Thursday, July 05, 2007

At the helm

Here's Vinnie at the helm of the big rig. Getting ready to leave Atlanta for our trip to Alaska. We will not be updating this blog, but we are starting another. You can keep track of our adventure at:

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Where's the boat?

We have just returned to Atlanta where our latest craziness proceeds. This monstrous creature is the 34 foot 1994 RV which we have purchased with Maria's parents for a road trip to Alaska. It will take several months for us to make the five thousand plus mile trip to Alaska, tour the wonders, and get ourselves back. The "Big Rig", as Vinnie calls it (or "Bubba" as it is affectionately named by Maria's parents) is in good shape and we are getting ready to rumble down the road. Watch out.

In Sandra's backyard

We celebrated with family during a short visit in Grand Rapids. This photo was taken during a family dinner. Alessia and Jim are holding their youngest niece, but they look like they are parenthood ready...

Always thinking

A week is a long time for Norah who makes leaping progress, but very short for us. By the time we left it was clear that the world may be blessed with another philosophy major and deep thinker.

A miracle, we're grandparents

We've changed too. Norah has brought us to the glorious world of grand parenting.

Chiara, James and Norah

Not only did Norah develop before our eyes, we watched Chiara and James change too. Their expressions of fatigue eased and they became more and more the masters of bath time, meals, and baby comforting. Years ago we had a glimpse of their parenting talent when they nurtured us, the feckless, during our visit to China. They translated, guided, and reassured us; an experience which should be helpful when Norah enters kindergarten.

Norah Claire Hemsley

Everyday, Norah seemed more alert and aware. She began to focus on faces and responded with more varied expressions and sounds. Soon she was clearly expressing her insight and humor, but in a language we could not understand.

Bundle of Norah

Chiara and James gave birth to Norah Claire Hemsley on May 31. She holds a mystery, she is the oldest child and a younger sister. We drove to Iowa city to welcome her a week after her birth and a little over a year since the death of her brother Samuel. At first she was a sleeping, hiccuping, wiggling package, but she quickly showed new talents.

Family Migration

We left Atlanta and had short but wonderful visits with family in DC and Virginia. Heading back south we drove down the Skyline drive and hiked through some beautiful country.

Vinnie meets Sacred Harp

During our first visit in Atlanta we went to a small town in north Georgia, near the Alabama border. At the Holly Springs Primitive Baptist Church Vinnie was introduced to Sacred Harp at an all day sing. Those who love the music find it moving and stirring. Unfortunately, some are distressed by its resemblance to loud hollering with disturbing dissonance. It can be a long 6 and a half hours and still dazed, Vinnie is not looking for a repeat performance.

Land Locked

In a fast 4 days of travel we raced just ahead of the heavy weather that would keep other boaters trapped in the Bahama's for weeks. Strong winds and 12 foot seas provided an energetic sail back to Florida on only a scrap of jib. After settling the boat on jacks in the boat yard, we began our rounds of visits, driving to Atlanta, then Maryland, then Virginia, then Atlanta, then Iowa, then Michigan, and then back to Atlanta.

Turning 180 degrees at the ocean hole

We arrived at Rock Sound for our first, and probably last, visit to Eleuthra. We located several of its prime attractions, the ocean hole pictured here and a liquor store. The store's owner let us hook into his wireless Internet for free and we sat in the grass by the sidewalk. Like most places in the Bahamas, people in the passing crowds stopped to greet us. We emailed everyone that we would return to the states in 3 - 4 weeks. Walking back, however, we realized that life was waiting for us on the other side of the stream and it was time to head home. We organized, pulled up anchor, and staged ourselves for the long trip back.