This and that

The original Homer is thought to have perished on the island of Ios.

My all-time favorite place to live


Triaucourt en Argonne, France

Our rough collies (Darwin and Mendel when a pup)

IMG 0223


I have always been particularly fond of sailing among the Greek islands.


On a typical passage, this one from Astypalaia to Nisyros. That early May morning was a bit chilly.


Sailing on Galveston Bay aboard Yankee, our Hinckley 38 sailboat


I earned the Yachtmaster Offshore Certficate of Competence from the Royal Yachting Association. I also completed the class and exam part of the Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate, and will likely complete the documented ocean passage part sailing to Antigua aboard Yankee.

Sailing in the UK is one serious experience. If you have the inclination (and, perhaps, stamina), I would heartedly recommend training at a RYA facility such ashttp://www.hamble.co.uk/fast-track/fast-track-yachtmaster-professional-sail-training-course/.

For those of us who have a rather lot of previous experience, a week of prep can be booked followed by a rigorous on-the-water exam. Mine took place mostly at night in the Solent. It was cold, rough, and wet, and involved fun activities on a dark night sailing for various assigned points on opposite shores while having all sorts of examiner-generated complications occur. Among the fun:

  • avoiding a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, several enormous container ships, and numerous other ships and boats both anchored and moving. Sailing also involved figuring out all of the various navigation lights of other vessel types and determining the directions in which they were moving, or not. If you have ever sailed the Solent at night, the effect of all of the various vessel lights superimposed on shore lights is kind of like peering at a Christmas tree that is laying on its side with the exception that many of the few hundred red, green, and white lights are moving in clumps in various directions.
  • steering courses for various points while manually figuring tides and water depth complications
  • sailing up a dark, thin-water creek on an ebb tide (Beaulieu Creek) in which the channel is marked by tiny, nearly invisible willow branches stuck in the mud. The verbal instruction from the examiner was to mind the willies. Of course, I had no idea what then heck a willie was.
  • the loss of the engine while under power
  • a person overboard drill under sail in a ripping fast current
  • etc., etc.

Additionally, during the week of prep, a huge HM Coastguard helicopter appeared and asked permission to land a man on our deck. Like this, only on a sailboat with a 50ft mast sticking up in the way. That was fun. Oh, and then while tied up for the night at the Isle of Wight, our pub was invaded by a troupe of actors in full costume from a Tolkien play. Ever had a pint with a hobbit or a tree?

Commissioned, functional art projects of late

Lectern PoP

Lectern in cherry and copper for Prince of Peach Catholic Community, Plano, TX

Altar PoP

Altar in cherry and copper for Prince of Peace Catholic Community, Plano, TX