Wednesday, 10/15/08                                                                        Day 256

Today was just a plain day.  It wasn't a bad day, it just wasn't that exciting.  Again, we did school from 8:00 - 12:00.  But later, we did laundry.  There is one washer/dryer set in the men's room at the Harbormaster's office and one set in the ladies' room.  Josh and I did 2 easy loads and Mom did 1 hard load.  In between loads, we did stuff.  We ate lunch at a little café and got ice cream.  Because I did well at school today, I got a flurry.  While waiting for laundry, we went to the Academy and watched midshipmen.  Because it was during their school day, we saw them in uniform and could tell their ranks and years.

That's all we did today.  It's not much.  We are doing more laundry tomorrow, so I don't expect it to be overly wonderful.  Whatever, it can't be that bad.

Thursday, 10/16/08
                                                                        Day 257

We did school and then laundry today ... again.  While doing laundry, we played with Tranquility's kids who happened to be up there with their Mom.  The weather is getting bad.  It is chilly outside and it's raining on and off.

So, the day wasn't great.  Okay, it wasn't really even good.  At least it wasn't horrible, just not the best.  But the evening was better.  We all played Yahtzee.  I whooped Mom and Josh.  I got two Yahtzees, both times with 6's.  That was great!

To summarize the day:  not-so-good day, much better evening.  That's it.

Friday, 10/17/08
                                                                                Day 258

Today was great!  We started simply with school.  We finished our couple of hours just as Dad got home.  Mom and Josh picked him up from the dinghy dock while I packed away my books.

We talked for a while and then went into town.  We ate lunch at McGarvey's.  We had good burgers.  After lunch, we walked around town.  We walked down this little lane of houses all attached and went into this historic c. 1800 building.  I like the colorful little houses and the fall color.   In Houston, TX, there is pretty much no such thing as fall color or falling leaves.  So Josh and I enjoyed ourselves.  We threw the leaves into the air and kicked them about.  We had leaf fights (like snowball fights, but with a handful of leaves) and once, I stuffed a clump of leaves down Josh's shirt.  That caused some trouble, but it was funny!

We were going to go to the Maryland State House, but it was closed for renovations.  We went down to the Naval Academy instead.  There, we went to the Naval Chapel and saw John Paul Jones' crypt.  It is a big round underground room with marble walls.  Along those walls are statues of John Paul Jones, commemorative plaques, history, artifacts, etc.  In the room's center, in a roped off area surrounded by marble columns, was a big coffin.  It was 6 or7 ft. high and was marble (I think) with bronze sculptures of fish for legs (I think).  It was pretty cool.  John Paul Jones was a great guy!

Josh had brought a bag of nuts (almonds in the shell, peanuts in the shell, filbert nuts, and acorns) form the boat to feed the squirrels.  We tried, half-successfully.  I heard a tour guide say that the entire Brigade of Midshipmen was doing a parade (march) on the parade grounds.  We watched them all march to the field with rifles and swords.  There were also 3 different marching bands.  The midshipmen were all being graded by active-duty and high-ranking midshipmen officers.  We went and sat in the bleachers at the parade grounds.  (The parade was a big deal and there were people on loudspeakers presenting each group and explaining the whole event. ) The midshipmen were all split up into 30 companies, 6 brigades and 2 regiments.  They looked pretty good in their shiny black uniforms, all moving as one.  There were a bunch of West Point cadets, Air Force Academy cadets, and foreign students doing exchange programs.  At one point, as one company was forming up on the parade grounds, a midshipmen's hat fell off.  He continued to stand perfectly still.  The midshipmen who was in charge of the company marched over and, like a robot, bent down, picked up the hat, and placed it back on the midshipmen's head.

After the parade, we fed the squirrels more and went home.  We had soup for dinner and are about to play Yahtzee.  After last night's win, maybe I can do it again.  Today was great!!

Saturday, 10/18/08
                                                                        Day 259

Today was okay.  The first 2/3 of the day was a bit nothing.  We hung out.  The last 1/3 was great.

This evening, Keith, Pat, Jake, and Erika Bauer came to our boat.  They are cousins on the Gohlke side.  They live near Washington D.C.  We talked for what seemed like forever.  Adults can talk forever.  Jake is 20 and Erika is 14, so they talked too.  For dinner, we grilled venison sausage from the deer Dad shot at the ranch last November.  They really wanted some, so we saved the last two packages to eat with them.  They brought wine, brownies, pumpkin bread, and a pineapple from Hawaii for us.  The brownies were delicious!  We had a good time with the Bauers.

Earlier in the day, we got a new grill.  Dad saw that our grill, after 1 ½ yrs., had rusty parts and would not work.  Even though it was out of warranty, West Marine gave him all sorts of good deals to help him get a better grill by Magma for only $80 ($400 value).  Dad and Josh went to pick it up.  Meanwhile, Mom and I hung out.  The new grill is cool.

That is really all for today.  Not much to tell.

Sunday, 10/19/08
                                                                                Day 260

Today was pretty good.  We started the day by being bums, a great thing for a Sunday morning.  We all just hung around in front of the new space heaters typing or reading, etc.  I read most of a really interesting book.  It is called Canyons by Gary Paulsen.  I like him.  He writes easy, quick reads that have deep meaning.  I have a bunch of his books.

At 11:00 we went to church at the Navy Chapel.  It was really cold (in the 50's), and we had to wear blue jeans and foul weather jackets to stay warm.  Church was nice.  The chapel is huge and beautiful.  All the midshipmen around campus were in full dress uniform, so it made it easy to tell their ranks.

After church, we went to the Federal Hall restaurant for lunch.  The food was only okay.  We walked around town a bit.  It is busy because of the Powerboat Show.  Back at the boat, we played around and hung out for the rest of the day.  I finished Canyons.  We had a good day.

Monday, 10/20/08
                                                                                Day 261

We got up early this morning to initiate an awesome plan to enjoy Baltimore, MD.  Unfortunately, Dad had to go out of town today for a meeting in Las Vegas.  The nearest airport is in Baltimore, so Mom, Josh and I just came along in the cab.  The cab driver dropped Dad off at the airport, and took us on to Calvert School on Baltimore's outskirts.

Calverts is the private school that runs the homeschool program that we use.  The school is really cool, better than any public school could ever be.  In the middle school (5th through 8th grade) there are only 167 students.  Every student gets his own personal laptop computer.  The classed are, obviously, small and there are lots of extra-curricular activities. Some include all team sports, dance, bands, and art clubs.  You have to take an admissions test to get into Calverts, so all the kids are bright.  It would be cool to go to school there.  We got a tour of the middle school and the larger elementary school (372 students, grades Pre-K - 4th) from a teacher who was off duty.  We also went to the school store where we bought t-shirts, bookmarks, and a burgee.

We took a cab from Calverts down to the National Aquarium of Baltimore.  We had a great time there.  One of my favorite exhibits was  Australia:  Wild Extremes, sponsored by Animal Planet.  It is an exhibit where the birds and some other critters get to roam around, like a tropical rainforest that most aquariums have.  We saw a huge, 3 story high waterfall in the red desert landscape.  Exotic doves, parrots, and other birds, including laughing kookaburras, flew around.  There were grey-headed flying foxes hanging from the ceiling.  We also saw lizards, snakes, turtles, and crocodiles.  Plus, there were tanks and ponds of fish I had never seen or even heard of before in any zoo or aquarium I have ever been to!!

In the Pier 3 Pavilion, we saw most of the exhibits.  We saw a feeding at Wings in the Water, an open-air shark and ray tank.  They had southern stingrays, cownose rays, roughtail stingrays, 2 bullnose rays, a spiny butterfly ray, a zebra shark, a blacknose shark, and a green sea turtle.  Divers got into the tank and fed them lettuce (for the turtle), shrimp, fish, clams and mussels.  That was cool.

We saw numerous tanks with fish from every part of the world.  At the top of the Pier 3 Pavilion was the Upland Tropical Rain Forest.  It was like the Australian exhibit.  We saw lots of birds and some turtles and tortoises.  I like the rain forest exhibits, but there is one in almost every aquarium and/or zoo.  The same goes for the Atlantic Coral Reef which we saw next.  There is almost always some 3 story donut or tube that you walk in or around and see the Bahamian reef fish.

The sharks were pretty cool.  They had sandbar, lemon, sand tiger, and nurse sharks, as well as sawfish.  What I didn't like was that, even though the aquariums always try to make people see that sharks are not blood-thirsty mongrels, they made it really dark and played spooky music.

All in all, the aquarium was really great.  It is one of the best aquariums we have been to.  We left when they closed at 5:00pm.  Mrs. Linda Smith, the friend of ours who stayed with us along the Hudson River, NY (see 7/2/08 - 7/5/08), picked us up and we went back to their house.  They live near Calverts.  That is where Gwen and Nora, their two girls, go to school.  We all went out to dinner together to a place called Café Hon.  The food was okay.  After dinner, we went back to the Smith's house and played Rock Band on their Wii.  That was awesome.  Mom and Dad sort of like Wii because it is an interactive video game system.  We have a great place that we can put it on the boat.  Maybe, just maybe, I can convince Mom and Dad.  I'm not getting my hopes up though.

Today was really, really awesome.  It was really great to get to go to Baltimore.  We won't get there on Liberty this year, but we will next year.  Dad might come home either tomorrow, Wednesday, Friday, or as late as Monday.  I hope it's sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, 10/21/08
                                                                                Day 262

Today was boring!!!  We literally did school all day.  We did have some breaks, but not many.  I finished faster than Josh, so I got some free time.

The evening wasn't as bad.  I, with a little cooking help from Josh and other counseling from Mom, made Pepperoni Penne for dinner.  I got the recipe from the 20 min. Pasta section of PASTA: A Food & Wine Cookbook.  I love to cook.  The pasta dish was delicious!

After dinner, we played Sorry.  Josh won and I came in last place.  It was a good game.  Mom lost by one card!!  Today was okay.
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