her knee, she and I would be at Glen Echo whipping up some zydeco.)
Throw in a cupful of El Grecos and a dash of Van Gogh at the National Gallery.
Top off the recipe with some music--jammin' the blues with my hiking buddy Linda on harp.
If you're planning to retire, take a page out of my cookbook. Plan ahead for activities you enjoy.  Register for Spanish classes, join Toastmasters, make reservations in Mexico. Find a gym with a sauna. Line up some folks (preferably fellow retirees) to take morning strolls. Stir lightly, and season with enthusiasm.
When the stew is ready, sit back, chew slowly, and savor the taste of contentment. Don't let little things like bum knees or fading eyesight ruin your days; get off the sofa and have fun. If you find yourself getting bored, give me a ring, and we'll whip up some good times together!