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!

2017 Life Logs, Day 358: Christmas Eve

2017 Life Logs, Day 358: Christmas Eve
Date: Sunday, December 24, 2017
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High Temp 45, Low 36 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

It is twelve minutes until midnight, so well past time to go to bed so Santa can arrive. It was a good day. I did some last-minute shopping and then went to Heather and Jed’s to see if I could be of help in getting ready for Christmas Eve festivities. And I delivered the first car load of presents. Jed had to go shopping and Heather wanted to go for a run, so I stayed with the boys. Actually, Ollie went for a short run with Heather before she took off on her longer run. He called it the Christmas Eve Jingle Jog. The weather was mild enough today that the boys spent the entire afternoon outside playing in the dirt! When Heather got back, I went home to get the last of the presents and to get my bags for heading to Nashville tomorrow. I had planned to have dinner with Heather and family and then go home for the night. But the boys asked me to stay with them so they wouldn’t have to wait for my arrival in the morning before coming downstairs to see what Santa delivers this year. While I was home, I had a much too short conversation with Lynne Kirwin and then a great Skype video call with Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco. They have been without electricity again for days, but with a charged phone and a bit of maneuvering around their property, Justin found a place with enough cell signal for us to have a successful call. We are hoping to have a repeat tomorrow morning so I can see what Santa brought to Ziggy and Coco.

A new post-doc in Jed’s lab from Switzerland, Nadia, came to our Feast of the Seven Fishes tonight and stayed until just now helping with the last-minute wrapping of presents. We had a wonderful dinner beginning with clams, oysters, and gravlax, and continuing with calamari, lemon sole, honey-mustard encrusted salmon, and scallops. With the anchovy salad dressing, we actually had a Feast of Eight Fishes. The boys served the chocolate decadence we made a few evenings ago for dessert. They cut Christmas shapes out of the decadence with Christmas cookie cutters and decorated the pieces like cookies. Dinner and dessert were both fantastic and fun was had by all. After dinner we did the traditional giving of ornaments. This year I gave each of the boys a Christmas spider made in Woods Hole and which come with a great story about how every Christmas tree needs a spider. Heather and Jed gave each of the boys a wooden ornament from Sweden to commemorate their first international family vacation. And Nadia was given a beautiful fish-shaped bowl. Now it is time to turn-in so Santa can do his magic. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

2017 Life Logs, Day 357: Revels!

2017 Life Logs, Day 357: Revels!
Date: Saturday, December 23, 2017
Weather: Icy Rain on the Cape, Really Icy Rain in Cambridge
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Often when I tell people I am going to Revels with the Goldstones, they look puzzled and ask me, “What is Revels?” I think Mark and I first attended with Heather and Jed, Justin, and Jed’s brother Ben, in 2004 before Mark and I left on our little jaunt around the world. But I’m not sure about that. When I have time, I’ll have to do a little research on that one. But I do know that since we returned in 2011, we have been every year when we were in New England. One of those years was so icy we had to cancel out at the last minute, but today we forged ahead with a bit of icy rain on the Cape and more the closer we got to Boston. Ollie and Jonah slept part of the way and I got a great photo of sleeping Ollie Angel. We attend Revels at Harvard’s Sanders Theater in Cambridge. It is a beautiful building with a cathedral-like feeling. It is the perfect place for shouting out, “Welcome, Yule!” Now back to, “What is Revels?” . . . In 1957, the first Christmas Revels was performed in New York City. It got positive press, but it didn’t really catch on until it was revived in 1971 in Cambridge. Revels is a performance of solstice traditions portrayed through music, dance, and story telling of solstice traditions from around the world. By 1975, it had caught on and now there are Revels performances all around the country. This year’s focus was Venice during the Renaissance where the people were preparing for The Feast of Seven Fishes. The music, especially the singing, was outstanding this year. The Goldstones will continue the revelry tomorrow with a Christmas Eve Feast . . . of the Seven Fishes.

After the performance, we exited the theater into a magical land of white. It was not snow, but icy white pellets covering the ground and the trees. However, the temperature was rising, not falling, so we decided to stay in Cambridge to have dinner. We walked to Harvard Square to have dinner at the Grafton Street Pub and Grill. I had George’s Bank Scallops, which were delicious, and I was treated to all of this by Heather and Jed. Thank you for a wonderful afternoon and evening!

It rained all the way home, but indeed the temperature had risen so there was no ice. That was good. We got back to Heather and Jed’s, where sleeping boys were carried upstairs to bed, and I traveled on home. Or at least I tried to. When I turned onto Falmouth Heights Road I saw a a sea of flashing lights. Literally, I have never seen so many flashing police lights. As I drove on down the road, it became apparent that the road was blocked at least a quarter of a mile from my drive-way. So I turned around and went around the block and tried to come in from the other end. No luck there either. There were three big fire trucks and numerous other fire and police vehicles blocking the way. I finally found a police woman to ask what was going on and she explained that a condominium in the Boat Yard, next to The Studio, had a chimney fire and roof caught on fire. I was greatly relieved to find out that it wasn’t The Studio where I live! She explained that the fire was under control but that I could not get to my drive way. She recommended that I park in what she called a summer place lot, and walk home. So that’s what I did. Never any lack of drama around here.

2017 Life Logs, Day 356: Carrying on the Solstice Tradition

2017 Life Logs, Day 356: Carrying on the Solstice Tradition
Date: Friday, December 22, 2017
Weather: Mostly Cloudy with Spitting Snow and Rain Late Day; High 41, Low 38 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

The quote of the day goes to Ollie. After school we were cutting out Christmas shapes in the chocolate decadence we made yesterday. We were going through all the cookie cutters and I was saying that we wanted to pick out only Christmas shapes. Ollie really wanted to choose a heart and I explained that might be more appropriate for Valentine’s Day. He just looked at me and said, “Oma, Christmas is all about the love in a family.” Now what could I say to that? I now see that hearts and Christmas go together perfectly. Thank you, Ollie, for your very wise outlook on our world.

My morning was all about running errands. But there was one very poignant moment when I thought I was going to die, literally. I was in a traffic circle when I saw out of the corner of my eye a car speeding towards my driver’s side door from an inside lane. I had no time to process this. I just braked as fast as I could, and thankfully the other driver did the same. We sat inches apart with his car headed directly at my driver’s side door. I was shaking like a leaf. I don’t remember having a close call like this ever and I hope I never have another one. My next stop was East Falmouth Elementary School to see the third grade Rube Goldberg designs in action. Jonah’s team designed a Matchbox car run where the car hits a golf ball, which hits another golf ball, which then heads down a run to ding a bell. After watching many of the inventions in action, I headed out to get my car washed. I then went back to pick Jonah and Ollie up from school and we came home to get ready for the Solstice Fire. There was a lot of hurry scurry to get ready, but once people started arriving, we had a great evening. Some stayed inside; others sat out by the fire, and would then come in to get food or drink. The children ran through the yard in the darkness like wild things, but no one got hurt and all seemed to be having a great time. We didn’t have a traditional yule log going into the fire pit, but Heather made a yummy yule log that we could eat. The burning of the Yule Log precedes medieval times and was originally a Nordic tradition. The Yule Log was an entire tree that was dragged into the home, with the largest end placed into the fire place. When we first moved to Minnesota in the mid-1970’s, I’ll never forget Mark coming home from his construction job one day with a story about going to a home where an old man had an entire tree coming in through his front door with the butt end burning in the fireplace and the tree top still outside. At the time, we just thought the old man was lazy and didn’t want to cut the wood. Now I know he was just following the Yule Log tradition.

As we make our way through the holiday traditions and write those holiday messages to friends and family, it becomes a time of reflection for me. This has led me to ask, “Where in the world are some of my best friends?”

Where in the world are Mike and Linda Stuart? Mike and Linda are my very good friends who are biking around the world. They have spent the past few months biking through Central and South America. They are headed to the ‘end of the earth’ at Tierra del Fuego and are now within 500 miles of reaching that destination. They are in Patagonia right now and the photos from their blog posts are breath taking.

Where is Windbird? She is in a secure anchorage near Georgetown in the Bahamas. They just completed a passage with Sam’s brothers who flew down from Minnesota. It sounds like they had a fabulous time. As I write, Sam and Dawn are headed to Minnesota to have Christmas with family. They will return to Windbird in the New Year and head down what is called the prickly path to the Dominican Republic and on to Puerto Rico. I am hoping to somehow get to the DR at just the right time to do the crossing to Puerto Rico with them in early March.

Where in the world are Ed and Lynne Kirwin? Normally they are in Nyack, New York, but Ed has gotten a reprieve from his chemo treatment and they have spent the past few weeks on their beloved sailboat Constance. It seems just like yesterday that we left Thailand and sailed to southern India together.

04 Constance Just South of Sri Lanka at Sunset

When Ed and Lynne arrived in Georgia three weeks ago, they were first on land getting Constance ready to launch, and today they arrived in Fort Lauderdale after sailing her south from the Georgia/Florida border. Congratulations, Ed and Lynne, on the successful passage. This was their first sail on Constance since the spring of 2015 when they found out Ed has pancreatic cancer.

Where in the world are Heather and Jon Turgeon? Heather and Jon are friends we first met when we all lived aboard our boats in Shipyard Quarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They have spent the past few years sailing around the world and have just left Cape Verde to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean. The first day of their trip was a little bumpy, so I am hoping the wind and seas settle down so they will have a wonderful crossing.

Where are Kevin and Claire? Kevin and Claire also lived aboard at Shipyard Quarters in Cambridge, but have lived on land for the past ten years while still sailing Merganser in the Chesapeake during the summers. Google reminded me this morning that eight years ago today, Kevin and Claire were sailing with Mark and I aboard Windbird in Thailand.

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Wow! Friends all over the place. I have also received e-cards from sailing friends in England, the Netherlands, and Canada. I need to work harder in 2018 to re-establish contact with many other world-wide sailing friends. But for now, I am going to focus on enjoying the holidays with family. Tomorrow I go to Cambridge to the Revels celebration on the Harvard campus. On Sunday, I will spend the afternoon and evening with the Goldstones enjoying Christmas Eve, and then on Monday morning we will celebrate the arrival of Santa Claus. By noon on Monday, we all hope to be ready to head out for our next adventures—the Goldstones to Maine and me to Nashville to spend time with my sister and brother-in-law.

2017 Life Logs, Day 355: It’s Winter

2017 Life Logs, Day 355: It’s Winter
Date: Thursday, December 21, 2017
Weather: Partly Sunny; High 37, Low 22 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Welcome, Yule! Winter is officially here as today was winter solstice. I had dinner with the Goldstones tonight and Ollie and Jonah reminded us that yesterday was not winter, even though it felt like it., but that as of today it is official. I don’t really love winter, but I love this day as the hours of daylight start to increase. Tomorrow night the Goldstones are having a Solstice Fire in the backyard (if it doesn’t get rained out). Neighbors all bring food and come together for the winter celebration. I picked Jonah and Ollie up from school today and, along with Sam, we made chocolate decadence for tomorrow night. We baked it in a large sheet pan and will cut out holiday designs tomorrow after school and decorate the little cakes as a festive dessert. Little by little, we are getting ready for this upcoming holiday weekend.

2017 Life Logs, Day 354: Up, Then Down . . . Way Down

2017 Life Logs, Day 354: Up, Then Down . . . Way Down
Date: Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Weather: Sunny; High 49, Low 23 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Believe it or not, I returned from a trip to Hyannis this afternoon singing, “It’s a Holly Jolly Christmas.” Usually a trip to Hyannis does not evoke a happy feeling. Too many people, too much traffic, and shopping which I do not enjoy. Today I had an eye examination where I picked out new glasses as a Christmas present to myself. Then I went shopping at Whole Foods, went to two different stores to retun things I bought as Christmas gifts but were the wrong size, went to Barnes & Nobles to pick up a last minute gift, started the drive home, and did some more food shopping for Heather on the way. Why all of this made me feel so happy, I have no idea, but I was definitely in the holiday spirit. I stopped by Heather’s to drop off a couple of bags of goodies, went to the post office to send cards, and made another stop at CVS. There I met up with a friend from the gym and Newcomers. She leads the biking group I am a part of and just returned from visiting her brother in San Diego. We had a great conversation. Then I continued on, making yet another stop at a different grocery store to pick up something needed for our Christmas Eve Feast of Seven Fishes. I came home, wrapped more presents, and was still singing “It’s a Holly Jolly Christmas.” Then I turned on the TV to catch up on the news. I already knew about the passage of the new GOP tax bill, but I didn’t know the piece about how it is going to affect Puerto Rico. That bit of news took the “holly jolly” totally out of today. After learning the details of the additional tax that is going to be imposed on Puerto Rico as a “foreign nation”—which it is not—I understood why the people at Maximo Solar in Aguadilla were asking Justin yesterday why President Trump and the US government so dislike Puerto Ricans. I thought their questioning was due to the lack of support after Hurricane Maria. But after hearing about this new tax being imposed, I think that is what they were referring to. Ricardo Rossello, the governor of Puerto Rico, has been very careful not to ‘upset’ President Trump since Hurricane Maria, but now even he is up in arms. There are many things about this tax bill to be upset about, but to punish Puerto Rico like this seems unbelievably cruel. That plus the millions of people who are going to immediately lose their health insurance is almost more than I can handle. It certainly doesn’t sound like the wonderful Christmas present the Republicans and our President are touting.

2017 Life Logs, Day 353: A Christmas Celtic Sojourn

2017 Life Logs, Day 353: A Christmas Celtic Sojourn
Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 51, Low 36 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Routine dental cleaning, talking on the phone with Justin, preparing more holiday/thank you cards to send, and then a trip to New Bedford for dinner and the theatre with Bruce and Jane Woodin. That was my day. New Bedford is about a 45-mile trip across the bridge, but the trip tonight was most certainly worth it. We had a wonderful seafood dinner at Elisabeth’s in Fairhaven, across the harbor from New Bedford, and then went to the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center in New Bedford to see the 15th Annual ‘A Christmas Celtic Sojourn’. The traditional Celtic singing, dancing, and music were all superb, but I think the young children from the Harney Academy of Irish Dance stole the show. They all looked to be in the five to seven year-old range and they can dance an Irish jig as good any. So adorable. This program is presented by WGBH in Boston. Brian O’Donovan is the natural host and producer of the show as he is also the host of WGBH’s weekly Celtic music program by the same name, A Celtic Sojourn. He grew up in West Cork, Ireland, in a small town, and after graduating from university, he came to Boston for a three-week visit. He is still there twenty-nine years later. Thanks, Bruce and Jane, for inviting me to tag along tonight. It was absolutely delightful.

My conversation with Justin today brought the news that the solar system we purchased will not be installed before Christmas. We have to wait one more week. Today’s installation date has been changed to Friday, December 29. So now we are hoping for solar power for the new year. They have had electricity since the first of December, but it is on-again, off-again. Sometimes it is only off for a few hours, but other times it is off for a day or two. When electricity is off, they have been able to use their little 250-watt solar system to keep the fridge going while the sun is shining, but when the sun goes down they just don’t open the refrigerator until the next morning. Not a perfect solution, but it is working for now. Justin spent his morning at Maximo Solar trying to pin down a realistic installation date, and hopefully we now have that. We just have to wait and trust. The good news from Puerto Rico today is that more and more Christmas packages are arriving. Hurray for the US Postal Service!

2017 Life Logs, Day 352: Holiday Scurrying

2017 Life Logs, Day 352: Holiday Scurrying
Date: Monday, December 18, 2017
Weather: Mostly Cloudy and Cold with Evening Rain; High 41, Low 35 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Today I felt like a little mouse scurrying here and there getting ready for winter. Last night I got a call from Justin with one more Christmas request, so after my 9:15 am Monday morning class at the gym, I headed to the post office in East Falmouth to send the little package and cards to friends. I go to East Falmouth as I have had the best luck there in getting things out of Falmouth and on the way to Puerto Rico from there. The doll house that Mark made for Ollie was disassembled and sent from there and it arrived in a timely manner. Then Ollie decided he would send all of the doll house furniture and dolls to Coco, and they arrived today. What I sent today was something that belonged to Granddad for Ziggy and that is supposed to arrive on Wednesday. It was small and was affordable to send it Express. I will be amazed if it gets there, but no matter, the US Postal Service has been amazing over the past three months. They are my heros. On my way home from the post office, I did some grocery and drug store shopping, and somehow it was 1:30 pm. I worked on finishing up the holiday cards to friends, started on the cards to family, and got one more window winterized. I went to a late afternoon Tai Chi class, and here I am still scurrying around to get things done. I start tomorrow with a routine dental appointment and then go to A Christmas Celtic Sojourn which is off-Cape in New Bedford with Bruce and Jane Woodin. We will get home late tomorrow night and the holiday preparations will continue on Wednesday. Only six days and 45 minutes until Christmas!

2017 Life Logs, Day 351: Another Day in the Life

2017 Life Logs, Day 351: Another Day in the Life
Date: Sunday, December 17, 2017
Weather: Sunny and Cold; High 3, Low 19 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

It was another day in the life. I stayed inside all day except for one little foray out to Staples and CVS for needed supplies. I spent my entire day wrapping more gifts, starting the window insulation project, and working on sending holiday/thank you cards to all who supported Justin and Jo after Hurricane Maria . . . lots of people and lots of personal notes to be written. I wish I could say I finished that job, but it will continue tomorrow. We are still in the deep freeze, but tomorrow the high temp is supposed to reach the low 40’s. Heat wave!!!

2017 Life Logs, Day 350: Just a Day in the Life

2017 Life Logs, Day 350: Just a Day in the Life
Date: Saturday, December 16, 2017
Weather: Sunny and Cold; High 34, Low 18 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Today was just a day in the life . . . Zumba class at the gym, a trip to the post office to send one more package to Puerto Rico, a short trip to the Goldstones that turned into a much longer stay as I got easily sucked into working a 150-piece puzzle with Ollie, home to work on writing a holiday letter to friends and addressing holiday cards. That was it for today. It was sunny but still very cold, so the little snow we got over the past two days is still with us. It is beautiful and the kids sure are enjoying it.

2017 Life Logs, Day 349: Making a List and Checking It Twice

2017 Life Logs, Day 349: Making a List and Checking It Twice
Date: Friday, December 15, 2017
Weather: Sunny and Cold; High 29, Low 23 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Today I took some time to assess where I am in terms of Christmas gifts. I think this is called “Making a List and Checking It Twice.” I had lots of questions I needed to answer. Have I ordered or bought everything for the Goldstones and the Handley-Hunts in Puerto Rico? Exactly what is the status of the packages that have been sent to Puerto Rico, either through the US Postal Service or Amazon? What gifts will I be taking with me to Nashville? In the midst of answering these questions, I got three different deliveries of Christmas gifts for the Goldpebbles from the USPS and FedX and that launched a frenzy of wrapping. It seems everything I have for Ollie, Jonah, and Sam is BIG, so the packages don’t fit under my little tree. They are now sprawling all over one corner of the living room! I didn’t finish my Christmas assessment, but I am getting close. I had hoped to get holiday cards in the mail today, but that will have to be a job for tomorrow and Sunday. Hopefully by the end of the day on Sunday, I will have Christmas giving under control.

I talked with Justin this morning and then I had a great conversation with good friends Ed and Lynne Kirwin. They are in St. Mary’s, Georgia, getting Constance ready to launch and then sail to Fort Lauderdale. They have had some chilly weather, but today things were starting to warm up a bit. They found out this morning that they will go in the water on Tuesday, and hopefully everything will be fine and they can head out for the trip south. At this point, the weather next week looks good until Christmas Eve. So hopefully they will be in Fort Lauderdale before then. I am just so happy for them that they are getting to spend time on Constance.

It was another day in the deep freeze here, so yesterday’s blanket of snow is still on the ground. And while I was in the gym for a late afternoon class, more snow started to fall. I don’t think we area slated to get much between now and midnight, and then the snowfall should end. It will be Monday before temps are back in the 40’s, so the snow that we have will probably be with us until then.

I learned a new Yiddish word today, mishegas, which means insanity or craziness. A meshugener is a crazy man. So, if anyone asks me to sum up 2017, my response will be be “mishegas”. And I think you can guess who I name Meshugener of the Year.