We are Mark and Judy Handley. We have been writing about our experiences on this website for almost eleven years now. For six of those years, we were sailing around the world on our 42-foot sailboat, Windbird. During those six years and the five years since our circumnavigation, we have posted a log almost daily. We lived aboard all of those years and loved every minute. But we have now sold Windbird and are living in a harbourside apartment in the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. The website title has been tweaked just a bit to reflect our new status, “The Voyage of Windbird . . . and Beyond.” We decided not to change things totally because we want to leave the three and a half thousand daily logs and all of the accompanying photos on the website for anyone who might be interested. But for those who would like to continue to follow the current “Voyage of Windbird”, her new owners have a website that will chronicle the adventures. We are proud to introduce you to Sam and Dawn Weigel whose blog “Weigels on the Water” can be found at: http://wotwater.blogspot.com/
NOTE: Due to Google upgrading Picasa to Google Photos, many of our old photos are now broken.  We are actively working on fixing this – thanks for your patience!

2018 Life Logs, Day 336: A Wonderful Meshing of Traditions

2018 Life Logs, Day 336: A Wonderful Meshing of Traditions
Date: Sunday, December 2, 2018
Weather: Overcast with Rain; High 56, Low 49 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was the first day of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. Some people spell it Chanukkah and others Hanukkah. However you spell it, it is a minor holiday in the Jewish faith. But because it falls close to the Christian celebration of Christmas, it has become a popular holiday. Heather’s husband Jed is Jewish, but as a family they have combined Jewish, Christian, and even Pagan traditions into their lives. They celebrate Hanukkah and Passover each year, but they also celebrate Christmas and Easter. A a favorite celebration for all of us is the Pagan Yule or observance of Solstice. Hanukkah, Christmas, and Winter Solstice all fall in December, so this is a month of celebration. Lighting the candles each of the eight nights of Hanukkah is a favorite of the boys, so on this first night, the candles were lit and we had a festive dinner. Latkes are a favorite of all the Goldstones, so Heather fried latkes for more than hour to make enough to fill everyone. I had Hanukkah presents for the boys which were Christmas pajamas. It is such a wonderful meshing of traditions. The boys love Hannah Anderson organic cotton pj’s, so I bought holiday pajamas for each. Ollie got green pajamas decorated with holiday doggies, Jonah got blue pj’s with a Santa Claus theme, and Sam got red and white striped pj’s with green trim. Sam put his on first and Heather started laughing uncontrollably because he looked like Waldo from Where’s Waldo. Waldo always wears a red and white striped shirt with a matching hat. And he also wears glasses. So Sam borrowed Jed’s glasses and found a hat left today by neighbor Molly and played the role to the hilt. Everyone played Dreidel. What a fun evening!

Earlier in the day, we visited Highfield Hall to meet Santa and to listen to a cappella holiday singing. Neighbors Molly and Joey went with us and we all had a nice time. Sam was mostly interested in the model trains, not Santa, but all enjoyed the singing. Jonah’s ENT was one of the singers and he was quite entertaining. He did a great job impersonating Elvis when they sang Blue Christmas. Joey, Jonah, and Molly talked to Santa. But Ollie decided to be Santa, rather than to talk to him, by wearing his Santa hat and beard. Joey actually started telling jokes to Santa which got great big belly laughs from the jolly old man. There were lovely holiday decorations. Some of our favorites were a Christmas tree decorated with drums, a Christmas tree decorated with marine signal flags spelling out a holiday message of peace, and a huge hanging decoration in the stairwell with large rings that looked like metal wagon wheels. It was all lovely. Again, what fun.

We have a very busy week coming up, actually two very busy weeks, and next weekend is Falmouth’s Holidays by the Seas celebration featuring the Elf Run, the Jingle Jog, the arrival of Santa in the Harbor, the downtown stroll, the lighting of the Falmouth Green, and the largest Christmas parade in southeast Massachusetts. Lots of holiday cheer coming our way.

2018 Life Logs, Day 335: Christmas Countdown

2018 Life Logs, Day 335: Christmas Countdown
Date: Saturday, December 1, 2018
Weather: Mostly Cloudy; High 42, Low 36 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Tonight my grandson Sam is at a sleepover with friends and Ollie and Jonah are here with me for an overnight. Jed is going to be out of town for his birthday next weekend, so I offered to kidsit so that he and Heather could go out on a birthday ‘date’. It was the perfect night to spend with grandkids as they were both very well aware that this is first day of December. And that means we are counting down to Christmas Day. We had a wonderful evening together watching the short, but favorite Charlie Brown Christmas and followed that up with a 1979 movie called Jack Frost. I had never heard of this movie, but it looked interesting to the boys, so we watched it. It has nothing to do with Christmas, but it did help prepare us for the coming winter weather. It was originally a stop motion animated television program where the Groundhog tells the story. The Groundhog’s voice is that of Buddy Hackett. It is a love story as well as the story of the Groundhog who lets us know on February 2 whether or not we will have six more weeks of winter weather. And I was amazed that Jonah knew it was stop motion animation. He evidently learned this at a workshop he took at Falmouth Community Television a couple of years ago. He had to explain to me what it was!

I was a bad Oma tonight as I let the boys stay up later than usual. But after the movies, we sang Christmas carols from the Curious George Christmas Carols book. Last year we watched The Grinch together in my apartment on the harbor, and we had stored copies of the words to The Grinch in this book. So, of course, tonight we had to sing every verse of The Grinch at least four times. Then Jonah had to read to us from a book of nonsensical, but very funny poems. Ollie and I read a couple of stories from Stories from Around the World while Jonah went in another room and continued singing. And we read about the December moon in Thirteen Moons on a Turtle’s Back, a book of Native American lore. That created questions about whether artists know that turtles have 13 plates on their shells, so we had to gather stone and wooden turtles from around the Cottage to check it out. Indeed, they do know. But did you know that every year has 13 moons? The Moon revolves around Earth 13 times during the time the Earth revolves around the Sun once. If we had a lunar~solar calendar we would have 13 months of 28 days each or four 7-day weeks. Numerically, that is the same as having 52 weeks of seven days. I loved teaching first grade because I loved learning new things each day through the bright, untainted eyes of six year-olds. And now I continue to learn about the world through the eyes of my grandchildren. It is a wonderful way to view the world.

And speaking of the way we view the world, I want to share some things I am learning by watching yet another internet docu-series called Interconnected. It is about the power to heal from within and I am finding it to be very powerful information. In today’s episode, Alessio Fasano, Chief of Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Mass General Hospital, stated that the health community has been working with the premise that two things impact our health—our genetics and our environment. At one time, it was believed that genetics played the major role. But that is no longer the belief. Some health experts now think that our health is determined only 10 percent by genetics and 90 percent by environment and the life choices we each made within that environment. And as Fasano pointed out, the epidemic of disease we are currently experiencing in this country points to the fact that we are definitely doing something wrong. This epidemic of disease has happened in the last 50 years and that is too short a time to blame genetics for the rise. And to quote Fasano, “So that leaves the environment as the culprit.” We have changed the environment way too fast for our genetics to keep up. What I love about this series is that each episode leaves you with a sense of hope and roadmap for making changes in your lifestyle to stay healthy within the given environment. I can see that I am going to have a very long list of New Year’s Resolutions as a result of watching Pedram Shojai’s (The Urban Monk) Interconnected series.

2018 Life Logs, Day 334: Staying on Track

2018 Life Logs, Day 334: Staying on Track
Date: Friday, November 30, 2018
Weather: Partly Sunny; High 41, Low 31 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Last night I said today was going to be all about house cleaning and rearranging furniture to make room for a Christmas tree. I really worked at staying on track, but I diverted a couple of times doing jobs that are on my To Do List—just not for today. But one of those jobs I did get done has been on my list since the day I moved in here. So it felt really good to check that one off. And the furniture has been rearranged to make room for the tree, The house cleaning, however, is only halfway there. But the last time I checked, Christmas trees aren’t picky about the cleanliness of the house. So ready or not, here comes the tree.

2018 Life Logs, Day 333: Leather Britches

2018 Life Logs, Day 333: Leather Britches
Date: Thursday, November 29, 2018
Weather: Sunny Day; High 48, Low 31 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Just now I was catching up on Facebook notices. Once of them was a notice from a site called ‘All of Us West Virginians.’ Someone was inquiring about green beans. She said, “During early 1950’s I helped my grandmother string beans. She hung them on the back porch to dry. I’m curious about the type of beans……don’t remember eating them.” Well, I do remember eating them, but what caught my attention were the comments to that post. One person responded saying the beans were probably leather britches. Well, leather britches are the result of drying any beans to preserve them. The beans were probably half-runners . . . by far the best tasting green bean there is, in my opinion. When you pick them at the peak of freshness, snip off the stem end, string and hang them, they become dried beans referred to as leather britches. I’m sure you probably don’t need that little bit of info, but I thought I would share anyway!

Today was more of the same—going to a class at the gym, raking and bagging leaves, picking up grandkids afterschool and staying until Jed got home, coming home to watch a couple of different health-related docu-series that are running for free right now. There was one bright point in the afternoon when Karen and Peter Baranowski stopped by to say hello. Always great to visit with friends. So that was it for my day. Tomorrow is house cleaning day and rearranging furniture to get ready for the Christmas tree.

2018 Life Logs, Day 332: Work a Day

2018 Life Logs, Day 332: Work a Day
Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Weather: Beautiful Morning, Cloudy Afternoon; High 43, Low 35 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

On Sunday when my friend Jane Wooden came over for lunch, I was complaining about patients. She gently reminded me that after retirement, daily exercise is our job. So today I kept reminding myself of that. I got up and did the daily knee exercises prescribed by the physical therapist, followed by my normal daily exercise routine. I then took a break to drive into town to the Falmouth Pet Center. I am concerned about the new fish we added to the aquarium this weekend and wanted to check to see if I should be feeding them something different. What I found out is that I needed to go home and return with a water sample to check ammonia and nitrate levels. But it was time for me to drive north to Sandwich for a PT evaluation. The drive there is 35-40 minutes, the appointment takes an hour, and then another 40 minutes home—another part of the ‘workday that takes time. Add to that a little shopping side trip, and it was late afternoon by the time I got home. I drove home to get a water sample from the aquarium and headed to town again. The aquarium balance is not too far off which is good news . . . so much to learn about keeping a healthy aquarium. And now tonight, I am back to the health thing, watching another episode in an autoimmune docu-series. So much to learn about staying healthy.

2018 Life Logs, Day 331: Shopping, Then After School with J&O

2018 Life Logs, Day 331: Shopping, Then After School with J&O
Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Weather: Sunny with Sprinkles Here and There; High 49, Low 34 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

My morning started with a routine “tune-up” with my chiropractor, followed by a trip to the town waste management facility that accepts bagged leaves. Since Heather and Jed helped with yard work on Saturday, I have been driving around with seven overly stuffed paper leaf bags in the back of my car. The back seats of my Honda Fit lay down flat giving me a huge space in which to fit a lot of ‘stuff’. The Fit is known to be small on the outside, but BIG on the inside, and I have certainly found that to be true. But the leaf bags took up every inch of space. These bags are about 4 feet high and when Heather stuffs them they are almost too heavy for me to handle. I was determined to get them out of the car, however, so somehow I managed to manhandle them and left the leaf dump with an empty car. I then made an impromptu decision to head off-Cape to return some items I bought on my shopping spree before Thanksgiving. So saying that I went shopping today is not really correct. I went to return things and came home with replacements. Then it was time to pick Jonah and Ollie up from school as Tuesday is my day of the week for pick-up. I always enjoy my time with them and this week I get to pick them up on Thursday and Friday as well. It is the start of the fall public radio pledge drive and Heather works until 7 pm on Thursday and Friday. Jed is working frantically to finish up a grant he is working on before leaving for England on December 8, so I have volunteered to do extra kid duty.

2018 Life Logs, Day 330: Simple Day—Exercise and Laundry

2018 Life Logs, Day 330: Simple Day—Exercise and Laundry
Date: Monday, November 26, 2018
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, Rain Late; High 47, Low 42 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Not much to report today. My morning was spent at the gym in a pilates class and using the stationary bike. My afternoon was spent at Heather’s doing my laundry. And I spent my evening listening the first episode of an internet-based health docu-series. Exercise, cleanliness, learning new things—all good for you. Simple day.

2018 Life Logs, Day 329: Grandkids Kayak, Lunch with Jane, Additions to Aquarium

2018 Life Logs, Day 329: Grandkids Kayak, Lunch with Jane, Additions to Aquarium
Date: Sunday, November 25, 2018
Weather: Rain Overnight, Mostly Cloudy Day; High 48, Low 38 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

This was a day of many varied activities. Heather, Sam, Jonah, and Ollie were all up early, before me, but at 7:30 am I finally rallied and got up to fix breakfast. We had breakfast together and then Heather left for her Sunday yoga class. The boys and I played a few games together and then they turned to building with Legos. Next, they headed to the basement to re-establish the desks they set up this summer. When Heather returned, they headed outside to help her plant tulips in my side yard, but it didn’t take the boys long to realize that it was comparatively warm today, so they headed down to the dock. We put the kayaks away for the winter yesterday, but two of them came back out this morning. There was a super high tide, the highest I have seen here, and they just had to kayak out over what is normally an island. You could see the top of the grasses today, but you could see no land. Then Jane Wooden arrived for lunch and Heather and the boys headed home. Recently Jane and Bruce vacationed in Mexico for three weeks and were in Vermont with her daughter’s family last week, so we hadn’t had time to just sit and talk for quite some time. We made up for that today and enjoyed our time together. After Jane left, I went to pick up Sam, Jonah, and Ollie. I was taking them to the Falmouth Pet Center to pick out a few new fish for the aquarium, but before we left, Jonah wanted to show me the progress he has made this weekend on his project for the East Falmouth Elementary Craft Fair. His craft this year is making striped votive candles using old crayons to add the color. I was quite impressed with the candles he has made so far. Then we left for the aquarium shop. Ollie and I set up the aquarium seven weeks ago and have spent the last seven weeks trying to get the aquarium balanced. We initially added two platys, Mickie and Goldie, but sadly we lost Goldie this week. To make up for the loss, this evening we added two glass catfish and a eel-like creature called a kuhli loach which is striped like a tiger. It was promptly named Tigger, while the see-through catfish were named Skelly and Skully. We chose new additions that are supposed to be non-aggressive in the hope that they won’t attack our baby platys.

2018 Life Logs, Day 328: Calling in the Troops

2018 Life Logs, Day 328: Calling in the Troops
Date: Saturday, November 24, 2018
Weather: Partly Sunny and Warmer; High 50, Low 45 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I spent some time last night going through the calendar of activities between now and Christmas and realized that it was time to get a couple of jobs done that I can’t do alone. So I called in the troops, my troops being Heather and Jed. Heather is heading into Pledge Drive and Jed has two more weeks at home before he heads to England for a week. And when he gets back it will be the week before Christmas with a myriad of activities on the calendar. Today seemed like the day to get the jobs done. Getting my gutters cleaned out and getting the kayaks under cover for the winter were the two jobs that I needed done as I can’t do them by myself. With my recent record of falls, climbing a ladder to clean the gutters just didn’t seem like a good idea. And my two-man inflatable kayak is just too heavy for me to handle without help. So, I sent an email to Heather and Jed asking if they could come help me sometime today. Heather sent a text and Jed called this morning to say they would be over sometime after lunch. I really hated to take their precious time, but I was very grateful that they could come. Heather dismantled the inflatable and got it into the basement with Sam’s help while Jed cleaned the gutters. Then Heather went out to the street to do leaf clean-up along the property line. The boys spent some time down on the dock and then came up to help. But as we filled the big, paper leaf bags, they got another idea. They made a fort out of the bagged leaves and threw pine cones at each other until way after dark. And Heather, Jed, and I were all still outside raking and bagging leaves in the dark as well. Of course, ‘way after dark’ isn’t all that late these days, but we finally decided it was time to stop and get dinner. I made meat balls today, so I invited them to stay for a spaghetti and meatballs dinner. That led to boys asking if they could spend the night. And then Ollie wanted Heather to stay as well. Jed has a cold and isn’t feeling great, so Heather took him home and came back for the sleep over at Oma’s. And I will certainly sleep better knowing those jobs are done. Thank you, thank you, to Heather and Jed!

2018 Life Logs, Day 327: Thanksgiving Recovery Day

2018 Life Logs, Day 327: Thanksgiving Recovery Day
Date: Friday, November 23, 2018
Weather: Sunny and Chilly; High 32, Low 26 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

No Black Friday shopping for me. I took the day to come down from the high of a fabulous Thanksgiving. I started with the exercises prescribed for my knee by the physical therapist. It takes me at least half an hour to do those and they need to be a part of my daily routine. Then I did the 20-minute combination of weight bearing, high intensity training, and mind and body exercises I do when I don’t have a class at the gym. Then I headed to town to go to the gym to use the recumbent bike. The physical therapist recommended I extend the time on the bike, so I took a book to read while pedaling. On the way home, I stopped at the Falmouth Pet Center. This is the wonderful local pet store that has been so helpful in setting up the aquarium. I discovered last night that one of the two Platys that Ollie and I bought about 6 weeks ago was dead. Her name was Goldie and I was hoping I could buy another one that looks like her so I wouldn’t have to tell Ollie the bad news. But the Platys were only half the size of Goldie, so I’ll have to break the news to Ollie. He knew this was a possibility when setting up a new aquarium, but that doesn’t make it any easier. At least for now, we have a lot of baby Platys and we still have Mickie, Goldie’s partner.

When I got home, I took an hour to work on the impossible 1,000 piece puzzle I have been ignoring because it is such a hard one. I made a little progress and enjoyed it, so I will dedicate another hour tomorrow. I can’t work on it in the evenings because there is just not enough light. I guess I should work on that problem. The phone rang and it was my friend Linda Stuart calling from New Zealand. Linda and her husband Mike are biking around the world and are currently biking through the North Island of New Zealand. We didn’t talk long as they had an internet connection that kept dropping, but it was so wonderful to hear Linda’s voice. I also talked to my sister in Tennessee to see how her Thanksgiving with her family went. In addition to my niece that lives close-by, her other daughter, son-in-law, and the two grandchildren are there visiting. They had a nice Thanksgiving, but unfortunately my brother-in-law is dealing with another infection. Hopefully this one won’t send him back to the hospital. After that call, I sat down at my computer and before I knew it, it was dark outside. I watched an hour-long health-related video, went through emails that I have ignored for the past few days, and did a little work on organizing photos. I stopped to fix dinner and have continued computer work this evening. So not a hugely productive day, but a relaxing day doing what I like to do.