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 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

As the morning sun peeks through the porthole, she slowly climbs out of the berth.  She can hear him up above, singing to himself over the hum of the idling engine. With a heavy heart and hesitant footsteps, she forces herself to climb the stairs, forces herself to climb up into the sunlight, forces herself to face her worst fear – there are still three days left of …. The Sailing Vacation From Hell!

Moby Dick sits in the cockpit of the sailboat, sipping his coffee and looking at a chart.  I rub my eyes and look again.  Yes, he is actually consulting a map!  I’m more than a wee bit surprised, so I sidle over and nonchalantly ask him what he’s doing.

“I’m just trying to get my bearings after yesterday’s storm, and plot our course back to the marina,” he says. 

 “Why are you running the engine?” I ask.  “I thought this was a sailboat.”

“Very funny, Miss Smarty Pants.  I’m running the engine so I can charge the batteries; we only had it running for… OH SHIT!!!!” he exclaims as he jumps up and shuts the engine off.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

“I had the boat in gear!” he yells as he runs to the front of the boat and starts to pull up the anchor line.

As I watch him, I realize that the line is coming up suspiciously fast.  Then, as the end comes out of the water, I realize why – there is no anchor on the end of it.  Yes, Moby Dick has struck yet again!  By having the boat in gear while we were anchored, the boat was moving forward and ran over the anchor line, which the propeller just happened to cut in half.  Ching, ching, ching, another blow to the wallet. 

“How the hell are we supposed to get through the rest of this trip without a f@#%$* anchor???” I yell.

“I think I saw an extra one under the seat,” he says hopefully.

Yep, he was right, there was an extra one, so he went up and tied it on the end of our much shorter anchor line.

“Great,” I say.  “How much is this going to cost us?”

“Oh, don’t worry,” says Moby Dickhead, “we’re going to snorkel for the lost one.”

Lesson #7:  If your harebrained boyfriend ever hatches this sort of plan, jump off the boat and swim.  Swim for your life.

So, against my better judgment, into the water we go with all of our snorkel gear on.  I, of course, am blind because I’m afraid to put my contacts in, and my glasses won’t fit under the snorkel mask.  Due to the storm the day before, the water is still a little cloudy, even thought it isn’t very deep.  I grope around blindly for about fifteen minutes, then I spot something long and skinny moving in the water.  Could it be the rest of the rope that’s attached to the missing anchor?  I eagerly swim toward it, and just as I reach out to grab it, I realize it’s not a rope at all – it’s a long skinny fish with GIGANTIC SHARP TEETH!   Holy Crap!! I have never swum so fast in all my life!  I scramble up onto the boat and gasp for air.  Meanwhile, Moby Dickhead pops his head up and angrily asks me why I am back on the boat.

“I just saw a big fish with gigantic teeth!  There’s no way I’m staying out there, “ I say.

“You’re full of it,” he says, very pissed off indeed.

I sit on the boat and watch him out there, snorkeling around in what I know will be a futile attempt to find the damn anchor.  All of a sudden, he starts swimming like the hounds of hell are after him.  As he climbs up onto the boat, I ask him why he’s back.

“I just saw that fish you were talking about,“  he gasps.

Lesson #8:  He who laughs last, laughs best.

I was rolling on the deck of the boat, laughing so hard I almost peed my pants.  Needless to say, that was the end of the search for the anchor.  We hauled up the spare and set sail. 

 Is this the end of the adventure for the day?  Absolutely not!  This was just beginning. 

P.S. Check out the Archival Techniques page! 


 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

They ran down the street, glancing quickly to the left and right, pausing only momentarily to catch their breath.  As he dragged her along, she gazed longingly at the quaint shops and small cafes that she would never get to enjoy.  Why, why, were they in such a rush?  Were they being chased by angry lobstermen?  Were they being pursued by evil villains?  Nope.  It was just Day Five of the SVFH!

Morning came to the beautiful isle of Key West, and I was ready to spend a few hours sightseeing.  Hemingway’s house, the Atocha museum, and a big bowl of conch stew were some of the things I was looking forward to.  The BF grabs my hand and says “let’s go!”, so off we go.  Do we stroll the streets at a leisurely pace?  Hell, no!  We literally run past everything I want to see on the island. 

“Wait a minute!” I say, “I want to actually stop and go in some of these places!”

“We don’t have time for that!” he says.  “We have sailing to do!”

That’s when it hits me.  I actually have to get back on that boat and go sailing with him again.  Crap!  We head back to the marina and get ready to leave.  The plan is to sail along the gulf side of the keys for a couple of days and then cut back over to the ocean side for the rest of the trip.  In order to do that, we have to take a channel out of the Key West harbor.  Unfortunately, the wind is not in our favor and we aren’t moving at all.

“Why don’t you just turn on the motor?” I ask.

“Because it’s a sailboat,”  he says.  “It was made to be sailed.”

“Isn’t that why they put a motor on it?” I say. “You know, in case there happens to be a lack of that stuff that fills the sails?  I think it’s called wind.”

“Motors are for amateurs,” he says.

Lesson #5:  Some men may think they are Captain Ahab reincarnated, but in reality they’re just MOBY DICKS!!!

Yes, Mr. Professional Sailor decides he doesn’t need a motor and spends the next three hours tacking back and forth to navigate a channel that maybe should have taken us fifteen minutes to get through.  We also manage to relocate several more lobster pots along the way.  I’m sure we were great entertainment for the many boating enthusiasts who had gathered to watch.

Once we make it through the channel, we are sailing along at a good clip when we notice it coming – a huge storm.  It’s rolling along the water, getting closer and closer.  I ask the Moby Dickhead if maybe we shouldn’t take the sails down a little.  Nope, he can handle it.  Then it hits.  The boat is leaning way over, and water is coming up over the toe rail. A lot of water.  He is getting pissed because I am getting nervous, so he tells me to go below and make him a sandwich.  I am just about to cut his sandwich in half with a big shiny knife when I hear him bellowing.

“Get up here!!” he yells.  “I need help getting these sails down!”

I look at the knife.  I look at him through the hatch.  I ponder the knife again.  I try to figure out if I can sail the boat without him, then I sloooowly I put the knife down and struggle up the stairs.  The boat is now close to capsizing; all because Moby Dickhead thought he was macho and could “handle” it.  We struggle to get the sails down and then ride out the rest of the storm, which only lasts about 45 minutes.  As we survey the boat, we realize that the boat hook and two bags of trash have washed overboard.  Ching, ching, ching!  More damage to the wallet.   Finally, the skies clear, we look around, and we realize that we have no idea where we are.  Most of the islands look alike, and there are no buoys or markers nearby to help us.  Finally, after about 30 minutes, a lobster boat (of all things) comes into view. 

“Get on the radio and ask that boat where we’re at!” I yell to Moby Dickhead.

“I’m not asking them, we’ll figure it out,” he says.

Lesson #6:  You’ve all heard the one about men asking directions, do I even need to repeat it?

I march downstairs, get on the radio and ask the lobster boat for some sort of clue as to where we’re at.  They are nice enough to respond, so we’re able to get our bearings.  We sail for an hour or so more, then decide to anchor for the night.   We fall asleep to the sound of the bilge pump running (again).   And so ends Day Five

 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

She slowly scans the rainy, gray horizon, carefully sizing up each passing ship.  “Good,” she sighs to herself,” no lobster boats.”    She then turns to her boyfriend, standing on the deck in a steady downpour, and says, “Don’t even think about putting up those sails.”  Is it Mutiny On The Bounty?  No, it’s just Day Four of the SVFH!!When I woke up that morning, I was dead certain that an entire fleet of angry lobstermen would be bearing down on us in their boats.  Since we spent most of yesterday scattering their pots all over the Atlantic, I thought for sure they’d be out for revenge.  Then I realized they were probably too busy trying to find their pots!

Due to the torrential downpour and fog that was surrounding us, I told the BF that there was no way I was going to stay on the boat if he attempted to use the sails.   Surprisingly enough, he agreed to turn on the engine and head towards Looe Key, where we were going to attempt to snorkel.  Things went reasonably well, and the sun actually came out when we got there.  We anchored without incident, and managed to have a nice snorkel.  Then we headed to Key West, and civilization.  Yes, we were going to anchor at THE MARINA.  That meant a real bathroom and a nice, long, hot, steamy shower for me!  Oh, I couldn’t wait!  

We got there, checked in, and I grabbed my stuff and headed for the Ladies Lounge.  As I was lathering up and luxuriating in the hot water, I heard a banging on the door.  It’s the BF.  “Oh crap, now what?” I’m thinking to myself.  Did the damn ship sink?  Did he forget to tie it up and now it’s drifting around crashing into all the other boats?  I grab a towel and head for the door.

“Aren’t you done yet?’  he says incredulously.

“I’ve only been in here for ten minutes,” I say.  “What’s the problem?”   

“We’re  going to miss the sunset on the pier!” he exclaims.  “Everyone says it’ll be the highlight of our stay!  We have to go now!”

“Fine, I’ll try to hurry, “ I say. 

I finished my shower as quickly as I could, dried my hair, and ran out of the bathroom without even putting any makeup on.  We then rushed down to the pier, just in time to see the sun setting on a magnificent scene – some dude playing the steel drums, a couple walking their dog, and a guy selling frozen drinks from a cart.  

Lesson #4 – Before you give up a long , hot , luxurious shower after three days at sea, make sure you understand what your boyfriend’s definition of “highlight” is.

After that we grabbed a bite to eat, went to Sloppy Joe’s, and then headed back to the boat.  I told the BF that if he interrupted my morning shower, there would be consequences.

And so ends Day Four – not quite as nerve-racking as Days One, Two, and Three, but Fate was just biding her time…..

 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

Exhausted from two nights without sleep, the weary vacationer manages to drag herself up the steps and into the cockpit of the boat.  Shielding her eyes from the brilliant sunlight reflecting off the idyllic blue waters, she asks her sailing partner, “What time is it?”

“It’s Fishing time!!” he yells enthusiastically.

“Don’t we have to weigh anchor and get moving?” she asks.

“Oh, I can sail and fish at the same time, “ he replies confidently.

She is torn – torn between staying to watch him make a complete fool of himself, or diving off the boat and swimming to civilization as fast as she freakin’ can.  She decides it’s too good of an opportunity to pass up, so she stays.  BIG mistake.  And so begins Day Three of….The Sailing Vacation From Hell.

The anchor is hauled up, the sails are unfurled and we’re off!  The BF asks me to hold the wheel while he casts his line and stick his rod in the little holder thingy (the technical name escapes me at the moment).  We’re sailing along for about five minutes when – Eureka! He’s got something on the line!  Gee, I think to myself, maybe he can sail and fish at the same time.  He reels in his catch and I realize I’ve spoken too soon.  It’s a pot, or to be more accurate, a line attached to a lobster pot.  Yep, it’s lobster season here in the keys, and the damn pots are everywhere.  He no sooner casts his line again and he’s got another pot on the hook.

“Don’t you think we’re better off just reeling it in and calling it a day?” I ask him hopefully.

“Why?  Fishing is so relaxing, “  he says with a completely straight face.

Lesson # 5  Men will find any excuse to handle their rod.

We spend the better part of the morning sloooowly sailing towards the western end of the keys, all because we have to keep pulling lobster pots off the damn line.  Then, after lunch, the BF decides to add a new wrinkle.  He thinks that if he sails really close to the bobber that’s attached to the pot, he’ll be less likely to catch it on his line.  There’s nothing wrong with that logic, IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE IN A BOAT WITH NO KEEL!  BF goes cruising right by the first bobber, and guess what?  It doesn’t get hooked on his fishing line.  THE DAMN LOBSTER LINE IS NOW HOOKED ON THE BOTTOM OF OUR BOAT!!!!  BF decides to try working it loose by coming about.  Well, it’s not working and now we are sailing opposite of the direction we need to be going in.  Bf finally decides to stop the boat, jump off and swim down and unhook the line. 

“Can we please put the fishing pole away?”  I ask wearily.  “It’s starting to get dark.”

“But, I have another idea,” protests the BF.

I give him the “I haven’t had sleep for two days, don’t piss me off” look, and he reluctantly puts away the rod.  Then he grabs the wheel and heads into a cove for the night.  So ends Day Three.

 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

Please sit back, relax and enjoy the second installment of… The Sailing Vacation From Hell!

The sun rises slowly, scattering golden kisses across the shimmering water.  It warms the wings of the colorful birds gliding overhead as they enjoy their ride on the warm ocean breezes.  Is it a beautiful dream?  A tropical fantasy?  No, it’s the beginning of Day Two on …THE SAILING VACATION FROM HELL!

Ok, I’m thinkin’ to myself, it’s morning, that damn dog is gone so I can finally pee, and the boat floor is almost dry.  This might not be so bad.   The BF and I head to the marina office to check out.

“Do you have charts for the trip?” the nice lady asks.

“Oh, we need charts?” the experienced boat owner, aka my dumbass Boyfriend, says.

“I guess we can loan you some,” says the nice lady.

Since I have never laid eyes on a sailing chart before, the nice lady explains what all the symbols and numbers mean.  Since our boat needs four feet of water to float, she tells me we need to stay away from any numbers lower than four.  I make a mental note of that, then ask her what the little football shaped symbols mean.  She proceeds to tell me that those are “submerged piles”, and we definitely need to stay away from those.  Then she goes over “The Rules”:

Rule #1  Never sail into any waters that you don’t have a chart for

Rule #2 Never, ever run the boat at night, we’re not experienced enough sailors

Rule #3  Never, ever, ever run the boat at night

And finally, Rule #4  Never, ever, ever, ever run the boat at night!

Finally, with borrowed charts in hand, we cast off, promising to be back in a week with the boat in good condition (or not).

We manage to get out onto the open sea with no major incidents, the BF steering the boat and me reading the charts.  I’ve never met a map I couldn’t handle.  The water is blue, the sky is clear, and there are several other boats out on the water as well.  In fact, we’re sailing along in the same direction with another sailboat roughly the same size as ours.  That’s when the inevitable happens-the testosterone kicks in.  Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead, the race is on!  BF and the captain of the other boat start to duke it out on the high seas.  The ropes are humming, the water is spraying up over the bow, and BF has a maniacal look in his eye.  I let him have his fun for awhile, then I realize the sun is beginning to set.

“Honey, the sun is starting to set,” I say.

“Don’t worry about it, we have plenty of time to get into a cove,” says the speed-crazed BF.

“It’s really getting dark.  Don’t you remember what the lady said about running the boat at night?” I say.

“I used to own a boat, remember?  I know how to (insert loud WHAM here) What the hell was that?” the BF shouts.


Lesson #4 Don’t let a testosterone-crazed dumbass run the boat at night.


Ching, ching, ching, my wallet is flashing before my eyes.  The boat’s not moving, so my BF jumps into the water to see what the problem is, and lands on A ROCK.  A FREAKING SUBMERGED PILE!    He decides he’s going to push the boat off, and instructs me to turn the wheel.  Well, the wheel won’t turn because the rudder is stuck on the damn submerged pile.  He gets back on the boat, yanks the wheel really hard, then jumps back in the water and after a lot of cursing and grinding, manages to get the boat off of the rock.  He gets back in, then we spend the next hour trying to navigate into a cove in the dark.  We finally give up and end up anchoring in open water.  This means that the boat rocked and bucked like a wild bronco all night long.  Every few minutes or so I was certain that we had lost anchor and were adrift.  Then the bilge pump started to run, and run, and run some more.  It is now the end of the second day of our vacation, and I’ve still had no sleep.  Could this get any worse?

 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

Here it is, the first installment of  The Vacation From Hell!  Yes, it’s going to be a long one, so I’m going to post it in parts.

“Aw, c’mon, it’ll be fun,” he assures me.

“But I’ve never done it before, “  I said.

“Trust me,” he said, “I’ve done it hundreds of times.”

Hmmm, you’re thinking, is this the start of some illicit affair? Will innocence be lost?  NAW, it’s just the beginning of the Sailing Vacation From Hell!!!!About 20 years ago (back in my beach babe days) my boyfriend decides we should sail through The Keys on vacation.  He assures me that he used to be part-owner of a sailboat when he lived in Annapolis.

“ Was it a big boat?” I ask him. 

“Oh, it was a good size,” he says. 

 Lesson #1: Men always exaggerate the size of their dinghies.

After much hemming and hawing, I agree.  Plans are made, and a few months later, we’re flying to Miami.  When we arrive at the car rental agency, they inform me that they have to charge me an extra $25 a day because I’m not 25. 

But my birthday is in three days,” I say. 

We don’t care,” they say. 

The reason I’m renting the car in the first place is because my boyfriend has no credit card. 

 Lesson #2:  Don’t date a 35 yr old man who can’t get a credit card.

After much haggling back and forth, we finally get the car after putting down a three hundred dollar deposit.We arrive at the sailboat rental place after hours, and locate the boat.  It’s big.  Really big.  The marina  people  have been nice enough to let us sleep on the boat that night, and then check out in the morning.  We decide to head to the store for provisions.

 “Shouldn’t we close the hatch while we’re gone?” I ask. “I think it might rain.”

“No, it’s not going to rain,” says BF.

As we pull up to the store, the heavens open, and a torrential downpour ensues.  By the time we get back to the marina, there is an inch of water inside the nice, shiny, “we just had the floors redone” boat.  Shit!  We spend the next hour mopping it up.   

Lesson #3:  Always trust your instincts.

At that point, I am ready for bed, so I head to the marina restrooms to brush my teeth, etc.  Unfortunately, I am unable to enter said restroom because there is a big, giant barking Doberman tied up at the entrance.  It’s right back to the boat for me.  No big, I think.  I’ll just use the bathroom on the boat.  Nope. Not supposed to while you’re at the dock.  So I spend the entire night hoping I don’t pee the bed.

And so ends Day One.  Only seven more to go.

Lisa sent me some great pics all the way from Spain, so I thought I’d share them with everyone, along with the email explaining them:

Hi, r,

so here’s my pics of the crazy paper maché Falls “burning ritual” from tonight.

I numbered them in their chron order. Just to add, for perspective’s sake, that the figures at the bottom are fairly close to actual human size, just to give an idea of how high the main figure is. I think it reached a couple stories.

There’s something really cathartic about seeing all those hours of work and detail just go up in flames

and that “here one moment, gone the next” sensation, while watching this HUGE bonfire…it’s pretty cool.

Gotta love those crazy Valencians–inventors of Paella and paper mache cremation 😉

Looking foward to reading your boating adventure….!!!

hope you had a good weekend!

bfn, Lisa


So go to this page and see the pics:

Thanks Lisa!!


(didn’t think “Holy Shit!” would be an appropriate title for a post).  Have you seen this?  Crap, g!  You and I are totally working in the wrong genre.  We need to dust off those 10 year old scrapbook magazines, pull out all of those paper piecing patterns in the back of them, and GET BUSY MAKING THE BIG BUCKS!!!!!!!

Sorry, momentary lapse of sanity.  And now, back to reality.  Since Marta happened to mention sailboats, I am going to get my slooooow-typing fingers busy on the totally true, not in the least bit exaggerated story of my “Let’s Sail Through The Keys” VACATION FROM HELL!  Stay tuned tomorrow!

Not necessarily in that order!  First, paper and etc. that I got from my mom.  Mom is cool, her name is Gloria (gee, imagine that!), she loves antiques.  My mom and her sis buy and sell vintage textiles, clothes and miscellaneous etc.  It’s always fun to rummage through her stash of stuff. This is some of the cool stuff that Mom had this time:

comp bookscards.jpgcard-box.jpgfolding-cards.jpg

There must be 200 cards in that box!

Next in honor of T’s new melting pot, we’ll make some faux distressed stones!  Tim Holtz came up with this technique, it’s on his second DVD.  You’ll need the pot, some silicone ice cube trays, clear UTEE, Black Soot Distress EP, and either Weathered Wood Distress EP or Antiquities EP in Cement, Adirondack Acrylic Paint in Soot Black, and coarse grain sea salt.  Fill the pot with the Clear UTEE, then sprinkle in maybe a T. of the Cement or Weathered Wood EP & a 1/2 tsp of the Black Soot EP. 


Once it’s all melted stir it up!  It should look like cement.  Sprinkle some of the sea salt into the squares on the ice cube tray. 


Carefully pour the melted UTEE mixture into the tray sections, then let cool. 


Pop the stones out of the tray, then put them in a bowl of water to dissolve the salt crystals that are embedded in them.  Then take them out, dry them off,  and use a small stiff brush to pounce black paint into the pock marks and all over the tiles.  Then wipe some of the paint off with a paper towel.  Voila!  Faux aged stones!  Is Tim a frickin’ genius or what? 

Last, but not least, scissors!  I cut open two new packs of library cards today.  It’s time to swap!!  Send me an email with your address ( ), and I will email everyone with the details.

It’s midnight, I am going to bed!!!

Later gp’s! 

P.S. Just found this and immediately thought of gg getting dressed up for space travel.  Look at that helmet/hat!!


                gg in space

I’m baaaack!   I have quit traipsing around the east and am finally home!  I can’t tell you guys how much I’ve missed you!!  I had notime whatsoever to post while I was at Ranger, they really kept us hopping.  We did sixty techniques in 3 days!  It was a blast, will post some pics tomorrow.  Then it was off to Pittsburgh to see my mom, dad and sibs.  The kids had a ball, and I got some great vintage goodies from my mom (again, pics tomorrow).    Did I say that I missed you guys?  Oh yeah, guess so.  Not to mention the fact that I missed you guys!    Everybody get on here and dish, what’s new?? I feel like I have been totally out of the loop.  FILL ME IN!!!


Library Card & Pocket SWAP (not to be confused with SHWAP)

g - received
lisam in spain - received
margert - received
jan - received
k - received
marissa-yay! - received

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