Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy Holidays 2006-07!

Here’s hoping everyone had a great holiday season, and wishing all a happy 2007.

Apologies for this letter being a bit late – the end of the year kind of crept up on us this time, with boat things and other activities keeping us busy, plus, to top everything off, a record snowstorm that has paralyzed Albuquerque for days.

The biggest news has been boat-related. Carol Anne started the year training as a skipper for the women’s Adams Cup national championship. The race, and therefore most of the training, took place on J/24s, which are fast boats but still have such amenities as an enclosed cabin, bunks, and a toilet. Then one day, she got to try an Etchells, which is a fast boat that doesn’t bother to waste weight or space on bunks and potties. It’s stunningly beautiful, modeled on the America’s Cup 12-meter boats but scaled down in size, and it goes very fast. And there’s just a feel about the boat, its stability and the cleanness of the decks (almost nothing to trip over, since nearly all of the lines are run below deck). Carol Anne was hooked.

So for Valentine’s Day, Pat bought Carol Anne a boat. It needed to be retrieved from Ventura, California, and it was an older boat with a few problems, but it was very cheap. Since the boat was painted solid black, and the Etchells at Elephant Butte are traditionally named after America’s Cup yachts, and this one was coming in from far away to challenge the guy whose (American-named) boat always beats everyone else, there was no choice but to name the boat Black Magic, after the successful challenger from New Zealand.

Carol Anne continued to train for the Adams Cup on the J/24s, but that program was less than successful. In one incident, she was sent to the emergency room after a nasty blow to the head from the boom. Because of politics and misunderstandings, she was left without a crew and had to scramble at the last minute to put a crew together. She ended up third out of three boats in the quarter-finals.

Since then, we’ve been doing a lot of things with Black Magic. We’ve participated in racing at Elephant Butte and attempted to get some racing in at Heron, although the club up there is still recovering from two years when the marina was closed due to lack of water, so turnout was almost non-existent. We also took the boat up to the Dillon Open Regatta in Colorado, a crazy but immensely fun experience involving more than 100 boats going all sorts of directions in a mountain lake at over 9,000 feet of altitude.

In addition to sailing, we also got to do a lot of work on the boat. Racing boats need more TLC than ordinary boats, and older boats (Black Magic is more than 30 years old) generally need more repairs, and some of Black Magic’s previous owners have been, well, less than diligent about maintenance. We also had to custom-build a trailer suitable for launching and retrieving the boat on a ramp – most Etchells sail in places where there’s a hoist to get them into and out of the water.

Meanwhile, in non-boating news: Pat is still working as a technical writer-editor for a contractor at Sandia National Laboratories, and Carol Anne is still teaching English at the local community college, which has changed its name from TVI to Central New Mexico Community College. She still teaches primarily evening classes, where the students are motivated. Pat somehow got shanghaied into a second term as Commodore of the New Mexico Sailing Club that sails on Heron and into being Vice Commodore of the Rio Grande Sailing Club that sails at Elephant Butte. Carol Anne got roped into being secretary of the RGSC and of International Etchells Fleet 31 (in formation).

Gerald, meanwhile, is a junior at Highland High School, and he has been busy with music and Boy Scouts. He’s playing both the cello and the bass, and this past year, he auditioned on bass and made it into the All-State Orchestra, where he earned first chair. He also participated in the state Solo and Ensemble Festival. In Scouts, he has just completed a term as Senior Patrol Leader, and he has earned his Life rank, just one step below Eagle.

The cats are getting older, but they’re still fairly healthy. Dulce is mainly just slowing down, so we need to watch that she doesn’t overeat and get overweight. Tres, on the other hand, had been getting skinnier and having digestive problems, so this spring the vet ran blood tests and discovered he had a thyroid imbalance. Medication soon set that right, but this fall, he was still having stomach troubles, so the diagnosis was a probable food allergy – Tres has always been a sensitive sort. So now he’s on a special diet based on duck instead of the usual chicken or beef, and he’s doing much better. Because we can no longer leave the cats for a weekend with a bowl of kibbles, we’re now taking them with us when we go to either lake; we’ve found a place to rent near Elephant Butte from one of the members of the sailing club who deals in real estate so we can take the cats there, and, of course, we have our cabin near Heron Lake when we go there.

Meanwhile, if any of you all find yourselves passing through New Mexico, drop us a line. Whether you’re at the northern or southern end of the state, or in the middle, we can get together and show you the sights – or take you sailing.

Carol Anne, Pat, and Gerald Byrnes, Dulce & Tres


Blogger Pat said...

I think Tad's done the badge requirements for life rank but still may have to complete the service project, time in office, Scoutmaster conference, and board of review.

His first chair was in the All-State Concert Orchestra, one of two all-state orchestras ... still a nice accomplishment.

And, having completed advanced placement US History, Pre-Calculus, German III, and Architecture / computer aided drawing, and starting honors English, Physics, orchestra, and the gifted "Murder and Mayhem" class, he'll remain busy at school as well.

Thu Jan 04, 12:54:00 PM MST  
Anonymous f r a n k i e said...

Through Tillerman's blog I got acquainted with your blog and read it on and off. I remember reading a lesson about puntuation once. Well... could I ask for a favor? I'm tranlating into English a 'novel' I once wrote in French. My English punctuation is up the creek, I'm afraid! Could you have a look at it and tell me... the truth?!

Sun Jan 07, 01:39:00 PM MST  
Anonymous funny videos said...

Love the boat in your blog. Wish I could afford a nice yacht. I think I want one with a diesel engine, so I could run it on my dream fuel biodiesel. I would probably have a school of fish following my yacht for the french fried fumes.

Happy double oooh seven to you, and all your visitors.

Like to watch funny videos? I have collection of them at my blog. Love for you to come visit.

Sun Jan 07, 05:12:00 PM MST  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Frankie, especially with the new school term beginning, I don't have time to proofread a novel, but I am planning a Grammar Moment soon that will offer editing strategies aimed at specific common problems ... after looking at a bit of your work, I'd recommend that you pay attention to the section on run-on sentences.

Chuck, actually purchasing Black Magic wasn't expensive at all. It's the repairs, especially dealing with previous owners' deferral of maintenance, that get costly. As for biodiesel, that would be my fuel of choice if I had a big boat. One of the advantages of having a boat that doesn't even have a motor is that I can come in to work on Monday and say, "I spent nine hours yesterday having fun on the water, without burning a single drop of fossil fuel!"

Sun Jan 07, 11:55:00 PM MST  

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