Welcome to our mid-life crisis! These are the chronicles of Laura and Patrick, their young son Jack, and their goofball Labrador Retriever named Evinrude (Rudy), as they travelled the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico in their catamaran. We went cruising in search of a change of pace, a closer knit family, and peace of mind. We found all three and more. The fun all started in October, 2008 and nearly four years later the Mexican adventure came to an end August 3rd, 2012. With our mid-life crisis cured in Mexico, we are excited to start a new adventure - life back in America.

Patrick has since joined the Sales Team of Marine Servicenter as a boat broker. Whether you are looking to make your dream of sailing away come true, or ready to sell your boat he can help. He can be reached at http://marinesc.com/about/crew/patrick-harrigan

Candeleros Chico

Candeleros Chico
Just another beautiful day at anchor on the Baja. 2010

Dolphins at play in the bow wake 2011

Dolphins at play in the bow wake  2011

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mexico's Greatest Invention

Media Crema. And no, I am not being facetious. I LOVE the stuff. We buy it by the case!

Media Crema, for those of you who are Spanish challenged like I am, means "half cream" or what we would call "half and half." Now I am one of those people who believe that butter should be butter and that adding 2% milk to coffee instead of cream is disrespectful to your taste buds. (As you can imagine, I have been known to have high cholesterol but my high number of good HDL's cancel out the lower number of bad LDL's - or was it the other way around? Anyway, that's what the doctor said so I am not changing my game plan!)

In Mexico, they have taken 1/2 and 1/2 and elevated it to a whole new level of useful goodness. Mexico's milk products are ultra-pastuerized so they do not need to be refrigerated. All the milk products are found in plasticized cartons on the regular grocery shelves. You only need to refrigerate them after they are opened. So they are very useful on a boat. The Media Crema comes out a much thicker consistency than our 1/2 and 1/2 - it's so thick that our other name for it is "cow goo."

What makes Media Crema so amazing? It's not just for coffee! Over the course of the last two years we have learned its versatility.

Media Crema can be used to make:

Sour Cream - simply add a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of Media Crema, stir well, and it magically becomes thick, tasty sour cream. If you like a little tarter sour cream, just add a little more vinegar (or use lime juice instead if vinegar)

Buttermilk - Simply thin the cup of Media Crema down with about a 1/3 cup of water, then add in the tablespoon of vinegar. Voila, you can make your grandmother's buttermilk biscuits.

Alfredo Sauce - This is the best alfredo sauce ever. Lightly saute a couple cloves of fresh minced garlic and whatever meat/vegetables you want (chicken, scallops, lobster, red pepper?) in butter (what else?). When the meat is cooked, remove pan from heat and then pour some Media Crema into the pan, as much as you need for a nice amount of sauce. Stir it up. Dinner in minutes!

Chipotle Cream Sauce - Mix a store bought chipotle sauce with Media Crema to the heat you prefer - Patrick likes it hot, I put in less chipotle sauce. Yum. Try cooking strips of chicken breast or shrimp in this sauce on the stove top.

Tomatillo Cream Sauce - Mix a store bought can of green salsa (made of tomatillos) with some Media Crema so it turns a light green color. Pour this over fresh fish in a baking pan and cook it in the oven until done. Yummy.

Milk in a pinch - Thin it out with water and use it instead of milk in recipes.

Well, you get the idea. We love the stuff. We eat it every day, starting with the cream in our coffee, through to sour cream at lunch, and on to sauces for our dinner. I would hate to have my cholesterol checked now since I am clearly addicted to Media Crema.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

God Bless Us, Everyone

My trip to Iowa was emotional, sad and wonderful all at the same time. Terry had a beautiful send-off and hundreds of people attended. He was a good man who was so involved in his community and church that he will be truly missed be many. I was so grateful to be there for my sister.
Iowa is cold. I spent my childhood there on a farm, but somehow I never realized how cold it was until coming back straight from Mexico as an adult. Absolutely freezing. We had a blizzard! 50 mile per hour wind, snow, nearly zero degrees Fahrenheit. Add in the wind chill factor and it is not fit for man nor beast. Yikes.
Meanwhile, while I was braving the cold, Patrick, Jack and Rudy picked up Patrick's brother Neil in Loreto on the Baja peninsula. Then the four of them crossed the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan. They had a good crossing. Some of the time they had so much wind that they sailed with only a reefed main and no jib and still did 6 knots. At other times, they had to motor. But even so they made the crossing in 55 hours, so they were making good time.

We are having some goofy luck right now on several different fronts. Our 1 month old Honda 2000 generator has just stopped working. There is no way to get it back to America for them to fix it under warranty and it looks like they do not sell that model down here, so parts are not easily avaliable. Rudy is having another bad hot spot outbreak and his neck is a mass of sores. Despite having reservations for one year at El Cid, they did not have room for us on a dock with power, and will not have room until after Christmas. And last but not least, somehow all 150 gallons of fresh water that Patrick made on the crossing has gone missing from the tanks (a leak, or open spigot?). Despite all of these tales of woe, I can't feel anything but gratitude for all of our many, many blessings. Everything that matters is just perfect.
A very merry Christmas and a properous New Year to all of us!

Monday, December 6, 2010

To Iowa I Go

I got one of those calls yesterday that we all dread - especially those who are far from loved ones. It is the one big downside to this amazing cruising life. When something happens and you HAVE to go somewhere, it's often not just a simple - "I'll get on the next plane out." There are times in our cruising when we wouldn't even HEAR about it until it was all over. Up in the far north of the Sea of Cortez it would take days to just hear about it (no phone service, no internet, only sail mail if you remembered to check it) and then it would take days to get to an airport.

The ironic thing was, we've been hanging around Loreto since I was already planning to fly to Iowa on Dec 9th to be with my sisters and parents. Loreto is the furthest north area which regularly has cell phone service and internet available, and a commercial airport. So while we sat yesterday morning (the 6th) at the beautiful anchorage of Ballandra on Isla Carmen, the phone rang. It's always a surprise when that happens. We found out that my sister's life partner died suddenly the night before (the 5th). A vibrant, active, great guy in his early 50's who started to feel ill at lunch time and died that night in the hospital. The shock is overwhelming. After hanging up, we motored back to Puerto Escondido for internet and to change my flights. I fly out today on the only flight that leaves Loreto for the States. It will take five airports and over 18 hours to make all the connections it takes to go from one obscure airport to another one. I'll get there the day before the funeral.

But I will be there.